U.S. Air Force (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
From its 1947 creation, the U.S. Air Force has acted as the nation’s premier guardian of its aerospace defense interests. It has supported U.S. security via deterrence with nuclear-armed bombers and missiles; power projection with tactical aircraft; global mobility with cargo and tanker aircraft; reconnaissance, command, and control through communications and space technology; and support of the United States’ international assistance efforts. The active-duty Air Force in 2000 contained 370,000 people and 4,400 planes at more than 80 major bases in the United States and overseas. A further 238,000 people and 1,550 planes served in Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units at approximately 85 bases. Whereas U.S. Army and U.S. Navy air units support their respective services’ land and sea power objectives, the Air Force focuses on control, power application, and mission support in both air and space.
From 1907 to 1945
In 1907, the Army formed a Signal Corps Aeronautical Division to operate its aircraft. Army pilots flew inferior machines until the United States entered World War I (1914-1918), when the division gained access to superior allied planes and greater status as the Army Air Service. The Army’s combat air leader, Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, campaigned for air service independence in the early 1920’s. His aggressiveness earned him a court-martial in 1925, though Congress...
(The entire section is 1100 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!