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Arnold Air Society

Arnold Air Society is a professional, honorary, service organization advocating the support of aerospace power. AAS is formally affiliated with AFROTC and the Air Force Association.It is a national extracurricular organization available to Air Force ROTC and Academy cadets.

In 1947, at an AFROTC summer camp, a group of cadets from the University of Cincinnati discussed the possibility of an honorary society. After taking their idea to members of their cadre, a committee of cadets was formed to write a constitution and to choose a name for their newly founded society. The name they chose was the “Arnold Society of Air Cadets,” in honor of General Henry H. Arnold. Arnold Air Society grew very quickly from its inception in the summer of 1947. High morals, physical fitness, and positive mental attitude formed the foundation of the Society. These characteristics were the basis for the Society’s efforts to mold young cadets into future Air Force leaders.

The United States Air Force officially recognized the Society in April of 1948, and the Air Defense Command sent copies of the Society’s constitution to all colleges and universities throughout the nation in hopes of forming similar organizations. Within the next year, twenty new squadrons were formed. National Conclaves were one of the many new ideas that came about in the early 1950’s. The first NATCON was held at the University of Cincinnati in 1950. This conclave was convened to determine the policies for the Society. Mrs. Eleanor Arnold was named the Honorary Sponsor, and General James Doolittle was chosen to be the Honorary Commander following the death of General Arnold. This same year, the organization became officially known as the “Arnold Air Society.” During the second NATCON, the Society became affiliated with the Air Force Association. At the fourth and fifth NATCONs, a reconstruction of the organizational structure of the Society was proposed. This resulted in the formation of the Executive Board, consisting of the AAS national and area leadership. At following conclaves, more awards and policies were initiated, such as the formation of Angel Flight in 1952, and the Arnold Air Society-Link Foundation Fellowship Awards for graduate work. Today, Arnold Air Society continues with over 3,000 members across well over a hundred educational institutions across the country. We hope to carry forth the missions set forth for Arnold Air Society in a way that will better our communities, states, and country.

Penn State History

Second Lieutenant Harry R. Armstrong, a Penn State Alumnus, was an Army Air Corps B-17 navigator for the 380th Bombardment Group, 570th Bombardment Squadron during World War II. During his last mission, on 2 February 1944, his aircraft was attacked by enemy fighters and heavily damaged by flak, forcing the crew to bail out over France. Upon discovering that his plane was short by one parachute, he ordered the remaining crewman to take the last parachute. Thus, Armstrong went down with his plane, sacrificing his life for a fellow serviceman. The Harry R. Armstrong Squadron has learned a great deal from its namesake’s act of heroism. His caring attitude of putting others first and self second has become second nature for our squadron.

As a result, the Harry R. Armstrong Squadron has become a major service organization, dedicated to improving its community, university, and detachment. For the community, the squadron annually organizes the largest POW/MIA awareness event in the area. . As for the university, the squadron continuously hosts blood drives and actively participates in the nation’s largest student run philanthropic event, the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon. Finally, the detachment benefits form the experience and leadership that Arnold Air Society members receive, as well as through programs like annual clothing sales, snack stand, and hay rides. These programs not only boost the detachment’s pride, but builds a sense of unity, camaraderie, and esprit de corp. The squadron continues to project a positive and professional image by the hard work provided through the strength and dedication of its members. Over the years, the squadron has promoted the Society’s mission to the utmost of their ability. Their strong and illustrious past is casting the mold for a bright future.


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