Happy Birthday, US Air Force!
Today, September 18, is the official birthday of the United States Air Force. It was 71 years ago today that the USAF was created in 1947.
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) September 18, 2018
The Air Force started off being part of the Army. It went through many different names: Aeronautical Section, Signal Corps (1909); Aviation Section, Signal Corps (1914); United States Army Air Service (1918); United States Army Air Corps (1926), and United States Army Air Forces (1941) until it was finally placed as a separate branch of its own.
Times have dramatically changed since the beginnings of the USAF. Communications personnel to pilots, the transition to Air Force only occurred after the government recognized the need for them during WWII. By 1947, the new branch became a reality.
“Our operational squadrons are the combat power of the Air Force. They are the clenched fist of American resolve.” Heather Wilson, Secretary of the AF
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson on Monday told a recent conference that the branch is planning to have 74 new squadrons, which would require 40,000 more personnel. This at a time when pilots are in short supply, and Tanker Squadrons are suffering the biggest lack. Can they meet the demand? AF Scretary Wilson has told everyone who will listen that current staffing at the USAF is too small to carry out all the tasks asked of it. There are currently 312 squadrons.
The Air Force Times reported,
In her keynote address at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space, Cyber Conference, Wilson referenced the massive Russian military exercises launched last week, involving more than 300,000 of their troops, and China’s unveiling of its first aircraft carrier and its ongoing militarization of islands in the South China Sea to extend its long-range bombers’ reach.
“We must see the world as it is,” Wilson said. “That was why the National Defense Strategy explicitly recognizes that we have returned to an era of great power competition.”
— U.S. Air Force (@usairforce) September 17, 2018
And the needs are expensive:
To all the reporters on the Air Force beat…here are some numbers that may be useful to you:
1. The cost of pay and benefits for 40,000 airmen is about $5.2B per year (give or take).
— Todd Harrison (@ToddHarrisonDC) September 14, 2018
In spite of the shortfalls, in spite of the costs, we have no doubt that the US Air Force will meet its challenges in the event of a major conflict. Why? Because they are Americans. And Americans win!
Featured photo: USAF Aggressor F-15 Eagles and F-16 Fighting Falcons Nellis AFB.