Prelude to the Total Force: The Air National Guard 1943-1969 - ANG Forged in Politics, Struggle for Control, Integrating with the Active Force, Cold Warriors, Vindication, Berlin Airlift, Korean War
Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this Air Force publication is a comprehensive history of the origin of America's Air National Guard, covering the years 1943-1969. More
Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this Air Force publication is a comprehensive history of the origin of America's Air National Guard, covering the years 1943-1969.
From the beginning of military aviation, the National Guard was interested and involved. In 1909, less than a year after the Army purchased its first airplane, the First Aero Company, Signal Corps, New York National Guard, came into existence in New York City. By the time of its pre-World War II mobilization in 1940, the National Guard from throughout the nation could provide twenty-nine observation squadrons manned by nearly 5,000 officers and men. In early 1946, with the creation of the first Air Guard unit, and then with the formation of the Air Force as a separate, independent military service the next year, the Air National Guard emerged as a separate reserve component and began its modern development into a viable, powerful member of the aerospace team.
In this study of the origins and evolution of the Air National Guard, Dr. Charles J. Gross, himself a former guardsman and a professional historian, currently at the Air Force Systems Command History Office, chronicles this transformation. In the 1940s, the active duty Air Force was not particularly sympathetic or supportive of an Air National Guard. Focused on creating an Air Force as a separate service, carving out its role in the air-atomic age, and changing from piston to jet engines in an austere budgetary environment, the regulars saw no real purpose for part-time, state air forces. If anything, an Air Guard threatened the funding of an adequate regular force. Given the Guard's record of poor readiness and its successful resistance to direction from Washington, the Air Force leadership would have been just as happy to see the Guard eliminated.
In 1950, the difficult and in many respects unsuccessful mobilization of the Air National Guard for the Korean War, forced the Air Force into reforms, and the Guard itself to accept greater peacetime control by the active force. Through the 1950s, by means of expansion, more modern aircraft, and more closely coordinated planning and policy-making, the Guard began to increase both in effectiveness and in the respect it engendered from the Air Force leadership. Late in the decade, increased budgetary pressure on the Air Force, combined with the Eisenhower administration's emphasis on reserves and the Congress' support for the Guard, led to a more favorable view of the Guard by the Air Force. Also, Air Guard leaders themselves realized that they had to institute various reforms and better integrate the Guard with the regular force. Most importantly, the Guard in the 1950s won for itself, in continental air defense, in tactical aviation, and in airlift, meaningful missions that it could perform effectively on a continuing basis in peacetime. In mobilizations during the Berlin crisis in 1961-1962, in the Pueblo crisis and the Southeast Asian War in 1968, the Guard proved its competence and excellence.
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