The U.S. Air Force celebrates its 74th birthday today.
Air Force became its own branch in 1947 when President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947.
“The Air Force has a 74-year success record in airpower, and all #Airmen—past and present—play an important role in generating military airpower for the nation. We will continue to build on this foundation as we accelerate change to meet the warfighting needs of tomorrow,” the Air Force posted along with the video.
Until the recent creation of the U.S. Space Force as the fifth U.S. military branch, Air Force was the youngest branch.
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall released his own video addressing the force. “You’ve built a proud legacy over the decades — the future will call on you to add to it. You’ll need to outpace competitors, face down new challenges & continue owning the skies,” he said.
The Department of Defense posted a joint tribute recognizing the Air Force’s birthday and POW/MIA Recognition Day.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also posted, “A very happy 74th birthday to the @usairforce. Their motto ‘fly, fight, and win…airpower anytime, anywhere’ embodies their capability and interoperability, and we see countless examples of that capability every day, at home and across the globe.”
The first incarnation of an air force in the military was in 1907 when the U.S. Army Signal Corps designated an Aeronautical Division to manage military air operations such as balloons and other new flying machines.
One year later, the Signal Corps tested its first airplane, and after another year, they accepted the airplane into the service.
In 1913, the 1st Provisional Aero Squadron was established as the first aviation military unit.
Several other changes took place over the decades to shape what is now the Air Force.
Now the Air Force boasts more than 5,400 manned and unmanned aircraft, 1,385 of which are fighter planes, according to Air Force data compiled by the Heritage Foundation.