U. S. Air Force Platinum Anniversary

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.

Men like Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, and Major General Benjamin Foulois fought for independence beginning with the First World War, where they saw first-hand the capabilities the airplane could provide in future conflicts, whether at home or abroad. The torch of independence was passed on to the next group – those who planned and fought in World War II. These men included Generals Hap Arnold, Jimmy Doolittle, Curtis LeMay, Carl “Tooey” Spaatz, and Ira Eaker; Lieutenant General Frank Andrews; Major Generals Robert Olds and Hugh Knerr; and Lieutenant Colonel Horace Hickam.

For the Complete Essay, Go HERE

Billy Mitchell


Jimmy Doolittle

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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.

The Friends of the Air Force Academy Library is a private organization. It is not a part of the Department of Defense or any of its components and it has no governmental status.

We invite you to explore our site, learn about our activities, and view the contents of some of the biographical databases and collections that provide insight into the contributions of Academy graduates and the evolution of manned flight and military airpower.

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Our Newsletter     Spring 2022
New & Noteworthy

New Website

Welcome to our new website, completely redesigned with a new look. This is an ongoing project, as we work to add new content and expand current entries. Please take a look around and tell us what you think.



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.