Recognizing 71 years of mission success
By Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 18, 2018
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. --
In 1947, the Cold War was in full swing, leading to the U.S.’s need for a more efficient and manageable foreign policy-making establishment.
As a solution, President Harry Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 on Sept. 18, 1947. This act, among other authorizations, separated the U.S. Army Air Corps from the U.S. Army, thus creating the U.S. Air Force.
“In 1947, our Air Force faced a rapidly changing world,” said Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. “Leaders like Hap Arnold and Carl Spaatz set a clear vision that helped grow the Air Force of the future. Now, we face a similar challenge as we build the Air Force we need to overcome today's threats. Our heritage of success is based on the innovation of intrepid warriors, made possible by our diverse group of professional, dedicated, and heroic Airmen.”
As the Air Force now celebrates its 71st birthday, Airmen are urged to remember its humble beginnings.
“In many areas, the establishment of the Air Force had little impact on the lives of most Airmen until months or even years had passed,” the Air Force Handbook 1 states. “What were designated as ‘organic’ service units, were taken over as newly designated Air Force units. Units that provided a common service to both the Army and the Air Force were left intact.”
One of those units, previously Shaw Air Field, later became Shaw Air Force Base, in January of 1948.
After 71 years, Shaw AFB has now grown to be the nation’s primary suppression of enemy air defenses and close air support wing, preparing and employing combat-ready Airmen and F-16 airpower.
Home of the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw AFB also hosts more than 20 mission partners, to include U.S. Air Forces Central Command, U.S. Army Central Command, Ninth Air Force Headquarters and the 51st Intelligence Squadron.
While the National Security Act of 1947 separated the Air Force from the Army creating it its own branch of service, it has also made Team Shaw’s and its mission partners operations possible by bringing them together.
“We stand on the shoulders of the pioneers who came before us,” Wilson said. “Your dedication and commitment honors their legacy and ensures we remain the best Air Force the world has ever seen. As we acknowledge the past and recognize our accomplishments, we must continue to push higher, faster and further.”