United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was the aerial warfare
service of the
United States of America between 1926 and 1941. After
World War I, as early aviation became an increasingly important part
of modern warfare, a philosophical rift developed between more
traditional ground-based army personnel and those who felt that
aircraft were being underutilized and that air operations were being
stifled for political reasons unrelated to their effectiveness. The
USAAC was renamed from the earlier
United States Army Air Service on 2
July 1926, and was part of the larger
United States Army. The Air
Corps became the
United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) on 20 June
1941, giving it greater autonomy from the Army's middle-level command
structure. During World War II, although not an administrative
echelon, the Air Corps (AC) remained as one of the combat arms of the
Army until 1947, when it was legally abolished by legislation
establishing the Department of the Air Force.
The Air Corps was renamed by the
United States Congress largely as a
compromise between the advocates of a separate air arm and those of
the traditionalist Army high command who viewed the aviation arm as an
auxiliary branch to support the ground forces. Although its members
worked to promote the concept of air power and an autonomous air force
between the years between the world wars, its primary purpose by Army
policy remained support of ground forces rather than independent
On 1 March 1935, still struggling with the issue of a separate air
arm, the Army activated the General Headquarters Air Force for
centralized control of aviation combat units within the continental
United States, separate from but coordinate with the Air Corps. The
separation of the Air Corps from control of its combat units caused
problems of unity of command that became more acute as the Air Corps
enlarged in preparation for World War II. This was resolved by the
creation of the Army Air Forces (AAF), making both organizations
subordinate to the new higher echelon.
The Air Corps ceased to have an administrative structure after 9 March
1942, but as "the permanent statutory organization of the air arm, and
the principal component of the Army Air Forces," the overwhelming
majority of personnel assigned to the AAF were members of the Air
1 Creation of the Air Corps
1.1 Five-year expansion program
1.2 Aircraft and personnel 1926–1935
2 Doctrinal development
2.1 Strategic bombardment in roles and missions
2.2 Technological advances in bombers
General Staff resistance to Air Corps doctrine
2.4 GHQ Air Force
3 Modernization and expansion of the force
3.1 New aircraft
3.2 Expansion of the Air Corps
4 Dissolution of the Air Corps
4.1 Unity of Command difficulties
4.2 Creation of the Army Air Forces
5 Organization of the Air Corps
5.1 Army Air Corps, 1 March 1935
5.1.1 General Headquarters Air Force
5.1.2 Other flying units
5.1.3 Overseas units
5.2 Annual strength
5.3 Chiefs of Air Corps
5.4 Commanding generals, GHQ Air Force
6 Lineage of the
United States Air Force
7 See also
Creation of the Air Corps
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress Assembled, that the Act entitled "An act
for making further and more effectual provision for the national
defense, and other purposes," approved June 3, 1916, as amended, be,
and the same is hereby, amended so that the Air Service referred to in
that Act and all subsequent Acts of Congress shall be known as the Air
Public Law 69-446, 2 July 1926
U.S. Army Air Service had a brief but turbulent history. Created
World War I
World War I by executive order of 28th President Woodrow Wilson
after American entrance in April 1917 as the increasing use of
airplanes and the military uses of aviation were readily apparent as
the war continued to its climax, the
U.S. Army Air Service gained
permanent legislative authority in 1920 as a combatant arm of the line
United States Army. There followed a six-year struggle between
adherents of airpower and the supporters of the traditional military
services about the value of an independent Air Force, intensified by
struggles for funds caused by skimpy budgets, as much an impetus for
independence as any other factor.
The Lassiter Board, a group of
General Staff officers, recommended in
1923 that the Air Service be augmented by an offensive force of
bombardment and pursuit units under the command of Army general
headquarters in time of war, and many of its recommendations became
Army regulations. The War Department desired to implement the Lassiter
Board's recommendations, but the administration of President Calvin
Coolidge chose instead to economize by radically cutting military
budgets, particularly the Army's.[n 1] The Lampert Committee of the
House of Representatives in December 1925 proposed a unified air force
independent of the Army and Navy, plus a department of defense to
coordinate the three armed services. However another board, headed
by Dwight Morrow, was appointed in September 1925 by Coolidge
ostensibly to study the "best means of developing and applying
aircraft in national defense" but in actuality to minimize the
political impact of the pending court-martial of Billy Mitchell (and
to preempt the findings of the Lampert Committee). It declared that no
threat of air attack was likely to exist to the United States,
rejected the idea of a department of defense and a separate department
of air, and recommended minor reforms that included renaming the Air
Service to allow it "more prestige."
In early 1926 the Military Affairs Committee of the Congress rejected
all bills set forth before it on both sides of the issue. They
fashioned a compromise in which the findings of the Morrow Board were
enacted as law, while providing the air arm a "five-year plan" for
expansion and development. Maj. Gen. Mason Patrick, the Chief of Air
Service, had proposed that it be made a semi-independent service
within the War Department along the lines of the Marine Corps within
the Navy Department, but this was rejected; only the cosmetic name
change was accepted.[n 2] The legislation changed the name of the
Air Service to the Air Corps, (in the words of one analyst) "thereby
strengthening the conception of military aviation as an offensive,
striking arm rather than an auxiliary service."
Formations of Keystone LB-7s (lower) and
Boeing P-12s (upper) on
aerial maneuvers over Burbank, California, 1930
The Air Corps Act (44 Stat. 780) became law on 2 July 1926. In
accordance with the Morrow Board's recommendations, the act created an
additional Assistant Secretary of War to "help foster military
aeronautics", and established an air section in each division of the
General Staff for a period of three years. Two additional brigadier
generals would serve as assistant chiefs of the Air Corps.[n 3]
Previous provisions of the National Defense Act of 1920 that all
flying units be commanded only by rated personnel and that flight pay
be awarded were continued. The Air Corps also retained the "Prop and
Wings" as its branch insignia through its disestablishment in 1947.
Patrick became Chief of the Air Corps and Brig. Gen. James E. Fechet
continued as his first assistant chief. On 17 July 1926, two
lieutenant colonels were promoted to brigadier general for four-year
terms as assistant chiefs of Air Corps: Frank P. Lahm, to command the
new Air Corps Training Center, and William E. Gillmore, in command of
the Materiel Division.[n 4]
Of the new law and organization, however, Wesley F. Craven and James
L. Cate in the official history of the
United States Army Air Forces
"The bill which was finally enacted purported to be a compromise, but
it leaned heavily on the Morrow recommendations. The Air Corps Act of
2 July 1926 effected no fundamental innovation. The change in
designation meant no change in status: the Air Corps was still a
combatant branch of the Army with less prestige than the
The position of the air arm within the Department of War remained
essentially the same as before, that is, the flying units were under
the operational control of the various ground forces corps area
commands and not the Air Corps, which remained responsible for
procurement and maintenance of aircraft, supply, and training. Because
of a lack of legally specified duties and responsibilities, the new
position of Assistant Secretary of War for Air, held by F. Trubee
Davison from July 1926 to March 1933, proved of little help in
promoting autonomy for the air arm.
Five-year expansion program
The Air Corps Act gave authorization to carry out a five-year
expansion program. However, a lack of appropriations caused the
beginning of the program to be delayed until 1 July 1927. Patrick
proposed an increase to 63 tactical squadrons (from an existing 32) to
maintain the program of the Lassiter Board already in effect, but
Chief of Staff Gen. John Hines rejected the recommendation in favor of
a plan drawn up by ground force Brig. Gen.
Hugh Drum that proposed 52
squadrons.[n 5] The act authorized expansion to 1,800
airplanes, 1,650 officers, and 15,000 enlisted men, to be reached in
regular increments over a five-year period. None of the goals were
reached by July 1932. Neither of the relatively modest increases in
airplanes or officers was accomplished until 1938 because adequate
funds were never appropriated and the coming of the Great Depression
forced reductions in pay and modernization across the board in the
Army. Organizationally the Air Corps doubled from seven to fifteen
groups, but the expansion was meaningless because all were seriously
understrength in aircraft and pilots. (Origin of first seven
groups shown here)
Air Corps groups added 1927–1937
18th Pursuit Group
Wheeler Field, Hawaii
20 January 1927
7th Bombardment Group
Rockwell Field, California
1 June 1928
12th Observation Group¹
Brooks Field, Texas
1 October 1930
20th Pursuit Group
Mather Field, California
15 November 1930
8th Pursuit Group
Langley Field, Virginia
1 April 1931
17th Pursuit Group²
March Field, California
1 July 1931
19th Bomb Group
Rockwell Field, California
24 June 1932
16th Pursuit Group
Albrook Field, Canal Zone
1 December 1932
10th Transport Group
Patterson Field, Ohio
20 May 1937
¹Inactivated on 20 May 1937
²Redesignated 17th Attack Group (1935), 17th Bomb Group (1939)
As units of the Air Corps increased in number, so did higher command
echelons. The 2nd Wing, activated in 1922 as part of the Air Service,
remained the only wing organization in the new Air Corps until 1929,
when it was redesignated the 2nd Bombardment Wing in anticipation of
the activation of the 1st Bombardment Wing to provide a bombardment
wing on each coast. The 1st Bomb Wing was activated in 1931,
followed by the 3rd Attack Wing in 1932 to protect the Mexican border,
at which time the 1st became the 1st Pursuit Wing. The three wings
became the foundation of General Headquarters Air Force upon its
activation in 1935.
Aircraft and personnel 1926–1935
O-46A at Wright Field
In 1927 the Air Corps adopted a new color scheme for painting its
aircraft, heretofore painted olive drab. The wings and tails of
aircraft were painted chrome yellow, with the words "U.S. ARMY"
displayed in large black lettering on the undersurface of the lower
wings. Tail rudders were painted with a vertical dark blue band at the
rudder hinge and 13 alternating red-and-white horizontal stripes
trailing. In the early 1930s the painting of fuselages olive drab was
changed to blue, and this motif continued until late 1937, when all
new aircraft (now all-metal) were left unpainted except for national
B-6A of 1st Bomb Squadron, 9th BG, 1935. The dual stripes on the
fuselage denote the aircraft of the squadron commander.
P-26A in livery of 19th Pursuit Squadron, 18th PG, Wheeler Field,
Most pursuit fighters before 1935 were of the Curtiss P-1 Hawk
Boeing P-12 (1929–1935) families, and before the
1934 introduction of the all-metal monoplane, most front-line bombers
were canvas-and-wood variants of the radial engined
Keystone LB-6 (60
LB-5A, LB-6 and LB-7 bombers) and B-3A (127 B-3A, B-4A, B-5, and B-6A
bombers) designs.[n 6] Between 1927 and 1934, the Curtiss O-1 Falcon
was the most numerous of the 19 different types and series of
observation craft and its A-3 variant the most numerous of the attack
planes that fulfilled the observation/close support role designated by
General Staff as the primary mission of the Air Corps.
Transport aircraft of the first ten years of the Air Corps were of
largely trimotor design, such as the Atlantic-Fokker C-2 and the Ford
C-3, and were procured in such small numbers (66 total) that they were
doled out one airplane to a base. As their numbers and utility
declined, they were replaced by a series of 50 twin-engine and
single-engine small transports, and used for staff duties. Pilot
training was conducted between 1927 and 1937 in the Consolidated PT-3
trainer, followed by the Stearman PT-13 and variants after 1937.
By 1933 the Air Corps expanded to a tactical strength of 50 squadrons:
21 pursuit, 13 observation, 12 bombardment, and 4 attack. All were
understrength in aircraft and men, particularly officers, which
resulted in most being commanded by junior officers (commonly first
lieutenants)[n 7] instead of by majors as authorized. The last
open-cockpit fighter used by the Air Corps, the
Peashooter, came into service in 1933 and bridged the gap between the
biplane and more modern fighters.
The Air Corps was called upon in early 1934 to deliver mail in the
wake of the Air Mail scandal, involving the postmaster general and
heads of the airlines. Despite an embarrassing performance that
resulted numerous crashes and 13 fatalities and was deemed a "fiasco"
in the media, investigating boards in 1933-1934[n 8] recommended
organizational and modernization changes that again set the Air Corps
on the path to autonomy and eventual separation from the Army. A force
of 2,320 aircraft was recommended by the Drum Board,[n 9] and
authorized by Congress in June 1936, but appropriations to build up
the force were denied by the administration until 1939, when the
probability of war became apparent. Instead, the Air Corps inventory
actually declined to 855 total aircraft in 1936, a year after the
creation of GHQ Air Force, which by itself was recommended to have a
strength of 980.
The most serious fallout from the Air Mail fiasco was the retirement
under fire of Major General
Benjamin Foulois as Chief of Air Corps.
Soon after the Roosevelt administration placed the blame on him for
the Air Corps' failures, he was investigated by a congressional
subcommittee alleging corruption in aircraft procurement. The matter
resulted in an impasse between committee chairman William N. Rogers
and Secretary of War
George Dern before being sent to the Army's
Inspector General, who ruled largely in favor of Foulois. Rogers
continued to severely criticize Foulois through the summer of 1935,
threatening future Air Corps appropriations, and despite public
support by Dern for the embattled chief, the administration was close
to firing Foulois for his perceived attitude as a radical airman and
his public criticisms of the administration during the controversy. He
retired in December 1935 for the good of the service.
The Roosevelt administration began a search for his replacement in
September 1935, narrowing the choice to two of the three assistant
Henry Conger Pratt
Henry Conger Pratt and Oscar Westover. Pratt appeared to have
the superior credentials, but he had been in charge of aircraft
procurement during the Foulois years and was looked upon warily by
Dern as possibly being another Mitchell or Foulois. Westover was
chosen because he was the philosophical opposite of the two insurgent
airmen in all respects, being a "team player".
The open insurgency between 1920 and 1935 of airmen foreseeing a need
for an independent air force in order to develop fully the potential
of airpower had cost the careers of two of its near-legendary lights,
Foulois and Mitchell, and nearly cost the reputation of two others,
Pratt and Henry H. Arnold. In terms of the principle of civilian
control of the military in peacetime, their tactics and behavior were
clearly inappropriate. The political struggle had temporarily
alienated supporters in Congress, had been counterproductive of the
development of the Air Corps in the short run, and had hardened the
opposition of an already antagonistic General Staff. But through their
mistakes and repeated rebuffs, the airmen had learned what they were
lacking to prove the argument that the Air Corps could perform a
unique mission—strategic bombardment—and the real threat of
another world war would soon reverse their fortunes.
Strategic bombardment in roles and missions
"The Naval Air Force will be based on the fleet and move with it as an
important element in solving the primary missions confronting the
fleet. The Army Air Forces will be land-based and employed as an
essential element to the Army in the performance of its mission to
defend the coasts at home and in our overseas possessions, thus
assuring the fleet absolute freedom of action without any
responsibility for coast defense."
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Adm. William V. Pratt, 7 January 1931
In March 1928, commenting on the lack of survivability in combat of
Keystone LB-7 and
Martin NBS-1 bombers, Lt. Col. Hugh J.
Knerr, commander of the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field,
Virginia, recommended that the Air Corps adopt two types of all-metal
monoplane bombers, a short-range day bomber and a long-range night
bomber. Instructors at the
Air Corps Tactical School
Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS), also then
at Langley, took the concept one step further in March 1930 by
recommending that the types instead be light and heavy, the latter
capable of long range carrying a heavy bomb load that could also be
used during daylight.
The Air Corps in January 1931 "got its foot in the door" for
developing a mission for which only it would have capability, while at
the same time creating a need for technological advancement of its
Chief of Naval Operations
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral
William V. Pratt
William V. Pratt was
desirous of having general assent to his proposition that all naval
aviation including land-based aircraft was by definition tied to
carrier-based fleet operations. Pratt reached an agreement with new
Army Chief of Staff
Douglas MacArthur that the Air Corps would assume
responsibility for coastal defense (traditionally a primary function
of the Army but a secondary, war-time function of the Navy) beyond the
range of the Army's Coast Artillery guns, ending the Navy's apparent
duplication of effort in coastal air operations. The agreement,
intended as a modification of the Joint Action statement on coastal
defense issued in 1926, was not endorsed by the Joint Army-Navy
Board[n 10] and never had authority other than personal agreement
between the two heads of service. Though the Navy repudiated the
statement when Pratt retired in 1934, the Air Corps clung to the
mission, and provided itself with the basis for development of
long-range bombers and creating new doctrine to employ them.
The formulation of theories of strategic bombing gave new impetus to
the argument for an independent air force. Strategic or long-range
bombardment was intended to destroy an enemy nation's industry and
war-making potential, and only an independent service would have a
free hand to do so. But despite what it perceived as "obstruction"
from the War Department, much of which was attributable to a shortage
of funds, the Air Corps made great strides during the 1930s. A
doctrine emerged that stressed precision bombing of industrial targets
by heavily armed long-range aircraft.
This doctrine resulted because of several factors. The Air Corps
Tactical School moved in July 1931 to Maxwell Field, Alabama, where it
taught a 36-week course for junior and mid-career officers that
included military aviation theory. The Bombardment Section, under the
direction of its chief, Major Harold L. George, became influential in
the development of doctrine and its dissemination throughout the Air
Corps. Nine of its instructors became known throughout the Air Corps
as the "Bomber Mafia", eight of whom (including George) went on to be
generals during World War II. Conversely, pursuit tacticians,
primarily Capt. Claire Chennault, Chief of the school's Pursuit
Section, found their influence waning because of repeated performance
failures of pursuit aviation. Finally, the doctrine represented the
Air Corps' attempt to develop autonomy from the General Staff, which
enforced subordination of the air arm by limiting it to support of
ground forces and defense of
United States territory.
Technological advances in bombers
"Gear down" test flight of the
Boeing Y1B-9 bomber in 1932. At the
time it was faster than any existing pursuit plane.
New bomber types under development clearly outperformed new pursuit
types, particularly in speed and altitude, then considered the primary
defenses against interception. In both 1932 and 1933, large-scale
maneuvers found fighters unable to climb to altitude quickly enough to
intercept attacking B-9 and B-10 prototypes, a failure so complete
that Westover, following the 1933 maneuvers, actually proposed
elimination of pursuits altogether.
1933 was a pivotal year in the advancement of aviation technology in
which the all-metal airplane came of age, "practically overnight" in
the words of one historian, because of the availability of the first
practical variable-pitch propeller. Coupled with "best weight" design
of airframes, the controllable pitch propeller resulted in an
immediate doubling of speeds and operating ranges without decreasing
aircraft weights or increasing engine horsepower, exemplified by the
Douglas DC-1 transport and the military
Martin B-10 bomber.
The B-10 featured innovations that became standard internationally for
the next decade: an all-metal low wing monoplane, closed cockpits,
rotating gun turrets, retractable landing gear, internal bomb bay,
high-lift devices and full engine cowlings. The B-10 proved to
be so superior that as its 14 operational test models were delivered
in 1934 they were fed into the Air Corps mail operation, and despite
some glitches caused by pilot unfamiliarity with the innovations,[n
11] were a bright spot. The first action to repair the damaged image
of the Air Corps involved the movement of ten YB-10s from Bolling
Field to Alaska, ostensibly for an airfield survey, but timed to
coincide with the release of the Baker Board's report in July.
The successful development of the B-10 and subsequent orders for more
than 150 (including its B-12 variant) continued the hegemony of the
bomber within the Air Corps that resulted in a feasibility study for a
35-ton 4-engined bomber (the
Boeing XB-15). While it was later found
to be unsuitable for combat because the power of existing engines was
inadequate for its weight, the XB-15 led to the design of the smaller
Model 299, later to become the
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, whose
first flight was at the end of July 1935. By that time the Air Corps
had two projects in place for the development of longer-ranged
bombers, Project A for a bomber with a ferry range of 5,000 miles
(8,000 km), and Project D, for one of a range of up to 10,000
miles (16,000 km). In June 1936 the Air Corps requested
11 B-15s and 50 B-17s for reinforcing hemispheric defense forces in
Hawaii, Alaska, and Panama. The request was rejected on the basis that
there were no strategic requirements for aircraft of such
General Staff resistance to Air Corps doctrine
The Army and Navy, both cognizant of the continuing movement within
the Air Corps for independence, cooperated to resist it. On 11
September 1935, the Joint Board, at the behest of the Navy and with
the concurrence of MacArthur, issued a new "Joint Action Statement"
that once again asserted the limited role of the Air Corps as an
auxiliary to the "mobile Army" in all its missions, including coastal
defense. The edict was issued with the intent of again shoving an
upstart Air Corps back into its place. However, the bomber advocates
interpreted its language differently, concluding that the Air Corps
could conduct long range reconnaissance, attack approaching fleets,
reinforce distant bases, and attack enemy air bases, all in
furtherance of its mission to prevent an air attack on America.[n
A month later (15 October 1935), the
General Staff released a revision
of the doctrinal guide for the Air Corps, training regulation TR
440-15 Employment of the Air Forces of the Army.[n 13] A year
earlier MacArthur had changed TR 440-15 to clarify "the Air Corps's
place in the scheme of national defense and ... (to do away
with) ... misconceptions and interbranch prejudices." The
General Staff characterized its latest revision as a "compromise" with
airpower advocates, to mitigate public criticism of the Joint Action
Statement, but the newest revision parroted the anti-autonomy
conclusions of the Drum and Baker Boards, and reasserted its long-held
position (and that of the Secretary Dern)[n 14] that auxiliary
support of the ground forces was the primary mission of the Air
Corps. TR 440-15 did acknowledge some doctrinal principles
asserted by the ACTS (including the necessity of destroying an enemy's
air forces and concentrating air forces against primary objectives)
and recognized that future wars would probably entail some missions
"beyond the sphere of influence of the Ground Forces" (strategic
bombardment), but it did not attach any importance to prioritization
of targets, weakening its effectiveness as doctrine. The Air Corps
in general assented to the changes, as it did to other compromises of
the period, as acceptable for the moment. TR 440-15 remained the
doctrinal position of the Air Corps until it was superseded by the
first Air Corps Field Manual, FM 1–5 Employment of Aviation of the
Army, on 15 April 1940.[n 15]
In the fall of 1937 the Army War College's course on the use of
airpower reiterated the
General Staff position and taught that
airpower was of limited value when employed independently. Using
attaché reports from both Spain and Ethiopia, and endorsed by a
senior Air Corps instructor, Col. Byron Q. Jones,[n 16] the course
declared that the Flying Fortress concept had "died in Spain", and
that airpower was useful mainly as "long range artillery." Air Corps
officers in the G-3 Department of the
General Staff pointed out that
Jones' conclusions were inconsistent with the revised TR 440-15, but
their views were dismissed by Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Stanley
Embick with the comment: "No doctrine is sacrosanct, and of all
military doctrines, that of the Air Corps should be the last to be so
At the same time the
General Staff ordered studies from all the
service branches to develop drafts for the coming field manuals. The
Air Corps Board, a function of the ACTS, submitted a draft in
September 1938 that included descriptions of independent air
operations, strategic air attacks, and air action against naval
forces, all of which the
General Staff rejected in March 1939. Instead
it ordered that the opening chapter of the Air Corps manual be a
doctrinal statement developed by the G-3 that "left little doubt" that
the General Staff's intention was "to develop and employ aviation in
support of ground forces." The Air Corps Board, on the orders of
Arnold, developed a secret study for "defense of the Monroe Doctrine"
that recommended development of long-range, high altitude, high-speed
aircraft for bombardment and reconnaissance to accomplish that
The War Department, seeking to stifle procurement of the B-17 while
belatedly recognizing that coordinated air-ground support had been
long neglected, decided that it would order only two-engined "light"
bombers in fiscal years 1939 through 1941. It also rejected further
advancement of Project A, the development program for a very long
range bomber.[n 18] In collaboration with the Navy, the Joint
Board (whose senior member was Army Chief of Staff Gen. Malin Craig)
on 29 June 1938 issued a ruling that it could foresee no use for a
long-range bomber in future conflict.[n 19] As a direct result, the
last planned order of long-range bombers (67 B-17s) was cancelled by
Craig[n 20] and a moratorium on further development of them was put
into effect by restricting R&D funding to medium and light
bombers. This policy would last less than a year, as it went
against not only the trends of technological development, but against
the geopolitical realities of coming war.[n 21] In August 1939 the
Army's research and development program for 1941 was modified with the
addition of nearly five million dollars to buy five long-range bombers
for experimental purposes, resulting on 10 November 1939 in the
request by Arnold of the developmental program that would create the
Boeing B-29 Superfortress, which was approved on 2 December.
Between 1930 and 1938 the Air Corps had obtained a mission in coastal
defense that justified both the creation of a centralized strike force
and the development of four-engined bombers, and over the resistance
General Staff lobbied for another mission, strategic
bombardment, with which it could persuasively argue for independence
from the Army. The cost of the General Staff's resistance in terms
of preparedness had been severe, however. Its policies had resulted in
the acquisition of obsolete aircraft as first-line equipment, stifled
design development in the private sector of better types, retarded the
development of radar and ordnance, and handicapped training, doctrine,
and offensive organization by reneging on commitments to acquire the
B-17. "From October 1935 until 30 June 1939, the Air Corps requested
206 B-17's and 11 B-15's. Yet because of cancellations and reductions
of these requests by the War Department, 14 four-engine planes were
delivered to the air force up to the outbreak of
World War II
World War II in
GHQ Air Force
A major step toward creation of a separate air force occurred on 1
March 1935 with the activation of a centralized, air force-level
command headed by an aviator answering directly to the Army Chief of
Staff. Called the General Headquarters Air Force, the organization had
existed in Army planning since 1924 as a subordinate element of Army
General Headquarters, which would be activated to control all Army
units in case of war mobilization. In anticipation of military
intervention Cuba in 1933,[n 22] the headquarters had been created on
1 October but not staffed.[n 23] The Drum Board of 1933 had first
endorsed the concept, but as a means of reintegrating the Air Corps
into control by the General Staff, in effect reining it in.
Among the recommendations of the Baker Board, established in the wake
of the Air Mail scandal, was that the proposals of the Drum Board be
adopted: an increase in strength to 2,320 aircraft and establishment
of GHQ Air Force as a permanent peacetime tactical organization, both
to ameliorate the pressures for a separate air force and to exploit
emerging capabilities in airpower. In the absence of a general
headquarters (i.e. peacetime), GHQ Air Force would report to the
General Staff. The War Plans Division of the Army reacted to the
recommendations of the Baker Board by insisting that men and modern
equipment for seven army divisions[n 24] be procured before any
increase in the Air Corps was begun, and opposed any immediate attempt
to bring the Air Corps up to the 1,800 plane-strength first authorized
in 1926, for fear of antagonizing the Navy.[n 25] President
Roosevelt approved an open-ended program to increase strength to 2,320
aircraft (albeit without any proviso for funding) in August 1934, and
Secretary Dern approved the activation of GHQ Air Force in December
GHQ Air Force took control of all combat air units in the United
States from the jurisdiction of corps area commanders, where it had
resided since 1920, and organized them operationally into a strike
force of three wings.[n 26] The GHQ Air Force remained small in
comparison to European air forces. On its first day of existence, the
command consisted of 60 bombers, 42 attack aircraft, 146 pursuits, and
24 transports, amounting to 40% of strength in the tables of
organization. Administratively it organized the forces into four
geographical districts (which later became the first four numbered air
forces) that paralleled the four field army headquarters created in
General Staff perceived its creation as a means of lessening Air
Corps autonomy, not increasing it, however, and GHQ Air Force was a
"coordinate component" equal to the Air Corps, not subject to its
control. The organizations reported separately to the Chief of Staff,
the Air Corps as the service element of the air arm, and GHQAF as the
tactical element. However all GHQ Air Force's members, along with
members of units stationed overseas and under the control of local
ground commanders, remained part of the Air Corps. This dual status
and division of authority hampered the development of Air Corps for
the next six years, as it had the Air Service during World War I, and
was not overcome until the necessity of expanding the force occurred
with the onset of World War II. The commanding general of GHQ Air
Force, Maj. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, clashed philosophically with
Westover over the direction in which the air arm was heading, adding
to the difficulties, with Andrews in favor of autonomy and Westover
not only espousing subordination to the Army chain of command, but
aggressively enforcing his prohibitions against any commentary opposed
to current policy. Andrews, by virtue of being out from Westover's
control, had picked up the mantle of the radical airmen, and Westover
soon found himself on "the wrong side of history" as far as the future
of the Air Corps was concerned.[n 27]
Lines of authority were also blurred as GHQ Air Force controlled only
combat flying units within the continental United States. The Air
Corps was responsible for training, aircraft development, doctrine,
and supply, while the ground forces corps area commanders still
controlled installations and the personnel manning them. An
example of the difficulties this arrangement imposed on commanders was
that while the commander of GHQ Air Force was responsible for the
discipline of his command, he had no court martial authority over his
personnel, which was retained by the corps area commander. Base
commanders of Air Corps installations reported to as many as four
different higher echelons.[n 28] The issue of control of bases was
ameliorated in 1936 when GHQAF bases were exempted from corps area
authority on recommendation of the Inspector General's Department, but
in November 1940 it was restored again to Corps Area control when Army
General Headquarters was activated.
Interception of the Rex. The navigator for the mission was 1st Lt.
In January 1936, the Air Corps contracted with
Boeing for thirteen
Y1B-17 Flying Fortress prototypes, enough to equip one squadron for
operational testing and a thirteenth aircraft for stress testing, with
deliveries made from January to August 1937. The cost of the aircraft
disturbed Secretary of War Harry Woodring, who denied requests for
further purchases, so that although the air arm embraced strategic
bombing as its primary doctrine after the creation of GHQ Air Force,
by 1938 there were still only thirteen on hand. On 18 March 1938
Secretary Woodring implemented a plan that would have included the
purchase of 144 four-engine bombers but approval was reversed in July
when the moratorium against the long-range bomber program was imposed
by the Joint Board.[n 29] The purchase of 67 B-17s (five
squadrons) in FY 1940 as an increment of the Woodring program, using
carryover funds, was cancelled by Craig.
The moratorium also resulted from the enmity of the Navy incurred by
the Air Corps on 12 May 1938 when it widely publicized the
interception of the Italian ocean liner Rex by three B-17s while it
was 610 nautical miles (1,100 km) off-shore of New York
City.[n 30] Possibly under pressure from the Navy, Craig placed a
limit of 100 nautical miles (190 km) on all future off-shore
flights by the Army. The services together issued a revised Joint
Action statement in November reasserting that the mission of the Air
Corps in coastal defense was only for supporting the Navy if called
upon to do so, while simultaneously authorizing for the Navy the
long-range shore-based coastal patrol mission denied the Air Corps.
Westover, who stridently opposed cancellation of the Woodring program,
was killed in an air crash on 21 September 1938 and was succeeded by
Modernization and expansion of the force
Main article: Military aircraft of the United States
The Air Corps tested and employed a profusion of pursuit, observation,
and bomber aircraft during its 15-year history. The advent of the new
generation of monoplanes and the emergence of strategic bombardment
doctrine led to many designs in the mid and late 1930s that were still
in use when the
United States entered World War II. Among the key
technology items developed were oxygen and cabin pressurization
systems, engine superchargers (systems essential for high-altitude
combat), advanced radio communication systems, such as
VHF radios, and
the Norden bombsight.
Douglas C-39 transport
As a further consequence of the Air Mail scandal, the Baker Board
reviewed the performance of Air Corps aircraft and recognized that
civilian aircraft were far superior to planes developed solely to Air
Corps specifications. Following up on its recommendation, the Air
Corps purchased and tested a
Douglas DC-2 as the XC-32, which
subsequently became the flying headquarters of Gen. Andrews. The
DC-2 so exceeded Air Corps specifications that 17 were purchased under
the designation C-33 to equip the first permanent transport unit, the
10th Transport Group,[n 31] activated in June 1937 at Patterson Field
in Ohio. In 1939 the Air Corps recognized that it might soon
require large numbers of modern air transports for use in war and
purchased 35 DC-2/DC-3 hybrids, designated the C-39. After the
fall of France, the Air Corps in September 1940 ordered 200 untried
and unproven Curtiss C-46 Commandos from Curtiss-Wright and 545
Douglas C-47 Skytrains, the forerunner of the more than 10,000 C-47s
and related variants that served in World War II.
Even with the doctrine of strategic bombardment as its priority, the
Air Corps belatedly sought to modernize its tactical combat force
under GHQ Air Force, bringing into service the
Northrop A-17 and
Douglas B-18 Bolo
Douglas B-18 Bolo in 1936, the
Seversky P-35 in 1937, and the Curtiss
P-36 in 1938. All of these aircraft were obsolete by the time they
came into service, and the outbreak of war in Europe spurred
development of more capable types. By October 1940, over a year before
United States was drawn into the war, every piston-driven
single-seat fighter eventually used by the USAAF during World War II
was in flight test except the P-47. However, the press of the
enormous tasks confronting the Air Corps and the primacy of strategic
bombing doctrine meant that development of a long-range capability for
these new single-engined fighters was not undertaken until combat
losses of bombers forced the issue.
Notable fighters developed during the late 1930s and early 1940s were
Bell P-39 Airacobra
Bell P-39 Airacobra (first flown April 1938), Curtiss P-40 Warhawk
Lockheed P-38 Lightning
Lockheed P-38 Lightning (January 1939), North American
P-51 Mustang (October 1940), and
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (May 1941).
Technological development of fighters occurred so rapidly that by
December 1941 both the P-39 and P-40 were approaching obsolescence,
even though both had been in production less than 18 months.
Bombers developed during this period were the Douglas A-20 Havoc
(first flown October 1938),
North American B-25 Mitchell
North American B-25 Mitchell (January
Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Consolidated B-24 Liberator (December 1939), and Martin B-26
Marauder (November 1940). Except for the B-24, P-47, and P-51, all
of these had production deliveries that began before the AAF came into
being in June 1941. Three other long-range bombers began development
during this period, though only mock-ups were produced before World
War II: the B-29 (study begun in 1938), the Consolidated B-32
Dominator (June 1940), and the
Convair B-36 Peacemaker
Convair B-36 Peacemaker (April 1941).[n
Expansion of the Air Corps
In a special message to Congress on 12 January 1939,[n 33] President
Roosevelt advised that the threat of a new war made the
recommendations of the Baker Board inadequate for American defense and
requested approval of a "minimum 3,000-plane increase" for the Air
Corps.[n 34] On 3 April 1939, Congress allocated the
$300 million requested by Roosevelt for expansion of the Air
Corps, half of which was dedicated to purchasing planes to raise the
inventory from 2,500 to 5,500 airplanes, and the other half for new
personnel, training facilities, and bases. Orders for B-17s, which
had been held in abeyance since June 1938, resumed in the summer of
1939 with incremental deliveries of 39 B-17Bs in 1939–40, 18 B-17Cs
in 1940, and 42 B-17Ds in the first quarter of 1941.[n 35] The first
large order for heavy bomber production, 512 combat-capable B-17Es,
was placed in July 1940.[n 36]
In June 1939 the Kilner Board[n 37] recommended several types of
bombers needed to fulfill the Air Corps mission that included aircraft
having tactical radii of both 2,000 and 3,000 miles (revised in 1940
to 4,000). Chief of Staff Craig, long an impediment to Air Corps
ambitions but nearing retirement, came around to the Air Corps
viewpoint after Roosevelt's views became public. Likewise, the War
General Staff reversed itself and concurred in the
requirements, ending the brief moratorium on bomber development and
paving the way for work on the B-29.
Over the winter of 1938–1939, Arnold transferred a group of
experienced officers headed by Lt. Col.
Carl A. Spaatz
Carl A. Spaatz to his
headquarters as an unofficial air staff[n 38] to lay out a plan that
would increase the Air Corps to 50,000 men by June 1941. The expansion
program of the Air Corps was characterized by repeated upward revision
of goals for increasing aircraft production, combat unit totals, the
training of new personnel, and construction of new bases. New combat
groups were created by detaching cadres from the existing 15 Regular
groups to provide the core of the new units, with each older group
providing the basis for an average of three new groups. Graduates of
an expanded flight training program filled out the new groups and
replaced the experienced personnel transferred from the older groups,
resulting in a steady decline in the overall level of experience in
the operational units. In essence, groups "self-trained"
to proficiency standards set by training directives from the
GHQAF. Unable to keep pace with the revised programs for expansion
of combat groups, unit tactical training for all groups suffered from
a shortage of equipment (particularly combat aircraft), an unavoidable
preoccupation with administrative details during organization, and a
lack of training facilities, especially bombing and gunnery ranges,
leaving a "vast gap between the desired status of training in combat
units and their actual status immediately prior to ... Pearl
The initial 25-Group Program for air defense of the hemisphere,
developed in April 1939, called for 50,000 men (12,000 pilots). Its
ten new combat groups were activated on 1 February 1940.[n 39]
Following the successful German invasion of France and the Low
Countries in May 1940, a 54-Group Program was approved on 12
July,[n 40] although funding approval could not keep pace and only
25 additional groups were activated on 15 January 1941. An
84-Group Program, with an eventual goal of 400,000 men by 30 June
1942, was approved on 14 March 1941, although not publicly announced
until 23 October 1941.[n 41] In addition to unit training and
funding problems, these programs were hampered by delays in acquiring
the new infrastructure necessary to support them, sites for which had
to be identified, negotiated and approved before construction. The
General Staff again was unwilling to assign any of this work to the
Air Corps, and instead detailed it to the overtaxed Quartermaster
Corps. When the QMC failed to put new air bases in place in either an
efficient or timely manner, the Corps of Engineers was then assigned
the task, although it continued to implement the policies already in
By the time the Europeans went to war in September 1939, the Americans
first expansion lagged so distantly in relation to its goals in
manpower and tactical aircraft that Andrews described the Air Corps as
a "fifth rate air force." Of its 1,500 combat aircraft, only 800
were rated as first-line, 700 of which became obsolete by December
1941.[n 43] By comparison, the RAF had 1,750 first-line aircraft and
Luftwaffe 3,750. Moreover, the
Luftwaffe had more personnel
on the staffs of its headquarters and air ministry than were in the
entire Air Corps (26,000). The first-line aircraft that would soon be
considered obsolete were the B-18, A-17, and P-36. The only first-line
aircraft in 1939 that remained so during
World War II
World War II was the B-17,
and it had to be significantly modernized before it was
The acceleration of the expansion programs resulted in an Air Corps of
156 installations of all types and 100,000 men by the end of 1940.
Twenty civilian flight schools and eight technical training schools
were contracted to provide additional training facilities, and on 10
Pan American Airways
Pan American Airways was contracted to provide
meteorological and navigation training at Coral Gables, Florida, until
military schools could be established.
The first delivery of B-17Es took place in November 1941.
Two-thirds of all Air Corps officers were second lieutenants whose
flying experience consisted of their flight training. The Air
Corps had 17 major installations and four depots, and most of its 76
airfields were co-located at civil airports or were small strips on
Army posts.[n 44]
Procurement of aircraft remained a significant problem for the Air
Corps until the eve of war, because of diversion of production to the
Allies. On 16 May 1940, with the fall of France imminent, President
Roosevelt delivered an address to Congress calling for a supplemental
appropriation of nearly a billion dollars and the manufacture of
50,000 aircraft a year for the armed forces (36,500 of them for the
Air Corps). Eighteen months later the AAF still had only 3,304 combat
aircraft (only 1,024 overseas), and 7,024 non-combat aircraft, of
which 6,594 were trainers. Its command staff increased in October
1940 to 24 with the addition of 15 new general officer billets.[n
45] By June 1941, when the Air Corps became part of the AAF, it had 33
general officers, including four serving in observer roles to the
Royal Air Force.
Dissolution of the Air Corps
Unity of Command difficulties
Arnold, at the direction of President Roosevelt in January 1939,
oversaw an expansion of the Air Corps that doubled it in size from 15
to 30 groups by the end of 1940. The separation of the combat
organization (GHQ Air Force) from the logistic organization (Air
Corps) created serious problems of coordination nearly identical to
the Division of Military Aeronautics/Bureau of Aircraft Production
dual-authority mess of World War I. In March 1939, with the
replacement of Andrews as commander of GHQ Air Force by Maj. Gen.
Delos C. Emmons, Arnold was nominally assigned to "supervise" the
tactical force but this did not resolve the divisions in command. On 5
October 1940, Arnold drew up a proposal to reorganize the air arm
along functional lines, creating an air staff, unifying the various
organizations under one commander, and giving it autonomy with the
ground and supply forces—a plan which was eventually adopted in
March 1942—and submitted it to Chief of Staff George C. Marshall,
but it was immediately opposed by the
General Staff in all
Instead, the two organizations were separated again by a directive
from Marshall on 19 November 1940. Army General Headquarters was
activated (more than five years after the activation of "its" air
force) and GHQ AF placed under it, even though Army GHQ had been
activated as a training organization. Its logistical and training
structure were again out of its hands, this time under the direct
control of the chief of staff, and its airfields again came under
control of the corps commanders. Maj. Gen. George H. Brett, acting
Chief of the Air Corps, denounced the plan as "disastrous in
war". The problems already existing due to the lack of unity
of command were exacerbated by the assignment of GHQ Air Force to Army
GHQ. Emmons, who had begun his tour junior to Arnold, was promoted to
lieutenant general to make him equal to the commanders of the field
armies also controlled by Army GHQ. This forced him to report to and
act under an inferior in rank (both Arnold and Brett were major
As a compromise on all these issues, Marshall made Arnold "Acting
Deputy Chief of Staff for Air." Although the Air Corps found the
compromise unsatisfactory, this provisional position on the general
staff did enable him to coordinate the two sections of the air arm
until the organizational problems were repaired. Even in the short
run, however, coordination proved to be no substitute for unit of
Creation of the Army Air Forces
In the spring of 1941, the combat successes of the British Royal Air
Force and the Nazi Germans'
Luftwaffe under centralized control made
clear that the fragmenting of authority in the American air arm had
resulted in a dangerous lack of clear channels of command. After a
joint U.S.-British strategic planning agreement (ABC-1) rebuffed the
long-held argument that the Air Corps had no wartime mission except
support of ground forces, the War Department revised Army
Regulation 95-5 on 20 June in an attempt to end the divisions without
legislative intervention by Congress. In creating the Army Air Forces
with the Air Corps and the Air Force Combat Command (a redesignation
of General Headquarters Air Force) as its major components, the War
Department also authorized an Air Staff to manage planning and
execution of expansion of the air arm and named Arnold as Chief of the
Army Air Forces. It did not, however, end the dual chain of command
difficulties, as air units of Air Force Combat Command still reported
to Army GHQ as well as Headquarters AAF. Two further attempts by
Arnold to implement his reorganization were again rejected by the WDGS
in October and November.
At this stage, support of airpower in public opinion reached
unprecedented highs, increasing pressures from outside the military
for an independent air arm with representation in the cabinet.[n
46] Arnold made a decision to postpone any attempts to exploit the
opportunity to push for an independent Air Force. Assured of a free
hand by Marshall, Arnold thought that it would "be a serious mistake
to change the existing setup" in the midst of the crucial expansion
effort, which in less than five years would be more than 100
times its June 1939 size in personnel (much of it highly trained
technically) alone. By November, however, the division of authority
within the Army as a whole caused by the activation of Army GHQ
prompted Marshall to assert that he had "the poorest command post in
the Army." Defense commands, particularly those affecting air defense,
had in Marshall's words showed a "disturbing failure to follow through
on orders." Confronted with Marshall's dissatisfaction with Army
General Staff reversed its opposition. Marshall appointed an
Air Corps officer, Brig. Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, to chair a "War
Department Reorganization Committee" within the War Plans Division,
using Arnold's plan as a blueprint.
Based on the recommendations of McNarney's committee, Roosevelt issued
Executive Order 9082, which changed Arnold's title to Commanding
General, Army Air Forces effective 9 March 1942, making him co-equal
with the commanding generals of the other components of the Army of
the United States. On that date, War Department Circular 59
formalized the changes, abolishing Army GHQ and organizing the Army
into three autonomous components: the Army Air Forces, the Army Ground
Forces, and the Services of Supply, each with a commanding general
reporting to the Chief of Staff. The Office of Chief of Air Corps
(OCAC) was abolished (as was Air Force Combat Command) and the
functions of the Air Corps transferred to the AAF, reducing the status
of the Air Corps to a combat arm classification.[n 47]
The Congress did not dis-establish the Army Air Corps as a combat arm
until 26 July 1947, when the National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat.
502) became law. Most members of the Army Air Forces also remained
members of the Air Corps. In May 1945, 88 percent of officers serving
in the Army Air Forces were commissioned in the Air Corps, while 82
percent of enlisted members assigned to AAF units and bases had the
Air Corps as their combat arm branch.
Organization of the Air Corps
Army Air Corps, 1 March 1935
SOURCES: Maurer Maurer, Aviation in the U.S. Army, 1919–1939
(Appendix 5), and Air Force Combat Units of World War II, both USAF
Historical Research Center
This list of units is a snapshot of the Air Corps on the date of
activation of the General Headquarters Air Force. Except for the
assignment of four reconnaissance (formerly observation) squadrons to
the 1st and 2nd Wings in September 1936 for attachment to their heavy
bombardment groups,[n 48] and the May 1937 exchange of the 12th
Observation Group (inactivated) for the 10th Transport Group
(activated), the organization of the Air Corps shown here remained
essentially unchanged until activation of the first expansion groups
on 1 February 1940.
General Headquarters Air Force
(Maj. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Langley Field, Virginia)
21st Airship Group, Scott Field, Illinois
9th Airship Squadron, Scott Field
19th Airship Squadron, Langley Field
Boeing P-26A Peashooter of 34th Pursuit Squadron, 17th PG 1934–1935
(Brig. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, March Field, California)
7th Bombardment Group, Hamilton Field, California
9th, 11th, & 31st Bombardment Squadrons
17th Attack Group, March Field, California
34th, 73d, & 95th Attack Squadrons
19th Bombardment Group, March Field, California
23d, 30th, 32d, & 72d Bombardment Squadrons (23d & 72d BS
based in Hawaii)
Martin B-12A (variant of the B-10) of 31st Bomb Squadron, 7th BG,
Hamilton Field, California
(Brig. Gen. H. Conger Pratt, Langley Field, Virginia)
37th Attack Squadron (attached to 8th Pursuit Group)
1st Pursuit Group, Selfridge Field, Michigan
17th, 27th & 94th Pursuit Squadrons
2nd Bombardment Group, Langley Field, Virginia
20th, 49th, 54th, and 96th Bombardment Squadrons (54th detached to Air
Corps Tactical School)
8th Pursuit Group, Langley Field, Virginia
33d, 35th & 36th Pursuit Squadrons (37th Attack Squadron attached)
9th Bombardment Group, Mitchel Field, New York
1st, 5th, 14th & 99th Bombardment Squadrons
Curtiss A-12 Shrike
Curtiss A-12 Shrike of the 13th Attack Squadron, 3d AG, Barksdale
(Col. Gerald C. Brant, Barksdale Field, Louisiana)
3d Attack Group, Barksdale Field, Louisiana
8th, 13th, & 90th Attack Squadrons (51st Attack Squadron detached
to Air Corps Tactical School)
20th Pursuit Group, Barksdale Field, Louisiana
55th, 77th & 79th Pursuit Squadrons (87th Pursuit Squadron
detached to Air Corps Tactical School)
PT-13, Air Corps primary trainer
Other flying units
Second Corps Area,
United States Army, Mitchel Field, New York
97th Observation Squadron
Sixth Corps Area,
United States Army, Scott Field, Illinois
15th Observation Squadron
15th Observation Squadron (Attached)
Eighth Corps Area,
United States Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas
12th Observation Group, Brooks Field, Texas
12th Observation Squadron
22d Observation Squadron
88th Observation Squadron
Ninth Corps Area,
United States Army, Crissy Field, California
91st Observation Squadron
Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field, Texas
40th Attack, 41st Observation, 42nd Bombardment, 43d Pursuit
39th School Squadron
Air Corps Primary Flying School, Randolph Field, Texas
46th, 47th, 52nd, and 53rd School Squadrons
Air Corps Tactical School, Maxwell Field, Alabama
51st Attack, 54th Bombardment, 86th Observation, 87th Pursuit
Air Corps Technical School, Chanute Field, Illinois
48th Pursuit Squadron
Rockwell Air Depot, Rockwell Field, California
4th Transport Squadron
4th Transport Squadron (Activated 8 July 1935)
P-12E of 6th Pursuit Squadron, 18th PG 1935–1938, Wheeler Field,
4th Composite Group, Clark Field, Luzon
2nd Observation, 3d Pursuit & 28th Bombardment Squadrons
18th Composite Wing
(Lt. Col. Delos Emmons, Fort Shafter, Hawaii)[n 50]
5th Composite Group, Luke Field, Hawaii
26th Attack, 4th & 50th Observation Squadrons [n 51]
18th Pursuit Group, Wheeler Field, Hawaii
6th, 19th Pursuit Squadrons
19th Composite Wing
(Lt. Col. William C. McChord, Albrook Field, Panama Canal Zone)[n 52]
6th Composite Group, Albrook Field, Canal Zone
25th Bombardment, 7th & 44th Observation Squadrons
16th Pursuit Group, Albrook Field, Canal Zone
24th, 29th, 74th & 78th Pursuit Squadrons
Strength as of 30 June of each year
Generals Benjamin D. Foulois, Assistant Chief of Air Corps (left);
James E. Fechet, Chief of Air Corps; and H. Conger Pratt, Chief of
Materiel Division, in 1931.
Chiefs of Air Corps
Maj. Gen. Mason M. Patrick, 2 July 1926 – 13 December 1927
Maj. Gen. James E. Fechet, 14 December 1927 – 19 December 1931
Maj. Gen. Benjamin D. Foulois, 20 December 1931 – 21 December
Maj. Gen. Oscar M. Westover, 22 December 1935 – 21 September
Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, 29 September 1938 – 20 June 1941
Maj. Gen. George H. Brett, 20 June 1941 – 9 March 1942
Commanding generals, GHQ Air Force
Maj. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, 1 March 1935 – 1 March 1939
Maj. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, 1 March 1939 – 20 June 1941
as Air Force Combat Command
Lt. Gen. Delos C. Emmons, 20 June 1941 – 17 December 1941
Carl A. Spaatz
Carl A. Spaatz – c. January 1942 – 5 May 1942
Lineage of the
United States Air Force
Aeronautical Division, Signal Corps 1 August 1907 – 18 July
Aviation Section, Signal Corps 18 July 1914 – 20 May 1918
Division of Military Aeronautics 20 May 1918 – 24
Air Service, U.S. Army 24 May 1918 – 2 July 1926
U.S. Army Air Corps 2 July 1926 – 20 June 1941*
U.S. Army Air Forces 20 June 1941 – 18 September
United States Air Force 18 September 1947–present
* The Air Corps became a subordinate component of the Army Air Forces
on 20 June 1941, and was abolished as an administrative organization
on 9 March 1942. It continued to exist as one of the combat arms of
the Army (along with Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, Corps of Engineers
and Signal Corps) until abolished by reorganization provisions of the
National Security Act of 1947 (61 Stat. 495), 26 July 1947.
United States Air Force
United States Air Force portal
Air Corps Tactical School
Air Mail scandal
List of military aircraft of the United States
United States Army Air Service
United States Army Air Forces
Bird of Paradise (aircraft)
Question Mark (aircraft)
Interception of the Rex
^ The Coolidge administration boasted of cutting the War Department's
budget by 75%.
^ Gen. Patrick's proposal of an Air Corps equivalent to the Marine
Corps was characterized by Brig. Gen.
Fox Conner (and not for the
first nor last time by
General Staff opponents of Air Corps
independence) as a "promotion scheme".
^ All Air Corps generals held temporary ranks. The Air Corps did not
have a member promoted to permanent establishment general officer
until 1937, and he was promptly removed from the Air Corps.
^ Gillmore had been chief of the Supply Division of the Air Service.
Both he and Lahm served a single tour. Of the three assistant chiefs,
Fechet succeeded Patrick in December 1927, Gillmore retired on 30 June
1930, and Lahm reverted to his permanent rank on 16 July 1930.
General Staff viewed the "five-year plan" as an opponent of the
Army in general and fought it bitterly, citing it as a destructive
force at every opportunity. General Drum also chaired the 1933 Drum
Board, created specifically to oppose (and revise) plans and
appropriation requests submitted by Chief of Air Corps Foulois that
were not to the General Staff's liking.
^ The primary difference between the types is the twin-finned tail of
the former, and the single vertical stabilizer of the latter design,
which gave it marginally superior performance.
^ An example is Ralph F. Stearley, who commanded the 13th Attack
Squadron for four years as a 1st Lieutenant.
^ The Drum Board was a panel of five generals formed in August 1933 by
General Staff to oppose recommendations by Air Corps planners for
development and expansion to meet defense needs (Tate (1998) pp.
138–139), while the Baker Board was formed after the Air Mail
scandal and had as its military members (who controlled the agenda)
the five generals of the Drum Board (Tate pp. 143–145).
^ The Drum Board derived its figure as the number necessary to
maintain 2,072 "serviceable" planes for its worst-case scenario, War
Plan Red-Orange. War plans involving Great Britain ("Red") as an
opponent were not officially excluded from
United States war planning
until January 1938.
^ The Joint Army-Navy Board was the rudimentary precursor of the Joint
Chiefs of Staff.
^ Two YB-10s were landed with their landing gear still up, both by
experienced aviators, one a major with 100 hours in aircraft with
retractable gear. (Maurer 1987, p. 311)
^ The Joint Action Statement fostered a lack of inter-service
cooperation on coastal defense that continued until the Japanese
attack on Pearl Harbor. As late as 14 October 1941, CNO Adm. Harold
Stark insisted that the "proper" role of Army aviation in coastal
defense was support of Navy operations. (Shiner, "The Coming of the
GHQ Air Force", p. 121)
^ Since 1923 Army doctrine had been stated in Field Service
Regulations, which were general in character, and Training
Regulations, which stated combat principles for each combatant arm. TR
440-15 had been first issued on 26 January 1926 as Fundamental
Principles for the Employment of the Air Service. Coincidentally, Col.
William L. Mitchell resigned from the service the day following its
issuance. This dichotomy of regulations and principles ended in 1939
with the creation of field manuals.
^ Dern's characterization of the Air Corps' role in February 1934 as
"subordinated like all other elements to whatever team it happens to
accompany" leaves no doubt as to the Army's position about its
^ In March 1939 the Secretary of War created an "Air Board" chaired by
Arnold and instructed it to submit a recommendation for organization
and doctrine of the Air Corps. Its report, submitted to Chief of Staff
Marshall on 1 September 1939, represented an Army-wide perspective. It
became the basis for FM 1–5, and recognized that the United States
was then on the strategic defensive. Its view was conservative and "a
considerable attenuation of air doctrine" as espoused by the ACTS.
However it did correct the omissions of TR 440-15 and reasserted that
centralized control by an airman in any combat role was essential for
efficiency. Ironically, Gen. Andrews had by then become Army G-3 and
reported to Marshall that the manual "did not endorse the radical
theory of air employment". FM 1–5 was followed by supplemental
doctrine Air Corps Field Manuals FM 1–15 Tactics and Technique of
Air Fighting (pursuit) on 9 September 1940, FM 1–10 Tactics and
Technique of Air Attack (bombardment) on 20 November 1940, FM 1–20
Tactics and Technique of Air Reconnaissance and Observation on 10
February 1941, War Department Basic Field Manual FM 31–35 Aviation
in Support of Ground Forces on 9 April 1942, and Army Air Forces Field
Manual FM 1–75 Combat Orders on 16 June 1942. FM 1–5 was itself
superseded after just three years following disputes over control of
air power in North Africa by FM 100-20 Command and Employment of Air
Power (Field Service Regulations) on 21 July 1943 in what many in the
Army Ground Forces
Army Ground Forces viewed as the Army Air Forces' "Declaration of
Independence." (AGF Historical Study No. 35, p. 47)
^ Jones, an aviation pioneer and formerly a cavalry officer, was the
rarest of Air Corps officers, a "true believer" in the General Staff
doctrine. He was one of the few senior Air Corps officers never to
have attended or instructed at the Air Corps Tactical School.
Following his controversial endorsement, the War Department offered
him a command with a temporary promotion to brigadier general. His
autobiographical entry in the Cullum Register of USMA graduates,
however, states he declined "because of desire of superiors to retain
his services within (the) continental U.S." Jones remained at the Army
War College with its temporary promotion to colonel until September
1939, then accepted a cavalry assignment and transferred from the Air
^ Embick was formerly chief of the War Plans Division. In
collaboration with Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4 (logistics) Brig.
Gen. George R. Spalding, Embick was the driving force in minimizing
all Air Corps R&D, squelching long-range bombers, and referring
doctrinal disputes to the Joint Army-Navy Board for resolution. His
influence ended the next year when he was replaced as Deputy Chief of
Staff by George C. Marshall. (Greer 1985, p. 95)
^ The rejection was by Secretary of War Woodring of a request by
Westover in May 1938 that all funds remaining for the B-15 be applied
to the development of a single
Boeing Y1B-20, a design improvement of
the B-15 with more powerful engines. Instead the funds were diverted
to buy more B-18s. (Greer 1985, p. 99)
^ J.B. 349. The ruling also further blocked the Project A bomber by
decreeing that there was no reconnaissance need for an aircraft with
range beyond that of the B-17.
^ The funds, already appropriated, were then used to buy more light
^ The R&D restriction was rescinded in October 1938 following the
Munich Conference, although the ban on buying more B-17s in FY 1940
and 1941 remained. (Greer 1985, p. 100)
^ A coup styled "the revolt of the sergeants" seized the Cuban
military and replaced a provisional government sponsored by the
Roosevelt Administration with a junta. Although Roosevelt was disposed
to intervention as a last resort, warnings that he intended to
intervene under the Treaty of 1903 were made to the revolutionaries.
^ Four ground force field army headquarters were established at the
^ These divisions were specifically four infantry and three horse
^ Brig. Gen. Charles E. Kilbourne, at the core of the General Staff's
disputes with the Air Corps and supervisor of the revision of TR
440-15, authored these suggestions. He also freely espoused his
opinion that expansion of the Air Corps was primarily a "selfish"
means of promotion for aviators at the expense of the rest of the
Army. Although rapid promotion of youthful airmen became a cliche in
World War II, during the inter-war years Air Service/Air Corps
promotion lagged notoriously behind that of the other branches. On the
669-name promotion list for colonel in 1922, on which Kilbourne had
been 76th, the first airman (later Chief of Air Corps James Fechet)
had been 354th. The 1,800 aircraft goal was never reached because of
General Staff resistance to the "five-year plan", but the War Plans
Division did deem it "acceptable" for implementation of War Plan
Red-Orange. The Air Corps, based on studies of joint exercises held at
Key West, Florida, found the number dangerously inadequate, concluding
that 4,459 aircraft was the minimum needed to defend the United States
against air attack in the event of War Plan Red-Orange.
^ The wings were organized both functionally and geographically. The
1st was both the bombardment and the Pacific wing, the 2d the pursuit
and Atlantic wing, and the 3rd the attack and Gulf Coast wing.
^ Andrews and Westover were both 1906 graduates of West Point, with
Andrews graduating one position higher in class standings. Andrews had
originally been a cavalryman, and had married into the inner circles
in Washington, while Westover, a former infantry officer with the
unfortunate nickname of "Tubby," had pursued his career with
bulldog-like determination. He had not learned to fly until he was 40
years of age and was a reluctant participant in Washington's social
environs, usually depending on his assistant Hap Arnold to fulfill the
protocol role. As early as 5 May 1919, in a memo to Director of Air
Service Charles Menoher for whom he was assistant executive officer,
Westover had demonstrated a loyalty to subordination, urging the
relief of Billy Mitchell from his position as Third Assistant
Executive (S-3) of the Air Service—along with his division
heads—if their advocacy of positions not conforming to Army policy
did not cease.
^ The base commander of
Selfridge Field was responsible for various
aspects of administration to the CG of GHQAF, the Chief of the Air
Corps, the commander of the Sixth Corps Area, and the Chief of the Air
^ The Woodring Plan (based on the "Balanced Air Corps Program"
developed after a two-year War Department study) was another
"five-year plan" that called for adding 1,094 aircraft: 144
four-engine bombers, 266 two-engine bombers, 259 attack aircraft, and
425 pursuits, to begin in FY 1940 (July 1939). It was supported by
both Andrews and Westover.
^ The distance is commonly but erroneously given as 725 miles. The Rex
was actually that distance in nautical miles offshore on her last
position report as the B-17s were taxiing for takeoff.
^ This group had operated as the provisional "1st Transport Group"
between 1932 and 1937, with a squadron serving each of the Air Corps'
four air depots. (Craven and Cate, Vol. 7 p. 4)
^ The B-36 fulfilled the requirements of Project D, the ultra-range
bomber envisioned by Air Corps planners in 1935 but rejected by the
War Department in 1938.
^ Arnold called this speech the "
Magna Carta of airpower".
^ Roosevelt's plans were more far-reaching than the speech indicates.
At a confidential and historic conference in the White House in late
1938, Roosevelt met with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau;
WPA Chief Harry L. Hopkins; Solicitor General Robert H. Jackson;
Secretary of War Woodring; Secretary of the Navy Charles Edison;
General Counsel of the Treasury Herman Oliphant; Chief of Naval
Operations Adm. Harold R. Stark; Craig; Marshall; and Arnold. He
outlined a vigorous and singular call for 10,000 aircraft, but was
persuaded by advisers to cut back the number for political reasons.
The date of this conference is in dispute. Arnold, from the notes he
made on a manila envelope, stated in Global Mission (p. 177, with
which Coffey agrees) that it took place on 28 September while Neville
Chamberlain was preparing to return to Germany to complete the Munich
Agreement. Other historians, including Gen. John W. Huston, editor of
American Airpower Comes of Age: General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold's World
War II Diaries, and Mark Skinner Watson, in the Army's official
history Chief of Staff: Prewar Plans and Preparations (United States
World War II
World War II series), date the meeting as 14 November. Huston
asserts that the Navy was pointedly excluded from the conference and
argues that a number of White House "crisis" conferences were held in
October and November, most without written record, and that Arnold
confused them, inserting the date (in pencil on an otherwise ink
record) in his notes after-the-fact (Huston, Vol. I, pp. 120–121,
note 216). Watson indicates that only Roosevelt's "naval aides"
represented the Navy (p. 137). Coffey argues that beginning with
Roosevelt's weekly press conference of 14 October, the president
issued public and private statements that indicated his Air Corps
expansion plans were already well underway. William Goss, in his
summary for Army Air Forces in World War II, uses 14 November, but
concedes that expansion plans were well under way before November, and
that Arnold was possibly correct. Greer (The Development of Air
Doctrine in the Army Air Arm, 1917–1941) agrees with Arnold and
Coffey (p. 100). Because both dates are marked by notable events
involving Nazi Germany (the U.S. broke diplomatic relations with
Germany on 14 November), the actual date remains unresolved.
^ 20 additional B-17Cs were delivered
Lend-Lease to the RAF under the
designation "Fortress I" in 1941.
^ A shortage of critical materials and insufficient skilled labor
delayed production, which did not begin until April 1941. The first
deliveries of the B-17E to the AAF began in November 1941, five months
later than scheduled. Its successor, the B-17F, followed less than six
months later however and was the primary AAF bomber in its first year
of combat operations.
^ The Kilner Board, appointed by Arnold, was chaired by Assistant
Chief of the Air Corps Brig. Gen. Walter G. "Mike" Kilner, a veteran
pursuit pilot and proponent of an independent Air Force.
^ The service was not authorized an official air staff until creation
of the Army Air Forces in June 1941.
^ These were the 11th, 22nd, 25th and 29th Bomb Groups; 27th, 31st,
35th, 36th, and 37th Pursuit Groups; and the 28th Composite Group. Of
the bomb groups, all but the 22nd were intended to be B-17 units.
^ Under a program called the First Aviation Objective, the plan called
for 4006 combat aircraft, including 498 long-range bombers in 14
groups, as well as a substantial increase in pursuit planes and units.
^ The original goals of the Second Aviation Objective were 84 combat
groups; 7,799 tactical aircraft; and the annual addition of 30,000
pilots and 100,000 technical personnel.
^ The acquisition boards put together by the
General Staff were
hampered by their total unfamiliarity with Air Corps needs, a lack of
instructions from a
General Staff also unfamiliar with and
disinterested in AC requirements, and the slowness of the boards
themselves in submitting their reports. The Air Corps estimated that
the 54-group program was set back two months by the failures. (Craven
and Cate Vol. 6, pp. 134–136)
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 173–174
^ The 21 major bases were Barksdale, Bolling, Brooks, Chanute,
Hamilton, Kelly, Langley, Lowry, March, Maxwell, McChord, Mitchel,
Moffett, Randolph, Scott, Selfridge, and Wright Fields, and the
Fairfield, Middletown, Sacramento, and San Antonio Air Depots.
^ The 15 general officer billets consisted of four major generals, and
eleven brigadier generals. In addition, the commanding general of
GHQAF was promoted to lieutenant general. Only four Air Corps officers
achieved the permanent rank of brigadier general before the AAF was
created, and only two of those (Arnold, who was the last of the four,
and Andrews) still had air force duties.
^ The popularity of the concept is reflected in the advocacy by
Wendell Willkie during the 1940 presidential campaign for a
Department of Defense and an independent Air Force. (Craven and Cate,
Vol. 6, p. 17)
Infantry and the other combat arms also had their chiefs abolished
and functions transferred to the Army Ground Forces.
^ The 1st Wing's 38th RS was attached to the 19th BG and the 88th RS
to the 7th BG. The 2nd Wing's 18th RS was attached to the 9th BG and
the 21st RS to the 2nd BG. The 9th Group's 14th BS and 2nd Group's
54th BS, neither of which had operational duties, were inactivated at
the same time.
^ These four squadrons were inactivated on 1 September 1936 and
replaced by the 61st through 64th School Squadrons inclusive.
^ In September 1936 the wing became a general officer billet and Brig.
Barton K. Yount
Barton K. Yount was assigned.
^ The 23d and 72d BS from the 19th BG were attached.
^ In June 1936 the wing became a general officer billet and Brig. Gen.
George H. Brett
George H. Brett was assigned.
^ a b "Records of the Army Air Forces (AAF)". National Archives.gov.
Retrieved 22 November 2010.
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 31.
^ Mooney and Layman (1944), p. 117.
^ Tate (1998), pp. 185–188.
^ Tate (1998), p. 30
^ Maurer (1987), pp. 72–73.
^ Maurer (1987), pp. 73–74.
^ Tate (1998), pp. 45–47
^ Greer (1985), p. 29."
^ a b c Craven and Cate Vol. 1, p. 29.
^ Maurer (1987), p. 74
^ Tate (1998), p. 60.
^ Maurer (1987), p. 196.
^ Tate (1998), pp. 138–140
^ Maurer (1987), p. 200.
^ Maurer (1987), p. 216.
^ Maurer (1987), p. 197.
^ Maurer (1987), pp. 213 and 365.
^ Maurer (1987), pp. 214–215.
^ Maurer (1987), pp. 216–219.
^ Shiner, "The Heyday of the GHQ Air Force, 1935–1939", p. 136, 120,
for the GHQAF figure.
^ Foulois (1968), p. 274
^ a b Rice (2004), p. 133
^ Rice (2004), p. 1237
^ Tate (1998), p. 78.
^ Tate (1998), p. 161.
^ Shiner, "The Coming of the GHQ Air Force", p. 116.
^ Tate (1998), pp. 64–79.
^ Bowman (1997), p. 7.
^ a b Smith (1998), p. 10.
^ Eden and Moeng (2002), p. 931.
^ a b Cate (1945), p. 13
^ Smith (1998), p. 12.
^ a b Cate (1945), p. 17.
^ Cate (1945), p. 15.
^ Cate (1945), p. 16.
^ Greer (1985), p. 113."
^ Tate (1988), p. 166.
^ Tate (1998), p. 143
^ Tate (1998), p. 167.
^ Shiner, "The Hey Day of the GHQ Air Force, 1935–1939", p. 150.
^ Nalty (1997), p. 192.
^ Greer (1985), pp. 113–115
^ Futrell (1989), pp. 85–86
^ Futrell (1989), pp. 89–90
^ Greer (1985), p. 99
^ Cate (1945), pp. 17–18.
^ Cate (1945), pp. 5–6 and 22
^ Shiner, "The Coming of the GHQ Air Force, 1935–1939", p. 133.
^ Greer (1985), p. 101
^ Correll, John T. (September 2008). "GHQ Air Force", AIR FORCE
Magazine, 91 (9), p.63.
^ Maurer (1987). P. 298
^ a b Craven and Cate Vol. 1, p. 31
^ Correll, "GHQ Air Force", pp.63–64.
^ Tate (1998), p. 146
^ Tate (1998), pp. 146 and 150.
^ Maurer (1987), p. 330.
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, pp. 31–33
^ Rice (2004), p. 131
^ Mooney (1956), p. 2
^ Mooney (1956), p. 3
^ a b Tate (1998), p. 169
^ Shiner, "The Heyday of the GHQ Air Force, 1935–1939", p. 146.
^ Correll, John T.(December 2008), "Rendezvous With the Rex", AIR
FORCE Magazine. 91 (12), p. 56
^ Bowman (1997), pp. 7–11.
^ "Factsheets: Douglas XC-32". NMUSAF. 2009. Retrieved 28 June
^ "Factsheets: Douglas C-33". NMUSAF. 2009. Retrieved 28 June
^ Maurer (1987), p. 368.
^ "Factsheets: Douglas C-39". NMUSAF. 2009. Retrieved 28 June
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 7, p. 5
^ Shiner, "The Coming of the GHQ Air Force", p. 159.
^ Griffith (1999), p. 77.
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 212
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 6, pp. 198–199.
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, pp. 109–110
^ Message of President Roosevelt to the Congress, 12 January 1939 The
entire message is reproduced here.
^ Shiner, "The Coming of the GHQ Air Force", p. 155
^ Coffey (1982), p. 179, 392 Note 27
^ Williams (1953), p. 12. Public Law 18, 76th Congress, 1st Session.
^ Ethell, Jeff. "Our Still-Flying Fortress." Popular Mechanics, Volume
162, Issue 1, January 1985, p. 124.
^ Cate (1945), p. 18.
^ White (1949), p. 2
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 600–602
^ White (1949), p. 9
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 600
^ White (1949), pp. 6–7
^ Futrell (1989), p. 101
^ Futrell (1951), pp. 23–24.
^ Futrell (1989), p. 102
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, pp. 105–106.
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 6, pp. 134–136.
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 173
^ AAF Statistical Digest, Table 4 - Military Personnel in Continental
U.S. and Overseas, By Type of Personnel.
^ Futrell (1951), p. 26.
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, pp. 173–175)
^ Maurer (1987), p. 374.
^ Futrell (1951), pp. 2–7
^ Tate (1998), p. 173.
^ Official Register of the
United States 1941, Volume I, U.S. Civil
Service Commission publication, p. 48
^ a b Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 18.
^ Correll, "GHQ Air Force", p.66.
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, p. 114
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, pp. 114–115
^ Craven and Cate, Vol. 6, p. 20
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 1, p. 115
^ a b Mooney (1956), p. 7
^ Craven and Cate Vol. 6, p. vii
^ a b Nalty (1997), p. 180.
^ Mooney (1956), p. 8
^ McClendon (1996), pp. 132–141. The three documents referenced, AR
95-5, EO 9082, and WD Circular 59, are reproduced in their entirety.
^ Correll, John T. (July 2009). "But What About the Air Corps?". Air
Force Magazine. 92 (7). , p. 64–65.
Army Air Forces Statistical Digest, World War II. Office of
Statistical Control, Headquarters AAF.
Washington, D.C. December 1945
Tables 1-73, Combat Groups, Personnel, Training, and Crews
Bowman, Martin W. (1997). USAAF Handbook 1939–1945,
Coffey, Thomas M. (1982). Hap: The Story of the U.S. Air Force and the
Man Who Built It, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, The Viking Press,
Cate, James L. (1945). The History of the Twentieth Air Force: Genesis
(USAF Historical Study 112). AFHRA
Cline, Ray S. (1990). Washington Command Post: The Operations
United States Army in World War II: The War Department
United States Army Center of Military History
Craven, Wesley Frank, and Cate, James Lea, editors (1983). The Army
Air Forces In World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office,
ISBN 0-912799-03-X (Vol. 1).
(1948). Volume One - Plans and Early Operations: January 1939-August
(1949). Volume Two - Europe: Torch to Pointblank: August 1942-December
(1951). Volume Three - Europe: Argument to V-E Day: January 1944-May
(1950). Volume Four - The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan: August
(1953). Volume Five - The Pacific: Matterhorn to Nagasaki: June
(1955). Volume Six - Men and Planes
(1958). Volume Seven - Services Around the World
Eden, Paul and Soph Moeng, eds (2002). The Complete Encyclopedia of
World Aircraft. London: Amber Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7607-3432-1.
Foulois, Benjamin D. Glines, Carroll V. (1968). From the Wright
Brothers to the Astronauts: The Memoirs of Major General Benjamin D.
Foulois. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company.
Futrell, Robert F. (1989). Ideas, Concepts, Doctrine: Basic Thinking
United States Air Force
United States Air Force 1907–1960, Vol. I. Air University
Press. ISBN 1-58566-029-9.
Futrell, Robert F (1951). "Development of AAF Base Facilities in the
United States 1939–1945" (PDF). Air Force Historical Research
Agency. Retrieved 15 January 2011.
Greenfield, Col. Kent Roberts (1948). Study No. 35 Army Ground Forces
and the Air-Ground Battle Team. Historical Section Army Ground Forces,
Greer, Thomas H. (1985). The Development of Air Doctrine in the Army
Air Arm, 1917–1941 (PDF). Maxwell Air Force Base: (USAF Historical
Study 89). Center For Air Force History. Retrieved 10 November
Griffith, Charles (1999). The Quest: Haywood Hansell and American
Strategic Bombing in World War II. Maxwell Air Force Base: Air
University Press. ISBN 1-58566-069-8.
Maurer, Maurer (1987). Aviation in the U.S. Army, 1919–1939, Office
of Air Force History,
Washington, D.C. ISBN 1-4102-1391-9
Maurer, Maurer (1961). Air Force Combat Units of World War II, Office
of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6
McClendon, R. Earl (1996). Autonomy of the Air Arm (PDF). Maxwell Air
Force Base, Alabama: Air University. ISBN 0-16-045510-3.
Retrieved 31 May 2012.
Mooney, Chase C. and Layman, Martha E. (1944). "Organization of
Military Aeronautics, 1907–1935 (Congressional and War Department
Action)" (PDF). (USAF Historical Study No. 25). AFHRA. Retrieved 14
Mooney, Chase C. (1956). "Organization of the Army Air Arm,
1935–1945" (PDF). (USAF Historical Study No. 10). AFHRA. Retrieved
27 March 2011.
Nalty, Bernard C. (1997). "Reaction to the war in Europe". Winged
Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the
United States Air Force. Volume
I. ISBN 0-16-049009-X.
Rice, Rondall Ravon (2004). The Politics of Air Power: From
Confrontation to Cooperation in Army Aviation Civil-Military
Relations, University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-3960-2
Shiner, John F. (1997). "The Coming of the GHQ Air Force". Winged
Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the
United States Air Force. Volume
I. ISBN 0-16-049009-X.
Shiner, John F. (1997). "The Heyday of the GHQ Air Force,
1935–1939". Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the United
States Air Force. Volume I. ISBN 0-16-049009-X.
Smith, Richard K. (1998). Seventy-Five Years of Inflight Refueling:
Highlights 1923-1998 Air Force History and Museums, Air University,
Tate, Dr. James P. (1998). The Army and its Air Corps: Army Policy
Toward Aviation 1919–1941. Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University
Press. ISBN 0-16-061379-5.
White, Jerry (1949). Combat Crew and Training Units in the AAF,
1939–45 (USAF Historical Study 61). Air Force Historical Research
Williams, Edwin L., Jr. (1953). Legislative History of the AAF and
USAF, 1941–1951 (USAF Historical Study No. 84). Air Force Historical
2006 Almanac, Air Force Magazine: Journal of the Air Force
Association, May 2006, Volume 89 Number 5
U.S. Air Force Historical Studies Office
Texas Military Veteran Video Oral Histories - Newton Gresham Library,
Sam Houston State University Many of the veterans included in this
collections served in the
United States Army Air Corps and share their
United States Army Air Service
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Forces
United States Air Force
Secretary of the Air Force
Under Secretary of the Air Force
Chief of Staff
Vice Chief of Staff
Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force
House Armed Services Committee
House Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces
House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Senate Committee on Armed Services
Senate Subcommittee on Airland
Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Air National Guard
Field Operating Agencies
Direct Reporting Units
District of Washington
Operational Test and Evaluation Center
Numbered Air Forces
Air Forces Central
Civilian auxiliary: Civil Air Patrol
Judge Advocate General's Corps
Chief of Chaplains
Training: Air Force Academy
Officer Training School
Reserve Officer Training Corps
Airman Leadership School
Awards and decorations
Aeronautical Division / Aviation Section / Division of Military
Aeronautics / Army Air Service / Army Air Corps / Army Air Forces
"The U.S. Air Force"
Air Force Band
Women Airforce Service Pilots
Air Force One