Its primary mission is the air defense of the Contiguous United States (CONUS), United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Its mission lineage can be traced to the Air Defense Command, one of the original USAAF major commands formed in 1946.
One of the four original pre-World War II numbered air forces during the existence of the United States Army Air Corps, 1 AF was activated on 18 December 1940, at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York with a mission of air defense of the Northeastern United States and Great Lakes regions. During the war, its primary mission became the organization and training of combat units prior to their deployment to the overseas combat air forces.
|First Air Force (Air Forces Northern)|
Shield of the First Air Force
Shield of Continental U.S. Aerospace Defense Region - Air Forces Northern
|Active||1 November 2007 - present (as First Air Force (Air Forces Northern))|
1 October 1995 - 1 November 2007 (as First Air Force (ANG))
6 December 1985 - 1 October 1995
20 January 1966 - 31 December 1969
18 September 1942 - 23 June 1958 (as First Air Force)
26 March 1941 - 18 September 1942 (as 1 Air Force)
19 October 1940 - 26 March 1941 (as Northeast Air District)
(78 years, 3 months)
|Country||United States of America|
|Branch|| United States Air Force (18 September 1947 - present)|
United States Army ( Army Air Forces, 20 June 1941 - 18 September 1947; Army Air Corps 19 October 1940 - 20 June 1941)
|Type||Numbered Air Force|
|Role||Provide forces for air defense of the Continental United States and serve as the air component for U.S. Northern Command and the Continental NORAD Region|
|Size||15,000 Airmen |
|Part of|| Air Combat Command|
United States Northern Command
Continental NORAD Region
|Headquarters||Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, U.S.|
World War II - American Theater
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
|Commander||Lt Gen R. Scott Williams|
|Vice Commander||Brig Gen Daniel J. Orcutt|
|Deputy Commander||BGen Sylvain Y. Menard, RCAF|
|Command Chief||CCM Richard D. King|
The command has sole responsibility for ensuring the air sovereignty and air defense of the Contiguous United States (CONUS), United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. As the CONUS Region (CONR) for NORAD, the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command, CONR provides air defense in the form of airspace surveillance and airspace control.
1AF (AFNORTH) is also the designated air component for the United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). USNORTHCOM's area of responsibility includes the continental United States, Alaska, Canada and Mexico, and its air, land and maritime approaches.
The command is unique in both its mission and composition. With the transfer of responsibility for continental air defense from the active duty component of the Air Force to the Air National Guard, 1 AF became the first numbered air force to be made up primarily of citizen airmen. Furthermore, the United States Air Force Auxiliary-Civil Air Patrol has been incorporated into the 1 AF.
First Air Force has been an Air Combat Command organization since 1 June 1992. Its subordinate units are located throughout the continental United States.
Units aligned under First Air Force/AFNORTH include:
Additionally, First Air Force provides operational control of alert Air National Guard air defense fighter units:
One of the four original numbered air forces, First Air Force was activated as the Northeast Air District of the GHQ Air Force on 18 December 1940, at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. It was redesignated First Air Force on 9 April 1941 with a mission for the defense of the Northeast and Great Lakes regions of the United States.
During the initial months after the Pearl Harbor Attack, First Air Force organized what would eventually become the core of the Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command (AAFSC), obtaining most of its forces from I Bomber Command to combat the German U-Boat threat along the Atlantic Coast. AAFSC would eventually expand that mission to the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean until the antisubmarine mission was taken over completely by the Navy in mid-1943.
Beginning in May 1942, the mission of First Air Force became operational training of units and crews, and the replacement training of individuals for bombardment, fighter, and reconnaissance operations. It received graduates of Army Air Forces Training Command flight schools; navigator training; flexible gunnery schools and various technical schools, organized them into newly activated combat groups and squadrons, and provided operational unit training (OTU) and replacement training (RTU) to prepare groups and replacements for deployment overseas to combat theaters. The First Air Force became predominantly a fighter OTU and RTU organization. Most P-47 Thunderbolt fighter groups were trained by I Fighter Command, along with P-39/P-63 Airacobra groups; C-47 Skytrain and later C-46 Commando groups by I Troop Carrier Command. By 1944, most of the Operational Training of groups ended, with the command concentrating on the training of individual replacements using Army Air Force Base Units (AAFBU) as training organizations at the airfields controlled by First Air Force.
Air Defense Wings were also organized for the major metropolitan areas along the northeast coast, using training units attached to the Wings. By 1944 the likelihood of an air attack along the eastern seaboard was remote, and these air defense wings were reduced to paper units.
By 1944, the vast majority of the USAAF was engaged in combat operations in various parts of the world, such as the Eighth Air Force in Europe and the Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific. The training units located within the United States (known as the Zone of the Interior, or "ZI".) under First, Second, Third and Fourth Air Force were all were placed under the unified command of the Continental Air Forces (CAF) on 13 December 1944, with the Numbered Air Forces becoming subordinate commands of CAF.
In March 1946, USAAF Chief General Carl Spaatz had undertaken a major re-organization of the postwar USAAF that had included the establishment of Major Commands (MAJCOM), who would report directly to HQ United States Army Air Forces. Continental Air Forces was inactivated, and First Air Force was assigned to the postwar Air Defense Command in March 1946 and subsequently to Continental Air Command (ConAC) in December 1948 being primarily concerned with air defense. First Air Force Headquarters was located at Fort Slocum, New York, from 1946 to 1949.
The command was originally assigned the region of the New England states, along with New York and New Jersey. With the inactivation of the ADC Eleventh Air Force on 1 July 1948 due to budget restrictions, command's region of responsibility was increased to include the upper Midwest states of Michigan and Ohio, along with the Mid-Atlantic region south to the North Carolina/Virginia Border.
In 1949 Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve units were placed under First Air Force command, with its active-duty units being reassigned to Eastern Air Defense Force (EADF) or to the 30th, 32d or 26th Air Divisions.
The command was inactivated on 23 June 1958 for budgetary reasons, its assigned units being reorganized under ConAC.
First Air Force was reactivated at Stewart Air Force Base, Newburgh, N.Y., on 20 January 1966 due to the inactivation of the ADC Air Defense Sectors. First Air Force assumed responsibility for the ADC 21st, 33d, 34th, 35th, and 36th Air Divisions, primarily located in the northeast and upper Midwest regions of the United States. It also was responsible for the air defense of Greenland, Iceland and parts of Canada. By July 1968, First Air Force had again assumed total responsibility for the air defense of the eastern seaboard, just as it had during World War II.
On 16 January 1968 Air Defense Command was re-designated Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM) as part of a restructuring of USAF air defense forces. First Air Force's second period of service was short lived, however, and the command was again inactivated as the result of a major ADCOM reorganization on 31 December 1969 of the First, Fourth, Tenth Air Forces and several Air Divisions. This reorganization was the result of the need to eliminate intermediate levels of command in ADCOM driven by budget reductions and a perceived lessening of the need for continental air defense against attacking Soviet aircraft.
ADCOM reassigned the units under the inactivated First Air Force were reassigned primarily to the 20th, 21st or 23d Air Divisions.
As part of realignment of military assets. ADCOM was reorganized on 1 October 1979. The atmospheric defense resources (interceptors and warning radars) of ADCOM were reassigned to Tactical Air Command (TAC). With this move many Air National Guard units that had an air defense mission also came under the control of TAC, which established a component called Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC), at the level of a numbered air force.
On 6 December 1985 HQ USAF reactivated First Air Force at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, and assigned it to Tactical Air Command (TAC), replacing ADTAC. First Air Force was given the mission to provide, train and equip combat ready air defence forces for the air defense of the North American continent.
Upon its reactivation, First Air Force was composed of units of the active Air Force and the Air National Guard. Because of its unique mission and its binational responsibilities, First Air Force works closely with the Canadian Forces. Canadian personnel are stationed at First Air Force Headquarters at Tyndall Air Force Base Florida, and at the various regional air defense sectors located throughout the United States.
Activation of the Continental NORAD Region on 1 October 1986, resulted in a new structure for North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The continental U.S. region, along with Alaskan and Canadian regions provided the command and operational system for North American air defense.
The Air Defense Sectors were transferred by the Air Force to the National Guard Bureau and allotted to the Air National Guard on 1 October 1990. They were operationally gained by First Air Force, Tactical Air Command.
First Air Force was transferred to Air Combat Command along with the rest of TAC on 1 June 1992
In the years since its third activation, more of the responsibility for the defense of American air sovereignty has primarily shifted to the Air National Guard. Also, reorganization of the command structure of the U.S. Air Force saw the assignment of air defense to Tactical Air Command and later, its successor, Air Combat Command.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the role of the Air National Guard in the defense of North America increased. As this role changed, discussions between the active Air Force and the Air National Guard commenced concerning roles and responsibilities.
As the Cold War began to wind down and budgetary constraints became realities, more and more of the missions previously carried out by active duty forces began to be transferred into the reserve components. By the 1990s, 90 percent of the air defense mission was being handled by the Air National Guard.
In October 1997, First Air Force became a primarily composed of Air National Guard units charged with the air defense of the North American continent. Today, First Air Force consists primarily of members of the Air National Guard. Its headquarters is located at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. It comprises 10 fighter wings and two air defense sectors for the East and Western regions of the country.
The 21st Expeditionary Mobility Task Force (21 EMTF) was one of two EMTFs assigned to the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command. It was headquartered at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. The 21 EMTF was a redesignation of Twenty-First Air Force, effective 1 October 2003.
The 21st EMTF reported to Headquarters, Eighteenth Air Force at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. It was inactivated on 19 March 2012.302d Operations Group
The 302d Operations Group is the operational flying component of the 302d Airlift Wing of the United States Air Force Reserve. It is stationed at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
The group was activated during World War II as the 302d Bombardment Group, a Consolidated B-24 Liberator replacement training unit (RTU). It was originally a Second Air Force unit, it was reassigned to First Air Force in 1943. The group was inactivated in 1944 when the Army Air Forces reorganized its training units to make more efficient use of its manpower.
The group was redesignated the 302d Troop Carrier Group and activated in the Air Force Reserve in 1949. The group was called to active duty in June 1951 and its personnel used as fillers for other units before the 302d was inactivated a week later.
The group was again activated in the reserves in 1952 and trained as an airlift unit until it was inactivated in 1958 when Continental Air Command converted its operational wings to the dual deputy system in which squadrons reported ddirectly to wing headquarters.
The group was activated again when Air Force Reserve Command reorganized under the Combat Wing reorganization.36th Air Division
The 36th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with First Air Force at Topsham Air Force Station, Maine. It was inactivated on 30 September 1969.400th Bombardment Group
The 400th Bombardment Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the First Air Force, stationed at Charleston Army Airfield, South Carolina. It was inactivated on 10 April 1944.
The unit was a World War II B-24 Liberator replacement training unit (RTU). Its graduates were then assigned to combat units in overseas theaters worldwide as replacement personnel. Originally a Second Air Force unit, it was reassigned to First Air Force when Second AF began B-29 Superfortress training. Inactivated in 1944 when the need for B-24 aircrews was diminished.477th Fighter Group
The 477th Fighter Group is an Air Reserve unit of the United States Air Force. It is assigned to the Tenth Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The 477th FG is an associate unit of the 3d Wing of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), and if mobilized the wing is gained by PACAF.90th Air Division
The 90th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with First Air Force at Naval Air Station Niagara Falls, New York. It was inactivated on 27 June 1949.Charleston Air Force Base
Charleston Air Force Base (IATA: CHS, ICAO: KCHS, FAA LID: CHS) is a United States military facility located in the City of North Charleston, South Carolina. The facility is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force's 628th Air Base Wing (628 ABW), a subordinate element of the Air Mobility Command (AMC). It is part of Joint Base Charleston, which combined Charleston Air Force Base with Naval Support Activity Charleston.Dover Air Force Base
Dover Air Force Base or Dover AFB (IATA: DOV, ICAO: KDOV, FAA LID: DOV) is a United States Air Force base located 2 miles (3.2 km) southeast of the city of Dover, Delaware.Godman Army Airfield
Godman Army Airfield (IATA: FTK, ICAO: KFTK, FAA LID: FTK) is a military airport located on the Fort Knox United States Army post in Hardin County, Kentucky, United States. It has four runways and is used entirely by the United States Army Aviation Branch.I Fighter Command
I Fighter Command was a United States Army Air Forces intermediate command responsible for command and control of the fighter operations within the First Air Force during World War II.
The command was responsible for air defense of the northeastern United States until mid-1944, as well as training fighter units and personnel.Mitchel Air Force Base
Mitchel Air Force Base also known as Mitchel Field, was a United States Air Force base located on the Hempstead Plains of Long Island, New York, United States. Established in 1918 as Hazelhurst Aviation Field #2, the facility was renamed later that year as Mitchel Field in honor of former New York City Mayor John Purroy Mitchel who was killed while training for the Air Service in Louisiana.
Decommissioned in 1961, Mitchel Field became a multi-use complex that is home to the Cradle of Aviation Museum, Nassau Coliseum, Mitchel Athletic Complex, Nassau Community College, Hofstra University, and Lockheed. In 2018 the surviving buildings and facilities were recognized as a historic district and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.New York Fighter Wing
The New York Fighter Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the I Fighter Command, stationed at Mitchel Field, New York It was inactivated on 10 April 1944.
The wing was a World War II air defense organization, reporting to First Air Force, responsible for the air defense of the New York City metropolitan area. The wing was also a training organization for fighter groups and personnel, with assigned groups subsequently deploying to overseas theaters.Norfolk Fighter Wing
The Norfolk Fighter Wing is a disbanded United States Army Air Forces unit. Its last assignment was with the I Fighter Command, stationed at Norfolk Airport, Virginia.
The wing reported to First Air Force and was responsible for the air defense of the Norfolk area during World War II. The unit was not manned after July 1944, and inactivated after the end of the war on 3 April 1946.Norfolk International Airport
Norfolk International Airport (IATA: ORF, ICAO: KORF, FAA LID: ORF) is three miles (6 km) northeast of downtown Norfolk, an independent city in Virginia. It is owned by the city of Norfolk and operated by the Norfolk Airport Authority: a bureau under the municipal government. The airport serves the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of southeast Virginia (along with Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport in Newport News) as well as northeast North Carolina.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2019–2023 categorized it as a small-hub primary commercial service facility. Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 1,606,695 enplanements in calendar year 2011, a decrease of 3.4% from 1,663,294 in 2010.As of 2017, Norfolk International was ranked as the 70th-busiest airport in the United States and the fourth-busiest in Virginia in terms of passengers served annually following Richmond International, Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport. Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines are the predominant users of the airport.Philadelphia Fighter Wing
The Philadelphia Fighter Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the I Fighter Command, stationed at Philadelphia Airport, Pennsylvania It was inactivated on 3 April 1946.
The wing was a World War II air defense organization, reporting to First Air Force, responsible for the air defense of the Philadelphia area. The wing was also a training organization for fighter groups and personnel, with assigned groups subsequently deploying to overseas theaters. Not manned after July 1944, and inactivated at the end of the war.Richmond International Airport
Richmond International Airport (IATA: RIC, ICAO: KRIC, FAA LID: RIC) is a joint civil-military public airport in Sandston, Virginia, United States, an unincorporated community (within Henrico County). The airport is about 7 miles (11 km) southeast of downtown Richmond, the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Richmond International Airport is the busiest airport in central Virginia and the third-busiest in the state behind Washington D.C.'s two major airports, Washington Dulles and Washington National. RIC covers 2,500 acres (1,012 ha) of land.Selfridge Air National Guard Base
Selfridge Air National Guard Base or Selfridge ANGB (IATA: MTC, ICAO: KMTC, FAA LID: MTC) is an Air National Guard installation located in Harrison Township, Michigan, near Mount Clemens. Selfridge Field was one of thirty-two Air Service training camps established after the United States entry into World War I in April 1917.Shaw Air Force Base
Shaw Air Force Base (Shaw AFB) (IATA: SSC, ICAO: KSSC, FAA LID: SSC) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 8.4 miles (13.5 km) west-northwest of downtown Sumter, South Carolina. It is under the jurisdiction of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command (ACC). The United States Air Force 20th Fighter Wing (20th FW) is the host unit.
It is one of the largest military bases operated by the United States, and is one of only two air bases in CONUS with an active railroad line. (Beale AFB, CA, operates a lone GE 80-ton locomotive over the base railway. In Alaska, Eielson AFB and Clear Air Force Station have base railways with their own motive power.) The Shaw line was constructed in 1941 to bring in materials for base development, and has two GE 80-ton locomotives, 1644 and 1671.Wurtsmith Air Force Base
Wurtsmith Air Force Base is a decommissioned United States Air Force base in Iosco County, Michigan. It operated from 1923 until decommissioned in 1993.