National Museum of the United States Army Announces FedEx Grant
The National Museum of the United States Army today announced a grant from FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) for $1 million in support of the only existing reproduction of Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1908 Wright Flyer, which will be a featured exhibit in The Army and Society Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Army.
“FedEx Express operates the largest commercial air cargo fleet in the world, and we honor and respect the great and unique contributions of the U.S. Army in the development of aviation from its earliest days to the present,” said Frederick W. Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp. “It’s vital that the American people know the role the U.S. Army has played in the development of manned aviation and in their lives.”
The 1908 Wright Flyer is an exact reproduction and was considered an essential artifact by Museum staff. According to MG John P. Herrling (USA-Ret.), Executive Director of the Museum’s capital campaign, the Wright brothers were having difficulty interesting investors in their flying inventions in 1908. At the same time, the Army was looking to acquire a flying machine that with two people on board (one pilot and one passenger) could fly for at least an hour at a minimum speed of forty miles per hour. When Army test flights were completed, the Wright brothers sold the Army its first airplane and the age of manned flight had dawned.
“This is just one of the stories of how the U.S. Army helped change America,” said former Army Chief of Staff GEN George W. Casey, Jr. (USA-Ret.). “The Army and Society Gallery will be full of stories of how the Army pioneered ideas and innovations that have benefited American society. The FedEx-sponsored 1908 Wright Flyer will deliver an engaging and educational visitor experience.”
About the National Museum of the United State Army
The National Museum of the United States Army will be constructed at Fort Belvoir, Va., to honor the service and sacrifice of all American Soldiers who have served since the Army’s inception in 1775. For more information on The Army Historical Foundation and the National Museum of the United States Army, visit www.armyhistory.org .