The United States Air Force became a separate military branch on September 18, 1947 with the passing of the National Security of Act of 1947. Prior to this date, all military aviation was divided between the Army for land based operations and the Navy and Marine Corps for sea-based operations from aircraft carriers. General Henry Arnold, previous a General in the US Army was named the first General of the US Air Force. In 1950, General Arnold passed away and since that date there has not been another General of the US Air Force, a title bestowed only on 5 stars military generals.
Fast forward 70 years and today the United States Air Force is the largest and most technically advanced air force in the world. In rough stats there are:
- Nearly 6,000 manned aircraft
- Over 150 unmanned combat air vehicles
- Over 2,500 missiles
- Nearly 350,000 active duty personnel
- There are also over 100,000 reservists in the Air National Guard