The National Archives at Fort Worth

Records of the Army Air Force (AAF), Record Group 18

Records Available at the National Archives at Fort Worth

Introduction

On August 1, 1907, the Chief Signal Officer created an Aeronautical Division within his office, and thus establishing an air service. Captain Charles De F. Chandler and two enlisted men were assigned to the Division with responsibility for all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and kindred subjects.

By an act of Congress approved July 18, 1914, created an Aviation Section in the Signal Corps charged with the duty of training 60 officers and 260 enlisted men in matters pertaining to military aviation.  In 1915, the Aeronautical Division was established within the Office of the Chief Signal Officer and entrusted with the supervision of aviation matters.  The National Defense Act of June 3, 1916, provided for an appreciable increase in personnel, but it was not until August that the first sizable aviation appropriation was made--a sum of $13,281,666.  It was not until April 1917, however, did the organization of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer begin to expand.  Between April and July, eight new divisions were formed--all concerned primarily with aviation functions.  An Equipment Division was established in August as a result of the passage of the Aviation Act of July 24, 1917, in which Congress authorized an appropriation of $640,000,000 to increase the commissioned and enlisted strength of the Signal Corps of the Army, including the Aviation Section thereof.  In September, several other divisions were abolished and consolidated into a new Air Division (formerly the Aeronautical Division). The Office of the Chief Signal Officer underwent numerous reorganizations throughout the next 8 months, but the aviation functions continued to be concentrated in the Equipment and Air Divisions.

An executive order, issued on May 20, 1918, transferred the duties connected with the Aviation Section of the Signal Corps to two separate and newly established agencies: the Division of Military Aeronautics and the Bureau of Aircraft Production.  The Air Service Division (formerly the Air Division), became the nucleus for the Division of Military Aeronautics, under Brigadier General William L. Kenly. Kenly held the responsibility for all aviation functions except aircraft production.  John D. Ryan became the director for the Bureau of Aircraft Production (the former Equipment Division), and assumed all activities pertaining to aircraft production.

Although the Executive order of May 20, 1918, attempted to spell out the division of responsibility between these two autonomous agencies, there were still conflicts.  In August 1918, John Ryan was appointed Second Assistant Secretary of War and Director of Air Service, and gained the responsibility of supervising both the Bureau of Aircraft Production and the Division of Military Aeronautics.  The two agencies operated separately until December when Major General Charles T. Menoher was appointed Director of Air Service.

When War Department General Order No. 19 of January 29, 1919, made the Director of Air Service directly responsible for the supervision, control, and direction of both the Division of Military Aeronautics and the Bureau of Aircraft Production, a massive consolidation of the two aviation agencies started. The end result: a unified Air Service.  An Executive order of March 19 solidified the unification of the two departments under the control of the Director of the Air Service.  On July 11, legislative authority extended the wartime organization of the Air Service as an independent branch of the War Department for another year.  Although many air officers desired an independent air force, the Army Reorganization Act of June 4, 1920, the title of the Director of Air Service was changed to Chief of Air Service.

The Air Corps Act of July 2, 1926, changed the name of the Air Service to the Air Corps, but the position of the air arm within the War Department remained essentially the same as before.  With the creation of the General Headquarters Air Force in March 1935 at Langley Field, the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps retained responsibility only for material, training, and related noncombatant air matters.  In June 1941, however, a new position, Chief of the Army Air Forces, was created and charged with control of both agencies.  At the same time the General Headquarters Air Force was renamed the Air Force Combat Command.  By a general reorganization of the War Department in March 1942, these two agencies were merged into the single Headquarters Army Air Forces, under a Commanding General.  In 1946, a general postwar reorganization was effected, and in September 1947 the Army Air Forces was renamed the United States Air Force under the newly created Department of the Air Force, as established by the National Security Act of 1947.

Related records in the National Archives might be found in: Record Group 98, Records of United States Army Commands; Record Group 107, Records of the Office of the Secretary of War, Record Group 111, Records of the Office of Chief Signal Officer; and Record Group 120, Records of the American Expeditionary Forces, 1917-21.

LIST OF PERSONS WHO HEADED THE AIR SERVICES 1906-1953

Name Title Date of Appointment

Brig. Gen. James Allen

Chief Signal Officer

February 10,1906

Brig. Gen. George P. Scriven

Chief Signal Officer

March 5, 1913

Brig. Gen. George O. Squier

Chief Signal Officer

February 14, 1917

Brig. Gen. William L. Kenly

Director of Military Aeronautics May 24,1918

Mr. John D. Ryan

Director of Aircraft Production

May 24,1918

Mr. John D. Ryan

Director of Air Service

August 28, 1918

Mr. William C. Potter

Assistant Director of Aircraft Production

September 5, 1918

Maj. Gen. Charles T. Menoher

Director of Air Service (title changed to Chief, July 20, 1920)

December 23,1918

Maj. Gen. Mason M. Patrick

Chief of Air Service October 15, 1921

Maj. Gen. James E. Fechet

Chief of Air Corps

December 14, 1927

Maj. Gen. Benjamin D. Foulois

Chief of Air Corps

December 19, 1931

Maj. Gen. Oscar Westover

Chief of Air Corps

December 22, 1935

Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold

Chief of Air Corps

September 29, 1938

Maj. Gen. George H. Brett

Chief of Air Corps

May 31, 1941

Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold

Chief of Army Air Forces

March 9, 1942

Gen. Carl A. Spaatz

Chief of Army Air Forces

January 24, 1946

Gen. Carl A. Spaatz

Commanding General, AAF

March 1, 1946

Gen. Carl A. Spaatz

USAF, Chief of Staff

September 25, 1947

Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg

USAF, Chief of Staff

April 30, 1948

Gen. Nathan F. Twining

USAF, Chief of Staff

May 7, 1953

 

The National Archives at Fort Worth holds records of the following Army Air Fields:

 

Barksdale Field, Shreveport, Louisiana

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders, 1933-1939 621218 18-317
Special Orders, 1935-1939 621464 18-318

Barron Field, Everman, Texas (formerly known as Taliaferro Field No. 2.)

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Subject Index , 1917 - 1921 621475 18-319
Registers of Letters Received, 08/1917 - 02/1921 1151815 18-320
General Correspondence, 1917 - 1921 1151844 18-321
Telegrams, 1918 - 1920 1151847 18-322
General and Special Orders, 1918 - 1919 1151852 18-323
Bulletins and Special Court-Martial Orders, 1919 - 1921 1151857 18-324
Pilot Books, 1918 - 1919 1151861 18-325
Correspondence of the Personnel Adjutant, 1919 - 1921 1151876 18-326
Records Relating to Personnel, 1918 - 1920 1151879 18-327
Correspondence and Reports of the Intelligence Officer, 1918 - 1919 1151890 18-328
Correspondence of the Engineer Officer , 1918 - 1919 1151893 18-329
Records of the Engineer Officer, 1918 - 1919 1154445 18-330
Subject Files of the Lubrication Engineer, 1918 - 1921 1154447 18-331
Circular Letters Maintained by the Lubrication Engineer, 1918 - 1921 1154449 18-332
Subject Card Index to the Supply Officer's Correspondence, 1918 - 1918 1154450 18-333
Register of Correspondence of the Supply Officer, 1918 - 1918 1154453 18-334
Correspondence of the Supply Officer, 1918 - 1921 1154454 18-335
General Correspondence of the Office of the Aviation Supply Officer, 1918 - 1920 1154460 18-336
General Correspondence of the Officer in Charge of Camp Maintenance, 1918 - 1919 1154462 18-337
Records of the Headquarters Cadet Detachment, 1918 - 1919 1154477 18-338
General Correspondence and Other Records of Training Squadrons, 1918 - 1919 1154481 18-339
Training Squadron Orders, 1918 - 1921 1154483 18-340

Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders, 1921 - 1939 1154991 18-346
Special Orders, 1918 - 1922 1154992 18-346A

Call Field, Wichita Falls, Texas

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1917 - 1919 1154995 18-347
Subject Files, 1918 - 1919 1154997 18-348
Correspondence Relating to Flying Instructors, 1917 - 1918 1154998 18-349
General Orders, 1917 - 1919 1155000 18-350
Special Orders, 1918 - 1919 1155001 18-351
General Correspondence of the Personnel Office , 1918 - 1919 1155003 18-352
General Correspondence of the Flying Cadet Detachment, 1918 - 1918 1157501 18-353
Flying Cadet Detachment Subject Files, 1917 - 1919 1157504 18-354
Training Squadrons A-E Subject Files, 1918 - 1919 1157505 18-355
Orders, Bulletins, and Memoranda of Various Units , 1917 - 1918 1157507 18-356
Subject Files, 1918 - 1919 1157509 18-357

Carruthers Field, Benbrook, Texas (formerly known as Taliaferro Field No. 3.)

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1918 - 1919 1157510 18-360
Proceedings and Correspondence of Boards Relating to Plane Accidents, 1918 - 1918 1157513 18-361
General Orders, 1918 - 1919 1157517 18-362
Special Orders, 1918 - 1918 1157519 18-363
General Correspondence of the Personnel Office, 1918 - 1919 1157533 18-364
General Correspondence of the Engineer Officer, 1918 - 1919 1157536 18-365
General Correspondence of the Officer in Charge of Flying, 1918 - 1919 1157537 18-366
Register to Correspondence of the Flying School Detachment, 1918 - 1919 1157538 18-367
Correspondence of the Flying School Detachment, 1918 - 1919 1157539 18-368
Records Relating to the Training Squadrons A, B, C, and E, 1918 - 1919 1157544 18-369
Subject Files, 1918 - 1919 1157547 18-370
Unidentified Combination Register and Index of Correspondence, 1918 - 1919 1157549 18-371

 

Duncan Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders of the Air Corps Training Center, 1930 - 1939 1157551 18-391
Special Orders of the Air Corps Training Center, 1926 - 1930 1157579 18-392

Eberts Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1918 - 1919 1157585 18-393
Letters, Instructions, Circulars, and Regulations , 1917 - 1919 1157589 18-394
Correspondence Relating to Supply, Transportation, and Personnel, 1919 - 1919 1157590 18-395
General Orders, 1918 - 1919 1157593 18-396
Special Orders, 1918 - 1919 1157599 18-397
Memoranda, 1918 - 1919 1157605 18-398
Subject Files, 1918 - 1918 1157607 18-399
Register to Correspondence of the Flying Cadet Detachment, 1918 - 1918 1157611 18-400
Correspondence of the Flying Cadet Detachment, 1918 - 1918 1157619 18-401
Memoranda of the Commandant of Cadets, 1918 - 1918 1157625 18-402
Subject Files of the Flying Cadet Detachment, 1918 - 1918 1157627 18-403

Ellington Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1918 - 1920 1157674 18-404
Policy Files, 1918 - 1920 1157685 18-405
Special Orders , 1917 - 1922 1157687 18-407
Special Court-Martial Orders, 1921 - 1922 1157689 18-408
Bulletins, 1917 - 1922 1157690 18-409
Memoranda, 1918 - 1922 1157694 18-410
Memoranda to Squadrons and Detachments, 1918 - 1922 1157699 18-411
Correspondence of the Supply Officer, 1918 - 1922 1157704 18-412
Records Relating to the Flying School Detachment, 1918 - 1919 1157706 18-413
Subject Files Relating to Various Field Units , 1918 - 1920 1157710 18-414
Registers of Correspondence of Three Unidentified Units at the Field, 1919 - 1921 1157714 18-415
Combination Register and Index of Correspondence, 1918 - 1918 1165178 18-416

Gerstner Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Registers of Letters Received, 1918 - 1921 1157736 18-417
General Correspondence, 1917 - 1919 1157738 18-418
General Orders, 1917 - 1918 5717155 18-419
Special Orders, 1917 - 1921 1157740 18-420
Special Court-Martial Orders, 1918 - 1919 1157742 18-421
Memoranda, 1917 - 1918 1157747 18-422
Correspondence of the Supply Officer, 1917 - 1919 1157749 18-423
Correspondence of the Cadet Detachment, 1917 - 1919 1157750 18-424
Records Relating to Training Squadrons B through H, 1918 - 1919 1157754 18-425
Training Squadron Orders, 1917 - 1918 1165200 18-426

 

Kelly Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders, 1917 - 1922 1165206 18-433
Special Orders, 1917 - 1939 1165209 18-434
General Orders of the U.S. Aviation School and the Air Service Flying School, 1917 - 1918 1165212 18-436
Special Orders of the U.S. Aviation School and the Air Service Flying School, 1917 - 1918 1165213 18-437
Correspondence of the Cadet Detachment of the Flying Department, 1918 - 1918 1165214 18-439
Subject Files for Squadrons A, C, F, I, and K, 1918 - 1919 1165216 18-440
Register of Correspondence of the Casual Detachment of the Flying Department, 1918 - 1918 1165459 18-441
Correspondence of the Casual Detachment of the Flying Department, 1918 - 1918 1165460 18-442
Correspondence, Service Record Cards, and other Records of Casual Detachment Companies, 1918 - 1919 1165463 18-443
General and Special Orders of the Casual Detachment of the Concentration Brigade, 1918 - 1918 1165467 18-444
General and Special Orders of Various Training Brigades, 1918 - 1918 1165468 18-445
Memoranda of the Second Training Brigade, 1918 - 1918 1165470 18-446
Correspondence of Air Service Production Troops, 1918 - 1918 1165471 18-447
Training Records of the Advanced Flying School, 1929 - 1939 1165472 18-448
General Orders of the Advanced Flying School, 1926 - 1936 1165473 18-449
Special Orders of the Advanced Flying School, 1929 - 1936 1165475 18-450
Operational Orders of the Advanced Flying School, 1927 - 1939 1165481 18-451
Memoranda of the Advanced Flying School, 1929 - 1936 1165485 18-452
Records Relating to the History of the Air Corps Training Band, 1929 - 1930 1165490 18-453
General Correspondence of the School for Cooks and Bakers, 1918 - 1919 1165507 18-454
Memorandums, Orders, and Rosters of Troops from the Detachment and Quartermaster Corps, 1919 - 1940 1165913 18-454A
Subject Files from Various Units at the Field, 1917 - 1918 1165920 18-455
Records Relating to Various Units at the Field, 1918 - 1918 1165923 18-456

Love Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1918 - 1921 1166684 18-465
Telegrams Sent, 1919 - 1920 1165978 18-466
General Orders, 1917 - 1921 1165981 18-467
Special Orders, 1917 - 1921 1166009 18-468
General Correspondence of the Supply Officer, 1917 - 1918 1166513 18-469

Post Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Correspondence of the Air Service Flying School, 1918 - 1919 1166514 18-536
General Orders of the Air Service Flying School, 1918 - 1918 1166515 18-537
Special Orders and Memoranda of the Air Service Flying School, 1918 - 1918 1166682 18-538
Orders and Memoranda of Various Units at the Field, 1918 - 1919 1166683 18-539

Randolph Field

General Records

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1931 - 1939 1165127 18-540
General Orders, 1933 - 1939 1165129 18-541
Special Orders, 1930 - 1939 1165130 18-542
Operations Orders, 1938 - 1939 1165132 18-543
Orders Relating to Ferrying of Aircraft, 1936 - 1939 1165133 18-544
News Releases, 1938 - 1939 1165136 18-545
Orders of Headquarters Squadron, 1931 - 1939 1165137 18-546

Air Corps Training Center

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Correspondence Relating to the Training of Pilots, 1938 - 1939 1165138 18-547
Special Orders, 1932 - 1939 1165140 18-548
Orders, 1933 - 1935 1165142 18-549

School of Aviation Medicine

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Correspondence Relating to Training in Aviation Medicine, 1934 - 1939 1165146 18-550
Annual Reports, 1920 - 1939 1165149 18-551
Quarterly Reports, 1932 - 1939 1165151 18-552
Special Orders, 1925 - 1939 1165156 18-553
Progress Reports Relating to Correspondence Courses, 1926 - 1932 1165158 18-554
Quarterly Reports Relating to Correspondence Courses, 1929 - 1931 1165160 18-555

 

Rich Field

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General and Special Orders of the Air Service Flying School and Aviation Camp, 1918 - 1919 1165164 18-556

Taliaferro Filed (known as Taliaferro Field No. 2 until April 30, 1918.)

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders, 1917 - 1918 1165166 18-580
Special Orders, 1917 - 1919 1165168 18-581
Card Register of Correspondence of the Flying School and Supply Detachments, 1919 - 1920 1165169 18-582
Correspondence of the Flying School and Supply Detachments, 1919 - 1920 1165171 18-583
Records Relating to the Casual and Supply Detachments, 1918 - 1920 1165172 18-584
Correspondence of Training Squadron A, 1918 - 1920 1165173 18-585
Orders and Memorandums from Various Units, 1918 - 1919 2788527 18-586

2nd Provisional Wing

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Subject Files, 1918 - 1919 2765895 18-598B

Aerial Photography School

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1917 - 1919 2767274 18-663
Orders, 1917 - 1919 2767277 18-664
Memorandums, 1917 - 1919 2767279 18-665

Air Service School For Radio Operations

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Correspondence, 1918 - 1919 2767285 18-689
Telegrams, 1918 - 1919 2767288 18-690
Orders, 1918 - 1919 2767291 18-692

Little Rock Aviation General Supply Depot

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Records, 1918 - 1921 2771737 18-710

San Antonio Air Depot

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
General Orders, 1918 - 1937 2769088 18-726
Special Orders, 1924 - 1939 2769096 18-727

Sam Houston Aviation Supply Depot

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Correspondence of the Disbursing Officer, 1918 - 1918 2770137 18-733A

Aviation Examining Board

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Index to Correspondence, 1918 - 1918 2770062 18-740
Correspondence Relating to the Aviation Examining Board, 1918 - 1918 2770095 18-741
Subject Files, 1918 - 1918 2770122 18-742

Fort Sam Houston

Series Title NARA ID Local Identifier
Subject Files Relating to Aviation Examinations, 1917 - 1918 2770141 18-744
Index to Correspondence, 1918 - 1918 2770144 18-745
Correspondence Relating to the Aviation Examining Board, 1918 - 1918 2771618 18-746

Appendix A

War Department Decimal Classifications

Decimal # Subject
004.3 Liberty Loan
004.611 War Risk Insurance
047.2 Weather Bureau Forecasts
123 Mess and Pay
201 Individual Cadets
201.71 Request for Addresses
210.36 Service Records
220.33 Transfers of Enlisted Men
220.75

Status of Men

220.711 Furloughs
220.8 Discharges
242.01 Miscellaneous
242.3 War Risk Allotment
324 Examinations for Commissions
331.3 Post Exchange
331.5 Laundry
334 Board Meetings
334.8 Commissions
370 Movements of Troops
420 Clothing Accounts
600.913 Report of Car Accident
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