U. S. Air Force Platinum Anniversary

The United States Air Force at 75: A Thumbnail History

Kathy Wilson, Member, Board of Directors, The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library

September 18 marks the 75th anniversary of the Air Force as an independent branch of the U.S. armed forces. However, aviation in the military has been around since 1907 with the establishment of the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps, in “charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and all kindred subjects.” From this point, the air arm evolved into the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps to the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I, U.S. Army Air Corps in the interwar period, the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II, and finally the U.S. Air Force shortly after the war’s conclusion. It was not until the war ended that aviation enthusiasts and air power proponents were able to break away from the traditional ground force centric army leadership. Finally on July 26, 1947, President Truman signed the National Security Act, among other things, authorizing the establishment of the Air Force as an independent service. It’s birthday, however, is September 18, the day the first Secretary of the Air Force (W. Stuart Symington) was sworn in.

Complete Essay HERE


The Air Force and Its Academy–Legends Who Brought Vision to Reality

On the Air Force’s 75th Anniversary, A Look at Academy Building Namesakes’ Roles

Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Steven A. Simon, USAFA Class of 1977

Some of the distinctive aluminum and glass buildings in the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Area are named for aviation pioneers who were extremely influential in making the case for an air academy. Interestingly and perhaps not surprisingly, these leaders were also vitally important in the struggle for the independent United States Air Force, which commemorates its 75th anniversary this month.

In fact, some of them were advocating for both institutions at the same time.

As we commemorate the Air Force’s three-quarters-of-a-century milestone, it is appropriate to reflect on those who willed the separate service into being. Much of the credit for the Air Force’s founding, not to mention the establishment and early development of the fledgling service’s Academy, can be directed toward six individuals whose familiar names grace buildings in the Cadet Area: Mitchell, Arnold, Vandenberg, Fairchild, Harmon, and McDermott.

Complete Essay HERE


Falconews, June 1959

Our Work
The Graduate Heritage Projects Collections Books Videos Oral Histories Other Projects
Our Newsletter     Spring 2022
New & Noteworthy

Charles Dolan

Charles Dolan flew with the Lafayette Escadrille, in addition to a distinguished career in military service and the aviation industry.



Reade Tilley

Reade Tilley was a World War II fighter ace who flew with the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force.



James "Jimmy" Doolittle

Leader of the Tokyo Raiders in World War II, Jimmy Doolittle had a distinguished career that spanned decades.



Unmanned Aerial Systems

The Friends helped acquire collections of World War II issues of Stars and Stripes.

Our Mission

To enhance the quality of the Academy’s McDermott Library, enabling it to acquire materials, pursue projects, and broaden its scope and activities beyond those made possible by Air Force allocated funds.

Contact Us                                                  Our Site

The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library
P.O. Box 188
USAFA, CO 80840

friends@usafalibrary.com         (719) 247-2486

Navigation throughout this site is via the Menu Bar, Text Links, Buttons, or Thumbnail Photos. Most thumbnails will link to another page, document, or enlarge a photo. For more info, see Our Site.