“We hope this guide helps answer your questions and connects you with the people, information and helping agencies that exist to ensure you and your family successfully navigate your Air Force adventure!
We want this guide to be a key part of your spouse & family “toolbox.” It will familiarize you with the Air Force mission, organization, rank structure, traditions, resources and programs.
Our Air Force is one big family–Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Civilian. It takes all of us to execute the Air Force mission.
As an Air Force spouse and family member, you serve your country as well! Thank you for your service and commitment to this great team!”
~Betty Welsh & Athena Cody~
General Mark A. Welsh & James A. Cody,
Chief of Staff, USAF Chief Master Sergeant, USAF
A Tribute to the Military Spouse
(Adapted for Magnolia Day 2005 at Eglin AFB)
In our role as military spouses, we see a slice of life that few others have the privilege to experience…
- a set of BDUs means Duty;
- a pair of spit-shined boots conveys Honor;
- our American Flag calls out Country as it waves more brilliantly in the breeze;
- hometown parades arouse more emotion;
- any patriotic song is a musical message with the deepest meaning;
- a duffel bag on a baggage claim gives you pause and an immediate connection;
- a hand-over-the-heart is as stirring as an embrace;
- a parting kiss can hold you for months because it has to;
- the “welcome-home” moment can fill you up forever;
- a grave marker is a sobering reminder of the meaning of freedom and the ultimate sacrifice;
- an Eagle’s soar provides unwavering inspiration.
- So, there you are …
- The one willing to belong.
- The one who raises your children with love and faith; who instills the pride to help them understand “freedom isn’t free.”
- The one who relocates on a moment’s notice far from home and family, far from friends, far from “retail therapy” – to remain deeply rooted in a marriage that has been tested and survived more challenges than the number of battle streamers tied to the Unit Guidon.
- The very one who seldom complains because you are blessed and proud to stand beside your very own American Hero – everyday …
- Your Airman, Soldier, Sailor, Marine, or Coastie – who serves the greatest Nation on earth!
- MANY THANKS for all you do – we’re the best because of YOU!
NOW…JUST A LITTLE AIR FORCE HISTORY……….
Our United States Air Force (USAF)
~Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow~
Air Force history really began when the Army acquired America’s first military aircraft, the Wright Flyer, on 2 Aug 1909, designated Signal Corps Airplane No. 1. The “aeroplane” was designed and created by Orville and Wilbur Wright. The demonstration flight took place on Fort Myer, Virginia.
With President Harry S. Truman signing the National Security Act of 1947 on July 26, 1947, the Department of the Air Force, headed by a Secretary of the Air Force, was created.
On September 18, 1947, W. Stuart Symington became Secretary of the Air Force, and on September 26, General Carl A. Spaatz became the USAF’s first Chief of Staff.
- General Mark Welsh is serving as the 20th Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
September 18th is celebrated as the Air Force’s birthday.
In April 1967, Congress approved the position of Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force and the first was CMSAF Paul W. Airey.
- CMSAF James Cody is serving as the 17th Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force.
Air Force Mission
Airmen bring to the Nation’s military portfolio five interdependent and integrated core missions that have endured since President Truman originally assigned airpower roles and missions to the Air Force in 1947. Although the way we do them will constantly evolve, the Air Force will continue to perform these missions so that our military can respond quickly and appropriately to unpredictable threats and challenges. Today, we call our core missions: (1) air and space superiority; (2) intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR); (3) rapid global mobility; (4) global strike; and (5) command and control.
- Air and Space Superiority
This permits joint forces freedom from attack and freedom to attack, and it is a mission the USAF has done exceptionally well – not since 15 April, 1953, has an enemy combat aircraft killed a servicemember in the American ground forces.
- Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
Simply put, ISR is keeping eyes and ears on our adversaries, but it is the foundation upon which every joint, interagency, and coalition operation achieves success. Our 34,000 ISR Airmen identify and assess adversary targets and vulnerabilities from hideouts to bunkers to mobile launchers with greater accuracy than ever seen in the history of warfare.
- Rapid Global Mobility
American power can be projected quickly to anywhere on the face of the earth as a result of the Air Force’s capability for rapid mobility. The Air Force’s 122,000 air mobility Airmen provide swift deployment and the ability to sustain operations by delivering essential equipment and personnel for missions ranging from major combat to humanitarian relief operations around the world. Mobility forces also provide in-flight refueling, which is a unique Air Force capability and the linchpin to joint power projection at intercontinental distances.
- Global Strike
Global strike, a significant portion of America’s deterrence capability, means that the Nation can project military power more rapidly, more flexibly, and with a lighter footprint than other military options. With the expertise of over 26,000 Airmen, the Air Force’s nuclear and conventional precision strike forces can credibly threaten and effectively conduct global strike by holding any target on the planet at risk and, if necessary, disabling or destroying it promptly—even from bases in the continental United States.
- Command & Control
Airmen employ the Air Force’s other four interdependent and enduring core missions through robust, adaptable, and survivable command and control systems. Using the specialized skills of over 53,000 command and control Airmen, the Air Force provides access to reliable communications and information networks so that the joint team can operate globally at a high tempo and level of intensity. Air Force command and control systems give commanders the ability to conduct highly coordinated joint operations on an unequaled scale using centralized command, distributed control, and decentralized execution.
Through these core missions, the Air Force provides Global Vigilance, Global Reach, and Global Power for America. Each of these core missions is, in its own right, vitally important to the defense of our national interests; however, no single core mission functions independently. Airpower is maximized when Airmen leverage its unique characteristics— speed, range, flexibility, precision, lethality, and persistence—to harness the integrated power of our air, space, and cyber forces. The Air Force is effective precisely because its interdependent operations are synchronized to provide an unparalleled array of airpower options, giving America the ability to respond quickly anywhere in the world.
The Air Force Symbol The United States Air Force (USAF) symbol honors the heritage of our past and represents the promise of our future. It retains the core elements of our Air Corps legacy – the “Hap Arnold” wings and star with circle – and modernizes them to reflect our aerospace force of today and tomorrow.
The symbol has two main parts. In the upper half, the stylized wings represent the stripes of our strength – the enlisted men and women of our force. They are drawn with great angularity to emphasize our swiftness and power, and they are divided into six sections, which represent our Air Force core competencies: aerospace superiority, global attack, rapid global mobility, precision engagement, information superiority, and agile combat support.
In the lower half are a sphere, a star and three diamonds. The sphere within the star represents the globe. It reminds us of our obligation to secure our nation’s freedom with Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. The globe also reminds us of our challenge as an expeditionary force to respond rapidly to crises and to provide decisive aerospace power, worldwide.
The area surrounding the sphere takes the shape of a star. The star has many meanings. Its five points represent the components of our one force and family – our active duty, civilians, Guard, Reserve, and retirees. The star symbolizes space as the high ground of our nation’s aerospace force, and as the rallying symbol in all our wars, it also represents our officer corps, central to our combat leadership.
The star is framed with three diamonds, which represent our core values – integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. The elements come together to form one symbol that presents two powerful images – at once it is an eagle, the emblem of our Nation, and a medal, representing valor in service to our Nation.