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History of the Arnold Air Society

Dramatic growth has characterized the Arnold Air Society since its obscure beginning in the spring and summer of 1947. The ideal of high moral, physical and mental attitudes was molded into the formation of the society to help train future Air Force leaders.

Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold At a summer camp in 1947, a group of AFROTC cadets from Cincinnati discussed the possibility of an honorary society and presented their idea to Capt. Nolkamper. A committee of cadets formed to write a constitution and find a name. The name chosen in a unanimous decision honors Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold (pictured here), one of the greatest leaders in aviation history. The permission to use his name was granted in December of 1947, with the provision that the society begin on a local basis at the University of Cincinnati, with expansion of a spontaneous nature.

In April of 1948, the U.S. Air Force officially recognized the society. Shortly thereafter, the society became a project of the Air Defense Command, whose duty it was to see that the local group became nationalized. In September of 1948, the Air Defense Command sent copies of the society’s constitution to all universities and colleges throughout the nation, with the hope of forming similar organizations. Within the next years, 20 new squadrons formed.

Many new ideas came about in the early 1950s, one of these being the National Conclave. The event is used as a central means of determining the policies of the society. At the first National Conclave at the University of Cincinnati, Mrs. H.H. Arnold was named honorary sponsor. That same year, the society officially became the “Arnold Air Society.”

The second National Conclave resulted in the society’s affiliation with the Air Force Association. The event also initiated the establishment of the National Publications Headquarters and the Arnold Memorial Scholarship.

At the fourth and fifth National Conclaves, a reconstruction of the organizational structure of the society was proposed. This resulted in the formation of the Board of Directors, consisting of the national commander and all the area commanders. At succeeding conclaves, more awards and policies were initiated, such as the formation of Angel Flight and the Arnold Air Society-Link Foundation Awards for graduate work.

Source: Arnold Air Society National Website