Commemorative Air Force History & Mission
It began with a single plane.
Lloyd Nolen and a small group of ex-service pilots from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas pooled their money to purchase a P-51 Mustang in 1957. They formed a loosely defined organization to share the pleasure and expense of maintaining the Mustang.
A short while later, the group added a pair of F8F Bearcats to the P-51 Mustang. At this point, the mission of the CAF became clear: save an example of every aircraft that flew during World War II ~ a mission no one else was undertaking.
What started as a hobby became an urgent mission to preserve history.
"A generation which ignores history has no past and no future" – Robert Heinlein
The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.
More than just a collection of airworthy warplanes from the past, the CAF's fleet of historic aircraft, known as the CAF Ghost Squadron, recreate, remind and reinforce the lessons learned from the defining moments in American military aviation history.
Want to be a part of this great mission? Join the Air Force you've never heard of and keep the CAF flying. This is our creed and more. It's who we are, what we do and why we do it. Help history soar!
1. To acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States and selected aircraft of other nations for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.
2. To provide museum buildings for the permanent protection and display of these aircraft as a tribute to the thousands of men and women who built, serviced and flew them.
3. To perpetuate in the memory and in the hearts of all Americans the spirit in which these great planes were flown in the defense of our nation.
4. To establish an organization having the dedication, enthusiasm and esprit de corps necessary to operate, maintain and preserve these aircraft as symbols of our American military aviation heritage.