In this first edition of Colonel’s Corner, I want to highlight an important anniversary in September. September 18, 2020 is the 73rd Birthday of the U.S. Air Force!
The US Air Force’s start was rooted in the creation of the Aeronautical Division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps on 1 August 1907. It consisted of one officer and two enlisted men. The initial aircraft were kite balloons. The first airplane was obtained from the Wright Brothers in September 1908 for $25,000. More aircraft and more people were added during a period of innovation and experimentation up until the start of WWI.
WWI provided our new aviators an opportunity to test the limits of their flying skills in combat. Our entry into WWI is where they transitioned from an arm of the Signal Corps into a fully functional air arm with their own logistics, engineering, research, and maintenance. It was referred to and became known as the Air Service.
The period between the WWI and WWII was a period of improved aircraft design and much learning and innovation. The Air Service was re-designated as the U S Army Air Corps in 1926 and grew to 15 groups and three wings by 1938. As the world moved toward armed conflict in the late 1930’s our President planned to increase the number of aircraft to 20,000. This new and enlarged service carried the load into and through the end of WWII with the dropping of the bombs to end the war in 1945. As we grew into a global superpower the role of the Air Corps changed greatly. They were known as the Army Air Force in 1941 and became a separate branch named the United States Air Force in 1947.
Keep ’em flying!!!