The first chapter of Angel Flight was founded at the University of Omaha in 1952. In its early years, Angel Flight was primarily a national idea with many different names, uniforms and activities. However, in April of 1957, an important step toward unification was taken at the eighth annual National Conclave of the Arnold Air Society (AAS). Representatives from 16 Angel Flight groups met in New York City to join their purposes under a National Coordination Headquarters.
In the years that followed, Angel Flight members worked to give the organization a professional, service-oriented image as well as to support the AFROTC units on each campus. During the 1980s, the Executive Board of Directors approved a petition allowing Angel Flight units to use the name “Silver Wings” on their local campuses to accommodate diversity of membership, changing needs on individual campuses and a difficulty in recruiting members at some schools. These chapters were chartered by the national Angel Flight as Silver Wings or Silver Wings Society.
At the 1995 National Conclave, the general assembly voted to amend the Angel Flight National Constitution to officially change the name of the national organization to “Angel Flight-Silver Wings.” The name change was incorporated on all documents, insignia and materials published by regional and national-level headquarters. To meet the diverse needs of the local chapters, each was allowed to name itself “Angel Flight-Silver Wings,” “Angel Flight” or “Silver Wings.”
In 1996, the Executive Board of Directors proposed and the chapters approved a resolution to redefine the mission and objectives of the national organization and further diversify its membership. This legislation moved the organization out of its military support role into that of a collegiate advocacy group. These changes were met with enthusiasm by AAS and on the local campuses, and in 1998, the NATCON Assembly voted to officially change the name of the organization to “Silver Wings.”
All chapters chartered following this legislation are known as Silver Wings and function as civilian organizations that emphasize leadership, citizenship and development of professional skills. To provide continuity of identity on local campuses, existing chapters chartered under the name Angel Flight or Angel Flight-Silver Wings may continue to operate under those names (at the discretion of the local unit).
Source: Arnold Air Society National Website