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Nov. 30, 2021

Ep. 10 Inspiring the Next Generation Through the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Ep. 10 Inspiring the Next Generation Through the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Brigadier General Michael J. Aguilar and Victor Franco

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Much can be learned from history, particularly military history. Artifacts carry stories of trials and triumphs that encourage, educate, and embolden those who are willing to learn from them. Through its engaging exhibits and its collection of historical Marine Corps’ aircraft, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum offers a unique experience to its visitors who want to learn more about the Marine Corps’ aviation history.  

On this episode of VANC’s SoCal Military News and Views podcast, Brigadier General Michael J. Aguilar and Victor Franco from the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum share how the museum serves as an encouragement and inspiration to past, present, and future military members, what led them to be a part of the museum, and how the museum is expanding to serve an even wider audience.

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Did you like what you heard? This show is produced by Imagine Podcasting dba Heard Not Seen Media, Inc. For more, visit Imagine Podcasting

Victor M Franco JrProfile Photo

Victor M Franco Jr


Victor Franco, Jr. is a Partner at California Strategies. Victor delivers a wealth of experience and institutional knowledge in both the public and private sectors.

For over 20 years, Victor has been the architect in building an extensive network of key relationships across many disciplines in the Los Angeles and greater Southern California region. This robust network includes leaders and officials from all sectors of government and public affairs, public safety, land use and planning, public health, information technology, procurement assistance, and more. This extensive network, coupled with Victor’s proven abilities to analyze and represent the clients’ needs on complicated projects or issues, has set a standard of demonstrated, problem solving for his clients.

Prior to California Strategies, Victor held several government affairs, marketing and lobbyist positions within the land use, automotive, technology and public safety sectors. Victor has worked as a Congressional staffer in Washington D.C., in automotive as an advertising & marketing leader, as a policy director for a highly-regarded Downtown Los Angeles business association, and as a member of the leadership teams of several leading lobbyist and government affairs firms in Los Angeles.

In addition to his work with clients, Victor has served on several public commissions and boards in cities throughout LA County.

Victor has also participated and served on a number of non-profit boards and fundraising committees in the local community. Those organizations include: Padres Contra El Cancer; Chicano/Latino Youth Leadership Conference; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI); Team Rubicon; East Los Angeles YMCA; University of Southern California Hispanic Alumni Association; Bishop Amat High School; Notre Dame High School (Sherman Oaks); Marine Corps Flying Leatherneck Aviation Foundation & Museum; The Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) Project; and the Los Angeles Police Department/Topanga, Mission and Foothill Division Youth Boards.

Victor is the proud Father of two amazing children - his daughter Melina is in her final year at the University of Arizona; and Joaquin attends Santa Barbara City College. Victor splits his time between Los Angeles and San Diego.

Michael J AguilarProfile Photo

Michael J Aguilar

Pres/CEO Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

General Aguilar retired from the United States Marine Corps January 1, 2002. His last duty assignment was as the Deputy Commander Marine Forces South and Commanding General Fleet Marine Forces South. During this tour he served as the Commanding General Joint Task Force Panama providing anti-terrorism and force protection during the final transfer of property and facilities of the Panama Canal to the government of Panama.
Brigadier General Aguilar was born May 10, 1950 in Los Angeles California. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant July 15, 1971 and designated a Naval Aviator November 3, 1972.
During his 31-year Marine Corps career he held a variety of flying and command billets, accumulating over 4000 hours in both fixed winged and helicopters, primarily as an Attack Helicopter Pilot.
In addition to commanding a helicopter squadron and air group he was also the Director of the West Coast Drill Instructor School, the only aviator to ever hold the billet. Staff assignments include Senior Military Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Deputy Director for Operations, the National Military Command Center, the Joint Staff.
Brigadier General Aguilar is a graduate of National University and the Naval War College and holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies and National Security Affairs. He is a veteran of the Gulf War. His personal decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. He has the added distinction of being the first person of Mexican descent to reach the rank of General Officer in the United States Marine Corps.
Brigadier General Aguilar was previously the Federal Security Director for San Diego International Airport, one of the first eight FSDs to be selected by the newly created Transportation Security Administration. He has held this position from 2002 through 2012 when he retired. Early into his career he was temporarily assigned to support the Coalition Provisional Authority for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications Iraq. He assisted with the plans and efforts to return civil aviation operations to Iraq. During hurricane Katrina he was detailed to Washington DC to coordinate TSA’s evacuation and recovery operations. In 2006 he was selected as the Federal Security Director of the Year for the Western Area and in 2011, TSA’s Federal Security Director of the Year. Prior to his retirement he completed a five-month Headquarters’ tour where he led the efforts to create the TSA Academy.
From 2012 through 2018 he has provided consulting services to defense contractors and security service firms. In 2018 he assumed the position as Executive Director for the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Historical Foundation and in 2021 the additional responsibilities as the President/CEO of the newly created Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.