Dear Friends of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum:
How can I possibly thank you enough for your many years of support of this one-of-a-kind museum honoring the history and heritage of Marine Corps Aviation? Because of your devotion, the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation has been able to provide critically needed financial support for and restoration of the museum’s 48 iconic aircraft, host numerous events supporting youth programs, active and retired military ceremonies, veteran reunions and field trips for wounded warriors. Additionally, because of your generosity over the past 20 years, we have been able to expand our education and community outreach programs and continue to support a Marine spouse recognition award and student art and essay contests.
Unfortunately, as the result of the Air Station’s announcement that it will no longer be able to provide funding, there is a distinct likelihood the museum will close in the Spring of 2021. Let me assure you the Foundation has not accepted this as a fait accompli. When notified of the plans for closure, we immediately put into action substantive steps to provide the Marine Corps with an alternative to closure. Along with support from California Strategies, a full-service public affairs consulting firm, we were able to obtain enabling language in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) aiding the Secretary of the Navy to enter into a land lease agreement with non-profit organizations. Obviously, this was a positive step forward. We are currently working with HQMC for their support of this proposal. Alternatively, we are asking senior Marine Corps leadership to consider adding the museum as part of a larger National Museum of the Marine Corps museum program. We hope to have a final decision long before April of 2021.
In the meantime, the Foundation will continue to support the museum ensuring day-to-day operations are carried out and funding our many community outreach and youth programs. But we cannot do it without your support. The COVID-19 crisis has had a bigger impact on our museum than any other in the San Diego region. We were closed in February to support evacuees from China and cruise ship tourists. We were only allowed to reopen September 17, making us the longest closed museum in San Diego. Door donations and store sales have been seriously impacted, along with other contribution sources. Now, more than ever, the Flying Leathernecks truly needs your support.
In a time when understanding and honoring our nation’s history is more important than ever, you can make a significant difference. Please help us overcome these challenges and save our museum. Thank you again for everything you have done to help preserve, honor, and inspire all our past, present and future Marine Corps Aviation heroes. I know you will respond generously; together, we can and will prevail.
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation
The Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation is a tax-exempt, not-for-profit 501(c) 3 charitable organization. Our Tax ID #33-0345440. Your contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.