Marine Aviation Centennial 2012
From Lt. Col. Alfred A. Cunningham in 1912 to Capt. Vernice Armour in 2001. From Lt. Gen. Frank E. Peterson in 1952 to Lt. Col. Sarah Deal in 1993.
From the Curtiss airplane to the Lockheed Martin F-35 jets.
Pilots and planes, they’re all part of the Marine Corps Aviation wing. And they’re all part of history as Marine Corps Aviation celebrates its centennial throughout 2012.
Cunningham, widely acknowledged as the father of Marine Aviaation, was the Marine Corps first pilot, and Armour was the first black female pilot. Peterson was the Corps first black pilot, and Deal was the female pilot. The Curtiss airplane was the Marine Corps first plane, and the F-35 series is its latest jet program.
From the past to the present is a continuous line, linking Marine Corps aviators through the generations. A kinship, a fellowship, a bond; it’s what they all have in common, men and women, young and old, all races and creeds. They’re Marine Corps aviators, now and forever.
Centennial celebrations begin April 21-22 at the New Orleans Air Show, where the Blue Angels are scheduled to perform, and wrap up during Marine Aviation Centennial Week from May 14-20 at the Gaylord National Harbor Conference Center in Maryland. The Sunset Parade, aerial reviews, and the Marine Corps Aviation Association reunion and awards are just a few of the scheduled events for Aviation Week. And there’s a Joint Service Open House from May 19-20 at Andrews Air Force Base.
Marine Corps aviators have been a part of every major conflict in the 100 years since it was founded, flying missions in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to the Marine Corps Centennial website: “For nearly 100 years, Marine Aviation has demonstrated the adaptability, agility and unique ethos that come with the title ‘Marine,’ ” said Gen. James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps. “Supporting our ground and logistics brothers and sisters, Marine Aviation has forged a lasting legacy of professionalism, innovation and transformation. The centennial of Marine Aviation provides us a unique opportunity to reflect on this legacy of success as we turn our eyes to the future.”