The Next Generation
Earlier this month, Arnold Air Society (AAS) and Silver Wings (SW, formerly Angel Flight) members from across the country gathered in Orlando, FL, for their 67th annual National Conclave (NATCON). Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings are collegiate service organizations of Air Force ROTC cadets and civilian student leaders and airpower advocates serving their communities across college campuses nationwide. The two sister organizations serve a joint mission to build the next generation of Air Force and civic leaders through countless professional development events and impact communities with over 100,000 service hours each year.
This year, Arnold Air Society celebrated their 70th anniversary and Silver Wings celebrated their 65th at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. Throughout the conclave, over 900 cadets and students engaged in professional development workshops conducted by the Air Force’s Profession of Arms Center of Excellence (PACE), learned how to be future leaders with Lt Gen Charles “CQ” Brown, and furthered the impact our Air Force Association makes on countless Airmen every day with Secretary Whit Peters, AFA’s Chairman of the Board, at an AFA hosted luncheon.
“NATCON is a showcase for the talent of the young men and women of Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings,” said Peters. “With support from some AAS/SW graduate volunteers, the sponsoring detachments organized and managed a four-day event for some 1,000 attendees. The result this year was spectacular and professional in all respects. Unquestionably the members of AAS/SW are ready to lead our Air Force and the nation in the coming decades.”
Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings (Angel Flight) have been valued partners of AFA since 1950. Each member of Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings is also a member of AFA and serves as a premier source for building future leaders.
“The Air Force Association and Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings share nearly 70 years of history, and our partnership has never been stronger,” said Brig Gen Dan Woodward, USAF (Ret.), Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings executive director, “When you bring 900 of AFA's youngest and most energetic members together at one of our Conclaves, there is simply no doubt the future of both our organizations – and our nation – are in great hands!”
Throughout the four-day conclave, attendees heard from several distinguished speakers on a variety of topics. It was hard to find a dry eye in the room as Col Ed Hubbard, USAF (Ret.), described his six years spent as a Vietnam War prisoner of war and discussed how something as simple as changing his perspective and building a community strengthened his will to live. One of the most memorable moments for many during the conclave occurred as a wave of patriotism swept over the cadets and civilian students when Col Hubbard led them to sing “God Bless America.”
The 67th National Conclave culminated with the presentation of The Air Force Scroll of Appreciation, a Secretary of the Air Force-level award reflecting years of dedicated service to building great Air Force officers and airpower advocates. The prestigious award was presented by Silver Wings and Angel Flight alum, Lt Gen Stayce Harris, at the USAA Military Banquet on April 17th.
This extraordinary group of future Air Force and civilian leaders is paving the way for the next generation of our Air Force. They are true Airmen for Life. To learn more about Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings and the impact they make on our Air Force and communities nationwide, click here.