United States Air Force

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United States Air Force

DefDef Def
Seal of the Department of the Air Force
(United States Air Force portal)
Active 18 September 1947 present
(67 years, 4 months)

Def United States of America
Allegiance United States Constitution
Type Air force
Size 332,854 active personnel
185,522 civilian personnel
71,400 reserve personnel
106,700 air guard personnel
$140 billion budget
5,638+ aircraft
450 ICBMs
63 satellites
Part of Department of the Air Force
Headquarters The Pentagon
Motto "Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win"
Colors Ultramarine Blue and Golden Yellow
March The U.S. Air Force

Engagements Korean War
Vietnam War
Website http://www.af.mil/
Secretary The Honorable Deborah Lee James
Chief of Staff Gen Mark A. Welsh III
Vice Chief of Staff Gen Larry O. Spencer
Chief Master Sergeant CMSAF James A. Cody
United States Air Force flag


United States Air Force symbol

USAF "Hap" Arnold Symbol

Aircraft flown
Attack A-10, AC-130, MQ-9 Reaper
Bomber B-52H, B-1B, B-2
E-3, E-8, EC-130
Fighter F-15C, F-15E, F-16, F-22
Helicopter UH-1N, HH-60
Reconnaissance U-2, RC-135, MC-12 Liberty, RQ/MQ-1, RQ-4, RQ-170
Trainer T-6, T-38, T-1, TG-16, T-53
Transport C-130, C-5, C-17, VC-25, C-32, C-37, C-21, C-12, C-40, CV-22
Tanker KC-10, KC-135

The United States Air Force (USAF) is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on 18 September 1947 under the National Security Act of 1947. It is the most recent branch of the U.S. military to be formed, and is the largest and one of the world's most technologically advanced air forces. The USAF articulates its core functions as Nuclear Deterrence Operations, Special Operations, Air Superiority, Global Integrated ISR, Space Superiority, Command and Control, Cyberspace Superiority, Personnel Recovery, Global Precision Attack, Building Partnerships, Rapid Global Mobility and Agile Combat Support.

The U.S. Air Force is a military service within the Department of the Air Force, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The USAF is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Air Force, who is appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The highest-ranking military officer in the Department of the Air Force is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force who exercises supervision over Air Force units, and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Air Force combat forces and mobility forces 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 have operational command authority over them.

The U.S. Air Force provides air support for surface forces and aids in the recovery of troops in the field. As of 2012, the service operates more than 5,638 aircraft, 450 ICBMs and 63 satellites. It has a $140 billion budget with 332,854 active duty personnel, 185,522 civilian personnel, 71,400 Air Force Reserve personnel, and 106,700 Air National Guard personnel.



USAF units and aircraft of the Korean War


June 25, 1950

Korean_War Korean_War

THE North Korean People's Army (NKPA) invasion of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 25 June 1950 found the US armed forces in a deplorable condition with little conventional capability.


The newly established United States Air Force had spent most of its limited budget on strategic nuclear systems, neglecting the tactical air forces.

Korean_War Korean_War Korean_War

The Far East Air Force (FEAF), based in Japan, and its Fifth Air Force had conducted few joint exercises to practice air-ground coordination with the Eighth US Army in Korea (EUSAK).


Within a month the NKPA drove the United Nations (UN) forces to a small perimeter around the port of Pusan. Despite the unprepared condition of the tactical air forces, air power prevented disaster and complete defeat of the UN forces during the initial NKPA invasion. Lt Gen Walton H. Walker, the commander of EUSAK at the start of the war, stated,

"If it had not been for the air support we received from the Fifth Air Force, we should not have been able to stay in Korea."3

While the USAF was a major factor in helping to ensure the independence of South Korea, there were numerous errors committed by the US forces, including the Air Force, that resulted in ineffective application of air power.