United States air Force

symbol of the USAF
emblem of the USAF

the United States air Force (USAF) is the Air Force of the United States of America. The task of the USAF is „the defense of the United States by control and utilization of air and universe “.

InYears 2004 were subordinated to the air Force 377,000 soldiers, that are approximately a quarter of the total strength of US armed forces of 1.43 million humans. Το Zum Inventar Flugzeuge rund 4.300, zuzüglich 1.700 Maschinen der Reservestreitkräfte. The USAF maintains world-wide 85 large military airfields (air Force cousin), of it 72on US area and eight in Europe, in addition again 82 smaller bases and nearly just as many Basen of reserve armed forces.

The budget for the financial year 2006 enclosure approximately 125 billion US Dollar, corresponds to 28% of the entire defense budget of the USA of 454 billion dollar. Largest single itemsthe procurement of C-17 - transport aircrafts (3.5 billion dollar) and F-22 - is combat aircraft (3.2 billion dollar) and the development of the F-35 (2.4 billion dollar).

Table of contents


seal department OF the air Force

the USAF is the armed service of US armed forces responsible for the air space and space. At the point of its military guidance the Chief OF standsStaff, USAF (CSAF, chief of staff), which together with the commanders of the other armed services to the Joint Chiefs OF Staff belongs, the military guidance level in the US Department of Defense (department OF Defense). The chief of staff is appointed usually for four years by the US president and serves as a mediator betweenthe administration and the soldier. Since that 2. September 2005 is a general T. Michael Moseley chief of staff of the Air Force.

Besides the department OF forms the air Force (Ministry of the Air Force) as part of the Ministry of Defense the highest civilian management level of the USAF with the Secretary OF the airForce (Air Force Minister) at the point.

In addition can be differentiated between:

main command

the USAF is in nine main commands (major COMMAND)partitioned, which cover a certain field or a region in each case:

further subdivision

at the point of each main command is located an officer in general rank. Are assigned to a command up to two nummerierte Air Forces (Numbered air Forces), from which there are 22. These exist againfrom at least two Wings. An air Force cousin of the USAF is typically organized around such Wing; larger Basen accommodates accordingly several Wings or a Numbered air Force. The Wings consists of groups (Groups), to those in each case a certain type of aircraft assignedbecomes. Airplanes and personnel of a group are usually together used with employments and exercises, are thus not divided on different missions. Below the group the relay (Squadron) stands, the fundamental unit of the American Air Force. As example of this hierarchy belong nine transporters ofType Lockheed C-141 to the 730th airlift Squadron, 452th air Mobility Wing, 4th air Force, air Force reserve COMMAND.

Besides further organizational partitionings exist.


of beginnings

at the 1. August 1907 placed that to US Army signal Corps a department for Aviation up. Since the end of the American civil war in the year 1865 the equipment consisted of ten balloons.

The first airplane became to 20. August 1908 tested, the first deadly accident of military aviation happened to 17. September of the same yearly, as as per. Thomas's E. Selfridge fell. To 2. August 1909 activated the signal Corps the first airplane officially, a WRIGHT Model A, called to airplane No. 1. At the end of October to 1912 belonged nine operational aircraft to the existence - to airplane No. 1 at this time already was to that Smithsonian - museum delivered.

early combat aircraft

the roots of the USAF go on around to the turn of the century of 19 to 20. Jh. took place efforts back to evaluate new technologies. In January 1905 the war Ministry considered an offer, it from two inventors Dayton, Ohio had received, which wanted to supply a flight machine, which was heavier than air to the government with. The fact that many doubted that Wilbur and Orville WRIGHT had really built a functional airplane, is at that time a part of aviation history. But the board OF Ordnance andFortifications, the committee, which examined the suggestion of the brothers WRIGHTs, had to consider also still further facts. Outside of the Science Fiction was not at all completely clear it at that time, which role airships, gliders and airplanes in the war guidance would play. Only balloons had theirpractical value proved. The revolutionary France had used 1794 a balloon in the battle of Fleurus. Also in the American civil war balloons had been used, and the signal Corps had received the task to acquire and serve these. However the signal Corps created only 1892a permanent balloon department, whose employment was however not 1898 very successful in the war with Spain.

In the year 1898 the signal Corps assigned the order for the building of an airplane at Samuel P. Langley, but its Erpobung ended to 8. December 1903 with a spectacular fallin the Potomac River, only nine days before the first flight of the brothers WRIGHTs. The war Ministry, which thought 1905 still of this embarrassing episode, rejected therefore the new offer.

But the progress of aviation, the distribution of a patent to the brothers WRIGHTsin the year 1906, as well as the interest of president to Theodore Roosevelt brought the topic back to the discussion. 1907 became Captain Charles Chandler of the directors/conductors of the again-created aero-nautical department of the communications troop, which should develop all forms further of flying. In the year 1908 the signal ordered Corpswith Thomas Scott Baldwin an American airship pioneer a guidable airship and assigned to the WRIGHTs an order over the supply of an airplane. Despite a crash, with which the first model went to break, the WRIGHT airplane was delivered 1909. The inventors began then with it, unite young,to teach enthusiastischen officers flies.Source: Manual to “Jane's USAF”

the First World War

the first squadron became at the 3. March 1913 set up. It consisted of only six airplanes and represented into the First World War inside the entire Air Force of the United States. ThatWar showed fast the advantages of the support; End of 1915 23 airplanes were available and as the USA in April 1917 into the war intervened, the Air Force of 24 squadrons had set up, which were completely equipped however long not all.

In May 1918 became the aviation department of Signal Corps separately and as US Army air service organizes again. Already 740 aircraft belonged to the end of war in November 1918 to the US Air Force, of it 289 airplanes and 48 balloons with the fights were lost; 138 tons of bombs were thrown off and 756 hostile airplanes are destroyed. After the war the number of Air Force soldiers to in the middle of reduced 1920 drastically to a twentieth of the wartime strength, also the need of equipment was now accordingly smaller. In the year 1926 the air service became US the Army air Corps (USAAC), remained thus partUS Army. In this time in many areas technical developments were advanced, as for example the air refueling and the testing of new bombers (Martin B-10) and combat aircraft. The number of the airplanes rose from under 1000 (1926) to 1700 (in the middle of 1932). Starting from 1937 the B-17 Flying Fortress was used .

the Second World War

finally decided the government under president Franklin D. Roosevelt at the beginning of of 1939 to supplement the existence on 6.000 machines. The outbreak of the Second World War 1939 and its consequences left the needat bombers, hunters and reconnaissance aircraft up snap: Until 1945 the airplane strength rose to over 60.000 pieces; many new bases were put on, in order to be able to accommodate the material and the troops.

The USAAC went to 20. June 1941 in US Army air Forces(USAAF) up, which starting from 1943 as independent part of US Army same rank as selbige and US Navy received.

In the Second World War American bombers flew many attacks against Germany, mainly by day against industrielle of goals of military importance (see for example operation double Strike), in addition, against cities such as Hamburg and Dresden. Starting from 1944 also employments were made against Japan, in August 1945 finally threw off B-29 Superfortress atom bombs by Hiroshima and Nagasaki .

After the war the armed forces were again organized and to 21. March 1946 three newAir Force command based: To the support of the ground troops the Tactical air COMMAND, for reserve armed forces and homeland defense the air Defense COMMAND and for the strategic bombers and reconnaissance aircraft the Strategic air COMMAND, which ascended in the subsequent years for the most powerful military federation of the western world.

With thatEstablishment of the United States air Force (USAF) by national the Security act to 26. July (into force 18. September) 1947 reached the Air Force finally their full independence.

cold war

during the Berlin blockade „raisin bombers supplied 1948/49 “mainly the USAF andthe British Royal air Force the city nearly one year long over an air lift, with 278.000 flights and 2.1 million tons carried material to today largest air transport operation at all. Transport aircrafts were used such as Douglas C-54 Skymaster and Lockheed C-121 Constellation .



officer corps of the United States air Force
general OF the air Force
lieutenant General
major General
Brigadier general
lieutenant Colonel
roofridge lieutenant
Second lieutenant
OF-10/O-11 OF-9/O-10 OF-8/O-9 OF-7/O-8 OF-6/O-7 OF-5/O-6 OF-4/O-5 OF-3/O-4 OF-2/O-3 OF-1/O-2 OF-1/O-1
of junior sergeants of the United States air Force
Chief master Sergeant OF the air Force
COMMAND Chief master Sergeant
roofridge Sergeant
Chief master Sergeant
roofridge Sergeant
senior master Sergeant
roofridge Sergeant
master Sergeant
OR-9/E-9 OR-9/E-9 OR-9/E-9 OR-9/E-9 OR-8/E-8 OR-8/E-8 OR-7/E-7 OR-7/E-7
of NCOs of the United States air Force
Technical Sergeant
Staff Sergeant
OR-6/E-6 OR-5/E-5
crews of the United States air Force
senior Airman
Airman roofridge Class
Airman basic
OR-4/E-4 OR-3/E-3 OR-2/E-2 OR-1/E-1
No badge

see also: Medal and decoration of US armed forces


1. To the comparability the NATO rank codes are indicated. Similarly to „the OR “(OTHER ranks) of the NCOs the USAF uses the pay stages „E “(enlisted) with in each case the same counting. The officers becomein NATO with „OF “(more officer) and the USAF with „O “designates, whereby the counting does not deviate starting from the roofridge lieutenant, since NATO summarizes the two lieutenants into a stage, US air Force however.

2.The crews and NCOs of USAir Force are called enlisted. Whereby at the pay stage E-5 (SSgt) the grade category begins Non commissioned officer (NCO), which starting from the pay stage E-7 (MSgt) is called also Staff or senior NCO (SNCO).

3.Rank roofridge Sergeant, which emerges several times, is in the airForce a rank do not separate a special service designation for the serve-oldest NCO of a unit, to which directly is subordinate to the unit commander. Similarly the first sergeant of the German Federal Armed Forces. This post can be noticed by soldiers in the pay stages E-7 to E-9 (master Sergeant, senior master Sergeant and Chief master Sergeant).Characteristic for a roofridge Sergeant is the so-called French lozenge on the rank insignia. The roofridge Sergeant is responsible to it for the moral, the well-being being issued and the behaviour all subordinated soldiers. He is just as direct partner of the commander of relay/company commander in questions, those the NCOs andCrews concern. Normally a master Sergeant takes over this post, while in larger units a senior master Sergeant or Chief master Sergeant than roofridge Sergeant is used.

4.: According to US only one per cent of the NCOs of the air Force of ranks in the pay stage E-9 have Federal law(Chief masters Sergeant and COMMAND Chief master Sergeant). The post of the COMMAND Chief master Sergeant (CCMS) was created in November 1998. COMMANDs Chief masters Sergeants or COMMAND Chiefs serve advisors for the commanders of their unit as a senior. They are to be found on high echelons of command. Ifin a mixed military force an air Force member the highest NCO is, this also as COMMAND Chief is designated.

5.: The Chief master Sergeant OF the air Force is the höchstrangige NCO degree of the entire air Force, from the Chief OF Staff OF the airForce personally appointed.

6.: In US no more Warrant Officers do not serve air Force . The air Force took over 1947 the Warrant Officer of ranks of US Army, but their place in the structure of the air Force became never correctly clear. The last WarrantOfficer in the active service was Chief Warrant Officer (CWO) James H. Long, which went to 1980 into the retirement. CWO Bob Barrow, the last Warrant Officer of the air Force reserve, separated 1992 from the service. Starting from this time the Warrant Officer of ranks from that disappearedAir Force.

7.: Rank general OF the air Force (GenAF) is equivalent the highest rank of US air Force, to a 5-Sterne general. This rank was carried only by a person: Henry H. Arnold. General OF the Army is equivalent rankin US Army and the two badges were originally the same. Into the 1950ern the badge for the GenAF was easily changed, in order to carry it to the new blue service clothes of the air Force. GenAF became never of an officer in the active service the modern airForce carried. Arnold was a general OF the Army and went into the retirement, before the air Force became separately from the Army and thus its own armed service. After its retirement rank GenAF was lent to it. The equivalent rank of US Navy is fleet admiral.


  • USAF Almanac 2005. In: Air Force Association [1] (Hrsg.): Air Force of magazines of volume. 88, No. 5, May 2005, S. 44-93 ([2] pdf, 40 MT, English)

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