Arnold Air Society
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The Arnold Air Society (AAS) is a professional, honorary, service organization advocating the support of aerospace power. AAS is open to officer candidates in Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) and at the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), and is formally affiliated with the Air Force Association (AFA). In addition to AFROTC or Academy commitments, AAS members must complete candidate training, attend meetings, and contribute to their respective Squadrons and ROTC detachments. Doing so enhances the officer candidate experience of cadets as well as builds stronger leadership, organizational, and professional skills.
Arnold Air Society was first proposed as an idea for an extracurricular organization by ROTC cadets at the University of Cincinnati in the summer of 1947. After having their idea approved by active members of the Air Force, the cadets wrote a constitution for their new, honorary society. They called it the “Arnold Society of Air Cadets” in honor of General Henry “Hap” Arnold, the only 5-Star General of the Air Force.
Since its inception, Arnold Air Society grew quickly. It focused on high morals, physical fitness, and a positive attitude toward the Society and its goals. Since it is the mission of ROTC and the Air Force Academy to produce leaders, AAS enhances that mission by building these values into cadets early on, and ensuring that they maintain these standards.
Arnold Air Society was officially recognized by the Air Force in April 1948. It was then the goal of the Society to recruit and build more Squadrons to make the Society bigger. Within the next year, an additional twenty squadrons were formed across the country.
Another important concept of Arnold Air Society was the National Conclave. The National Conclave (NATCON) is held annually to review the policies and procedures of the Society. The first NATCON was held at the University of Cincinnati in 1950. At this time, all Squadrons from around the nation can gather to vote on new leadership for the upcoming year as well.
The first Honorary Sponsor of Arnold Air Society was Mrs. Eleanor Arnold. General James Doolittle was chosen to be the Honorary Commander following General Henry Arnold’s death in 1950. Following the first National Conclave, the Society’s official name became Arnold Air Society, a deviation from the original title. Following the second National Conclave, AAS became officially affiliated with the Air Force Association, and at the fourth and fifth NATCONs, it was proposed that the organizational structure of the Society be changed.
After the first few years of existence, the Executive Board was formed, which would be responsible for national leadership and organization. The Executive Board consisted of the AAS National Commander and the several AAS Area Commanders and normally met twice a year, once at the AAS NATCON and once at the Air Force Association National Convention. The Executive Board makes decisions that are vital to the structure and success of Arnold Air Society as a whole. In its early stages, many of the primary awards and policies were founded which are still in practice today.
Each prospective member for Arnold Air Society must be a member of a local AFROTC detachment and at least meet those academic and physical standards. If these criteria are met, then the individual can enter the Candidate Training Program.
During the six to eleven week training program (at individual squadrons' discretion), the candidate must attend at least 90% of all candidate activities. Also, the candidate class must complete at least one service project that benefits their detachment, university campus, or their community. In addition, candidates must gain the signatures of all of the active members of their squadron, unless otherwise stated by the squadron commander. The candidate class is highly encouraged to attend at least one of the squadron’s active members meeting.
In addition to the physical and military standards that all candidates are expected to reach, there are also academic standards. The candidate must take a National Test at the conclusion of their candidate training program. The candidate must pass the test with a score of at least 80%.
Many squadrons have a final training event that varies from hours to days as the culmination of the candidate class' training thus far. This event goes by many different names; however, the most popular title is the Extended Training Exercise (ETE). This event is usually extremely difficult physically and mentally. The bonds and relationships between the candidates in their respective classes have been tested and forged throughout the six to twelve weeks of training. ETE will test these bonds and promote the skills of teamwork and leadership in a practical manner.
Classes of Membership
- A cadet member who has paid national dues and is in good standing with the squadron (including GPA and other requirements per AASMAN-1 para 2.2.4).
- A cadet who is inactive per squadron by-laws (probation, etc.) but continues to pay national dues and thus retains the right to regain active membership. Inactive cadets may not wear the AAS cord or device, but may wear the AAS membership ribbon.
- Members of a group which provide support to AAS in the accomplishment of its objectives, as designated by the squadron and approved by the Executive Board of Directors. Members of Silver Wings gain associate membership into AAS upon payment of SW dues.
- This level of membership is awarded to an individual who is not eligible for active membership but has contributed greatly to the organization. Honorary membership is a life award.
(Reference AASMAN-1 Chapter 2)
Objectives and Goals
Arnold Air Society has interrelated objectives which serve to enhance the AFROTC and USAFA commissioning programs and project the USAF image on campus and in the community:
- To create a more efficient relationship among Air Force officer candidates, in particular within the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.
- To aid in the development of effective Air Force officers.
- To further the purpose, traditions, and concepts of the United States Air Force.
- To support aerospace power and its role in national security
- To Advance air and space age citizenship
- To accomplish these through serving the community
Likewise, AAS has three goals:
- To provide additional leadership opportunities to cadets in order to prepare them for corps leadership positions or to supplement corps positions held.
- To recruit for the USAF.
- To represent the corps and the USAF to the campus and the community through service.
The nation has been broken into eleven numbered areas (I though XI), which in turn are composed of squadrons.
National Headquarters is chosen yearly by the National Conclave, and may not be hosted by the squadron for more than two consecutive years. National HQ is led by the AAS National Commander, an AAS C/Brig Gen. The recommended national staff is as follows, with the Vice Commander holding the position of AAS C/Col and all other staff AAS C/Lt Col.
- Commander (CC)
- Vice Commander (CV)
- Director of Operations (DO)
- Director of Information Management (IM)
- Director of Financial Management (FM)
- Director of Public Affairs (PA)
- Director of Training (DT)
- Director of Support (DS)
The area staff typically consists of the same positions as national staff. The commander is an AAS C/Col, vice commander an AAS C/Lt Col, and other staff members are AAS C/Maj's. Area HQ is chosen annually at the Area Conclave and changes at NATCON.
Squadron positions are similar to their area counterparts, and are elected by squadron members IAW squadron by-laws. The commander is an AAS C/Maj, Deputy Commander an AAS C/Capt, and other staff members AAS C/1st Lt's.
- Commander (CC)
- Deputy Commander (CD)
- Operations Officer (DO)
- Information Management Officer (IM)
- Financial Management Officer (FM)
- Public Affairs Officer (PA)
- AFA/SW Liaison
- Candidate Training Officer (CTO)
- Support Officer (DS)
- Webmaster (WM)
Note: Individual squadrons have different combinations of CTOs and DTs for their training program.
Note: A squadron should also have a CSCOP - Chapter/Squadron Chief of Protocol that monitors and enforces the rules and regulations within Arnold Air Society and Silver Wings. The CSCOP is a Joint Position and may be held by either a AAS Member or a SW Member. This position is outside of the normal Squadron Chain of Command. According to Joint Protocol Manual 1 (JPM-1)-2009 the Chapter Squadron Chief of Protocol, if in AAS, holds the rank of AAS C/Capt.
General AAS Knowledge
- The AAS Flower is the "Crimson Glory" Rose. This flower was adopted in 1956 because Mrs. Arnold, having been presented with a silver bud vase by the Air Force Association at their 1955 National Convention, said she knew what she would put in it: the "Crimson Glory" rose because it always reminded her of the Air Force, since it had Japanese Beetles during World War II.
- The AAS motto is “The warrior who cultivates his mind polishes his arms” (Duc de Boufflers).
- The AAS colors are red, white, blue, and yellow-orange.
- The blue is the color of the sky in which we fly
- The red Symbolizes the shed blood of Americans fighting for freedom.
- The gold represents the wings which we fly and warrior courage.
- The white represents the purity of our intent
- Silver Wings is Arnold Air Society's Sister Organization