The Aviation Section of the Signal Corps was established on 18 July 1914. It inherited and absorbed the duties of the Aeronautical Division of the US Signal Corps, which was originally established on 1 August 1907. The primary role of the Aviation Section was liaison and support for the US Army.
After redesignation...from the Division of Military Aeronautics (May 1918) to the US Army Air Service (May 1918 to July 1926), the US Army Air Corps was established on 2 July 1926. The primary role of the Air Corps was aviation support to US Army ground operations. By 1941, the strength of the Air Corps was over 152,000 men and 6,777 aircraft.
Throughout its history, the USAAC struggled to become a service independent from the Army.
On 18 September 1947, The National Security Act of 1947 established the United States Air Force as a separate and distinct military branch. The mission of the USAF is "to fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace".
The USAF has 329,638 active duty personnel with 68,872 in reserve and 94,597 in the air national guard. It operates 5,573 aircraft, including 2,132 fighters, 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and 32 orbiting satellites.
One of the earliest success stories of the USAF as an independent service was the Berlin Airlift from June 1948 to May 49. When Soviet Russia sought to block Allied access to sectors of Berlin, the United States led the effort along with Britain's Royal Air Force to drop life saving supplies.
The success of the operation had a dual benefit. It convinced the Soviets that there would be resistance to communist expansion, leading to the establishment of separate German states which lasted until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. It also demonstrated the global reach of a well coordinated and equipped modern air force.
The Chief of Staff of the Air Force is General Mark A Welsh III. The Vice Chief of Staff is General Larry Spencer. The Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force is CMSAF James A Roy.
My stepdad served in the USAF. Several of my blog pals also served. I salute them today, along with all those who served or now serve.