• 1943-1947 - Struggle for Air Force Independence

    An independent United States Air Force, many believed, would allow the nation to fully develop the awesome potential of aviation, as air power became America's "first line of defense". Despite inter service rivalries and cost cutting policies of the early postwar period, General Eisenhower, General

  • 1945 - Bombings of Dresden

    Between 13-15 February 1945, over a thousand heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force and the U.S. 8th Air Force struck the city of Dresden in eastern Germany.

  • 1947 -- Breaking the Sound Barrier

    On Oct. 14, 1947, Capt. Charles E. Yeager in the Bell X-1 rocket-propelled experimental aircraft was the first man to exceed the speed of sound in level flight, crossing with little trouble an invisible threshold thought to be an impediment to aircraft development and to contemporary aircraft

  • 1947 -- The National Security Act of 1947

    The National Security Act of 1947 became law on 26 July 1947. The lawmakers stated their intentions in a Declaration of Policy at the beginning of the act: To provide a comprehensive program for the future security of the United States; to provide three military departments: the Army, the Navy, and

  • 1948 -- Integrating the Air Force

    On 26 July 1948, President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 that called for equal treatment within the military services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. Of all the services, the Air Force was in the best position to respond to President Truman's call because the Air

  • 1949 - The Berlin Airlift

    After WWII ended, the Soviets blockaded the city of Berlin. The allies began flying food and supplies into the city of Berlin to sustain the population.

  • 1953 -- The Emergence of the Strategic Air Command

     With the end of the fighting in Korea, President Eisenhower, who had taken office in January 1953, called for a "New Look" at national defense. The result of this reexamination was a greater reliance on nuclear weapons and air power to deter war. Instead of maintaining the large Army and Navy that

  • 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis

    In 1962, when medium range ballistic missile sites were being placed in Cuba, the United States responded with a naval blockade of Cuba. the USAF response was swift and allowed President Kennedy to withstand the Soviet challenge to the overall strategic balance at the height of the Cold War.

  • 1962 - Operation Ranch Hand

    Herbicides are sprayed during the war in Vietnam to defoliate the jungle and reduce cover for the enemy.