Even before the invention of planes, flying machines were used in combat. In 1892 The Signal Corps of the U.S. Army assigned balloon sections to its combat force. Balloons were used primarily in spotting artillery and small bombings. It wasn't until 1898 that the Signal Corps contracted Samuel Langley to build them a flying machine. The project ended when their plane sunk in the Potomac River on December 8, 1903 (days before Wilbur and Orville took their first flight).

Still skeptical from Langley's incident, the brothers were turned down by the Department of Defense when they offered their invention to them in 1905. Never giving up, the brothers instead filed and got their own patent in 1906. President Theodore Roosevelt took an interest in the subject and in 1907 the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps was established to further develop flying machines. One year later, the Wright brothers were contracted to make the SC their first plane. The first model had crashed but in 1909 the new plane was delivered.

Through the experiences of two World Wars, the creation of multiple new flying divisions, and advances in flight, the responsibility of air warfare was still the Army's. The Air Service was created 1918-1926, the Air Corps 1926-1947, and in 1941 the Army Air Force subordinated from the Air Corps and became a separate division but still under the Army's command.

In the next years the Department of Defense suggested consolidating the Navy and the Army into one military. The Navy disagreed and forced the National Security Act of 1947. This separated the Air Force and Army as well as kept the Navy secure. The U.S. Air Force came into existence with three major combat commands: Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command, and Air Defense Command.

It is also interesting to add, the Air Force is the only branch of service, now, in which you do not run. Apparently, some obese Airman had a heart attack during PT. Welcome to our wonderful country, people get sued, and Bob's yer uncle, now they post guards to make sure that everyone’s got at least one foot on the ground at all times. Yes, proud Americans. Your fighter pilots power walk.

Editor’s note: While a cadet is enrolled in USAir Force ROTC cadets with scholarships and cadets in the Professional Officer Course, the ROTC course for juniors and seniors, are mandated to pass the Physical Fitness Test (PFT) each term. The PFT is comprised of the following events in the following order:

  1. Push-ups
  2. Crunches
  3. 1.5-mile run

All events must be accomplished with a minimum score of 75 points.