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From its beginnings in 1907 as the Aeronautical Division of U.S. Armys Signal Corps, which consisted of one officer and two enlisted men, the United States Air Force has grown to become the foremost aerial armed force in the world. Although they had to fly French and British planes as the fledgling army aeronautical bureaucracy failed to procure any combat-worthy American aircraft, which arguably did not exist, American aviators performed valiantly in World War I with intrepid pilots of the such as Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Luke leading the way.
Between the wars, all of aviation, commercial and military around the world grew by leaps and bounds as the numbers of aircraft in service and their capabilities tremendously increased. Although the Army Air Corps, as it was known at the time, was no better prepared for World War II than the rest of the army, it had developed a highly professional corps of experienced officers who would be able to take advantage of the latest American aircraft technology such as the B-17 Flying Fortress and the P-51 Mustang.
With the end of the war and the creation of an independent armed force in 1947, the United States Air Force leapt into the jet age with such icons as the F-86 Sabre and the remarkable B-52 Stratofortress, which "soldiers" on today more than fifty years after going into service in 1955 and with the youngest of the 744 plane production run being forty years old, having been built in 1962.Air Force covers the entire history of the U.S. Air Force and its development from its beginnings early in the last century to becoming the worlds largest, most powerful, and most versatile air-combat force.
Special attention is paid to the air forces recent, post-Vietnam history, and an entire chapter is devoted to Americas air force of the future.