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United States Air Force

United States Air Force

United States Air Force is an air warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces.


The United States Air Force (USAF) is the air service branch of the United States Armed Forces. The US Air Force was initially formed as a section of the United States Army on August 1, 1907, and later established as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 due to the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the second youngest of the U.S. Armed Forces (ahead of the U.S. Space Force), fourth in order of precedence, and one of the eight U.S. uniformed services.

The US Air Force's core missions are air superiority, global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control. The mission of the U.S. Air Force is stated succinctly as, "to fly, fight and win .... in air, space, and cyberspace."


The Department of the Air Force is one of three departments structured within the Department of Defense, with management by the Secretary of the Air Force and Secretary of Defense.

The Air Force has 330,678 active duty, 64,873 officers and 265,805 enlisted members as of September 30, 2021. Air Force has 12,534 pilots, 3,232 navigators and 1,324 air battle managers in the grade of lieutenant colonel and below, but does not include Guard, Reserve or Air Force Academy members.

Major Commands

There are eleven major commands, each holding their own Air Force Base (AFB) in parts of the US and internationally.

Air Force Commands


Air Combat Command

Langley Air Force Base, Virginia

Air Education and Training Command

Randolph AFB, Texas

Air Force Global Strike Command

Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

Air Force Materiel Command

Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio

Air Force Reserve Command

Robins AFB, Georgia


The Air Force first began in 1907 as the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Signal Corps; it was in "charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines and all kindred subjects."The Aeronautical Division did not purchase its first plane until September 1908. The plane was purchased from the Wright Brothers for the price of $25,000. As the U.S. entered into WWI, the newly named Air Service became a full fledged section, conducting air operations and combat actions. It was re-designated as the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1926.

The Air Corps grew to 20,000 planes by the 1930s and continued to grow through the pressure and demands of WWII. In 1941, the Air Corps was again re-designated as the Army Air Forces. On July 26, 1947, with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, the Army Air Force became its own separate branch of uniformed services, the United States Air Force.


March 29, 2007
Tuskegee Airmen are awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.
June 28, 1976
The Air Force Academy becomes the first of the three US Defense Academies to admit female cadets.
December 18, 1958
The first communications satellite is launched into orbit by the US Air Force.
July 26, 1947
The National Security Act of 1947 becomes law and the Department of the Air Force, headed by a Secretary of the Air Force is created.
The Air Service is re-designated as the U.S. Army Air Corps.
June 4, 1920
The Army Reorganization Act of 1920 makes the Air Service a combatant arm of the Army.
August 20, 1908
The Signal Corps begins testing its first airplane at Fort Myer, VA.
August 1, 1907
The U.S. Army Signal Corps establishes a small Aeronautical Division.

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Further Resources


"The United States Air Force: 1903 - Today" - A History of Heroes


September 18, 2020

Air Force Radio News


CommissionED: Make better officers. Make officers better.



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