Seal of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association

Updated 10 August 2017:

Exploratory Committee Report

The Articles of Incorporation of the National World War II Glider Pilots Association require its dissolution at such time as there are fewer than fifteen active veteran members. Sadly, that time is approaching faster than we would want. The committee to identify and evaluate alternatives for continuing the objectives, spirit and fellowship of the NWWIIGPA after such time has been at work for many months. Discussions of alternatives and an update have appeared in the last two Silent Wings Newsletters and have been posted on the Association’s web site. Those alternatives were:

  1. Become direct members of the Silent Wings Museum and continue to receive their Newsletter. Transfer the website, Facebook page and the Research Team to the Silent Wings Museum Foundation. (The Association’s data base is already being shared with the SWM.)

  2. Form a new glider pilot legacy organization, incorporate under State law and file as a non-profit organization with the IRS under section 501(c)3.

  3. Form or join a larger organization, including WWII pilots and crews from all branches.

After considerable review and discussion of the pros and cons of each of the alternatives, and taking into consideration the change to our bylaws at the last reunion that allows Associate Members (non WWII glider pilots) to serve in any capacity on the Executive Council, the first option, to continue as members of the Silent Wings Museum, has become the leading choice.

The committee has come to this conclusion for several reasons. The NWWIIGPA has enjoyed a close relationship with the Silent Wings Museum ever since the City of Lubbock, TX agreed to host the museum seventeen years ago. Since that time they have built a world class museum facility dedicated solely to the WWII glider program and pilots, have published our Association’s newsletter and have steadily compiled the largest archive of historical documents related to the program and pilots in existence. We have received positive indications from the City Director of Museums, the Deputy Director of Museums and the SWM Curator of their continued commitment. In addition, the Silent Wings Museum Foundation has expressed their willingness to further one of their goals, public education of the glider pilot program, by sanctioning the Association’s website, Facebook page and Research Team. By affiliating with these already existing organizations we will not only maintain continuity with most of our existing programs but also help to strengthen these organizations to help guarantee their viability well into the future.

I mentioned the recent change in our bylaws that allows Associate Members to serve in any capacity on the Executive Council. What this does is to give us some breathing room so that sudden vacancies on the Council don’t cause a crisis. This, in turn, allows WWII veterans to continue serving in leadership roles without worrying about what will happen to the organization if there are suddenly no more veterans able to serve. With our legacy organization already in place, any transition should be relatively smooth. With the second option, forming a new organization, electing a governing board and incorporating under a state’s law could leave a period where no organization exists. The only way to avoid this break in continuity would be to form a new organization before the current one dissolves, and that might cut short the ability of veterans to continue to serve as long as they might want.

Finally, at least at the time of this writing, no member has expressed a desire to form a new organization. Some, however, have expressed opposition to forming/joining a larger organization out of the concern that the glider pilots would ultimately be overshadowed in an organization that included fighter pilots and bomber crews, as evidenced by the almost complete lack of exposure of the glider program in almost every major air museum. While it is true that the NWWIIGPA welcomed the Troop Carrier community into its ranks several years ago, and this has proven to be a valuable addition to the organization, the glider pilots were already part of Troop Carrier. Many of the glider pilots were, in fact, dual rated Power/Glider pilots. This relationship won’t change and it is hoped that we will see it expand.

Therefore, the committee will recommend to the Executive Council that it begin formal discussions with the Silent Wings Museum and Foundation to transfer our membership and assets (both financial and intellectual) to these organizations at such time as the NWWIIGPA dissolves.

Check back here again (NWWIIGPA website http://www.ww2gp.org/) or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NationalWW2GliderPilotAssociation for updates and, as always, feel free to contact any of the committee members if you have any questions, suggestions or comments.

Otto Lyons (901) 754 7279
Bruce Overman r.bruce.overman@gmail.com
Charles Day gliderman.one@frontier.com
Mary Roemer roemermary@gmail.com
Don Abbe donstoystoo2@gmail.com


Published 16 March 2017:

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 http://www.ww2gp.org/ or the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/NationalWW2GliderPilotAssociation/ for the latest information.

Otto Lyons (901) 754 7279
Bruce Overman r.bruce.overman@gmail.com
Charles Day gliderman.one@frontier.com
Mary Roemer roemermary@gmail.com
Don Abbe donstoystoo2@gmail.com