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 — Vice Admiral James M. Zortman, USN (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Zortman is sector Vice President, Life Cycle Logistics and Support, for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, a premier provider of manned and unmanned aircraft, space systems and advanced technologies critical to our nation’s security. Supporting sector strategy of “design anywhere, build anywhere, support anywhere,” Vice Admiral Zortman provides sector-level leadership of the full spectrum of logistics and product support functions. He is responsible for ensuring that the same excellence in integration now represented in design and production at Aerospace Systems is also fully exploited in anticipation and fulfillment of product support requirements. His most recent previous assignment was as sector Vice President, Global Sustainment, at the former Integrated Systems sector. In addition, effective July 18, 2009, he assumed the responsibilities of site manager of the Rancho Bernardo and Moss Point sites. He joined Northrop Grumman in January 2008, following a career in the US Navy, where he attained the rank of vice admiral. He served as Commander Naval Air Forces and Chief Executive Officer, Naval Aviation Enterprise. In this role, he led a combined team of more than 180,000 military, government, civilian and contractor personnel responsible for operations, readiness and full life cycle management of 3,800 aircraft and 12 aircraft carriers. His prior assignments include Commander, Naval Air Forces, Pacific Fleet; Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Fleet; Commander, Task Force Fifty; Commander, John C. Stennis Battle Group; Director, Operations and Politico-Military Affairs; and XO to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has earned the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit (4), the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. Zortman earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and completed a fellowship with the Chief of Naval Operations in Strategic Studies Group at the Naval War College. In addition, he has completed courses in executive business and strategic planning at the US Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and the University of North Carolina Business School at Chapel Hill.


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.