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II Curtiss F11C
The Army Air Forces was formed in 1941 from the Army Air Corps in response to the growing structure and mission that Army Aviators were playing and the need for a more independent command structure. When created several other nation’s had already adopted independent Air Forces but the United States made the decision to leave aviators as a part of the Army.
The Army Air Forces was born in one of the biggest steps toward an independent Air Force. With the threat of war looming the aviation branch underwent a massive reorganization and the Army Air Forces was given control over all of Army aviation under the direct orders of then Chief of Staff, Gen. George C. Marshall.
At the Air Corps’ height it had more than 2.4 million people and 80,000 aircraft in service and flew more than 2.3 million missions during WWII.
Eventually becoming the Air Force in 1947, many of the pilots and missions of the Army Air Forces moved to the newly formed branch of service.
The Army was left with a handful of pilots and planes flying observation missions for field artillery units, but this would be short-lived as a new and revolutionary concept in aviation would change modern combat forever.