Provides Volunteers and Funds to Support the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

The Foundation provides funds and volunteers to restore historic aircraft and staff operations for the museum. Its current focus is on generating the funds necessary to transport the aircraft to their new location in Great Park,  renovating Hangar 296, staffing the new location and preparing the aircraft and artifacts for display.

Collects and Processes Oral Histories

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

School Lesson Plans and Visits

The Foundation has 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.

  • A teacher workshop (below) and school lesson plans are developed under the guidance of Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., director of the Character Education Resource Center at USD and a nationally recognized expert and author in teaching, administrative leadership and character education.
  • While the museum is in the process of relocating, veterans virtually visit classrooms to offer lessons as well as share their military service experiences.

Teacher Workshop

The Foundation and its USD partners host a workshop for San Diego County teachers annually. This workshop fills 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

Each academic year a patriotically-themed essay contest is sponsored for students in grades 6-12.

Art Contest

Each academic year an aviation-themed art contest is sponsored for students in grades 6-12. Winning artwork is put on display.

Marine Wife of the Year 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

The most recent recipient of the Distinguished Service Award is Major General Charles F. Bolden Jr.; Marine, Astronaut, Leader and Patriot.


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.  When the leadership of MCAS Miramar closed the museum in April 2021 for financial reasons, the City of Irvine invited the Foundation to re-establish the museum at its original home, MCAS El Toro, now called “Great Park.”  The museum will be located in Hanger 296 in Great Park.  The target date for opening to the public is August 2023.