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The Original CAF - before it was COMMEMORATIVE!

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Dixon Cannon, May 12, 2013.

  1. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Here's an observation for the bar; Back before things got so "PC", the Commemorative Air Force was actually called the CONFEDERATE AIR FORCE. I know that must be very hard to believe!!... to actually use the word "confederate" in an organization title. But....

    Col. Jethro E. Culpepper was the squadron leader and the group's mascot who represented the spirit of the organization in it's early days... they were rebels who dared to bring languishing warbirds back to life again. They originated in Harlingen, Texas but CAF Wings began to pop up around the country as the trend of warbird restoration and flight took hold.

    A search of the web gives very little information and even fewer photographs of the early CAF and their operations. There are even fewer portraits of the legendary (though entirely fictitious!) Col. Jethro E. Culpepper. I have seen a rather poor reproduction of this official oil portrait but never a good representation - it must exist somewhere though.

    If any of us airplane enthusiasts and warbird nuts have any old CAF stuff, I'd love to see it posted - especially portraits of Col. Culpepper in his grey uniform.

    I have a few items that I intend to scan and get up ASAP. Anything else out there you can share?

    -dixon cannon
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  2. MPicciotto

    MPicciotto Practically Family

    I remember about 10 years ago, just before the change there were flight suit patches (real big almost Blood Chit size) that had a big Confederate flag and words something to the effect of "This pilot is a member of the Confederate Air Force if found in Yankee territory please send him back".

  3. Dan Allen

    Dan Allen A-List Customer

    Back in the mid 70's I flew Texas Air to one of their functions by way of San Antonio then on to Harlingen. The plane was packed with " colonels" and had a handful of young airmen bound for San Antonio. I grinned and snickered all the way watching the airmen saluting and "yes siring". Not a single one actually looked at their uniforms and realized that it was a charade. I enjoyed the ride there as much as the real show.
  4. Asienizen

    Asienizen One of the Regulars

    I was wondering about that. I've kept asking, "what has happened to the Confederate Air Force? In all honesty the word confederate/confederation is a reference to a type of agreement or alliance amongst a group of sovereign political entities - so I fail to see the problem with that. Switzerland is a confederation, when was the last time they invaded a country? So afraid to offend the ignorant, perhaps CAF now stands for the "Cowardly Air Force".
  5. vitanola

    vitanola My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Now, just why did 54% of us vote for the name change? Because the joke had run its course. By the turn of the century the CAF was determined to tap into the large sums of cash available from corporate sponsorship. Some potential corporate donors were squeamish about the term "Confederate", for they feared that a portion of the general public might tend to connect it with slavery or racism, uninformed though that connection may be. Of course, we all know that the former Confederacy was a veritable hotbed of Abolitionist sentiment, and that the Rebellion had naught to do with the question of slavery. Remember that the CAF was intially founded bu a group of buddies down in Texas. Over time its membership grew to the point that quite a few folks who hailed from places other than Dixie we're contributing, and so the pressure for the name change grew from among the membership.
  6. Asienizen

    Asienizen One of the Regulars

    Good points. Granted - if an organization wants to have the widest base of sponsorship possible - they have to make themselves as palatable as possible to the widest audience, ignorance or not.
  7. Dixon Cannon

    Dixon Cannon My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Finally, I got a few CAF items scanned so I can share them with you. Anybody got anything they can add? -dixon cannon

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    and 'Sentimental Journey' before she was fitted out: [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

  8. I remember sending a money order back in high school to help support the CAF! Great for you guys!

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