Sixty years ago today, the Air Force came into being with the swearing in of W. Stuart Symington, the first Secretary of the Air Force, and thus became our newest armed service. The Air Force isn’t young – not really – since its roots can be traced all the way back to 1907 with the creation of the Army Signal Corps (af.mil). Today’s Air Force is a direct descendant of the brave aviators of WWI and WWII – the Army Air Corps.
When the world entered the modern era after WWII, farsighted visionaries realized that our future depended on the domination of the skies. Air dominance would be a necessity. Space would become a critical piece of our national defense. Technology was racing ahead, and there was no turning it back. The nation needed a military branch that not only kept up with the advancement of scientific knowledge in a dangerous world, but could lead the charge.
That’s what the Air Force has done.
It has taken on the most difficult challenges confronting mankind: nuclear proliferation and deterrence, space travel, satellite communications and imagery, stealth technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, cyberspace dominance…the list goes on.
Not only has it succeeded in each of these technological milestones, it has excelled. No other country in the world can even come close to what the U.S. Air Force can do, and because of that, our military is better and our nation is safer.
Its people are on station all around the world – many are fighting right now in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its pilots dominate the skies, and its ground personnel fight side-by-side with Soldiers, Marines and Sailors.
It may be a new service, but its soul is as old as the nation it serves. Its Airmen fight and sacrifice – and sometimes die – for the same ideals as those who originally fought in defense of our God-given rights. And that is something that is definitely NOT new.
Congratulations, Air Force, on 60 years of spectacular service to our country.