COLUMBUS, Ohio –
The United States Air Force crossed another milestone Sept. 18, celebrating 74 years since the National Security Act of 1947 gave birth to the modern air service as a separate military branch from the U.S. Army. It also serves as a reminder of Ohio’s role in the innovation of flight.
The Air Force is an important part of the air power legacy originally set into motion in 1903 with the Wright Brothers’ first successful powered flight. When Dayton, Ohio-based bicycle shop owners Wilbur and Orville Wright took to the air for the first time in the skies above Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, they cemented the Buckeye State’s status as the birthplace of aviation. To learn more about the Wright Brothers, visit the Ohio History Connection.
In the century since that groundbreaking flight, ruling the skies proved critical in countless conflicts across the world. Aeronautics gained ground in the Army with the Signal Corps’ Aeronautical Division which would help mold the nation’s air operations into the most advanced in the world. Before the creation of the Air Force, the military's flying operations were handled by the Army on land and the Navy by sea. By 1926, the Army’s Aeronautical Division would grow into the Army Air Corps and in 1941 it would expand into the U.S. Army Air Forces.
The U.S. Army Air Forces success in World War II brought sharply into focus the increasing importance of and reliance on air dominance. Six years later, Congress established it as an independent branch during a post-war period of defense reorganization and the U.S. Air Force was born.
To learn more about the birth of the Air Force, see the Air Force History and Museums Program’s One Hundred Ten Years of Flight or take a virtual tour of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force located in Dayton, Ohio.