Saturday, March 15, 2014

U.S. Army Air Forces

Say what?  Army...Air Forces...the U.S. Army Air Forces...I thought the Army was on the ground, and the Air Forces were in the sky.  Well, lets get some things worked out.

In 1908, the U.S. Army purchased their first aircraft.   The 1st Aero Squadron of the Aviation Section, U.S. Army Signal Corps it was called.  It was the first American unit to gain air combat experience in the Mexican Expedition forces of March 14, 1916 - February 7, 1917.

In World War I it became the U.S. Army Air Service, and flew in 8 campaigns on the Western Front.

By World War II it was called the U.S. Army Air Forces, and flew in three theaters of war: 1) The American Theater, 2) the Asiatic-Pacific Theater, and 3) the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater.

This is the patch that came from my Dad's uniform during the U.S. Army Air Forces era.  The European-African-Middle Eastern theater it was.

The Ninth Air Force it was.  The above shows a pin from the era, and the symbol of the Ninth.  A five point star carried by wings is on the patch.  A nine in a gold circle carried by wings is on the pin.

I believe it was in 1947 that the U.S. Air Force became to its own.   Finally off the ground and into the air.

[The information given above is taken from: United States Air Force, Combat Medals, Streamers, and Campaigns, by A. Timothy Warnock.  For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Goverment Printing Office, Washington, D.C., published 1990. ]