The History

It was in Reno in 1964…

It was in Reno in 1964 that the concept of a club for warbird owners, whose members could discuss mutual problems in keeping their airplanes airborne, was conceived. Walt Ohlrich, Jr., a U.S. Navy Commander who raced an F8F Bearcat, and others on the west coast formed the Warbirds of America, Inc., which was incorporated on March 25, 1966. The original intent was for owners and operators of World War II combat aircraft only.

Membership in the first year grew dramatically, thanks to the efforts of Walt and regional presidents Jerry Walbrun, Pete Brucia and Frank Sanders. Walt Ohlrich became the first president; Pete Brucia took over in 1967 when Commander Ohlrich was assigned a combat tour in Vietnam. It was at that time that the Warbirds of America became a division of EAA. It was also in 1967 that the Warbirds of America began to include the T-6/SNJ/Harvard, so the membership ranks grew even more.

As the years progressed, so did the organization. Membership increased, with enthusiasts being accepted, and additional ex-military aircraft types entered the picture as they were surplused by the armed forces and as warbirds were recovered from all over the world and made flyable again. Even the liaison aircraft were welcome and within the past decade, a major influx of jet aircraft has swelled the ranks.

Past Presidents

1965-1967: Walt Ohlrich
1968:  Pete Brucia
1969:  Tom Kuchinsky
1970:  Jack Huismann
1971:  Gerry Walburn
1972-1974:  Bill Ross
1974-1975:  Don Plumb
1975-1976:  Rudy Frasca
1977-1980:  Pete Parrish
1981-1983:  Bill Harrison
1983-1984:  Tom Austin, JR.
1984-1988:  John Baugh
1988-1989:  Don Davidson
1989-1990:  John Baugh
1990-1992:  Dick Ervin
1992-1994:  Bill Harrison
1994-1996 Rick Fernalld
1997-1999:  Jack Harrington
2000-2006:  Dr. Michael Schloss
2007-2012:  Rick Siegfried
2013-2015:  Harold Cannon
2016-2019:  Connie Bowlin
2020-2021:  James “Zack” Olzacki
2022 – Present:  Mike Anderson