The United States Air Force Celebrates 73rd Birthday

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Monet Villacorte
  • 433rd Airlift Wing

Seventy-three years ago, and from humble beginnings using hot air balloons and propeller aircraft to now being the first in air superiority after branching off from the United States Army Air Corps, the Air Force officially became the fourth military service branch Sept.18, 1947.

The Air Force is now celebrating its 73rd year. But before this historic milestone, several transitional events led to this occasion.

May 24, 1918, the Air Service was the aerial warfare service component of the U.S. Army between 1918 and 1926 and was a predecessor of the U.S. Air Force.

July 2, 1926, President Woodrow Wilson signed two executive orders establishing the Air Service, making it independent but a temporary branch of the U.S. War Department during World War I, making this the first significant step toward a separate Air Force, the Army Air Service, was re-designated, becoming the forerunner of the United States Air Force.

June 20, 1941, The Air Corps became a subordinate element of the Army Air Forces and was abolished as an administrative organization on March 9, 1942. It continued to exist as a branch of the Army until reorganization provisions of the National Security Act of 1947.

March 9, 1942, the War Department reorganized and created three autonomous U.S. Army Commands: Army Ground Forces, Services of Supply, and the Army Air Forces.

In March 1946, Army General Carl A. Spaatz, a World War II general, was instrumental in the separation of the Air Force from the Army by changing the basic structure of the AAF by creating major commands based on function. The three new operational commands were Air Defense Command, Strategic Air Command, and Tactical Air Command.

July 26, 1947, The National Security Act of 1947 became law on July 26, 1947. It created the Department of the Air Force, headed by a Secretary of the Air Force. Under the Department of the Air Force, it also established the U.S. Air Force, led by the Chief of Staff, who was then Gen. Carl A. Spaatz.

Sept. 18, 1947, The National Security Act of 1947 was introduced after World War II, which restructured the United States’ military and intelligence agencies. It also created the Department of the Air Force and the United States Air Force, which separated the Army Air Forces into a separate service.

Although celebrations will be few and far between because of the ongoing pandemic, Airmen still reflect on their commitment and service to the Air Force and what Sept.18 means to them.