A Proud Heritage Forged through the Ingenuity, Courage, and Strength of Pioneering Airmen
* In 1909, America's first military aircraft, Signal Corps No. 1, was delivered to the Army and American airpower took its first step toward becoming the world's premier air force.
* In 1918, visionary Billy Mitchell gathered a multi-national force of aircraft and conducted coalition operations against Germany, demonstrating airpower strategies still in use today.
* Between WW I and WW II, airpower leaders such as Andrews and Arnold recognized that leveraging technology was vital, and dozens of aircraft designs, improvements, and modifications occurred.
* In 1929, the 150-hour flight of the Question Mark demonstrated air refueling technology that foreshadowed the global reach enjoyed by American airpower today.
* In 1942, Doolittle's Raiders, in a perfect precursor of Joint warfare launched from the USS Hornet and stunned the world by attacking an "impervious" Tokyo.
* By the end of WW II, the USAAF was firmly established as a major component of America's and the world's defense of democracy.
* On September 18, 1947, through the dauntless efforts of men like Gen Henry H. "Hap" Arnold, the United States Air Force was born.
* From 1948-49, the Berlin Airlift demonstrated America's resolve during the Cold War; for over 50 years, the USAF has been on a wartime footing--fighting in Korea and Vietnam, sitting nuclear alert around the world, conducting Joint operations in Desert Storm, maintaining Operations Northern and Southern Watch, and continuing combat operations in Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom.
A Heritage of Great Leadership Defines Who and What We Are as Airmen
* The "Great Captains" like Billy Mitchell, Hap Arnold, Jimmy Doolittle, William Tunner, Curtis LeMay, Chappie James, and Bernie Schriever gave us our mission--to fly and fight whenever and wherever our nation calls.
* Great enlisted leaders like CMSgt Paul Airey and great heroes such as A1C John Levitow and A1C William Pitsenbarger have shaped a rich heritage of outstanding leadership, skills, courage, knowledge, and attitude.
Air Force Heritage Serves to Make Us What We Are Today
* Airmen have a warfighting heritage: Frances S. Gabreski swept Nazi Germany's fighters from the sky; Richard Wright parachuted behind enemy lines to provide pathfinder beacons for our bombers; Halvorsen flew a C-54 overloaded with coal into near zero-zero conditions at Templehof; Chapman provided medical support and protection for wounded comrades on Roberts' Ridge.
* We were expeditionary in 1917, and nearly 90 years later we still are--our mobility forces, honoring the example of Berlin and the "Hump," can move a parachute brigade at night into Bashur, Iraq or establish a tanker airbridge to move entire fighter wings into Desert Shield.
* Andrews, who brought us the B-17, taught us to be technology-focused.
* Stealth changed air warfare forever and precision-bombing systems make us incredibly lethal.
* We are transformational because we are self-critical and embrace change: In the decade after Vietnam we completely revamped our fighters, weapons, and tactics--ten years later, we achieved stunning air superiority prior to the start of ground combat in Desert Storm.
* Our mission is to fly, fight, and win: First it was in the air, then in air and space, and now in air, space, and cyberspace.
* Our record is superb: No American infantry has been lost to enemy air in more than 50 years.