Seal of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association

Exploritory Committee Report

As was announced at the last reunion, a committee has been formed to explore alternatives for the continuation of the National World War II Glider Pilots Association, Inc. (NWWIIGPA) in some form if and when the veterans decide to disband the current organization. Before presenting alternatives for the continuation of a Glider Pilots organization, it would be useful to briefly recap the form of the current organization.

As it is currently constituted, the NWWIIGPA is incorporated in the state of Texas and files an annual tax form as a non-profit veterans’ organization with the Internal Revenue Service. Veterans are specified in the Association’s Articles of Incorperation as “bona fide” members and non–veterans are specified as “Affiliates”.

The NWWIIGPA has a close relationship with the Silent Wings Museum (SWM) in Lubbock Texas. The Glider Pilots donated the CG4A glider on exhibit at the museum as well as many of the other display items and archive media. The museum, in turn, publishes the Association’s news and articles in the Silent Wings Newsletter and mails it to all Association members. A portion of the annual dues for affiliate members of the Association is returned to the SWM and all members currently enjoy free admission to the museum.

The Association spends virtually all the money it collects in any given year (the largest single expense being the printed roster) and has no physical assets. It does, however, have what might be termed intellectual assets in the form of a data base, web page and a Facebook account. An ad hoc Research Team builds on information in the database, provides information and articles for the web page and SWM newsletter and works closely with the SWM to further the collection and dissemination of information to document the role of the glider pilots and glider program in World War II.

Though originally formed of and for glider pilots (an MOS of 1026 was required for “bona fide” membership) the Association several years ago welcomed all members of the Troop Carrier community.

The Association has conducted a reunion every year in various locations since 1971.

The Association Articles of Incorporation require that it be dissolved when the number of active bona fide members falls below fifteen. Sadly, that day is approaching.

The committee has identified three alternatives for current members, both bona fide and affiliate, to maintain the fellowship, expand the knowledge base and continue to honor the memory of those who served as glider pilots and Troop Carrier personnel.

  1. Become members of the Silent Wings Museum. As members we would continue to receive the SWM Newsletter and admission to the museum. Since the SWM is a City of Lubbock department there would, no doubt, be some restrictions on the type of activities they could be involved in. For example, they may not be able to publish a printed roster or enter into the type of financial agreements that would be necessary to host a reunion so any activities of this nature would have to be handled differently. One suggestion has been to plan informal symposiums in various locations of interest to members. This might include such obvious choices as the SWM in Lubbock, Texas or the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware or even glider landing sites in France, The Netherlands, or Germany. Discussions are currently underway with the Silent Wings Museum Foundation, a little known but very important link between the NWWIIGPA and the SWM, to see if they might play a role in a reconstitution of the Association.

  2. Form a new organization similar to what the British Glider Pilots Regiment and the 17th Airborne Scions organizations have done. This would entail electing officers, adopting by-laws, incorporating under state law and filing with the Internal Revenue Service as a non–profit under section 501(c)3. This process does not appear to be overly complicated or expensive but there would need to be a fairly substantial commitment of perspective members to make it viable. It is assumed that any new organization might make arrangements with the SWM for newsletter publication and museum admission similar to those currently in place, but this would ultimately be up to the City of Lubbock.

  3. Broaden the scope. At the last reunion, Scott Glover alluded to the declining number of glider pilots and troop carrier veterans and suggested that one way to maintain attendance at the reunions for the next several years would be to expand the scope to honor and include WWII aviation crewmembers from all branches of the service. This expansion could take several forms from simply inviting other WWII pilot groups to “our” reunion, to forming a larger network of WWII pilot associations and having a “joint” reunion, or some other form yet to be determined. This could be a standalone option or it could be an option that could be implemented in addition to rather than instead of one of the other listed options.

These options are by no means final at this point and the committee will continue to refine them as additional input is received. The Association membership will have the final say in the business meeting at the next reunion in Mt Pleasant. Feel free to contact any of the committee members if you have any questions, suggestions or comments. An update will be published in the next Newsletter but, as always, continue to check the NWWIIGPA website or the Facebook page for the latest information.

Otto Lyons (901) 754 7279
Bruce Overman
Charles Day
Mary Roemer
Don Abbe