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United States Department of the Air Force

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Department of the Air Force
Seal of the United States Department of the Air Force.svg
Seal of the U.S. Department of the Air Force
Agency overview
FormedSeptember 18, 1947; 71 years ago (1947-09-18)
Preceding agency
Jurisdiction United States Air Force
HeadquartersThe Pentagon, Arlington County, Virginia, U.S.
Employees330,159 Regular Air Force
151,360 Civilians
68,872 Air Force Reserve
94,753 Air National Guard
Annual budget$170,239,441,000
Agency executives
Parent agencyU.S. Department of Defense

The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is one of the three Military Departments within the Department of Defense of the United States of America. The Department of the Air Force was formed on September 18, 1947, per the National Security Act of 1947 and it includes all elements and units of the United States Air Force (USAF).

The Department of the Air Force is headed by the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF/OS), a civilian, who has the authority to conduct all of its affairs, subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of the Air Force's principal deputy is the Under Secretary of the Air Force (SAF/US). Their senior staff assistants in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force are four Assistant Secretaries for Acquisition, Financial Management & Comptroller, Installations, Environment & Logistics, Manpower & Reserve Affairs and a General Counsel. The highest-ranking military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff of the Air Force who is the senior uniformed adviser to the Secretary, represents the Air Force on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, heads the Air Staff and is assisted in the latter capacity by the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force.

By direction of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Air Force assigns Air Force units – apart from those units performing duties enumerated in 10 U.S.C. § 8013 unless otherwise directed – to the Commanders of the Combatant Commands. Only the Secretary of Defense (and the President) has the authority to approve transfer of forces between Combatant Commands.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ United States Air Force (USAF) Combat Photography: Southeast Asia
  • ✪ Air Force Now #7
  • ✪ United States Army Air Force - World War II [HD Colour]


In the beginning was the word- [grunt] -the spoken word which sometimes provoked combat. [Music] Then came the picture- a combat picture- as man sought to record for his fellow man the nature of his experiences and the lessons he learned. From the picture came written words at first a kind of artists shorthand the first crude attempts to create pictures with words but the picture is made with words were often obscure. They couldn't tell the whole story and much of their impact was lost in the translation. For centuries then man has relied on the universal language of pictures to document his armed conflicts. As the technology of war progressed, so did the techniques and the tools of the artist. The greatest single improvement occurred in the 1860s, during the Civil War, when a revolutionary new device for recording historic events was introduced [shutter clicks]. The camera. There was no nonsense, no romantic inaccuracy ,about the camera. It captured exactly what it saw with sometimes appalling reality. And as the equipment and the techniques improved, photography became an increasingly vital source of historic reference military strategy and public information.The invention of motion pictures added a new dimension. 1914- on the Western Front. [Sound of gunfire and airplane motors] The combat cameraman established himself as an indispensable member of the military team. World War II was documented by 50 million feet of incomparable combat footage. [Sound of gunfire and airplane engines and explosions] The end of World War 2 marked the beginning of a new assault in the vanguard of the burgeoning jet age, sleek new aircraft were already smashing through the sound barrier. New speeds and performance levels required more sophisticated weapons, radio and radar systems- and once again as in the past the advances in the technology of war required corresponding advances in the tools and techniques of war's documentation. This is the story of how a serious technological gap was closed in Southeast Asia when US Air Force combat photography took up the challenge and gave a new look to the age-old language of pictures and in color. [Music] In the mid-60s, the United States became an active participant in South Vietnam's struggle for freedom. [Sounds of gunfire] Air Force fighter bombers went into action only to learn the Air Force photo capability then in the field was too small- a stepped-up demand for films too great-combat camera development had dropped too far behind supersonic fighter aircraft technology and ordnance delivery techniques. In 1965 recognizing the need for remedial action the US Air Force chief of staff directed that an entirely new operation plan be formulated .The planning task was assigned to aerospace audiovisual service- AAVS- through its parent organization the Military Airlift Command- MAC. The MAC and AAVS planning staffs followed through. The requested plan was submitted in record time and approval was received in December of that year. Two months later the 600th Photo Squadron, a single manager combat photo capability, including all photo except reconnaissance, began to take shape at Tan Son Nhut Air Base near Saigon. (Sounds of aircraft taking off] The combat photo function was beginning to align itself with all other Air Force operations in the theater. Headquartered in Vietnam the squadron established detachments throughout Southeast Asia. One primary mission is combat documentation called "Com Doc." It produces historical documentation footage on the ground, in the air, on every phase of the Vietnam conflict. you see Air Force "Com Doc" photographers jump into battle [Music] The "Com Doc" cameraman document anything and everything of significance. [Music and sound effects] The wounded soldier leaves the battlefield within minutes. Max Medical air evacuation back home in less than 24 hours. [Music and sound effects] Puff, the Magic Dragon-18 thousand rounds a minute. Com Doc footage finds an immediate use and fills an imperative need. It provides a film link between the air staff planner in the Pentagon and the combat operation in Southeast Asia.It also serves to keep the American public informed on the latest progress of their fighting forces. Equally important it finds a lasting use as visual history caught and recorded at the moment on the spot . [Sound effects] The highest priority in the photo squadron's mission is armament reporting photography. This is over the target combat documentation filmed for the most part by cameras installed in the strike aircraft. [Sound of bombs exploding] Air strikes are filmed in direct contact with the enemy, under hostile fire, as evidenced by these tracers. It is combat photography in its purest form. [Sound effects of aircraft and tracers firing] The footage supplies vital operational information and answers merchant questions. Was the target hit? [Sounds of bombs exploding] Which weapon work best against it? [Sounds of bombs exploding and aircraft flying] What improvements in delivery techniques and weaponry are needed? Watch this MIG try to evade our missile. [Music, aircraft sounds and explosion] Good strike footage is operationally priceless. Adequate airstrike coverage calls for cameras filming forward and aft, at various speeds and settings, depending on the type of ordnance carried. Some of the sophisticated fighters arriving in Vietnam had no provisions for air strike photography. Others had outdated gun cameras. AAVS personnel tackled the gun camera problems head-on. Today, the gun cameras installed by AAVS in Southeast Asia exceed 95% effectiveness. This aiming device or kipper appears on most gun camera footage. [Sounds of aircraft] A pod installation fitted to external pylons and mounted on the aircraft at an ordnance station houses two high-speed cameras- one looking forward- the other looking aft. The pod can be used for tail chase, and for recording weapon deliveries of its own aircraft. Pod cameras are only an interim measure. The pod development program was tackled with two goals in mind. First, how to best photograph weapon deliveries, and second, how to install the cameras in the aircraft. This latter problem was solved by devising a blister camera installation. Briefly, a blister is a protrusion on the aircraft. This approximated the ideal of mounting the camera array inside the aircraft. Like the pods, they house cameras aimed forward and aft, and are automatically activated when the pilot fires his guns or drops his ordnance. Motion picture cameramen and still photographers of the 600th also ride into combat with the jets. [Sound of jet taking off]. Attacking heavily defended targets in North and South Vietnam. With the forward air controllers in their low-flying aircraft. From their vantage point, the combat cameraman records air strikes against the enemy below him. With hundreds of combat sorties flown each day, the 600th photo teams must load, download, service,maintain, and repair the airstrike cameras. They work fast to unload the exposed film, and get it into the lab for immediate processing. The photo squadrons five labs are equipped for 16 millimeter color motion picture processing. Housed in air transportable trailers, air-conditioned and fully equipped, these labs are the nerve centers of the whole airstrike combat documentary mission. Within hours after touchdown, the labs process and deliver to the fighter unit commanders, intelligence officers, and pilots, color films of the day's combat missions, for rapid post strike analysis. This footage documents several strafing runs at an enemy petroleum depot. Here- there's no need for a return mission. The airstrike footage is culled by the film editors at each motion picture lab. The most significant footage is used nightly to brief the commander of the Seventh Air Force in Southeast Asia, rushed to the commander of the Pacific Air Forces- to Washington for viewing by the Air Staff- and ultimately- for public release. Strike footage is also carefully screened by the intelligence fraternity at all levels of command. South Vietnam facts in spotter aircraft seek out the enemy mark the location with smoke, then call in the fighters to destroy North Vietnamese and Viet Cong targets such as base camps, roads and truck parks, food and munitions storage areas, supply routes, underground bunkers, trenches,foxholes, and fortifications. [Sounds of gunfire and bombs exploding] These mini guns fire 6,000 rounds per minute. Until March 31st 1968, Air Force fighters and fighter bombers flew daily missions against North Vietnam major communist military targets, north of the 20th parallel.Near Hanoi and Haiphong, pilots struck communist airfields, power plants, iron and steel complexes, and army barracks. They encountered heavy savage conventional and surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft fir, as well as enemy MIGs. [Sounds of aircraft and bombs exploding] A selected original is forwarded to the Air Force archives to be cataloged and stored permanently, as a historical record. Another type of airstrike photography is filmed by specially designed cameras focused on the combat aircraft radar scopes. Immediately after downloading, the exposed black and white film goes into an automatic processor and comes out within minutes, ready for immediate evaluation by the Tactical Fighter Unit. A panoramic strike camera also provides a rapid look at combat results. This camera records an image that extends from horizon to horizon, fore and aft, along the aircraft flight path by means of a rotating prism. A portable processing unit, designed for 70 millimeter film, provides short processing time, ease of operation, and quality reproduction.The transfer film is pre-imbibed with a developer and a fixer. As the transfer film contacts the exposed film, processing takes place producing both a negative and a positive transparency. Within an hour after landing, prints made from the positive transparencies are ready for viewing by Tactical Fighter Units.They provide excellent operational information for the combat pilots and for intelligence personnel. The most significant negatives are turned over to intelligence for further in-depth study. The 600th maintains a fully equipped still photo laboratory at each of its 17 theater locations for reproducing black-and-white and color photography. The major portion of the still mission is to produce black-and-white still photographs for release through information channels in Southeast Asia as well as bass still lab requirements. Additional black-and-white and color still photographs are forwarded to Washington for release by Air Force Information. The original negatives and color transparencies are forwarded to the Air Force Still Depository for future use and historical preservation. These pictures represent one day's output of quality photography. Still photo coverage includes civic action, newsworthy events,operational combat activity, and the vital airstrike combat mission. All Air Force combat photography from Southeast Asia eventually finds a use. You see it everywhere-in every form of visual media from newspapers and magazines to motion pictures and television. The Air Force was given the job of defending South Vietnam with its massive airpower, and F-105 has just scored another MIG kill. The pilot said I fired a burst from my 20 millimeter cannon and the MIG blew up only 15 or 20 feet in front of me. The following excerpts from Air Force motion picture productions best demonstrate further use of Air Force combat photography received from Southeast Asia. Bien Hoa, in Vietnam.A monthly news review distributed internally throughout the entire Air Force, to provide its members with a broad view of significant and interesting events. General William Westmoreland, Commander,Military Assistance Command,Vietnam, in a message to the 7th Air Force, headquartered at Tan Son Nhut, wrote, "The performance of the 7th Air Force, in meeting airlift requirements in Vietnam over the past year, has been outstanding..." " and supplies are unloaded near the village of Tuy Hoa..." "...for the start of construction of a new airbase some 75 miles north of Cam Ranh Bay." " All construction is under the engineering supervision of the Air Force Civil Engineers, 45 days ahead of schedule, Tuy Hoa Air Base began initial operations." "Mayday Mayday Mayday." This is Red Rooster Lee [unintelligible} that's been shot down." Sound clips for the Air Force Command Post and the American public. A pilot is saved by helicopter. A rescue by the Jolly Green Giant. A dramatic factual short clip. They report for the Air Staff and the American public. "Although every air rescue is different, what you have seen is happens all the time in this war out here. And that means hundreds of our best men saved." On the ground and in the air, the United States Air Force Combat Photo mission in Southeast Asia is served around the clock from 16 units and its operating squadron headquarters at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. The Vietnam detachments all operating mainly out of trailers and bands are located throughout South Vietnam. Cam Ranh Bay, Phan Rang, Bien Hoa Da Nang, Tua Hoy, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Binh Thuy, and Phu Cat. The Thai detachments housed in specially designed air conditioned buildings, report to squadron headquarters through the six all first photo flight located at Korat. The detachments in Thailand, reporting to the Photo Flight, are Takhli, Ubon, Udorn, U-Tapao, Don Muang, and Nakhon Phanom. This is how the Air Force combat photo mission in Southeast Asia is being accomplished today. An impossible task for the Air Force, and AAVS, had it not been for the valuable contributions and material assistance afforded by various Air Staff agencies and major commands. We've shown how the Air Force is closing a technological gap bringing combat aircraft and combat camera together again as a highly skilled working team. Looking back to the start, it seems we've come a long way in a rather short while. Looking ahead to the future, our goal is to keep pace with technology and satisfy the needs of the Air Force. You may rest assured that when your Air Force has done its job in Southeast Asia, the final photographic record will be complete. [Music]


Organizational structure

See Structure of the United States armed forces

Headquarters Air Force[1]

Office of the Secretary of the Air Force seal.jpg Office of the Secretary of the Air Force

Headquarters US Air Force Badge.png The Air Staff


According to the FY2019_Budget_Request_Overview_Book[2] | 8-12, the Department of Defense claims the Department of the Air Force is as follows

Department of the Air Force
Air Force Base + OCO + Emergency FY 2018 FY 2019 Request Delta

FY19 - FY18

Military Personnel 35,607,366 38,954,308 +3,346,942
Operation and Maintenance 58,191,005 61,407,391 +3,216,386
Procurement 45,654,160 50,541,275 +4,887,115
RDT&E 28,198,426 40,492,614 +12,294,188
Military Construction 2,191,451 2,303,699 +112,248
Family Housing 333,500 395,720 +62,220
Revolving and Management Funds 63,533 77,644 +14,111
Total 170,239,441 194,172,651 +23,933,210

*$ in Millions

Numbers May Not Add Due to Rounding

Space Force proposal

On March 1st, 2019, the Department of Defense sent a proposal to Congress that would establish the United States Space Force as an independent military service within the Department of the Air Force. In addition, the proposal would create an Undersecretary of the Air Force for the Space Force to provide civilian oversight, as well as providing the Space Force with a distinct budget. [3]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Air Force Senior Leaders". Retrieved on 14 December 2017
  2. ^ "FY2019_Budget_Request_Overview_Book.pdf" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-10-29.
  3. ^


External links

This page was last edited on 4 March 2019, at 00:06
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