United States Army Air Corps

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The United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) was a forerunner of the United States Air Force. Renamed from the Air Service on July 2, 1926, it was part of the United States Army and the predecessor of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF), established in 1941. Although abolished as an organization in 1942, the Air Corps (AC) remained as a branch of the Army until 1947.

The Air Corps was renamed by the United States Congress largely as a compromise between advocates of a separate air arm and those of the Army high command who viewed the aviation arm as an auxiliary branch to support the ground forces. Although its members worked to promote the concept of airpower and an autonomous air force between 1926 and 1941, its primary purpose by Army policy remained support of ground forces rather than independent operations.

On March 1, 1935, still struggling with the issue of a separate air arm, the Army activated the General Headquarters Air Force for centralized control of aviation combat units within the continental United States, separate from but coordinate with the Air Corps. The separation of the Air Corps from control of its combat units caused problems of unity of command that became more acute as the Air Corps enlarged in preparation for World War II. This was resolved by the creation of the Army Air Forces on June 20, 1941, when both organizations became subordinate to the new higher echelon.

The Air Corps ceased to be an administrative organization on March 9, 1942. It remained as a branch of the Army until 1947, however, and the overwhelming majority of personnel assigned to the AAF were members of the Air Corps.


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