In September, the Air Force celebrates its 70th year as an independent armed service, having previously been a branch of the Army. After a history arguably dating back to the American Civil War, the Air Force in 1947 began a new story of development and achievement under its own banner.
In the story available through link at the top right button on this page, we have selected 70 photographs representing the Air Force’s history and evolution, one for each year. They comprise leaders, acts of heroism, aircraft, missiles, tragedies, victories, and successes of many kinds.
It would be impossible to select the most important Air Force mission, person, or feat in any given year, nor is it feasible to represent in 70 pictures the more than 300 USAF career specialties or the hundreds of types of aircraft and other weapon systems it has operated. Rather, these images, taken collectively, are meant to illustrate and illuminate 70 years of progress, struggle, and accomplishment.