The first official Gathering of Eagles (then known as "Great Moments in Aviation History") was held in 1982 when a small faculty and student group was chartered to develop an aviation heritage program. This initial cadre designed a program encouraging the study of aviation history and the contributions of aviation pioneers. Fifteen distinguished aviators were invited to share their unique personal experiences through a series of teaching interviews and social events with members of the class. These legendary figures were a diverse group from many nations and services.
The first "Eagles" -- George Vaughn, Leigh Wade, Jimmy Doolittle, Curtis LeMay, George Gay, Joe Foss, John Mitchell, "Chuck" Yeager, Gail Halverson, Paul Tibbets, "Gabby" Gabreski, Robin Olds, Mike Novosel, "Pete" Knight and Neil Armstrong spanned aviation history from World War I to the Space Age. The Eagles who followed included legendary figures "Pappy" Boyington, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., "Robbie" Risner, George Bush, John Glenn, Joe Engle, Jeremiah Denton, and "Bud" Day.