Second Air Force
Shield of the Second Air Force
Active1 July 1993 – present
1 September 1991- 1 July 1993
1 November 1949 – 1 January 1975
6 June 1946 – 1 July 1948
18 September 1942 – 30 March 1946 (as Second Air Force)
26 March 1941 – 18 September 1942 (as 2 Air Force)
19 October 1940 – 26 March 1941 (as Northwest Air District)
(83 years, 8 months)[1]
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)
TypeNumbered Air Force
RoleTo provide basic military training and technical training for enlisted Airmen and non-flying officers[2]
Size13,900 Airmen [3]
Part of  Air Education and Training Command
HeadquartersKeesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, U.S.
Motto(s)"Second to None…Train, Develop, Inspire!"[4]
World War II – American Theater[5]
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[6]
CommanderMaj Gen Michele C. Edmondson[7]
Vice CommanderCol Nicholas Dipoma
Command ChiefCMSgt Kristina B. Montgomery

The Second Air Force (2 AF; 2d Air Force in 1942) is a USAF numbered air force responsible for conducting basic military and technical training for Air Force enlisted members and non-flying officers. In World War II the CONUS unit defended the Northwestern United States and Upper Great Plains regions and during the Cold War, was Strategic Air Command unit with strategic bombers and missiles. Elements of Second Air Force engaged in combat operations during the Korean War; Vietnam War, as well as Operation Desert Storm.


The Northwest Air District of the GHQ Air Force was established on 19 October 1940; activated on 18 December 1940 at McChord Field, and then re-designated as 2d Air Force on 26 March 1941. 5th Bombardment Wing was assigned to Second Air Force up until 5 September 1941.[8]

2nd Air Force

Second Air Force region of the United States, World War II

On 11 December 1941, four days after the Pearl Harbor attack, 2d Air Force was placed under Western Defense Command. However, on 5 January 1942, it was returned to the Air Force Combat Command (a redesignation of GHQAF after creation of the United States Army Air Forces on 20 January 1941), and later placed directly under Headquarters AAF when Air Force Combat Command was dissolved in March 1942.

From December 1941, 2d Air Force organized air defense for the northwest Pacific Ocean coastline of the United States (1940–1941) and flew antisubmarine patrols along coastal areas until October 1942. It appears that immediately after 7 December 1941, only the 7th, 17th, 39th and 42d Bombardment Groups under II Bomber Command were available for this duty. In late January 1942, elements of the B-25 Mitchell-equipped 17th Bombardment Group at Pendleton Field, Oregon were reassigned to Columbia Army Air Base, South Carolina ostensibly to fly antisubmarine patrols off the southeast coast of the United States, but in actuality came to prepare for the Doolittle Raid against Japan.

In January 1942, the 2d Air Force was withdrawn from the Western Defense Command and assigned the operational training of units, crews, and replacements for bombardment, fighter, and reconnaissance operations. It received graduates from 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 conducted operational unit training (OTU) and replacement training (RTU) to prepare groups and replacements for deployment overseas to combat theaters.

As the Second Air Force it became predominantly the training organization of B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment groups. Nearly all new heavy bomb groups organized after Pearl Harbor were organized and trained by Second Air Force OTU units, then were deployed to combat commands around the world. After most of the heavy bombardment groups had completed OTU training, the Second Air Force conducted replacement training of heavy bombardment combat crews and acquired a new mission of operational and replacement training of very heavy bombardment (B-29 Superfortress) groups and crews.

Designated the Second Air Force on 18 September 1942, starting in mid-1943 the unit's training of B-17 and B-24 replacement crews began to be phased out, and reassigned to First, Third and Fourth Air Forces as the command began ramping up training of B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bomb groups, destined for Twentieth Air Force. Under the newly organized XX Bomber Command, B-29 aircraft were received from Boeing's manufacturing plants and new combat groups were organized and trained. XX Bomber Command and the first B-29 groups were deployed in December 1943 to airfields in India for Operation Matterhorn operations against Japan.

A football team made up of Second Air Force personnel defeated Hardin–Simmons University in the 1943 Sun Bowl.[9]

XXI Bomber Command, the second B-29 combat command and control organization was formed under Second Air Force in March 1944 with its combat groups beginning to deploy to the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific beginning in December 1944. A third B-29 organization, XXII Bomber Command was formed by Second Air Force in August 1944, however the organization never got beyond forming Headquarters echelon and Headquarters squadron. Inactivated before any operational groups were assigned, as XX Bomber Command units were reassigned from India to the Marianas, eliminating need for the command.

On 13 December 1944, First, Second, Third and Fourth Air Force were all placed under the unified command of the Continental Air Forces (CAF) with the Numbered Air Forces becoming subordinate commands of CAF. The training of B-29 groups and replacement personnel continued until August 1945 and the end of the Pacific War. With the war's end, Second Air Force was inactivated on 30 March 1946. In what was effectively a redesignation, the headquarters staff and resources were used to create Fifteenth Air Force, which became the first Numbered Air Force of the new Strategic Air Command ten days later.

Cold War

The command was reactivated on 6 June 1946 under Air Defense Command, at Offutt Air Force Base. The Second Air Force assumed responsibility for the air defense of certain portions of the continental United States. In 1947, the 73d Bomb Wing was reactivated with the 338th and 351st Bombardment Groups being assigned to it, both reserve B-29 Superfortress organizations. The wing was assigned to Second Air Force. A third group, the 381st was added in 1948. However SAC was having enough difficulties keeping its front-line active duty bomb units in the air to maintain even minimal pilot proficiency in the late 1940s. The wing and its bomb groups were all inactivated in 1949.

The Second Air Force was also assigned the reserve 96th Bombardment Wing, which was later redesignated an air division, and several C-46 Commando troop carrier groups under the 322d Troop Carrier Wing. One of these groups was the 440th Troop Carrier Group. It was again inactivated on 1 July 1948.

The Second Air Force was (re)-activated and assigned to Strategic Air Command on 1 November 1949 at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. It drew personnel and equipment from the 311th Air Division, inactivated on the same base on the same day. Initial units of the Second Air Force as part of SAC included:[citation needed]

305th Bombardment Wing (MacDill AFB) (B-29)
306th Bombardment Wing (MacDill AFB) (B-47A)(Initial B-47 Stratojet Operational Training Unit – Not on Operational Alert)
307th Bombardment Wing (MacDill AFB) (B-29)
Detached for Korean War combat service with Far East Air Force, Kadena AB, Okinawa
31st Fighter Escort Wing (Turner AFB) (F-84)
108th Fighter Wing (Turner AFB) (F-47D) (Federalized New Jersey Air National Guard wing)

37th and 38th Air Divisions joined Second Air Force on 10 October 1951. 37th Air Division was responsible for Lockbourne Air Force Base and Lake Charles Air Force Base, and 38th Air Division was located at Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia.

With the end of fighting in Korea, President Eisenhower, who had taken office in January 1953, called for a "new look" at national defense. The result: a greater reliance on nuclear weapons and air power to deter war. His administration chose to invest in the Air Force, especially Strategic Air Command. The nuclear arms race shifted into high gear. The Air Force retired nearly all of its propeller-driven bombers and they were replaced by new Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium jet bombers. By 1955, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber would be entering the inventory in substantial numbers and as a result, Second Air Force grew both in scope and in numbers.

After the Korean War, the history of Second Air Force became part of Strategic Air Command's history, as B-47 Stratojet, and later B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft entered SAC's inventory. During the Cold War, Second Air Force aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM)s stood nuclear alert, providing a deterrence against an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union. In 1966, an order of battle for the force showed units spread across most of the United States, from the 6th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Walker AFB, New Mexico, to the 11th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Altus AFB, Oklahoma, to the 97th Bombardment Wing at Blytheville AFB, Arkansas.[10]

During the Vietnam War, squadrons of Second Air Force B-52 Stratofortesses (primarily B-52Ds, augmented by some B-52Gs) were deployed to bases on Guam, Okinawa and Thailand to conduct Arc Light bombing attacks on communist forces. The 28th Bombardment Wing was among the units assigned this duty.[11] The 2d Air Force organization was inactivated during the post-Vietnam drawdown, on 1 January 1975, with those 2 AF bomb wings not inactivated and/or those 2 AF bases not closed, redistributed to 8 AF and 15 AF.

With the end of the Cold War and the restructuring of Strategic Air Command, Second Air Force was reactivated and became the steward for reconnaissance and battlefield management assets, based at Beale AFB, California. This assignment lasted from 1 September 1991 until 1 July 1993, when it was inactivated by Air Combat Command.

Air Education and Training Command

Second Air Force was reactivated and reassigned on 1 July 1993 to Keesler AFB, Mississippi. Its mission became conducting basic military and technical training for Air Force enlisted members and support officers at five major AETC training bases in the United States.

The command has the mission is to train mission ready graduates to support combat readiness and to build 'the world's most respected air, space, and cyberspace force'. To carry out this mission, Second Air Force manages all operational aspects of nearly 5,000 active training courses taught to approximately 250,000 students annually in technical training, basic military training, medical and distance learning courses. Training operations across Second Air Force range from intelligence to computer operations to space and missile operations and maintenance.

The first stop for all Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve enlisted airmen is basic military training (BMT) at Lackland AFB, Texas. After completing BMT, airmen begin technical training in their career field specialties, primarily at five installations: Goodfellow, Lackland, and Sheppard Air Force bases in Texas; Keesler AFB, Mississippi; and Vandenberg AFB, California. Each base is responsible for a specific portion of formal technical training airmen require to accomplish the Air Force mission. Instructors conduct technical training in specialties such as enlisted aviator, aircraft maintenance, civil engineering, medical services, computer systems, security forces, air traffic control, personnel, intelligence, fire fighting, and space and missile operations.

Commissioned officers attend technical training courses for similar career fields at the same locations.

Wings and Groups under Second Air Force are:

In 2006, Second Air Force was assigned the responsibility of coordinating training for Joint Expeditionary Tasked (JET) Training Airmen. These Airmen are assigned to perform traditional US Army duties in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa. An Expeditionary Mission Support Group was formed to provide command and control of these JET Airmen as they are trained at US Army Power Projection Platforms across the US prior to deploying to their assigned Area of Responsibility (AOR). This group has been named the 602d Training Group.

In 2007, Second Air Force was given responsibility to provide curricula and advice to the Iraqi Air Force as it stands up its own technical training and branch specific basic training among others. This mission is known as "CAFTT" for Coalition Air Forces Technical Training.


Patch of Second Air Force during World War II
Activated on 18 December 1940
Re-designated: 2d Air Force on 26 March 1941
Re-designated: Second Air Force on 18 September 1942
Inactivated on 30 March 1946.
Inactivated on 1 July 1948.
Inactivated on 1 January 1975.
Inactivated on 1 July 1993.








List of commanders

No. Commander Term
Portrait Name Took office Left office Term length
John C. Griffith
Major General
John C. Griffith
1 July 199313 June 19951 year, 347 days
Henry M. Hobgood
Major General
Henry M. Hobgood
13 June 199528 August 19961 year, 76 days
Lance W. Lord
Major General
Lance W. Lord
28 August 19961 August 1997338 days
Andrew J. Pelak Jr.
Major General
Andrew J. Pelak Jr.
1 August 199725 August 20003 years, 24 days
John F. Regni
Major General
John F. Regni
25 August 20008 July 20043 years, 318 days
Lloyd S. Utterback
Major General
Lloyd S. Utterback
8 July 20049 November 20051 year, 124 days
Michael C. Gould
Major General
Michael C. Gould
9 November 200523 May 20082 years, 196 days
Alfred K. Flowers
Major General
Alfred K. Flowers
23 May 200829 September 20091 year, 129 days
Mary Kay Hertog
Major General
Mary Kay Hertog
29 September 200921 July 20111 year, 295 days
Leonard A. Patrick
Major General
Leonard A. Patrick
21 July 20113 July 20142 years, 347 days
Mark Anthony Brown
Major General
Mark Anthony Brown
3 July 201426 August 20162 years, 54 days
Robert D. LaBrutta
Major General
Robert D. LaBrutta
26 August 201623 August 2017362 days
Timothy J. Leahy
Major General
Timothy J. Leahy
23 August 201729 August 20192 years, 6 days
Andrea Tullos
Major General
Andrea Tullos
29 August 201930 July 20211 year, 335 days
Michele C. Edmondson
Major General
Michele C. Edmondson
30 July 2021Incumbent2 years, 345 days


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency

  1. ^ "Second Air Force (AETC)".
  2. ^ "Second Air Force > Home".
  3. ^ "About Us".
  4. ^ "About Us".
  5. ^ "Second Air Force (AETC)".
  6. ^ "Second Air Force (AETC)".
  7. ^ Senior Airman Kimberly L. Mueller (30 July 2021). "Maj. Gen. Edmondson assumes command of 2nd Air Force". Second Air Force. 81st Training Wing Public Affairs.
  8. ^ "Factsheet 5 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 4 October 2007. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  9. ^ Bolding, Mark. "Sun Bowl 1943". Archived from the original on 27 August 2009. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  10. ^ Serrano, Jose Maria (26 April 2007). "US Strategic Air Command (SAC) 1966". Archived from the original on 23 May 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  11. ^ 1966 order of battle
  12. ^ Air Force Historical Research Agency, Second Air Force Fact Sheet, September 9, 2020.

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