The United States Air Force
can trace its origins back to 2 August 1907. This is when the U.S. Army
Signal Corp created the Aeronautical
Division. The Army
had no aircraft
, but they did have experience with balloons
In August of 1916, the US Congress
, dismayed by the inadequacy of US military Aviation, appropriated $13.2 million to the Army
’s Air Arm. This may be regarded as take off point for the US Air Force some 31 years later.
, BGen Billy Mitchell, influenced by great European airman such as Col Giulio Douhet of Italy
and Maj Gen Hugh Trenchard
of Britain’s Royal Air Force
, began to push for an Air Force independent of the US Army.
Frustrated with the powers in the US Army
and US Navy
, Gen Mitchell invited court martial by verbally attacking his superiors in a press conference. Billy Mitchell
used his court martial to give publicity to the idea of an independent Air Force.
On 1 March 1935, General Headquarters Air Force was established at Langley
Field in Virginia
. The creation of GHQ Air Force was an attempt by the Army’s General Staff to curb talk of an independent Air Force. The creation of GHQ Air Force was one of the single most important steps toward the creation of an independent Air Force.
On 20 June 1941, the Army Air Corps became the Army Air Forces. The Army Air Force had many of the elements required for an independent Air Force. However, WW II lurked on the horizon, and the Air Force would not see its independence for another 6 years.
Gen Henry “Hap” Arnold lead the Army Air Forces through WW II. Gen Arnold was succeeded by Gen Carl Spatz who would become the first Air Force Chief of Staff
when the Air Force was created by the passage of the National Security Act of 1947
The new Air Force faced many monumental problems. They needed to establish an organization adapted to air operations. They had to transition from propeller driven to jet aircraft.
The Berlin Airlift
was one of the first major tests for the newly formed Air Force
. It began officially on 26 June 1948 and lasted almost 1 year.
The Korean War
followed in 1950 through 1953 and the Vietnam conflict
in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, the Air Force has played a role in Grenada 1983, Panama 1989, the Gulf War
in 1991, actions in Former Yugoslav Republic
, numerous humanitarian efforts, and actions against Afganistan
for their sponsorship of terrorist
after the bombing of the World Trace Center
leadership was deposed quite quickly and the role of the Air Force switched to eliminating pockets of resiting Al Queda