MRS. GRACE PATRICK: THE AIR SERVICE CLUB
A long time ago, before the U.S. Space Force (est. 2019) was born from the U.S. Air Force (est. 1947)--and even before the U.S. Air Force was born from the U.S. Army Air Corps (est. 1926), there was the U.S. Army Air Service. It was from within this U.S. Army Air Service that a group of pilots’ wives, led by Mrs. Grace Patrick, started on their own mission, to do what had not been done before: create an Air Service Club, the very first of its kind. On Wednesday, May 16, 1923, as this group of 50 gathered in Washington, D.C. at Grace’s home on Bolling Field (now JBAB), with a call to order and simple vote, the Air Service Club was formed!
The new club had three elected officials (President, Secretary, and Treasurer) and three Committee Chairs (Membership, Hospital, and Entertainment). Grace, whose husband was nominated to be Chief of Air Service, was elected President. She would go on to actively serve in the club for many years. While Patrick Air Force Base (now Patrick SFB) would eventually be named after her husband, Major General Mason Patrick, one could claim that Grace Patrick is—perhaps—the mother of military spouses clubs!
Yet what is indisputable, is that first-of-its-kind kind club would continue to change and evolve as the force continued to change and evolve: moving from ‘Air Service Club” to the “Air Corps Club” to the “Air Force Officers’ Wives’ Club of Washington D.C” to the “Air Forces Officers’ Spouses’ Club of Washington D.C.”, and now, most recently, welcoming Space Force spouses as members.
As the first and oldest Spouses’ Club gets ready to celebrate 100 years this May 16, 2023, one thing has not changed: its commitment to enriching the lives of spouses, families, and service members. This legacy continues through its service through the Arlington Committee, the Charity Gala (formerly the Charity Ball), Scholarships, and its role in beginning the Air Force Village (now Blue Skies over Texas) and the Air Force Aid Society, showing that spouses have—and always will be, in the fight too!
In coordination with the Air Force Historical Research Agency and Air University, feel free to check out the club’s original notebook here: https://aul.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01AUL_INST/1r5hs6d/alma995882083006836