World War I
World War I known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history, it is one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide. On 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb Yugoslav nationalist, assassinated the Austro-Hungarian heir Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, leading to the July Crisis. In response, on 23 July Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia. Serbia's reply failed to satisfy the Austrians, the two moved to a war footing. A network of interlocking alliances enlarged the crisis from a bilateral issue in the Balkans to one involving most of Europe.
By July 1914, the great powers of Europe were divided into two coalitions: the Triple Entente—consisting of France and Britain—and the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy. Russia felt it necessary to back Serbia and, after Austria-Hungary shelled the Serbian capital of Belgrade on the 28th, partial mobilisation was approved. General Russian mobilisation was announced on the evening of 30 July; when Russia failed to comply, Germany declared war on 1 August in support of Austria-Hungary, with Austria-Hungary following suit on 6th. German strategy for a war on two fronts against France and Russia was to concentrate the bulk of its army in the West to defeat France within four weeks shift forces to the East before Russia could mobilise. On 2 August, Germany demanded free passage through Belgium, an essential element in achieving a quick victory over France; when this was refused, German forces invaded Belgium on 3 August and declared war on France the same day. On 12 August and France declared war on Austria-Hungary.
In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war on the side of the Alliance, opening fronts in the Caucasus and the Sinai Peninsula. The war was fought in and drew upon each power's colonial empire as well, spreading the conflict to Africa and across the globe; the Entente and its allies would become known as the Allied Powers, while the grouping of Austria-Hungary and their allies would become known as the Central Powers. The German advance into France was halted at the Battle of the Marne and by the end of 1914, the Western Front settled into a battle of attrition, marked by a long series of trench lines that changed little until 1917. In 1915, Italy opened a front in the Alps. Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and Greece joined the Allies in 1917, expanding the war in the Balkans; the United States remained neutral, although by doing nothing to prevent the Allies from procuring American supplies whilst the Allied blockade prevented the Germans from doing the same the U. S. became an important supplier of war material to the Allies.
After the sinking of American merchant ships by German submarines, the revelation that the Germans were trying to incite Mexico to make war on the United States, the U. S. declared war on Germany on 6 April 1917. Trained American forces would not begin arriving at the front in large numbers until mid-1918, but the American Expeditionary Force would reach some two million troops. Though Serbia was defeated in 1915, Romania joined the Allied Powers in 1916 only to be defeated in 1917, none of the great powers were knocked out of the war until 1918; the 1917 February Revolution in Russia replaced the Tsarist autocracy with the Provisional Government, but continuing discontent at the cost of the war led to the October Revolution, the creation of the Soviet Socialist Republic, the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk by the new government in March 1918, ending Russia's involvement in the war. This allowed the transfer of large numbers of German troops from the East to the Western Front, resulting in the German March 1918 Offensive.
This offensive was successful, but the Allies rallied and drove the Germans back in their Hundred Days Offensive. Bulgaria was the first Central Power to sign an armistice—the Armistice of Salonica on 29 September 1918. On 30 October, the Ottoman Empire capitulated. On 4 November, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to the Armistice of Villa Giusti after being decisively defeated by Italy in the Battle of Vittorio Veneto. With its allies defeated, revolution at home, the military no longer willing to fight, Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated on 9 November and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918. World War I was a significant turning point in the political, cultural and social climate of the world; the war and its immediate aftermath sparked numerous uprisings. The Big Four (Britain, the United States, It
Douglas B-18 Bolo
The Douglas B-18 Bolo is an American medium bomber which served with the United States Army Air Corps and the Royal Canadian Air Force during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Bolo was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company, based on its DC-2, was developed to replace the Martin B-10. By 1940, it was considered to be underpowered, to have inadequate defensive armament, to carry too small a bomb load. Many were destroyed during the attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines in December 1941. In 1942, the surviving B-18s were relegated to antisubmarine, transport duty, training. A B-18 was one of the first American aircraft to sink a German U-boat, U-654 on 22 August 1942 in the Caribbean. In 1934, the United States Army Air Corps put out a request for a bomber with double the bomb load and range of the Martin B-10, just entering service as the Army's standard bomber. In the evaluation at Wright Field the following year, Douglas showed its DB-1, it competed with the Boeing Model 299 and Martin Model 146.
While the Boeing design was superior, the crash of the B-17 prototype removed it from consideration. During the depths of the Great Depression, the lower price of the DB-1 counted in its favor; the Douglas design was ordered into immediate production in January 1936 as the B-18. The DB-1 design was that of the DC-2, with several modifications; the wingspan was 4.5 ft greater. The fuselage was deeper, to better accommodate the six-member crew. Added armament included nose and ventral gun turrets. Preston Tucker's firm received a contract to supply a remote controlled gun turret for the aircraft; the initial contract called for 133 B-18s. The last B-18 of the run, designated DB-2 by the company, had a power-operated nose turret; this design did not become standard. Additional contracts in 1937 and 1938 were for the B-18A, which had the bombardier's position further forward over the nose-gunner's station; the B-18A used more powerful engines. Deliveries of B-18s to Army units began in the first half of 1937, with the first examples being test and evaluation aircraft being turned over to the Materiel Division at Wright Field, the Technical Training Command at Chanute Field, the Aberdeen Proving Ground and Lowry Field, Colorado.
Deliveries to operational groups began in late 1937, the first being the 7th Bombardment Group at Hamilton Field, California. Production B-18s, with full military equipment fitted, had a maximum speed of 217 mph, cruising speed of 167 mph, combat range of 850 miles. By 1940, most USAAC bomber squadrons were equipped with B-18As. However, the deficiencies in the B-18/B-18A bomber were becoming apparent to everyone. In range, in speed, in bomb load, in defensive armor and armament, the design came up short, the Air Corps conceded that the aircraft was obsolete and unsuited in the long-range bombing role for which it had been acquired. To send crews out in such a plane against a well-armed, determined foe would have been nothing short of suicidal. However, in spite of the known shortcomings of the B-18/B-18A, the Douglas aircraft was the most numerous American bomber type deployed outside the continental United States at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, it was hoped that the B-18 could play a stopgap role until more suitable aircraft such as the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and Consolidated B-24 Liberator became available in quantity.
When war came to the Pacific, most of the B-18/B-18A aircraft based overseas in the Philippines and in Hawaii were destroyed on the ground in the initial Japanese onslaught. The few Bolos that remained played no significant role in subsequent operations; the B-18s remaining in the continental US and in the Caribbean were deployed in a defensive role in anticipation of attacks on the US mainland. These attacks never materialized. B-17s supplanted B-18s in first-line service in 1942. Following this, 122 B-18As were modified for anti-submarine warfare; the bombardier was replaced by a search radar with a large radome. Magnetic anomaly detection equipment was sometimes housed in a tail boom; these aircraft, designated B-18B, were used in the Caribbean on anti-submarine patrol. On 2 October 1942, a B-18A, piloted by Captain Howard Burhanna Jr. of the 99th Bomb Squadron, depth charged and sank the German submarine U-512 north of Cayenne, French Guiana. Two aircraft were transferred to Força Aérea Brasileira in 1942 and used with a provisional conversion training unit set up under the provisions of Lend-Lease.
They were used for anti-submarine patrols. They were struck off charge at the end of the war. In 1940 the Royal Canadian Air Force acquired 20 B-18As, used them for patrol duties, being issued to 10 Squadron to replace the squadron's Westland Wapitis. Bolos and Digbys sank an additional two submarines during the course of the war. RCAF Eastern Air Command Digbys carried out 11 attacks on U-boats. U-520 was confirmed sunk by Flying Officer F. Raymes' crew of No. 10 Squadron, on 30 October 1942. East of Newfoundland. However, the antisubmarine role was short-lived, the Bolos were superseded in this role in 1943 by Consolidated B-24 Liberators which had a much heavier payload and a longer range which closed the mid-Atlantic gap. Surviving USAAF B-18s ended their useful lives in training and transport r
The Lockheed MC-130 is the basic designation for a family of special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command, a wing of the Air Education and Training Command, an AFSOC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command. Based on the Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport, the MC-130s' missions are the infiltration and resupply of special operations forces, the air refueling of special operations helicopter and tilt-rotor aircraft; the family comprises: MC-130E Combat Talon I MC-130H Combat Talon II MC-130W Combat/Dragon Spear MC-130P Combat Shadow MC-130J Commando IIA possible MC-130 variant, designated the XFC-130H, did not proceed beyond the development stage, but one of its aircraft became the YMC-130H testbed aircraft for the Combat Talon II. The first of the variants, the MC-130E, was developed to support clandestine special operations missions during the Vietnam War. Eighteen were created by modifying C-130E transports, four lost through attrition, but the remainder served more than four decades after their initial modification.
An update, the MC-130H Combat Talon II, was developed in the 1980s from the C-130H and went into service in the 1990s. Four of the original 24 H-series aircraft have been lost in operations; the Combat Shadows were built during the Vietnam War for search and rescue operations and repurposed in the 1980s as AFSOC air-refueling tankers. The Combat Spear was developed in 2006 as an inexpensive version of the Combat Talon II but was reconfigured and designated the AC-130W Stinger II in 2012; the MC-130J, which became operational in 2011, is the new-production variant, replacing the other special operations MC-130s. As of May 2016, the Air Force has taken delivery of 33 of the planned 37 -J models; the Combat Talon was developed between December 1964 and January 1967 by Lockheed Air Services at Ontario, California, as the result of a study by Big Safari, the USAF's program office that modifies and sustains special mission aircraft. Two classified testbed aircraft, were assigned to Project Thin Slice to develop a low-level clandestine penetration aircraft for Special Forces operations in Southeast Asia.
In 1964, Lockheed was ordered to adapt the C-130Es after six C-123B Providers modified for "unconventional warfare" under Project Duck Hook proved inadequate for the new MACV-SOG. The modifications under Thin Slice and its August 1966 successor Heavy Chain were code-named Rivet Yard, the four C-130Es came to be known as "Yards". Discrete modification tests were conducted by the 1198th Operational Evaluation and Training Squadron, out of Area II of Norton AFB at San Bernardino, California, 30 miles east of Ontario; as the Thin Slice aircraft were being developed, 14 C-130Es were purchased for SOG in 1965 for similar modification. The first aircraft were production C-130Es without specialized equipment that were produced at Lockheed's facility in Marietta, Georgia. Three production airplanes per month were given the Fulton STARS system. While awaiting the ARS equipment, the C-130s were ferried to Greenville, South Carolina, for painting by Ling-Temco-Vought Electrosystems with a low-radar reflective paint that added 370 pounds to their weight.
The velvet black-and-green scheme drew the nickname "Blackbirds". As installation was completed, the Blackbirds were returned to Ontario for installation of the electronics package, code-named Rivet Clamp; the modified aircraft became known as "Clamps". The aircraft collectively were assigned the designation Combat Talon in 1967; the Fulton Surface-To-Air Recovery System was used to extract materials via air. A large helium balloon raised a nylon lift line into the air, snagged by a large scissors-shaped yoke attached to the nose of the plane; the yoke snagged the line and released the balloon, yanking the attached cargo off the ground with a shock less than that of an opening parachute. A sky anchor secured the line and wires stretched from the nose to both leading wing tip edges protected the propellers from the line on missed snag attempts. Crew members hooked the snagged line as it trailed behind and attached it to the hydraulic winch, pulling the attached person or cargo into the plane through the rear cargo door.
Following a death on 26 April 1982, at CFB Lahr, the Fulton STARS system on the Clamp aircraft underwent intense maintenance scrutiny and employment of the system for live pickups was suspended. A major effort at upgrading the system, Project 46, was pursued from 1986 to 1989, but at its conclusion, use of the STARS system for live extractions remained suspended; the Fulton STARS equipment of all Combat Talons was removed during 1998. Rivet Clamp installation began with four STARS-equipped C-130s completed by March 1966, followed by installations in eight further aircraft in July 1966 and January 1967; the Rivet Clamps designated C-130E, were equipped with an electronic and infrared countermeasures suite. This radar, adapted from the Texas Instruments AN/APQ-89 radar used in the RF-4C Phantom photo reconnaissance aircraft, featured terrain following/terrain-avoidance and mapping radar modes, to enable it to operate at low altitudes at night and in all weather conditions and avoid known enemy radar and anti-aircraft weapons concentrations.
Beginning in 1970, Texas Instruments and Lockheed Air Service worked to adapt the existing AN/APQ-122 Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System with terrain following/terrain avoidance modes to replace the original APQ-115, which suffere
The Boeing P-12/F4B was an American pursuit aircraft, operated by the United States Army Air Corps and United States Navy. Developed as a private venture to replace the Boeing F2B and F3B with the United States Navy, the Boeing P-12 first flew on 25 June 1928; the new aircraft was smaller and more agile than the ones it replaced but still used the Wasp engine of the F3B. This resulted in a higher top speed and overall better performance; as result of Navy evaluation 27 were ordered as the F4B-1. Boeing supplied the USAAC with 366 P-12s between 1929 and 1932. Production of all variants totaled 586. F4B-1 The F4B-1 was built using traditional construction techniques of the day; the fuselage was a steel tube truss design with formers and longerons to define the aerodynamic shape. Wings were of traditional construction and covered by fabric. Ailerons were of a tapered design with corrugated aluminum covering; the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 nine-cylinder radial engine was uncowled and sported prominent cooling fairings behind each cylinder which were removed in service.
P-12s were flown by the 17th Pursuit Group at March Field and the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. Older P-12s were used by groups overseas: the 4th Composite Group in the Philippines, the 16th Pursuit Group in the Canal Zone, the 18th Pursuit Group in Hawaii; the P-12 remained in service with first-line pursuit groups until replaced by Boeing P-26s in 1934–1935. Survivors were relegated to training duties until 1941, when most were grounded and assigned to mechanic's schools; the production runs are shown below with the P-12 designations for Army aircraft and the F4B designations being for the Navy. The remaining aircraft are export. Model 83 One prototype with spreader-bar landing gear and 425 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1340-8 engine designated XF4B-1 for Navy evaluation. Model 89 One prototype with split-axle undercarriage and provision for a 500 lb bomb on ventral rack designated XF4B-1 for Navy evaluation. P-12 Model 102, U. S. Army Air Corps version of the F4B-1 with a 450 hp R-1340-7 engine, nine built.
XP-12A Model 101, 10th built P-12 with NACA cowl a 525 hp R-1340-9 engine and shorter undercarriage, one built. P-12B Model 102B, as P-12 with larger improvements tested on XP-12A, 90 built. P-12C Model 222, as P-12B with spreader-bar undercarriage, 96 built. P-12D Model 234, as P-12C with a 525 hp R-1340-17 engine, 35 built. P-12E Model 234, as P-12D with semi-monocoque metal fuselage, redesigned vertical tail surfaces, some were fitted with tailwheels instead of skids, 110 built. P-12F Model 251, as P-12E with a 600 hp R-1340-19 engine, 25 built. XP-12G P-12B modified with a R-1340-15 engine with side-type supercharger, one converted. XP-12H P-12D modified with a GISR-1340E experimental engine, one converted. P-12J P-12E modified with a 575 hp R-1340-23 engine, special bomb sight, one conversion. YP-12K P-12E and P-12J re-engined with a fuel injected seven temporary conversions. XP-12L YP-12K temporary fitted with a F-2 supercharger, one converted. A-5 designation for proposed use of P-12 as a radio-controlled target drone XF4B-1 Designation given to two prototypes for Navy evaluation, the former Model 83 and the former Model 89.
F4B-1 Boeing Model 99 for the United States Navy, split-axle landing gear and ventral bomb rack, 27 built. F4B-1A One F4B-1 converted to unarmed executive transport for the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, fuel tank moved to upper wing centre section. F4B-2 Boeing Model 223, spreader bar landing gear, frise ailerons, tailwheel replacing skid, 46 built. F4B-3 Boeing Model 235, as F4B-2 but with semi-monocoque metal fuselage and equipment changes, 21 built. F4B-4 Boeing Model 235, as F4B-3 but with redesigned vertical tail surfaces, 550 hp R-1340-16 engine, underwing racks for two 116 lb bombs, last 45 built had an enlarged headrest housing a life raft, 92 built and one built from spares. F4B-4A 23 assorted P-12 aircraft transferred from USAAC for use as a radio-controlled target aircraft. Model 100 Civil version of the F4B-1 with upper wing tank, four built. Model 100A Two-seat civil version for Howard Hughes converted to a single-seater, one built. Model 100D One Model 100 temporary used as a P-12 demonstrator.
Model 100E Export version of the P-12E for the Siamese Air Force, two built, one transferred to the Japanese Navy under the designation AXB. Model 100F One civil variant of the P-12F sold to Whitney as an engine test bed. Model 218 Prototype of the P-12E/F4B-3 variant, after evaluation sold to the Chinese Air Force. Model 256 Export version of the F4B-4 for Brazilian Navy, 14 built. Model 267 Export version for Brazil with an F4B-3 fuselage and P-12E wings, nine built. BrazilBrazilian Air Force ChinaChinese Nationalist Air Force PhilippinesPhilippine Army Air Corps SpainSpanish Air Force ThailandRoyal Thai Air Force operated Boeing 100E variant. United StatesUnited States Army Air Corps United States Navy 31-559 – P-12E on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton, Ohio. 32-017 – P-12E on display at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California. This airframe is painted as an F4B-1. 32-092 – P-12F on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
This airframe is restored to look like an F4B-4 and painted with the markings of Fighting Squadron 6B "Felix the Cat". 9241 – F4B-4 on display in the "Sea-Air Operations" Gallery at the National Air and Space Museum in Washing
Military Air Transport Service
For the current active command, see Air Mobility CommandThe Military Air Transport Service is an inactive Department of Defense Unified Command. Activated on 1 June 1948, MATS was a consolidation of the United States Navy's Naval Air Transport Service and the United States Air Force's Air Transport Command into a single joint command, it was inactivated and discontinued on 8 January 1966 when the Air Force and Military Airlift Command as a separate strategic airlift command and returned shore-based Navy cargo aircraft to Navy control as operational support airlift aircraft. In 1966, the World War II Air Transport Command and the Military Air Transport Service were consolidated with Military Airlift Command; the Military Air Transport Service was activated under United States Air Force Major General Laurence S. Kuter, in order to harness interservice efforts more efficiently, it was an amalgamation of Navy and Army air transport commands, jointly placed by the Department of Defense under the control of the newly created United States Air Force as a unified command.
During World War II, the Army Air Force's aerial transportation requirements were performed by the Air Transport Command which had a dual function of ferrying new aircraft from factories to combat theaters and transportation of troops and supplies organized by Tunner. The Naval Air Transport Service focused on supporting deployed Naval and Marine personnel transporting vital cargo, specialist personnel and mail to the Fleet and ground forces in advanced areas of operation. MATS was the first Joint-Service command and Naval aircrews participated in every major MATS airlift operation. MATS would organizationally be under the Department of the Air Force, as the vast majority of its equipment and personnel of ATC had been inherited by the Air Force with the inactivation of the USAAF. During the Berlin Airlift, Naval aviators flew transport aircraft from the United States to European supply depots. In its original organization, a Rear Admiral commanded the MATS Pacific Division and another rear admiral served as MATS vice-commander.
During the 1958 reorganization, senior Naval officers were on the staffs of the commanders of both EASTAF and WESTAF, at MATS Headquarters. In 1965 conflicting views of the Air Force and Navy triggered by the demands of the Vietnam War led to the services returning to separate airlift commands. In turn, MATS was disbanded and superseded in the Air Force by the Military Airlift Command, during a 1966 restructuring. With the end of World War II, the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command found itself in limbo. Senior USAAF authorities considered ATC to be a wartime necessity, no longer needed, expected its civilian personnel, including former airline pilots, to return to their peacetime occupations. Senior ATC officers, on the other hand, thought that ATC should be developed into a national government operated airline, an idea, soundly opposed by the airline industry. While the war had established the necessity of a troop carrier mission, most military officers believed the role performed by ATC should be provided by contract carriers.
When the United States Air Force was established as a separate service in 1947, the Air Transport Command was not established as one of its major commands. The ATC commander and his staff took it upon themselves to convince the new civilian leadership of the newly created Department of Defense that ATC had a mission, they seized upon testimony by former I Troop Carrier Command commander Major General Paul L. Williams that the Air Force should have a long-range troop deployment capability, began advocating that ATC transports could be used to deploy troops. Williams had been pressing for the development of a long-range troop carrier airplane when he made his statement; the DOD believed it should have its own air transport service and decided that ATC should become the Military Air Transport Service, supported by the Air Force though not listed as a formal military mission. As a cost-saving measure, MATS would combine the resources of Air Transport Command with those of the Naval Air Transport Service.
This way the command would be sanctioned by the Department of Defense, not by either the Air Force or the Navy. Although MATS was under the operational control of the United States Air Force, the United States Navy was a full partner in the command and operational components of the organization. Major naval components of MATS were naval air transport squadrons. VR-3 and VR-6 were assigned to McGuire AFB and VR-22 was assigned to the Naval Air Transport Station at Naval Station Norfolk/Chambers Field, Virginia. Together they constituted Atlantic. On the Pacific Coast, Naval Air Transport Wing, consisted of Air Transport Squadron VR-7 and Maintenance Squadron VR-8, both at Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California. A detachment of VR-7 was stationed at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. Naval aviators flew scheduled MATS routes to Newfoundland, Scotland, West Germany, Puerto Rico and Africa. In the Pacific, MATS naval aviators flew to all MATS stations from Hawaii to Japan to South Vietnam, India and to Saudi Arabia.
Air Force pilots flew Navy MATS planes, just as naval aviators could be found piloting Air Force MATS transport aircraft. During World War II, the USAAF Air Transport Command provided worldwide transport service to every continent on the globe. Inheriting that legacy, MATS continued that service and organized it into three major transport divisions.
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial and space warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces, one of the seven American uniformed services. Formed as a part of the United States Army on 1 August 1907, the USAF was established as a separate branch of the U. S. Armed Forces on 18 September 1947 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947, it is the youngest branch of the U. S. Armed Forces, the fourth in order of precedence; the USAF is the largest and most technologically advanced air force in the world. The Air Force articulates its core missions as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control; the U. S. Air Force is a military service branch organized within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense; the Air Force, through the Department of the Air Force, is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who reports to the Secretary of Defense, is appointed by the President with Senate confirmation.
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 one of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force components are assigned, as directed by the Secretary of Defense, to the combatant commands, neither the Secretary of the Air Force nor the Chief of Staff of the Air Force 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 and aids in the recovery of troops in the field; as of 2017, 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 airmen, 140,169 civilian personnel, 69,200 reserve airmen, 105,700 Air National Guard airmen. According to the National Security Act of 1947, 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 and equipped 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: to preserve the peace and security, provide for the defense, of the United States, the Territories and possessions, any areas occupied by the United States. The stated mission of the USAF today is to "fly and win...in air and cyberspace". "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 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 and Power for the nation".
The five core missions of the Air Force have not changed since the Air Force became independent in 1947, but they have evolved, are now articulated as air and space superiority, global integrated intelligence and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike, command and control. The purpose of all of these core missions is to provide, what the Air Force states as, global vigilance, global reach, global power. 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 and special operations forces at a given time and place without prohibitive interference by the opposing force". Offensive Counterair is defined as "offensive operations to destroy, disrupt, or neutralize enemy aircraft, launch platforms, their supporting structures and systems both before and after launch, but as close to their source as possible". OCA is the preferred method of countering air and missile threats since it attempts to defeat the enemy closer to its source and enjoys the initiative.
OCA comprises attack operations, sweep and suppression/destruction of enemy air defense. Defensive Counter air is defined as "all the defensive measures designed to detect, identify and destroy or negate enemy forces attempting to penetrate or attack through friendly airspace". 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 passive defense measures. Active defense is "the employment of limited offensive action and counterattacks to deny a contested area or position to the enemy", it includes both ballistic missile defense and air-breathing threat defense, encompasses point defense, area defense, 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", it includes warning.
Elmendorf Air Force Base
Elmendorf Air Force Base was a United States military facility in Anchorage, Alaska. Known as Elmendorf Field, it became Elmendorf Air Force Base after World War II. In 2010 it was amalgamated with nearby Fort Richardson to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson; the adjacent facilities were combined by the 2005 Base Closure and Realignment Commission. Its mission was to support and defend U. S. interests in the Asia Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base, capable of meeting United States Pacific Command's theater staging and throughput requirements. It is the home of the Headquarters, Alaskan Command, Alaskan NORAD Region, Eleventh Air Force, the 673d Air Base Wing, the 3rd Wing, the 176th Wing and other tenant units; the installation hosts the headquarters for the United States Alaskan Command, 11th Air Force, U. S. Army Alaska, the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region. Major units assigned are: 673d Air Base WingActivated on 30 July 2010 as the host wing combining installation management functions of Elmendorf AFB's 3rd Wing and U.
S. Army Garrison Fort Richardson; the 673d ABW comprises over 5,500 joint military and civilian personnel, supporting America's Arctic Warriors and their families. The wing supports and enables three AF total-force wings, two Army Brigades and 55 other tenant units. In addition, the wing provides medical care to over 35,000 joint service members, dependents, VA patients and retirees throughout Alaska; the 673d ABW maintains an $11.4B infrastructure encompassing 84,000 acres, ensuring Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson remains America's premier strategic power projection platform. Alaskan CommandResponsible for maximizing theater force readiness for 21,000 Alaskan servicemembers and expediting worldwide contingency force deployments from and through Alaska as directed by the Commander, USNORTHCOM. United States Army Alaska U. S. Army Alaska executes continuous training and readiness oversight responsibilities for Army Force Generation in Alaska. Supports U. S. Pacific Command Theater Security Cooperation Program.
On order, executes Joint Force Land Component Command functions in support of Homeland Defense and Security in Alaska.3d Wing To support and defend US interests in the Asia-Pacific region and around the world by providing units who are ready for worldwide air power projection and a base, capable of meeting PACOM's theater staging and throughput requirements.176th Wing Composite wing of the Alaska Air National Guard flying the C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules, HC-130 Hercules and HH-60 Pavehawk. Located at the former Kulis Air National Guard Base until relocated to Elmendorf per BRAC action.477th Fighter Group Air Force Reserve Command "Associate" unit to the active duty 3d Wing. Alaskan Norad RegionThe Alaskan NORAD Region conducts aerospace control within its area of operations and contributes to NORAD's aerospace warning mission. Eleventh Air ForceProvide ready warriors and infrastructure for homeland defense, decisive force projection, aerospace command and control Elmendorf Air Force Base appeared once on the 1970 U.
S. Census as an unincorporated area; because it was located within the confines of the Anchorage Census Division, it was consolidated into the City of Anchorage in 1975. Construction on Elmendorf Field began on 8 June 1940, as a major and permanent military airfield near Anchorage; the first Air Corps personnel arrived on 12 August 1940. On 12 November 1940, the War Department formally designated what had been popularly referred to as Elmendorf Field as Fort Richardson; the air facilities on the post were named Elmendorf Field in honor of Captain Hugh M. Elmendorf, killed on 13 January 1933, while flight testing the experimental Consolidated Y1P-25, fighter, 32-321, near Wright Field, Ohio. After World War II, the Army moved its operations to the new Fort Richardson and the Air Force assumed control of the original Fort Richardson and renamed it Elmendorf Air Force Base; the first Air Force unit to be assigned to Alaska, the 18th Pursuit Squadron, arrived in February 1941. The 23d Air Base Group was assigned shortly afterward to provide base support.
Other Air Force units poured into Alaska as the Japanese threat developed into World War II. The Eleventh Air Force was formed at Elmendorf AFB in early 1942; the field played a vital role as the main air logistics center and staging area during the Aleutian Campaign and air operations against the Kurile Islands. Following World War II, Elmendorf assumed an increasing role in the defense of North America as the uncertain wartime relations between the United States and the Soviet Union deteriorated into the Cold War; the Eleventh Air Force was redesignated as the Alaskan Air Command on 18 December 1945. The Alaskan Command, established 1 January 1947 headquartered at Elmendorf, was a unified command under the Joint Chiefs of Staff based on lessons learned during World War II when a lack of unity of command hampered operations to drive the Japanese from the western Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska; the uncertain world situation in late 1940s and early 1950s caused a major buildup of air defense forces in Alaska.
The propeller-driven F-51s were replaced with F-80 jets, which in turn were replaced in succession by F-94s, F-89s, F-102s interceptor aircraft for defense of North America. The Air Force built an extensive aircraft control and warning radar system with sites located throughout Alaska's interior and coastal regions. Additionally, the Air Force of necessity built the White Alice Communications System to provide reliable communications to these far-fl