About the Foundation
Honor the Past. Inspire the Future.
The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation would like to thank all of our benefactors for their support. We are here because of your generous donations, and it’s thanks to you that we’ve been able to accomplish so much in our efforts to support the National Naval Aviation Museum and enhance STEM education with our world-class aviation-themed learning adventure, the National Flight Academy.
Chairman of the Board — Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Fitzgerald was born in Winchester, Mass., and graduated from Northeastern University, Boston in June 1973. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1975. Fitzgerald flew the A-7E Corsair II during sea assignments in VA-195, Carrier Air Wing 17 and VA-105 embarked aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV- 63), USS America (CV-66) and USS Forrestal (CV-59). He commanded the VA-46 “Clansmen” aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67), deploying with four days notice for Operation Desert Shield. He led the first Navy strike on Baghdad during the opening hour of Operation Desert Storm. During his career, Fitzgerald was assigned as Deputy Commander, Joint Air Force Component Commander for Provide Promise Yugoslav Operations and assistant commander for Deny Flight NATO operations. He assumed command of Carrier Air Wing 14 while deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) supporting Operation Southern Watch. Fitzgerald’s shore tours include VA-174 landing signal officer, Naval Maritime Intelligence Center, SPEAR and EA to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He holds a master’s degree in aeronautical systems engineering from the University of West Florida and attended the Naval War College, Newport, R.I. Selected for flag rank in September 1998, Fitzgerald’s first flag assignment was Deputy Commander, US Naval Forces Central Command and commanded Joint Task Force Determined Response in Aden, Yemen. Assuming command of Carrier Group 8, he deployed with Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group during Operation Enduring Freedom. He served as Director, Air Warfare and then as Director, Naval Warfare, and as Commander, 2nd Fleet/Director, Combined Joint Operations from the Sea Center of Excellence. In December 2006, he began his last assignment as the Director, Navy Staff. As Commander, US Naval Forces Europe he was responsible for providing overall command, operational control and coordination of US Naval forces in the European Command area of responsibility. As Commander, US Naval Forces Africa he was responsible for providing overall command, operational control, and coordination of US Naval forces in the Africa Command area of responsibility. As Commander, Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Fitzgerald had operational responsibility for NATO missions in the Balkans, Iraq and the Mediterranean. Fitzgerald’s awards include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (4), Distinguished Flying Cross (with Combat “V”) (2), Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2), Air Medals and numerous individual, Campaign and Unit awards. He has logged more than 4,800 flight hours and has made over 1,100 carrier arrested landings from the decks of 13 aircraft carriers.
Vice Chairman of the Board — Mr. Thomas F. Darcy
Mr. Thomas F. Darcy served as the Vice President of Defense and Security Systems at EADS North America, the senior representative of the Defense and Security Systems Division of EADS in the United States. Mr. Darcy served as the focal point for all Systems and Defense Electronics, Services, Missiles, Military Aircraft, Homeland Security and Telecom marketing. Mr. Darcy was also responsible for any liaison activities to customers with Defense and Security subsidiaries in the United States. He was responsible to the Chairman and CEO of EADS NA for integrating Defense and Security strategy and activities into a single approach to enhance EADS’ penetration and presence in the US market. Furthermore, he served on the Board of Directors of the Fairchild Control Corporation, the Board of Advisors to the Dr. Manfred Woerner Circle on Political Military Decision Making, and the Editorial Boards of Defense News and Wehr Technik. Mr. Darcy joined EADS North America in January 2003. Prior to that, he was with Northrop Grumman Corporation in Brussels, Belgium where he was the Vice President of Europe responsible for Northrop Grumman Integrated Systems (IS) Sector’s Western, Central and Eastern European business development and government relations activities. In addition, Mr. Darcy was the Managing Director of the IS international operating subsidiary in Belgium. Also, he was the President of the American Defense Industry Forum (ADIF), former US Government Representative to the NATO Industrial Advisory Group (NIAG) and served on the Board of Directors of the United States Trade and Investment Center (USTIC). From 1991 to 1995, he was the US National Armaments Director Representative to NATO. In addition, Mr. Darcy was special advisor to the US Ambassadors to NATO and the European Union on defense trade and technology issues. Mr. Darcy was a career US Naval Officer and Naval Aviator with more than 4,000 flight hours. His 22 years of professional skills were developed in positions of significant and progressive responsibility as a Naval Officer. He gained worldwide experience in operations, maintenance and resource management from international, political and military assignments. He achieved the rank of captain and squadron commander during the Gulf Campaign. Mr. Darcy has a B.S. in accounting and finance from Florida State University and M.S. in finance and accounting operational analysis from the US Naval Postgraduate School. In addition, he is a graduate of the US Defense Systems Management College. He has written numerous articles on transatlantic cooperation, defense policy and industry collaboration. Mr. Darcy is married with two sons.
President & CEO — Lieutenant General Duane D. Thiessen, USMC (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Thiessen was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in May 1974. His initial operational assignment was as an AV-8A Harrier Pilot in which he completed numerous deployments to both the Mediterranean Sea and Okinawa. In 1982, he was assigned to Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One in Yuma, Arizona, where he served as an AV-8 tactics instructor. Lieutenant General Thiessen held several operational billets, completed Naval Command and Staff College in Newport, Rhode Island, and served as assistant to the AV-8B program manager in Naval Air Systems Command, Washington, DC. In June 1991, he reported to MCAS Cherry Point, North Carolina, where he assumed command of Marine Attack Training Squadron 203. After relinquishing command, he returned to Washington, DC, to attend the National War College and was subsequently assigned as the Marine Requirements Officer in the Joint Strike Fighter Program office. His next assignment was Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group-13 in Yuma, Arizona. Lieutenant General Thiessen then reported to HQMC to serve in Aviation Plans and Policy Branch until July 2000, when he was appointed to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Expeditionary Force Programs. When promoted to Brigadier General, he was assigned as Deputy Director of Operations, National Military Command Center. He then served as Inspector General of the Marine Corps. Lieutenant General Thiessen assumed Command of 1st Marine Aircraft Wing in Okinawa, Japan, in June of 2004 followed by two years as Commander, U.S. Marine Forces Korea and assistant Chief of Staff, U/C/J-5 United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea. In 2007, he returned to the United States, was promoted to Lieutenant General, and assumed the duties of Deputy Commandant for Programs and Resources, Headquarters United States Marine Corps. Prior to his retirement in August 2012, Lieutenant General Thiessen served as Commanding General, US Marine Corps Forces Pacific.