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Origin Stories


Unfortunately, some people are mistaking the Golden Age Earth-Two origin story of the Air Force for the Silver Age Earth-One story. They shouldn’t do that.

With respect to the founding of the United States Air Force, Lowther makes the common error of mistaking a retrospective “origin story for arguments that were actually important at the creation. For the USAF, the important arguments focused almost solely on strategic airpower, and on the ability of airpower to win decisive victories without significant contribution from the other two services. Aviators and airpower theorists built their advocacy around explicit denigration of the contribution of the other two services. The birth of the Air Force would be similar to the creation of the Navy if the latter had involved a bitter, decades long effort to argue that the Army was ignorant and irrelevant, followed by decades of effort to scourge any ounce of joint capability from the forceThis history is well documented. Faced with it, we can either adopt the (defensible) position that the history doesn’t matter, or we can get the history right. I think that it does matter, which is why I dedicate two chapters of Grounded to a history of early airpower advocacy. Pretending that the Air Force exists because of concern over “penny packets” (small, ineffective air elements attached to individual ground units) does no one any favors.

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