Military Air Force History

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The history of the Army Air Forces during the period 1917 to 1941 reflects, the general pattern set by the nation’s military policies. Created essentially on 1917, the Army Air Service experienced a massive but slow expansion. After a few months of combat in France came pace and, in 1919, rapid and detailed demobilization. National policy, in the interest of world pace and domestic economy, opposed a large and expensive military establishment; the air support as a junior member of the military team, suffered from lack of funds and personnel. When in 1939 the nation began again to setting for war, the expansion of the Air Corps was along lines conditioned by the experiences of two decades of peace as well as by those of War World…show more content…
The new program, which immediately supplanted earlier modest estimates, called for an appropriation of $640,000,000. The necessary legislation was pushed rapidly through Congress in the Aviation Act of 24 July 1917, of all requisites; the United States had only raw materials, man-power, and enthusiasm. During this time no air power had been established by any military air branch. Having invented the plane, the United States spear headed development and adaptation of military use. The Army acquired its first plane 1909; its first special appropriation for aviation, a sum of $125,000, in 1911. Shortly before the European war began, United Sates had stood fourteenth in total funds appropriated well below Greece and Bulgaria. Inspire of the great development of aviation by Europeans and of by our own tactical experiences during the war in Mexico. The Army from 1909 to 1917 had been able to acquire 224 aircraft, out of the active aircraft flying only a few were equipped with European standards which consist of combat model airframes. Only two flying fields operated by the Army, the war was declared, 55 trainers, of which General Pershing later said, “51 were obsolete and the other 4 obsolescent.…show more content…
The Army’s air establishment consisted of 131 officers, practically all pilots and students pilots (11 were reservist on active duty), and 1,087 enlisted men. The first Army aviation office had been set up as the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps on 1 August 1907; and since 1914 control had been vested in the Aviation Section of that corps. With so small office corps the Aviation Section was unable to furnish direction for the expansion program or commanders for the combat units. It turned naturally to civilian source for leadership, and while many of the industrial and professional men who were recruited were able enough, few even had knowledge of aviation requirements or of military procedure. A ready source of technical advice existed in the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), and early in the war a number of joint Army-Navy aeronautical committees were establish. The conventional committee was “to supervise and direct” the purchases and production of all aircraft, engines, and related materials which was authorized by the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Navy. Organization and training of air units are responsible by the Chief Signal Officer, who did not have a controlling voice in production of materiel. Both these functions, for Army aviation, were under jurisdiction of the War Department but without
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