The United States Air Force, since it’s inception in
1942, (see addition below) has been in the business of dropping large explosive devices onto targets and making them go BOOM.
The history of war from air goes back much further, of course, to the pilots who flew in WWI in tiny airplanes, and would drop rocks from the cockpits… but this is about the ordinance on display at the USAF museum at Fairborn, Ohio.
Chris Byrne was nice enough to give me a write-up since I hadn’t taken the time to think through my dates – I knew better, and I will do better, sorry, Dad!
(this coming from a USAF vet).
The United States Air Force was established as a separate uniformed military service branch on September 18th, 1947, by the National Security Act of 1947
This act also established the CIA, the National Security Council, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the “national military establishment”, which in 1949 was renamed the Department of Defense.
The Key West agreement on roles and missions of the departments of the army, navy, and air force, was finalized in April of 1948 (and slightly modified in 1954, and then several times afterwards to reflect changing technologies and missions).
The predecessor to the Air Force, the Army Air Forces, was established in June 1941. Prior to that, it was referred to as the Army Air Corps, which was founded in July 1926.
Those are for the most part, the full predecessors to the Air Force; however, there were organized military aviation services that were direct predecessors, from 1907 on.
Prior to the Air Corps, it was the U.S. Army Air Service, established July 1918. Prior to that, it was the Aviation Service of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, established may of 1914,
There was an even earlier flying service, the Aeronautical Division, U.S. Signal Corps, established 1907. However, the Air Force doesn’t consider that to be a primary part of its history and traditions. For one thing, it mostly involved artillery observation and communications relay baloons.
Officially, the United States Air Force, claims the entire history of the Army Air Forces from 1941, as part of Air Force history and tradition. Those who served in the Army Air Forces, are considered Air Force veterans by the Air force, and their awards and commendations are considered Air Force awards etc…
The Army Air Corps, is not entirely considered part of the history and traditions of the Air Force…but mostly
As with the rest of the predecessor services, it’s kind of pick and mix. Basically if it was about fighters and bombers, and later heavy transport; it’s considered Air Force.
The rest… observation, spotting, liason and light transport etc…belong to signal corps or artillery.
So, while the Air force was officially established in 1947, you can legitimately, but not quite officially say, that the Air Force began in 1941… Or you could say it began in 1926, or even 1918, or 1914… Because if it had to do with fighters, bombers, and heavy transport, the Air Force claims it as its own.