The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library was incorporated in February 1987 as a 501 (c)(3) organization. The principal aim of The Friends is to enhance the quality of the McDermott Library as an educational, research, scientific, and cultural institution. Ultimately, The Friends help the Library grow in stature, thereby strengthening the Academy’s performance of its mission.
Initially formed under the guidance of three former Superintendents of the Air Force Academy, The Friends continue to rely on the leadership of former Academy senior staff members to meet our goals. The Directors of The Friends include former Superintendents and a number of distinguished Air Force officers and community leaders. Three advisors represent the Academy Faculty, the Association of Graduates, and the Director of the Academy Library.
From the beginning, The Friends worked with the Clark Special Collections Branch to acquire and preserve unique original historical collections of personal papers including records, diaries and photographs that are of special significance to the mission and history of the Air Force and the Academy. The Friends have also received gifts of rare books and artwork, memorabilia, films and electronic media dealing with aeronautical and airpower themes.
The Friends published a highly acclaimed catalogue of the Gimbel Collection, The Genesis of Flight, that was accompanied by a state-of-the-art compact disc (CD). Authored by Lt. Gen. A. P. Clark, USAF, and sponsored by The Friends and the Association of Graduates, Falconry at the United States Air Force Academy was co-published with Fulcrum Publishing of Golden Colorado. An accompanying digital video disc (DVD) was also published.
On April 1, 2004, The Friends, in cooperation with the Association of Graduates, officially began the celebration of the Air Force Academy’s 50th anniversary with a reception for over 200 people and the initial screening of the long awaited DVD, Expect Great Things. The evening was the culmination of over two years of hard work by The Friends, the Association of Graduates, and Word One, Inc.
For the next 59 minutes, the audience sat enthralled with views of key events of the Academys first 50 years, video interviews with a number of the people who were instrumental in building the institution as well as graduates who shared their insights into the Academy, their experiences, and what being a graduate of this great institution meant to them.
Several years ago Lt. Gen. Hubert R. Harmon was officially named the Father of the Air Force Academy. In 2006, The Friends, with support from the USAFA Class of 1959, commissioned a biography with author Dr. Phil Meilinger, Colonel, USAF (ret). Dr. Meilinger is a graduate of the Academy Class of 1970, a command pilot, the author of the definitive biography of General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, and an internationally recognized authority on military history and strategy. Dr. Meilinger is also on The Friends’ Board of Directors. This very significant book, Hubert R. Harmon, Airman, Officer, Father of the Air Force Academy, was published and released at The Friends’ annual luncheon on April 16, 2009.
The Friends continue to sponsor the Honor Book Commemorative Program with the associated Honor Certificates permanently displayed in the Clark Special Collections Branch of the McDermott Library. This programrecognizes individuals and units that participated in virtually every American conflict as well as honoring a wide variety of individuals including Academy faculty and staff,spouses, cadets, and graduates.
The Friends History Timeline
A comprehensive chronicle of significant events, projects, meetings, and other activities in the life of the Friends, highlighting the people who support our mission.