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“My complaint about this 100th anniversary is not necessarily we celebrate the accomplishments or the firsts,” said Jon Ault, a retired F-14 pilot who carried out more than 1,000 carrier landings. “But the fact they’re excluding other very, very important events in naval aviation to be more politically correct in honoring blacks, females and what have you — come on. If you’re going to do this thing, do it equally across the board.”

Missing from the history is the story of Mr. Ault’s father, the late Navy Capt. Frank W. Ault. After Navy and Air Force pilots performed poorly over North Vietnam, the elder Ault was tasked to find out why. His study led to the creation of the Top Gun fighter school later immortalized by Hollywood.

“All I’m saying is don’t let the PC maniacs take charge of this evolution and stand there and do a year of celebration of just stuff that is PC and the media will suck up,” Mr. Ault said.

A letter to the foundation from another retired flier said, “As a former Navy A-4 attack pilot with two Vietnam cruises, this whole current PC ‘Cheerleading’ Time Line on your website is nothing more than a Disney World silly symbolism and girlie-man PR stunt … nothing more. Worse, it’s a basic slap in the face to the tens of thousands of Navy and Marine aviators who took enormous risks, gave their lives, and demonstrated enormous courage under daunting conditions to build what Naval Air has become today.”

The foundation plans 34 celebrations nationwide throughout 2011, culminating in a “centennial closing gala” at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

Honorary board members include Neil Armstrong, a retired Navy captain and the first man to step onto the moon; former Sen. John Glenn, also a former astronaut; and actors Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall and Tom Hanks.