With the creation of the first powered airplane at the turn of the 20th century, it provided the perfect opportunity for an aeronautical division, one that would be established by the US Army Signal Corps in 1907.
Inception and Early History
Even with the creation of an aeronautical division in 1907, the first plane wouldn’t be delivered until 1909.
By 1913 though, the 1st Aero Squadron was created with a group of Army Airmen training with several different aircrafts.
WWI would prove to be the first real battles for the air powers as the official Army Air Service was created by President Woodrow Wilson and placed under the War Department.
With 11,754 aircraft at their disposal, the Air Force had a foundation to build off of.
Air Force Independence and the Importance of WWII
Following WWI, the official Air Corps had decreased significantly to less than 2,000 planes and barely over 25,000 personnel.
Much like the bombing of Pearl Harbor would bring the US Navy directly into the war, this aerial assault proved the importance of a counter air attack from the United States, just five months after the official creation of the Army Air Forces.
As the war neared an end, the AAF would be dominating the skies, virtually crippling the resources of both Germany and Japan with over 80,000 aircraft and over 2 million AAF personnel including infamous groups such as the Tuskegee Airmen.
Following the end of the war, the United States Air Force would officially become its own separate unit from the Air Force as a full and independent partner in 1947.
Cold War, Korea, and Vietnam
One of the more tense conflicts the United States has ever been involved in was the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
The tight battle of nuclear weapon creation and talk led to a wide array of aerial spying and intelligence being gathered by both sides.
This also brought about the creation of the Air force’s B-36 Peacemaker, their first long range bomber
The Air Force played a vital role in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars as their development of new planes and technology such as the first jet fighter to be used, the F-86 Sabre.
When the Air Force put full force operations into the Vietnam War, stronger planes were created like the F 4 Phantom II and the F-105 Thunderbird to bomb the north side of Vietnam and help win the war.
1990s to Present
The air Force had heavy influence during Desert Storm thanks to incredible tactical jets such as the F 117 Nighthawk.
In the 21st century, the Air Force has made great strides in aeronautical research by having a major influence on operations in space while still controlling important air space on earth.
Thanks to the Air Force, the air division of the US military is the strongest in the world.
Military Branch History Series
Military Branch History Part 1: The Army
Military Branch History Part 2: The Navy
Military Branch History Part 3: Air Force
Military Branch History Part 4: Marine Corps
Military Branch History Part 5: Coast Guard