Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
United States Army Air Force
Prior to the start of World War II, the USAAF was known as the U.S. Army Air Corps, or USAAC. The USAAC was a corps-level, subsidiary organization within the U.S. Army, and had little autonomy. Due to the efforts of several key USAAC officers and the changing political times, the Air Corps obtained greater organizational independence in 1941. Renamed the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) and considered a separate arm of the Army, the new USAAF had an equal "voice" with the Army and Navy.
Following the immense buildup in aviation infrastructure and personnel during the war, and in recognition of the tremendous new importance and strength of airpower, then-President Harry S. Truman created the United States Department of the Air Force in 1947. This legislation renamed the aviation military group again to the United States Air Force, elevating it to a truly separate branch of the U.S. military.
Notable people who served in the USAAF
- Carl Albert, U.S. representative from Oklahoma and Speaker of the House from 1971 to 1977
- Henry H. Arnold, commanding general of the USAAF
- Clyde Cowan, discovered existence of the neutrino
- Nathan Bedford Forrest III, brigadier general in the USAAF and great-grandson of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest.
- Clark Gable, film actor
- William Wister Haines, author, screenwriter, and playwright
- Charlton Heston, film actor and president of the National Rifle Association.
- John Hope, television meteorologist and hurricane forecaster
- George McGovern, U.S. Senator and 1972 Democratic Presidential candidate
- Walter Miller, science fiction author
- William Rehnquist, jurist and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
- Carl Spaatz, commanding general of the USAAF and later first chief of staff of the Air Force
- Aaron Spelling, film and television producer
- Jimmy Stewart, film actor
- Joseph A. Walker, military test pilot
- Harris Wofford, U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania
- Kenneth N. Walker Brig. Gen., Medal of Honor recipient, airpower visonary, co-authored the Air War Plan (AWPD-I)
Badges of the Army Air Forces
To denote the special training and qualifications required for membership in USAAF, the following military badges were authorized for wear by members of the Army Air Forces:
- Aviator Badge
- Navigator Badge
- Bombardier Badge
- Gunner Badge
- Balloon Pilot Badge
- Auxiliary Pilot Badge
- Flight Surgeon Badge
- Flight Nurse Badge
- Flight Instructor Badge
- Flight Engineer Badge
- Observer Badge
- Technician Badge
- ArmyAirForces.com — comprehensive look at the USAAF. Includes searchable databases, histories, dictionary, and forum.
- USAAF air force/division/wing histories History of all USAAF subdivisions.
- USAAF jargon dictionary — contains 526 words and abbreviations.
- USAAF unit search — searchable database of groups, squadrons, squadron codes, stations, and commanders.
- USAAF missing air crew report search — searchable database of missing air crew reports (MACRs) by MACR number, date, serial number, and group.
- USSAAF.net — "Published accounts of the Army Air Forces in World War II available in the public domain."
- USSAF in WWII — Combat chronology. Available for ZIP download.
- Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. 1986.
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