NEWS | Sept. 18, 2017

The birth of the United States Air Force

By Joshua Mayes, historian 628th ABW

After the conclusion of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act on July 26, 1947. 

The goal of the National Security Act was, “to provide a comprehensive program for the future security of the United States.”  With President Truman’s signature, a major reorganization to the U.S. military occurred. 

First, it created the Department of Defense with the Navy and Marine Corps under the Department of the Navy. 

The Department of War became the Department of the Army and the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was detached and received its own designation as the Department of the Air Force. 

Under the Department of the Air Force, the act established the United States Air Force (USAF), headed by the Chief of Staff, USAF.  On September 18, 1947, W. Stuart Symington became Secretary of the Air Force, and on September 26, General Carl A. Spaatz became the USAF’s first Chief of Staff. 

The major commands of the USAF in September 1947 included:

Air Defense Command                                                  Bolling Field Command

Air Materiel Command                                                  Caribbean Air Command

Air Proving Ground Command                                      Far East Air Forces

Air Training Command                                                  Seventh Air Force

Air Transport Command                                                Strategic Air Command

Air University                                                                 Tactical Air Command

Alaskan Air Command                                                   U.S. Air Forces in Europe