Air Force Nurse Corps Assignments Clip

Welcome to the Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) website!

It’s dues renewal time!  Renew electronically by clicking on the “Membership Renewal” tab.  Or, you may mail a check for $25.00 to:

Society of Air Force Nurses P.O. Box 681026 San Antonio, TX 78268

New members are always welcome and may join our organization at any time.  If you have ever served (or are currently serving) as a commissioned Air Force Nurse, whether Active, Reserve or Guard you are eligible for membership. Celebrate your profession and your unique Air Force experience! S

SAFN Cruise Excursions-Insurance-Dining 2-20-18

SAFN Sails the Seas Chapter 2 Update #2 Updated 2-19-18

SAFN Cruise Info Updated 11-21-2017  Second chance to sail June 2-9, 2018!

SAFN 2018 Convention Cruise Reservation Form 12-8-17


The Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) is an incorporated non-profit, 501(c) (19) Veterans organization. It was organized in 1986 to provide social opportunities and to network, share information and provide assistance to Air Force Nurses. Membership eligibility includes registered nurses who currently serve or who have served for any length of time either in the USAF Nurse Corps (Active Duty/Reserve/Guard), former Air Force Nurse Corps who were transferred to the Biomedical Science Corps or those who served in the US Army Air Corps as WWII Flight Nurses.

MEMBERSHIP LOCATIONS The Society has members in every state and in many foreign countries. Members include Retired, Active Duty, Reserve, Guard, previous and current Corps Chiefs, veterans of World War II, some who were Prisoners of War, and veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars, and Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Iraq Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). We have members in seven geographical regions within the US. Each region has a regional director who guides the activities within that region. The regions include the following:

Click on Map for larger view! Members are also located in Asia, Europe, the Pacific and Canada for a total membership of approximately 1500 as of 2017.


N 30th Anniversary Founders’ Day Banquet, San Antonio, TX, October 22, 2016

Click below for a video slide show

Founder’s Day Banquet 2016 Pictures

SAFN Arlington Remembrance Program

On December 8th, 2016, approximately 60 active duty, Guard, Reserve, retired and former Air Force nurses plus family members and friends met at Arlington National Cemetery for a semi-annual Arlington Remembrance Program. Brigadier General Sarah P. “Sally” Wells, the seventh Chief of the Air Force Nurse Corps, started this tradition soon after she retired in 1982. In 1986 when the Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) was created, it became part of the Society’s Memorial Program.

It has evolved over the past 30 plus years, as well as the number of nurses being remembered has grown from a handful initially to 155 today. The program starts at Section #21, the Nurses Section, where there are 26 Air Force or WW II United States Army Air Corps Flight Nurses buried. The attendees gather at the base of the Nurses Statue which overlooks the graves of the hundreds of nurses buried there. There is a group recitation of the poem, “She Was There,” by Duane Jaeger, RN; it is modified to read “They Were There” since it is a group remembrance ceremony. Then holiday wreaths decorated in silver and blue, the Air Force’s colors, are placed at each of the graves. Afterwards, the large group divides up into five smaller groups to distribute the remaining 130 tributes to the graves and niches spread throughout 40 of the 76 Sections that currently comprise Arlington.

During May of each year, the same Ceremony is repeated in recognition of National Nurses Week (May 06 -12) and Memorial Day. Family members from Ohio, West Virginia, and South Carolina joined those of us from the National Capital Area (DC, MD and VA).

Click on the link below o view the video

Arlington Wreath Laying for Nurses by the Society of Air Force Nurses


Do you ever wonder about the friends you met in basic training or during that first assignment, and where they might be now?

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What about the one who helped you with your first overseas assignment or that special friend who mentored you in your career regardless of how brief or long your career was?

Click on image for slideshow!

How about your fellow flyers? Those individuals who flew with you on those long back-to-back aeromedical evacuation missions? Do you know where some of your C7a, C-121, C-130, C-131, C-141, C-9, C-17 or Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) members are?

Click on image for slideshow!

Eileen Hadbavny in the blue flight suit and the 31 AES patch. Eileen was MCD.

“This was the FAA certifying flight for the 767 CRAF AES Testing done in March 1991.  I was one of 4 nurses.  We flew from E systems in Greenville TX to McGuire AFB and back.  The patients were basic trainees on their first ‘TDY’ “

Would you like to reminisce with the folks who got you through those tough duty days in the ASF, ICU, ER, OB, or in the OR and on the units?

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Or give thanks to that special advanced practice nurse who got you started on the road to obtaining your specialty degree assignment in anesthesia or as a practitioner or Clinical Nurse Specialist?

And where is that special Charge Nurse, Evening Supervisor, Flight Commander, Squadron Commander, MTF Commander, Chief Nurse or Command Nurse?

These questions could be answered as well as finding some of your comrades through the Society of Air Force Nurses!

We have so much in common, not just our proud nursing profession, but also our profession of arms and our unique Air Force experiences. And you know what? It doesn’t matter if you were in for one tour or a whole career, if you were AD, Guard or in the Reserves, if it was as long ago as WWII or as recent as Operation Enduring Freedom – everyone is welcome here!

Still Caring…Still Sharingis our mission and our Society is built on the following three pillars: OutreachMemorial – and of course, Socializing.

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Click HERE for a longer slideshow!

We meet our mission by concentrating our efforts in the following areas: Outreach, Memorial, Membership, Newsletter, Website/Social Media and History. We preserve our proud history and memories via articles and photos collected and cataloged in our regional scrapbooks that are shared during our many social gatherings such as our biennial National Conventions, biennial Regional meeting and periodic Chapter social gatherings.

1977 Class OB-GYN NP

Cathy Pluta (2nd from right)

SAFN is also the first medical/nursing partner to join the United States Vietnam War Commemorative Partnership Program. A wonderful induction ceremony was held at our National Convention in Portland ME.

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Check out the following link for additional information: Vietnam Commemorative Partnership Program

All these activities continue to weave our members together in a network of communication, support and comradery. Our members celebrate life, celebrate their comrades and celebrate their Society!

Come check us out and join a great organization! Get involved!Celebrate your profession and your unique Air Force experience!Share your expertise, your talents and your memories.Find old friends and make new ones!We promise to make your experience worthwhile!


Additional information on our Society can be found on the SAFN History page. For information on what is available on this home page, please click on the link SAFN Website Tutorial for an introduction to both the Public page and the Members Only private site.

You may contact SAFN at

"USAF" redirects here. For other uses, see USAF (disambiguation).

"The U.S. Air Force" redirects here. For the song, see The U.S. Air Force (song).

United States Air Force

Military service mark of the United States Air Force[1]

Founded18 September 1947
(70 years, 5 months)[2]
1 August 1907 (first antecedent)
(110 years, 7 months)
Country United States of America
TypeAir and space force[3]
RoleAir, space, and cyberspace warfare
Size318,415 active personnel[4]
140,169 full-time employees[4]
69,200 reserve personnel[5]
105,700 air guard personnel[6]
5,500 aircraft[7]
406 ICBMs[8]
170 satellites[9]
Part of

Department of Defense

HeadquartersThe Pentagon
Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Motto(s)"Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win"[10]
"Integrity first, Service before self, Excellence in all we do"[11]

Ultramarine blue, Golden yellow[12]

MarchThe U.S. Air Force Play (help·info)
Anniversaries18 September
Commander-in-ChiefPresidentDonald Trump
Secretary of DefenseJames Mattis
Secretary of the Air ForceHeather Wilson
Chief of StaffGenDavid L. Goldfein
Vice Chief of StaffGen Stephen W. Wilson
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air ForceCMSAF Kaleth O. Wright
Seal of the Department of the Air Force
USAF "Hap" Arnold Symbol
Aircraft flown
AttackA-10, AC-130, MQ-1, MQ-9
BomberB-1B, B-2, B-52H
E-3, E-8, EC-130
FighterF-15C, F-15E, F-16, F-22, F-35A
HelicopterHH-60, UH-1N
ReconnaissanceMC-12, RC-135, RQ-4, RQ-170, U-2, U-28
TrainerT-1, T-6, T-38, T-41, T-51, T-53, TG-16
TransportC-5, C-12, C-17, C-21, C-32, C-37, C-130, C-40, CV-22, VC-25
TankerKC-10, KC-135

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially established as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the U.S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947.[14] It is the most recent branch of the U.S. Armed Forces to be formed. The USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world.[15][16][17] The service articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated ISR, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control.[18][19][20][21]

The U.S. Air Force is a military service organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The Air Force is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, and is appointed by the President with Senateconfirmation. The highest-ranking military officer in the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, who exercises supervision over Air Force units, and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force combat and mobility forces are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the Combatant Commanders, and neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff have operational command authority over them.

Along with conducting independent air and space operations, the U.S. Air Force provides air support for land and naval forces[22][3] and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2017[update], the service operates more than 5,369 military aircraft, 406 ICBMs and 170 military satellites. It has a $161 billion budget and is the second largest service branch, with 318,415 active duty personnel, 140,169 civilian employees, 69,200 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 105,700 Air National Guard personnel.[4][5][23][24][25]

Mission, vision, and functions[edit]


According to the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 502), which created the USAF:

In general the United States Air Force shall include aviation forces both combat and service not otherwise assigned. It shall be organized, trained, and equipped primarily for prompt and sustained offensive and defensive air operations. The Air Force shall be responsible for the preparation of the air forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war except as otherwise assigned and, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plans, for the expansion of the peacetime components of the Air Force to meet the needs of war.

§8062 of Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the USAF as:[26]

  • to preserve the peace and security, and provide for the defense, of the United States, the Territories, Commonwealths, and possessions, and any areas occupied by the United States;
  • to support national policy;
  • to implement national objectives;
  • to overcome any nations responsible for aggressive acts that imperil the peace and security of the United States.

The stated mission of the USAF today is to "fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace".[27]


"The United States Air Force will be a trusted and reliable joint partner with our sister services known for integrity in all of our activities, including supporting the joint mission first and foremost. We will provide compelling air, space, and cyber capabilities for use by the combatant commanders. We will excel as stewards of all Air Force resources in service to the American people, while providing precise and reliable Global Vigilance, Reach and Power for the nation".[27]

Core missions[edit]

The five core missions of the Air Force have not changed dramatically since the Air Force became independent in 1947, but they have evolved, and are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated ISR, rapid global mobility, global strike, and command and control. The purpose of all of these core missions is to provide global vigalence, global reach, and global power for America.[28]

Air and space superiority[edit]

Main articles: Air supremacy and Space warfare

Air superiority is "that degree of dominance in the air battle of one force over another which permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea, air, and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force" (JP 1-02).[29]

Offensive Counterair (OCA) is defined as "offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, missiles, launch platforms, and their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible" (JP 1-02). OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats, since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and typically enjoys the initiative. OCA comprises attack operations, sweep, escort, and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense.[29]

Defensive Counter air (DCA) is defined as "all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify, intercept, and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace" (JP 1-02). A major goal of DCA operations, in concert with OCA operations, is to provide an area from which forces can operate, secure from air and missile threats. The DCA mission comprises both active and passive defense measures. Active defense is "the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy" (JP 1-02). It includes both ballistic missile defense and air breathing threat defense, and encompasses point defense, area defense, and high value airborne asset defense. Passive defense is "measures taken to reduce the probability of and to minimize the effects of damage caused by hostile action without the intention of taking the initiative" (JP 1-02). It includes detection and warning; chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense; camouflage, concealment, and deception; hardening; reconstitution; dispersion; redundancy; and mobility, counter-measures, and stealth.[29]

Airspace control is "a process used to increase operational effectiveness by promoting the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace" (JP 1-02). It promotes the safe, efficient, and flexible use of airspace, mitigates the risk of fratricide, enhances both offensive and defensive operations, and permits greater agility of air operations as a whole. It both deconflicts and facilitates integration of joint air operations.[29]

Space superiority is "the degree of dominance in space of one force over another that permits the conduct of operations by the former and its related land, sea, air, space, and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force" (JP 1-02). Space superiority may be localized in time and space, or it may be broad and enduring. Space superiority provides freedom of action in space for friendly forces and, when directed, denies the same freedom to the adversary.[29]

Space Force Enhancement is defined as the "combat support operations and force-multiplying capabilities delivered from space systems to improve the effectiveness of military forces as well as support other intelligence, civil, and commercial users. This mission area includes: intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; integrated tactical warning and attack assessment; command, control, and communications; positioning, navigation, and timing; and environmental monitoring" (JP 1-02).[29]

Space Force Application is defined as "combat operations in, through, and from space to influence the course and outcome of conflict. This mission area includes ballistic missile defense and force projection" (JP 1-02).[29]

Space Control is defined as "operations to ensure freedom of action in space for the US and its allies and, when directed, deny an adversary freedom of action in space. This mission area includes: operations conducted to protect friendly space capabilities from attack, interference, or unintentional hazards (defensive space control); operations to deny an adversary's use of space capabilities (offensive space control); and the requisite current and predictive knowledge of the space environment and the operational environment upon which space operations depend (space situational awareness)" (JP 1-02).[29]

Space Support is defined as "operations to deploy and sustain military and intelligence systems in space. This mission area includes: launching and deploying space vehicles; maintaining and sustaining spacecraft on-orbit, rendezvous and proximity operations; disposing of (including de-orbiting and recovering) space capabilities; and reconstitution of space forces, if required" (JP 1-02).[29]

The U.S. Air Force currently handles 90% of all military space operations through Air Force Space Command and has been designated the primary service for space. 70% of all satellites currently in orbit belong to and are operated by the Air Force. [30][31][32]

Global integrated ISR[edit]

Main article: Intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance

Global integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) is the synchronization and integration of the planning and operation of sensors, assets, and processing, exploitation, dissemination systems across the globe to conduct current and future operations.[29]

Planning and directing is "the determination of intelligence requirements, development of appropriate intelligence architecture, preparation of a collection plan, and issuance of orders and requests to information collection agencies" (JP 2-01, Joint and National Intelligence Support to Military Operations). These activities enable the synchronization and integration of collection, processing, exploitation, analysis, and dissemination activities/resources to meet information requirements of national and military decision makers.[29]

Collection is "the acquisition of information and the provision of this information to processing elements" (JP 2-01). It provides the ability to obtain required information to satisfy intelligence needs (via use of sources and methods in all domains). Collection activities span the Range of Military Operations (ROMO).[29]

Processing and exploitation is "the conversion of collected information into forms suitable to the production of intelligence" (JP 2-01). It provides the ability, across the ROMO, to transform, extract, and make available collected information suitable for further analysis or action.[29]

Analysis and production is "the conversion of processed information into intelligence through the integration, evaluation, analysis, and interpretation of all source data and the preparation of intelligence products in support of known or anticipated user requirements" (JP 2-01). It provides the ability to integrate, evaluate, and interpret information from available sources to create a finished intelligence product for presentation or dissemination to enable increased situational awareness.[29]

Dissemination and integration is "the delivery of intelligence to users in a suitable form and the application of the intelligence to appropriate missions, tasks, and functions" (JP 2-01). It provides the ability to present information and intelligence products across the ROMO enabling understanding of the operational environment to military and national decision makers.[29]

Rapid global mobility[edit]

Main articles: Airlift and Aerial refueling

Rapid global mobility is the timely deployment, employment, sustainment, augmentation, and redeployment of military forces and capabilities across the ROMO. It provides joint military forces the capability to move from place to place while retaining the ability to fulfill their primary mission. Rapid Global Mobility is essential to virtually every military operation, allowing forces to reach foreign or domestic destinations quickly, thus seizing the initiative through speed and surprise.[29]

Airlift is "operations to transport and deliver forces and materiel through the air in support of strategic, operational, or tactical objectives" (Annex 3–17, Air Mobility Operations). The rapid and flexible options afforded by airlift allow military forces and national leaders the ability to respond and operate in a variety of situations and time frames. The global reach capability of airlift provides the ability to apply US power worldwide by delivering forces to crisis locations. It serves as a US presence that demonstrates resolve and compassion in humanitarian crisis.[29]

Air refueling is "the refueling of an aircraft in flight by another aircraft" (JP 1-02). Air refueling extends presence, increases range, and serves as a force multiplier. It allows air assets to more rapidly reach any trouble spot around the world with less dependence on forward staging bases or overflight/landing clearances. Air refueling significantly expands the options available to a commander by increasing the range, payload, persistence, and flexibility of receiver aircraft.[29]

Aeromedical evacuation is "the movement of patients under medical supervision to and between medical treatment facilities by air transportation" (JP 1-02). JP 4-02, Health Service Support, further defines it as "the fixed wing movement of regulated casualties to and between medical treatment facilities, using organic and/or contracted mobility airframes, with aircrew trained explicitly for this mission." Aeromedical evacuation forces can operate as far forward as fixed-wing aircraft are able to conduct airland operations.[29]

Global strike[edit]

Main articles: Strategic bombing and Nuclear warfare

Global precision attack is the ability to hold at risk or strike rapidly and persistently, with a wide range of munitions, any target and to create swift, decisive, and precise effects across multiple domains.[29]

Strategic attack is defined as "offensive action specifically selected to achieve national strategic objectives. These attacks seek to weaken the adversary's ability or will to engage in conflict, and may achieve strategic objectives without necessarily having to achieve operational objectives as a precondition" (Annex 3–70, Strategic Attack).[29]

Air Interdiction is defined as "air operations conducted to divert, disrupt, delay, or destroy the enemy's military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces, or to otherwise achieve JFC objectives. Air Interdiction is conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is not required" (Annex 3-03, Counterland Operations).[29]

Close Air Support is defined as "air action by fixed- and rotary-winged aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to friendly forces and which require detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of those forces" (JP 1-02). This can be as a pre-planned event or on demand from an alert posture (ground or airborne). It can be conducted across the ROMO.[29]

The purpose of nuclear deterrence operations (NDO) is to operate, maintain, and secure nuclear forces to achieve an assured capability to deter an adversary from taking action against vital US interests. In the event deterrence fails, the US should be able to appropriately respond with nuclear options. The sub-elements of this function are:[29]

Assure/Dissuade/Deter is a mission set derived from the Air Force's readiness to carry out the nuclear strike operations mission as well as from specific actions taken to assure allies as a part of extended deterrence. Dissuading others from acquiring or proliferating WMD, and the means to deliver them, contributes to promoting security and is also an integral part of this mission. Moreover, different deterrence strategies are required to deter various adversaries, whether they are a nation state, or non-state/transnational actor. The Air Force maintains and presents credible deterrent capabilities through successful visible demonstrations and exercises which assure allies, dissuade proliferation, deter potential adversaries from actions that threaten US national security or the populations and deployed military forces of the US, its allies and friends.[29]

Nuclear strike is the ability of nuclear forces to rapidly and accurately strike targets which the enemy holds dear in a devastating manner. If a crisis occurs, rapid generation and, if necessary, deployment of nuclear strike capabilities will demonstrate US resolve and may prompt an adversary to alter the course of action deemed threatening to our national interest. Should deterrence fail, the President may authorize a precise, tailored response to terminate the conflict at the lowest possible level and lead to a rapid cessation of hostilities. Post-conflict, regeneration of a credible nuclear deterrent capability will deter further aggression. The Air Force may present a credible force posture in either the Continental United States, within a theater of operations, or both to effectively deter the range of potential adversaries envisioned in the 21st century. This requires the ability to engage targets globally using a variety of methods; therefore, the Air Force should possess the ability to induct, train, assign, educate and exercise individuals and units to rapidly and effectively execute missions that support US NDO objectives. Finally, the Air Force regularly exercises and evaluates all aspects of nuclear operations to ensure high levels of performance.[29]

Nuclear surety ensures the safety, security and effectiveness of nuclear operations. Because of their political and military importance, destructive power, and the potential consequences of an accident or unauthorized act, nuclear weapons and nuclear weapon systems require special consideration and protection against risks and threats inherent in their peacetime and wartime environments. The Air Force, in conjunction with other entities within the Departments of Defense or Energy, achieves a high standard of protection through a stringent nuclear surety program. This program applies to materiel, personnel, and procedures that contribute to the safety, security, and control of nuclear weapons, thus assuring no nuclear accidents, incidents, loss, or unauthorized or accidental use (a Broken Arrow incident). The Air Force continues to pursue safe, secure and effective nuclear weapons consistent with operational requirements. Adversaries, allies, and the American people must be highly confident of the Air Force's ability to secure nuclear weapons from accidents, theft, loss, and accidental or unauthorized use. This day-to-day commitment to precise and reliable nuclear operations is the cornerstone of the credibility of the NDO mission. Positive nuclear command, control, communications; effective nuclear weapons security; and robust combat support are essential to the overall NDO function.[29]

Command and control[edit]

Main articles: Command and control, Air and Space Operations Center, and Joint Force Air Component Commander

Command and control is "the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned and attached forces in the accomplishment of the mission. Command and control functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities, and procedures employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating, and controlling forces and operations in the accomplishment of the mission" (JP 1-02). This core function includes all of the C2-related capabilities and activities associated with air, space, cyberspace, nuclear, and agile combat support operations to achieve strategic, operational, and tactical objectives.[29]

At the strategic level command and control, the US determines national or multinational security objectives and guidance, and develops and uses national resources to accomplish these objectives. These national objectives in turn provide the direction for developing overall military objectives, which are used to develop the objectives and strategy for each theater.[29]

At the operational level command and control, campaigns and major operations are planned, conducted, sustained, and assessed to accomplish strategic goals within theaters or areas of operations. These activities imply a broader dimension of time or space than do tactics; they provide the means by which tactical successes are exploited to achieve strategic and operational objectives.[29]

Tactical Level Command and Control is where individual battles and engagements are fought. The tactical level of war deals with how forces are employed, and the specifics of how engagements are conducted and targets attacked. The goal of tactical level C2 is to achieve commander's intent and desired effects by gaining and keeping offensive initiative.[29]


Main article: History of the United States Air Force

The U.S. War Department created the first antecedent of the U.S. Air Force, as a part of the U.S. Army, on 1 August 1907, which through a succession of changes of organization, titles, and missions advanced toward eventual independence 40 years later. In World War II, almost 68,000 U.S. airmen died helping to win the war, with only the infantry suffering more casualties.[33] In practice, the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) was virtually independent of the Army during World War II, and in virtually all ways functioned as an independent service branch, but airmen still pressed for formal independence.[34] The National Security Act of 1947 was signed on 26 July 1947 by President Harry S Truman, which established the Department of the Air Force, but it was not until 18 September 1947, when the first secretary of the Air Force, W. Stuart Symington, was sworn into office that the Air Force was officially formed as an independent service branch.[35][36]

The act created the National Military Establishment (renamed Department of Defense in 1949), which was composed of three subordinate Military Departments, namely the Department of the Army, the Department of the Navy, and the newly created Department of the Air Force.[37] Prior to 1947, the responsibility for military aviation was shared between the Army Air Forces and its predecessor organizations (for land-based operations), the Navy (for sea-based operations from aircraft carriers and amphibious aircraft), and the Marine Corps (for close air support of Marine Corps operations). The 1940s proved to be important for military aviation in other ways as well. In 1947, Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in his X-1 rocket-powered aircraft, beginning a new era of aeronautics in America.[38]


The predecessor organizations in the Army of today's Air Force are:

21st century[edit]

During the early 2000s, the USAF fumbled several high-profile aircraft procurement projects, such as the missteps on the KC-X and F-35 program.[39] As a result, the USAF aviation force is setting new records for average aircraft age and needs to replace its force of fighters, bombers, tankers, and airborne warning aircraft, a task made all the more difficult in an age of restrictive defense budgets.[40]

Since 2005, the USAF has placed a strong focus on the improvement of Basic Military Training (BMT) for enlisted personnel. While the intense training has become longer, it also has shifted to include a deployment phase. This deployment phase, now called the BEAST, places the trainees in a simulated combat environment that they may experience once they deploy. While the trainees do tackle the massive obstacle courses along with the BEAST, the other portions include defending and protecting their base of operations, forming a structure of leadership, directing search and recovery, and basic self aid buddy care. During this event, the Military Training Instructors (MTI) act as mentors and opposing forces in a deployment exercise.[41]

In 2007, the USAF undertook a Reduction-in-Force (RIF). Because of budget constraints, the USAF planned to reduce the service's size from 360,000 active duty personnel to 316,000.[42] The size of the active duty force in 2007 was roughly 64% of that of what the USAF was at the end of the first Gulf War in 1991.[43] However, the reduction was ended at approximately 330,000 personnel in 2008 in order to meet the demand signal of combatant commanders and associated mission requirements.[42] These same constraints have seen a sharp reduction in flight hours for crew training since 2005[44] and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower and Personnel directing Airmen's Time Assessments.[45]

On 5 June 2008, Secretary of DefenseRobert Gates accepted the resignations of both the Secretary of the Air Force, Michael Wynne, and the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, GeneralT. Michael Moseley. In his decision to fire both men Gates cited "systemic issues associated with... declining Air Force nuclear mission focus and performance".[46] Left unmentioned by Gates was that he had repeatedly clashed with Wynne and Moseley over other important non-nuclear related issues to the service.[46] This followed an investigation into two embarrassing incidents involving mishandling of nuclear weapons

Launch of an Air Force Delta IV heavy rocket carrying a DSP-23 early warning satellite
An Air Force RQ-4 strategic reconnaissance aircraft
An Air Force KC-46 Pegasus refuels a C-17A Globemaster III
An Air Force A-10 demonstrating close air support at Nellis AFB
Roundels that have appeared on U.S. military aircraft
1.) 5/1917–2/1918
2.) 2/1918–8/1919
3.) 8/1919–5/1942
4.) 5/1942–6/1943
5.) 6/1943–9/1943
6.) 9/1943–1/1947
7.) 1/1947–

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