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Portal:United States Air Force

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The United States Air Force portal

Emblem of the United States Air Force

The United States Air Force (USAF) 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, 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 with the passing of the National Security Act of 1947. It is the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and 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 ISR, rapid global mobility, global strike, and 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, and 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 commanders, and 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. , 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 personnel, 69,200 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 105,700 Air National Guard personnel.

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Picture spotlight

Air Force Briefing.JPG

Photo credit: Master Sergeant Lance Cheung, 18 August 2006. USAF photo.
Mission Briefing

Mission briefing for missiliers at Minot Air Force Base.

photo source: Air Force Link

Article spotlight

United States Air Force Memorial was designed by James Ingo Freed under direction of the Air Force to honor the men and women who have served in the Air Force and its predecessors. The memorial consists of three 270 foot, stainless steel arcs reminiscent of the Thunderbirds "bomb burst" maneuver. The memorial also contains four statues by Zenos Frudakis depicting an Air Force Honor Guard formation. The memorial is located on Fort Myer, Virginia near The Pentagon.

USAF news

Service considering retrofitting late-model C-130's with new engines

Summary: The U.S. Air Force is interested in procuring commercial off-the-shelf engines to replace antiquated propulsion systems on C-130 aircraft. At a technology summit in Arlington, Virginia, General Philip Breedlove told of the service's efforts to follow up on the successes of the C-130J upgrade with commercially available fuel efficient engines. Breedlove says the prioritization of use of C-130J's in inter-theater operations for cost savings has tied up logistics. The C-130 also suffers from performance and maintenance issues that have led to the cancellation of the FCS Manned Ground Vehicles program that was unable to fall within weight parameters while maintaining protection requirements. While enhancing the current generation of aircraft, the Air Force is also heading an initiative to develop fuel efficient technologies for the next generation of propulsion systems. the ADaptive Versatile ENgine Technology program seeks to develop an engine that is 30% more efficient than the F119 or F135 engines that power the F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fifth-generation stealth fighter aircraft. The Versatile, Affordable, Advanced Turbine Engines and Highly Efficient Embedded Turbine Engine programs are also being pursued to develop propulsion technologies for sub-sonic military aircraft.

News Archive

Aerospace vehicle spotlight

F-80C 8FBW Aug 1952.JPEG

The P-80 Shooting Star was the first jet fighter used operationally by the United States Army Air Forces. It was introduced into active service in July 1945, during the closing weeks of World War II, however, the aircraft did not see combat during the war. The Army Air Forces, and later the Air Force, acquired more than 1,700 of the aircraft before the end of the production run in 1950. The aircraft saw extensive action during the opening phases of the Korean War. However, as the more nimble F-86 Sabre came into service the P-80s were primarily assigned to ground attack and photo reconnaissance roles.

The P-80 design was the basis of the T-33 Shooting Star trainer aircraft. The Shooting Star airframe became the primary jet trainer as the Air Force migrated to more advanced fighters.

Biography spotlight

Ennis Whitehead.jpg

Lieutenant General Ennis Whitehead (1895 - 1964) joined the U.S. Army after the United States entered World War I in 1917. He trained as an aviator and served in France. Posted to the 3d Aviation Instruction Center where he became a qualified test pilot. Following the war Whitehead returned to school at the University of Kansas. When he graduated he was commissioned a first lieutenant in 1920.

Over the following 20 years Whitehead participated in Billy Mitchell's aerial bombing demonstration and served as commander of both the 94th Pursuit Squadron and later the 36th Pursuit Squadron among other assignments. When the U.S. entered World War II Whitehead served in the Pacific Theater of Operations. Through the course of the war he earned a Distinguished Service Cross and was named an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire as he rose to command the Fifth Air Force.

After the war he commanded the Far East Air Forces, Continental Air Command, and Air Defense Command. He retired in 1951 after he was passed over for Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. Whitehead died of emphysema on 12 October 1964 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Both his son, Ennis Whitehead, Jr. and his grandson Ennis Whitehead III became generals as well, rising to major general and brigadier general respectively.

Did you know...?

David M. Jones DoolittleRaiders Crew5.jpg

... that in World War II, David M. Jones, later a U.S. Air Force Major General, participated in events that formed the basis for two Hollywood movies: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and The Great Escape? Jones was one of the Doolittle Raiders, and later a prisoner of war in North Africa — leading the digging of escape tunnels.


Michael B. Donley.jpg

"Recommitting to our own high standards is the foundation for our success in every mission area, not just our nuclear enterprise. To this end, I charge the Air Force to:

- Continue leaning forward in every respect in support of Joint operations
- Ensure that our core values of Integrity First, Service before Self, and Excellence in All We Do underpin every action, by every Airman, at all times
- Commit to individual and organizational accountability
- Critically examine our internal processes, restore discipline, identify weaknesses, and aggressively solve problems
- Overcome any challenge that impinges on our credibility, readiness, or the trust placed in us by others - Do our mission for the Nation, and do it well "

Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley, June 30, 2008

Donley, Michael B. (June 30, 2008). "Letter to Airman". Senior Leaders Viewpoints. United States Air Force. Retrieved February 19, 2009.

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