Community Involvement

Rotarians Learn About Scottsdale Airport's Military History

The history of Scottsdale Airport - and its early days as a World War II training facility for fighter pilots - was the topic of a special Veterans Day salute talk by the Rotary Club of Scottsdale.

Rudy R. Miller, Chairman, President and CEO of Miller Capital Corporation and The Miller Group - a dedicated supporter of the Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial Monument - introduced Steve Ziomek, Chairman of Thunderbird II Veterans Memorial, Inc. to Rotary Club of Scottsdale members and guests.

The capacity-filled luncheon meeting held at McCormick Ranch Golf Club's Pavilion was part of the club's annual program to honor vets.

Mr. Ziomek is former commissioner and chairman of the Scottsdale Airport Advisory Commission, current Scottsdale business owner, U.S. Civil Air Patrol commander, U.S. Coast Guard Academy graduate and former Coast Guard rescue pilot.

During his talk, Mr. Ziomek noted that many of our nation's brave veterans are honored with a military memorial featuring a Boeing-Stearman PT-17 and artifacts at the Scottsdale Airport, formerly Thunderbird Field II.

The Scottsdale Airport Thunderbird Field II Plaza has been about 75 years in the making as a park-like plaza to showcase the field's history and contribution to World War II.

The PT-17 aircraft is similar to those flown during the field's World War II flight training days.

Mr. Ziomek stated the Scottsdale Airport began on June 22, 1942, as Thunderbird Field II, a basic training facility for World War II Army Air Corps pilots.

Since its inception, Thunderbird II graduated more than 5,500 students (of which 15-20 percent were women), many of whom saw military action in Europe and the Pacific.

In addition, Thunderbird II pilots flew nearly 26,500,000 miles, more than 3,000 times around the world at the equator. Two years, three months and 24 days later, the training facility was deactivated on October 16, 1944.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc. is a non-profit orgainzation 501 (C)(3) aimed at preserving the history and culture of aviation in Scottsdale, providing a tribute to veterans and an educational opportuity for our children.

The organization is comprised of individuals from many different backgrounds who share a common passion for aviation, history and military heritage. For more information about the memorial, visit

1941 WWII Plane Flies Cross-Country to Become Centerpiece

of Thunderbird Field II Veteran's Memorial at Scottsdale Airport's

Future Aviation Business Center

A 1941 Stearman PT17 biplane was flown 1,110 miles from Arkansas to Arizona, between 500 - 1,500 feet in altitude, at an average ground speed of 56.63 mph to the Scottsdale Airport for its future home at the Thunderbird Field II Plaza and Memorial at the new Scottsdale Aviation Business Center. The future memorial will serve as a tribute and memorial to all veterans and... watch video for more.

Thunderbird Field II Veterans Memorial, Inc.

Thunderbird Field II (now Scottsdale Airport) ("SDL") was built in 1942 for the purpose of training WWII Army Air Corp pilots. Thunderbird II graduated over 5,500 students who collectively flew nearly 26,500,000 miles. A monument and museum will be built at SDL and dedicated to honoring the service men and women of the nation's five armed services. Service plaques for the Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Coast Guard and Air Force, as well as POWs and MIAs, will be displayed. The centerpiece will be a 1940s Boeing Stearman PT-17 Biplane, the very aircraft used for training at Thunderbird during WWII.

University of California, Irvine

SAE International® - UCI Anteater Racing

University of California, Irvine ("UCI") is ranked ninth among the nation's best public universities according to the annual U.S. News & World Report. UCI continues to receive national and global recognition for its excellence in academics and cutting-edge research. Miller Capital Corporation recently donated to the senior design engineering program, Henry Samueli School of Engineering at UCI. The Program designs, builds and competes with vehicles in Collegiate Design Series competitions hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International®). This program gives engineering students the chance to get hands-on engineering experience in the design process, manufacturing techniques and teamwork skills.

West Point Parents Club of Arizona

Business sponsor at the All Academies Shoot Out hosted by West Point Parents Club of Arizona, a non-profit organization designed to support the dedicated Arizona US Military Academy Cadets & Midshipman.

Women's Museum of California

Film Sponsor for the Women's Film Festival presented by the Women's Museum of California, a non-profit organization seeking to reclaim contributions and achievements of women throughout history while inspiring women today.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Miller Sponsorship for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Desert Mountain State Chapter, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for leukemia and lymphoma and its allied cancers.

Grounding Point Dance Company

Miller Corporate Award recipient from Grounding Point Dance Company, a non-profit multidisciplinary performing company with a mission to showcase artistic and the entertaining dance forms through outreach residencies, dance for the camera projects and multimedia stage performances.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), Exceptional Service Award for service to the people of Arizona during recovery operations following damages from severe thunderstorms and flooding.

- Presented by Federal Emergency Management Agency and Arizona Department of Emergency Management


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