The US Air Force celebrates its official birthday on September 18. Created by the National Security Act after World War II, the Air Force is turning 67 years old today.
Originally, the Air Force functioned as a subservient branch of the military operating under the supervision of the US Army. Between the US military’s first purchase of an aircraft in 1909 and up until 1947, the military’s air component operated under a number of various forms, and was ultimately designated as the United States Army Air Forces in 1941.
In the decades before the Air Force’s founding, the US Army was in charge of aerial operations, including during both World Wars. Due to the ever-evolving nature of war, and the increased importance of air power, the establishment of a separate and independent US Air Force soon came under consideration.
And by the end of World War II, it became apparent to military and civilian officials that air power would play a decisive role in future conflicts — and that a reorganization of the military’s structure was necessary.
In 1947, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act. This bill officially established a single Department of Defence with representation of Joint Chiefs of Staff from the Army, Navy, and Air Force. From this development, the US Air Force was established as an independent branch that was equal to both the Army and Navy.
Since its establishment, the Air Force has played critical roles both in US military operations and in technological innovation. Air Force pilots scored impressive victories against MiG-15s during the Korean War, while in the 1960s the development and deployment of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), the backbone of the American nuclear deterrent during the Cold War, was taken up by the Air Force.
Currently, the US Air Force is engaged in carrying out air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.
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