About the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation

Preserves and Shares the Legacy of USMC Aviation

Our History

The original Foundation was established in 1989 at MCAS El Toro. When Base Realignment closed El Toro in 1999, a group of retired Marines from San Diego, led by Major Generals Bob Butcher and Frank Lang, formed the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and moved the aircraft and artifacts to MCAS Miramar.

In March 2021 the leadership of MCAS Miramar announced that it could no longer host the museum on the grounds of the base. The City of Irvine offered to host the  museum in its original hangars at the closed MCAS El Toro, now called Great Park. The move of the aircraft and artifacts to Great Park is being overseen by Brigadier General Michael Aguilar, the Executive Director of the Flying Leatherneck HIstorical Foundation. The target date for opening the museum at its new location is August 2023.

The Foundation provides volunteers to restore historic aircraft and staff the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. It also provides funds and materials to support the restoration and maintenance of historical aircraft and artifacts, offers  educational programs, preserves oral histories and hosts military service awards and ceremonies.


Our Mission and Vision


The mission of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation is help strengthen America by preserving the aviation history of the U.S. Marine Corps, honoring the service of its people, and inspiring in all generations an appreciation of America’s freedoms and values. 

We accomplish our mission by supporting the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum and by hosting a variety of educational programs that connect all generations with their nation’s history as well as the civilian with the military worlds.


We build a stronger nation by educating all generations about the contributions, character and sacrifices of the people of USMC aviation and the missions they completed to defend America and her freedoms and values.


School Lesson Plans and Field Trips

The Foundation established an educational collaboration with the Character Education Resource Center at the University of San Diego (USD) to develop meaningful, standards-based teacher resources for grades K-12 in history, leadership, patriotism, citizenship and aviation science. Lessons reflect unique resources available at the Museum.

Teacher workshops (below) and school lesson plans are being developed under the guidance of Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., director of the Character Development Center at USD and a nationally recognized expert and author in teaching, administrative leadership and character education.

Collect and Process Oral Histories

The Foundation records oral histories of USMC veterans and funds to help maintain a large resource library.

Join + Give & Volunteer

Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation Memberships support our mission to preserve and share the legacy of USMC aviation. Membership offers extra benefits including discounts at the shop and invitations to members-only events.  Giving supports the museum and foundation’s activities from our essay contests to recognition of Marine Wives and restoration of our historic aircraft and more.  Volunteers are the backbone of the museum’s education and restoration activities. They enthrall visitors with the legacy of Marine Corps aviation and share  their love of history. Volunteers join a great team, have fun and also enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather.

Foundation Press 

Visit the Flying Leathernecks Press page to view press and media mentions, Flying Leathernecks Foundation and Museum press releases including fact sheets and resources for the foundation and museum respectively.

Go To Our Press Mentions, Releases and Resources Page

Foundation Programs

Teacher Workshop

The Foundation and its University of San Diego partner host workshops for San Diego County teachers. The workshops fill a gap in teacher training. According to the U.S. Department of Education, only 12% of America’s high school seniors are “proficient” in U.S. History. Surveys of educators indicate teacher resources are badly needed.

Essay Contest for 6-12 grades

A regional,  patriotically-themed essay contest for grades 6-12 is held each year.

Art Contest for 6-12 grades

A regional, patriotically-themed art contest for grades 6-12 is held each year. Winning artwork is put on display at the offices of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and in a gallery on the website.

Marine Wife Recognition Award

A Marine Wife is recognized annually with a plaque and stipend for outstanding service and dedication to her community, her family and the Marine Corps.

Distinguished Service Award

Periodically an American citizen is recognized for his or her service to the nation. In 2018, Major General Charles F. Bolden, Jr., USMC aviator, patriot, astronaut and NASA administrator was recognized with the award.




9400 Activity Road, Suite C,
San Diego, CA 92126
P.O. Box 45316
San Diego, CA 92145-0316