I saw some statistics the other day that pointed out the fact that the US Air Force is now smaller than the US Army Air Corp was on December 7th, 1941. And since not every one is as old as I, and not into things military, especially anything that flies, allow me to clarify: Before there was a US Air Force, there was the US Army Air Corp. It was AN air force, but it was a part of the US Army. After the Second World War it was decided, by the powers that be, that the Air Corp should be separated from the Army and built into a separate service. Frankly, that never made much sense to me. But nobody asked me!
The Army has had an unrecognized air corp ever since… recon aircraft, helicopters, even some jets, and a few sundry other aircraft. Point is…the Army needed an air corp and it found ways to get around the Pentagon and develop those aircraft… and to equip them for the uses they had in mind. The arming of helicopters, for instance. That was strictly against the rules. The army did it anyway... and it has proved to be one of the most effective weapons on the battlefield today.
Back to the Air Force: They’re downsizing.
What? Downsizing intentionally… even when they are at such a low ebb in personnel?
Yes! They are! The end of last month (October 2007) Air Force personnel had fallen to 334,000. By October of 2009, the Air Force is supposed to have pared down to 316,500 airmen. The Air Force is also divesting itself of some 8,000 officers as well.
Nearby Fort Bragg is about to gain it’s own Army Air Field again. Pope Air Force Base is being evacuated by the Air Force and turned over to the Army. Air Force transport aircraft will remain, because, SOMEBODY has to ferry the paratroopers, equipment, and other essentials the HUGE Army base needs daily.
Air Force aircraft are ancient. Look at the B-52’s. The planes are far older than the men who fly them. Our fighter aircraft are beat up and long in the tooth. Training of US Air Force pilots reportedly is not nearly as good as it has been. So bad, in fact, that East Indian pilots are regularly beating our pilots in war game exercises.
I’m still having problems understanding why this is happening. I have no clue as to why the government would allow this to happen. The Air Force was to be the service to take us into space and to the stars. But, apparently that mission has been dumped.
So, why have an air force, anyway? What not put the Air Force back with its parent service the US Army? Rename it the US Army Air Corp, or the Army Air Force… and be done with it. Either that, or allow the Army to develop it’s own aircraft, and air service, for close ground support, etc, and do away with the Air Force as a service, completely.
I’m just asking!!!
Look, our military is in bad shape. It needs to be at least 2/3rds larger than it is today (I’d rather see it doubled in size!). All services. And we need a crash program to re-arm and re-equip the troops in all services. Hopefully a conservative Commander-in Chief will get that done.
In the meantime, I hate to see what is happening to our US Air Force.