Over $80 million raised since 1966 to build and support the National Naval Aviation Museum and STEM initiatives.

About the Foundation

The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, Inc. is the nonprofit, 501(c)(3) educational and fundraising organization that supports the development of the National Naval Aviation Museum. Since its founding in 1966, the Foundation has raised tens of millions of dollars to fund construction of the Museum; preservation and maintenance of historic aircraft; development and expansion of Museum exhibits; and a host of educational programs—including the National Flight Academy, our premier aviation-inspired learning experience—designed to teach principles of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Honor the Past. Inspire the Future. Promote Patriotism.

The Foundation works to foster and perpetuate the National Naval Aviation Museum as a medium of informing and educating the public on the important role of United States Naval Aviation; to inspire students undergoing naval flight training to complete the program and become career officers; to inspire young people to develop an interest in Naval Aviation; to serve as a philanthropic corporation in assisting the development and expansion of the facilities of the National Naval Aviation Museum; to receive, hold and administer gifts received in the best interests of the National Naval Aviation Museum; and to do any other business, act or thing incidental to and necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. The Foundation also conducts revenue-producing business activities, principally the Flight Deck Store, the Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, Motion Based and MaxFlight Simulators, Blue Angels 4D Experience and a share profit from the Cubi Bar Café. After covering its own operating expenses, profit is applied to defray Foundation overhead, and remaining proceeds are gifted to the Museum. Our mission is to be the best in the world, self-sustaining Foundation that engages the public by supporting and promoting the National Naval Aviation Museum experience and Naval Aviation, as well as conducting and promoting educational programs. Our vision is to “Honor the Past. Inspire the Future.”

Our Benefactors

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.


Our Leadership

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.


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.