A Brief History of the American Experience
Publication Year: 2013
Global air mobility is an American invention. During the twentieth century, other nations developed capabilities to transport supplies and personnel by air to support deployed military forces. But only the United States mustered the resources and will to create a global transport force and aerial refueling aircraft capable of moving air and ground combat forces of all types to anywhere in the world and supporting them in continuous combat operations. Whether contemplating a bomber campaign or halting another surprise attack, American war planners have depended on transport and tanker aircraft to launch, reinforce, and sustain operations.
Air mobility has also changed the way the United States relates to the world. American leaders use air mobility to signal friends and enemies of their intent and ability to intervene, attack, or defend on short notice and powerfully. Stateside air wings and armored brigades on Sunday can be patrolling the air of any continent on Wednesday and taking up defensive positions on a friend's borders by Friday. This capability affects the diplomacy and the calculations of America and its friends and enemies alike. Moreover, such global mobility has made America the world's philanthropist. From their earliest days, American airlift forces have performed thousands of humanitarian missions, dropping hay to snow-bound cattle, taking stranded pilgrims to Mecca, and delivering food and medicine to tsunami stricken towns.
Air Mobility examines how air power elevated the American military's penchant for speed and ability to maneuver to an art unequalled by any other nation.
Is charitable giving more about satisfying the needs of the donor or those of the recipient? The answer, according to Friedman, is both, and Reinventing Philanthropy provides the essential tools for maximizing the impact of one's donations.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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Title Page, Other Books in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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This study is a product of passion. Except for two educational assignments, I spent my entire air force career flying air transports or engaged in staff duties directly related to airlift and air mobility planning, doctrine development, and project management. In the course of all of that, I developed a passionate inter-est in the workings of the national air mobility system and a deep pride at being ...
Terms and Abbreviations
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G.scloba.scl a.scir mobility is an American invention. During the course of the twentieth century, other nations developed capabilities to transport supplies and personnel by air in support of military forces already on the battlefield. A few countries, mainly the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and Great Britain, fielded airlift forces capable of moving infantry divisions over distances of a ...
1. Discovering Air Mobility
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I.sct ta.sck.sces no great leap of imagination to visualize military airlift. Certainly thousands of beleaguered soldiers and desperate commanders of the past wished for the ability to fly into battle or away from bad situations. Indeed, French-men had barely invented practical balloon flight in 1seven.oldstyle8three.oldstyle when Benjamin Frank-It appears, as you observe, to be a discovery of great importance, and what ...
2. Military Air Transport in the 1920s
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The f.scirst deca.scde of the Golden Age of Aviation was a busy time for the U.S. Army Air Service, which became the U.S. Army Air Corps after 192six.oldstyle. Almost daily, military airmen pressed the limits of aircraft performance, broke records, and discovered or refined their understanding of the roles aircraft could play in modern war. As warriors, they focused on building the Air Ser-...
3. Civil Aviation between the Wars
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B.scy the mid-1920s, military-minded leaders in the United States saw an obvious connection between the commercial airline industry and national defense. Transmitting the thoughts of President Warren Harding, Fiorello H. La Guardia told fellow congressmen that “the outstanding weakness in the industrial situation . . . is the inadequacy of facilities to supply Air Service ...
4. Military Air Transport in the 1930s
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D.scuring.sc the 19three.oldstyle0s army air corps leaders reversed the relationship between the air transport doctrines and the air transport capabilities of their service. At the start of the decade, they knew a lot more about the uses and operational nature of air transport than their tiny fleet of single- and three-engine cargo aircraft could handle. But transport aircraft technologies advanced profoundly ...
5. Mobilizing Air Transport for Global War
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America.scn a.scir tra.scnsp.scort capabilities grew more proportionately than any other arm of military airpower during World War II. In 19four.oldstyle0 the Army Air Corps and the Navy possessed decades of experience in combat aviation—pursuit, attack, and bombardment—and they had operational units, training exercises, and doctrine libraries to show for it. Nothing similar existed for air ...
6. Air Transport in World War II
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...“M.score, p.scerha.scp.scs, tha.scn any other single organization,” wrote the Air Trans-port Command (ATC) historian, “the Command reflected the global character of the war.”one.superior He could have been writing just as well for the Naval Air Trans-port Service (NATS). Among the major operational commands of the Army and the Navy, ATC and NATS were the only ones with planning and opera-...
7. Troop Carrier Aviation in World War II
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The Wehrmacht troops deployed in and around the Diersfordter Wald expected the attack to come straight at them. The wald, a four-square-mile patch of for-est stretching in a westward-facing arch around the village of Diersfordt, sat on a low ridge that sloped gently down to the Rhine River, two to three miles farther to the west. For days, German intelligence reports had confirmed that ...
8. Airlift Consolidation in the 1940s
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I.sct wa.scs p.scredicta.scble that, in the later years of World War II and immedi-ately thereafter, military planners began to consider the proper distribution of control over air transport forces. Given the expense and insatiable demand for transport aircraft from so many organizations, the logic of gathering long-range aircraft into a single command charged with providing “common-user” service ...
9. The Berlin Airlift
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B.scerlin wa.scs lost, of course. When the Russians blocked the railroads and highways connecting the city to the outside world on June 2four.oldstyle, 19four.oldstyle8, there was no diplomatic or military option available to the United States, Britain, and France—the Western powers sharing governance of the city with the Soviets—that seemed capable of saving it from starvation and eventual takeover. Geog-...
10. The Korean War
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Cla.scy B.scla.scir op.scened his history of the Korean War by saying that, while the conflict was little more than a “phrase in history books” for many Americans, its “impact . . . on the United States government and society was profound.” Blair made his point by listing the intensification of the Cold War, acceleration of the U.S.-Soviet nuclear arms race, and encouragement of McCarthyism among ...
11. Troop Carrier Aviation in the 1950s
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Atomic bombs were pretty good for Troop Carrier Aviation. Happily, the things were never used after World War II. But their existence pushed the Army and the Air Force’s Tactical Air Command (TAC) into operational concepts that demanded a lot of theater airlift. Adoption of these concepts, particularly by the Army, pressed reluctant air force leaders to expand and modernize troop ...
12. Army Aviation in the 1950s
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B.scetween the end of the Korean War and the beginning of active American military involvement in the Vietnam War, the Department of Defense gave the U.S. Army broad latitude to develop its aviation arm. Held back only by the limitations of contemporary technology, budgets, and air force doctrinal pre-rogatives, army aviation experts largely were free to take their experiments and ...
13. Air Transport in the 1950s
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Throug.schout the 19five.oldstyle0s, the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) oper-ated under continual doctrinal and institutional duress. Each military service, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the scheduled and unscheduled airline indus-tries, different groups in Congress, and other interests all had differing views of the proper roles, the operational priorities, and even the very need for the ...
14. The National Military Airlift Hearings
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As he reca.sclled a few years later, L. Mendel Rivers, Democratic congress-man from Charleston, South Carolina, had had enough of the enemies of the Military Air Transport Service (MATS), whose objective, he charged, was to serve the “so-called patriots” in the airline industry.one.superior Following years of wran-gling between the Army, the Air Force, the airline industry, and Congress over ...
15. Inventing the Civil Reserve Airlift Fleet
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The v.scita.scl contributions of the U.S. airline industry during World War II implied the need for some sort of mobilization policy for it after the war. There were many precedents for such a policy, particularly in the merchant marines or navies organized by most major powers. Throughout history, mil-itaries have always contracted, called up, impressed, or simply commandeered ...
16. Vietnam: The Air Mobility War
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I.scn the yea.scrs just prior to and during the Vietnam War, air mobility became a central element of the American way of warfare. A sudden conjunction of technology developments, exercise results, and then the experience of the war itself changed the way U.S. military forces utilized airlift quantitatively and qualitatively. Modern turbine-powered aircraft, new cargo-handling systems, ...
17. Nickel Grass
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I.sct would be an overstatement to say that General Paul K. Carlton saved the world all by himself during the Arab-Israeli War of 19seven.oldstylethree.oldstyle. He had some help. Most important, the Israeli military fought its way back from the verge of defeat and retook the territories lost in the first days of the war and then some. Those vic-tories were the indispensable backdrop of the brilliant public and private diplo-...
18. Airlift Consolidation in the 1970s
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B.scef.score discussing.sc the course of airlift consolidation, we must understand its organizational context. After the establishment of the Department of Defense (DOD) in 19four.oldstyle8, the operational, or war-fighting chain of command of the United States ran from the president through the secretary of defense to the commanders in chief (CINCs) of the specified and unified combatant com-...
19. Airlift in the 1980s
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The la.scst deca.scde of the Cold War was as close to a golden time for Amer-ican military airlift practitioners as they would ever get. They worked hard. The myriad tasks involved in moving and linking the forces and global net-work of bases facing down the Soviet Union placed heavy demands on people and aircraft. Small-scale military contingencies, natural disasters, routine train-...
20. Acquisition of the C-17
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I.scn the history of American military aviation, the list would be short of air-craft development programs that were as protracted and publicly contentious as that of the C-1seven.oldstyle. The viability and strategic impact of some other aircraft were controversial, of course. But in comparison to the C-1seven.oldstyle’s experience, the con-troversies over such aircraft as the B-three.oldstylesix.oldstyle and FB-111 and air-launched cruise mis-...
21. The First Gulf War
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I.sct wa.scs a.scn a.scirlif.sct characterized by superlatives. In terms of daily effort and ton miles flown, the airlift of American combat forces during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the defensive and offensive phases of the 1990–1991 Gulf War, respectively, was by far the largest and fastest in history. More raw ton-nage was moved during the Berlin Airlift of 19four.oldstyle8–19four.oldstyle9 but only over a distance ...
22. Messing with Success: The Reorganization of Air Mobility Forces after the Gulf War
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H.sca.scv.scing.sc a.scscended to the position of chief of staff in October 1990, General Merrill A. McPeak disassembled the U.S. Air Force and put it back together in unfamiliar ways. To be sure, he was not acting on a whim. The ongoing disso-lution of the Soviet Union had created expectations of major changes in U.S. defense policies. The current National Security Strategy of the United States ...
23. The 1990s: Years of Steady-State Surge
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At f.scirst g.scla.scnce, “steady-state surge” reads as an oxymoron. But by the end of the 1990s, the term had specific meaning for the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and for the U.S. Air Force in general. Basically, “surge” meant a pace of operations that precluded adequate rest for the command’s personnel and the proper maintenance or replacement of its aircraft and other resources.one.superior ...
24. The 2000s: Years of Steady-State War
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I.sct is a.sc testament to the American military system that its national air mobil-ity system came out of the first decade of the twenty-first century stronger than it went in. When al Qaeda attacked on September 11, 2001, America’s mobility fleets were robust and modernizing, and their personnel were sea-soned though slightly worn by the previous decade’s high operating tempos. ...
25. Haiti 2010: The Way It Works
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The relief.sc of.sc Haiti provides as good a snapshot as any operation of the workings of the air force portion of the American national air mobility system after nearly a century of development and twenty years of a warlike operational tempo. To be sure, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) and the transport and aerial tanker units assigned to overseas joint combatant commands are trained, ...
26. The Secret Is People
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I.sct wa.scs a.sc defining moment, and it happened every year. At the conclusion of the closing awards banquet of the 2011 Airlift/Tanker Association convention, all of the four-star generals in attendance stood on the stage, linked hands, and led over three.oldstyle,000 members of the American air mobility community in the sing-ing of “God Bless America.” This time there were five of them: General Ray-...
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About the Author
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Robert C. Owen is a professor in the Department of Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach Campus. He teaches courses in manned and unmanned aviation operations, law, and history and conducts research in national defense policy issues. Professor Owen joined the Embry-Riddle faculty in 2002, following a twenty-eight-year career with the ...
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...2. The Douglas C-1 was the first “C” aircraft acquired by the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army 3. During the Great Flood of 1927, the 154th Observation Squadron, Arkansas National Guard flew over twenty thousand miles to locate survivors and deliver supplies. (Painting 4. Lieutenant Colonel Henry H. Arnold was an early thinker on air transport operations and later, as the chief of the Army Air Forces in World War II, would influence airlift af-...
Page Count: 400
Publication Year: 2013