Eighth Air Force

Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic)
Eighth Air Force - Emblem.png
Shield of the Eighth Air Force
Active3 June 2008 – present (as Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic))
22 February 1944 – 3 June 2008 (as Eighth Air Force)
19 January 1942 – 22 February 1944 (as VIII Bomber Command)
(77 years, 7 months)[1]
Country United States of America
Branch United States Air Force (18 September 1947 – present)
Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army (US Army Air Corps Hap Arnold Wings.svg Army Air Forces, 19 January 1942 – 18 September 1947)
TypeNumbered Air Force
RoleProvides conventional and nuclear bomber forces to U.S. Strategic Command and serves as the air component for global strike for U.S. Strategic Command[2]
Part ofAir Force Global Strike Command.png Air Force Global Strike Command
Seal of the United States Strategic Command.svg U.S. Strategic Command
Garrison/HQBarksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, U.S.
Nickname(s)"The Mighty Eighth"[3]
EngagementsEuropean-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Streamer.jpg
World War II – European-African-Middle Eastern Theater
Asiatic-Pacific Streamer.png
World War II – Asiatic-Pacific Theater[1]
DecorationsAFOUA with Valor.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Vietnam Gallantry Cross - Streamer.jpg
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Commanders
Current
commander
Maj. Gen. James Dawkins Jr., USAF
Notable
commanders
James Doolittle
Ira C. Eaker
Carl Spaatz
Samuel E. Anderson

The Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) (8 AF) is a numbered air force (NAF) of the United States Air Force's Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The command serves as Air Forces Strategic – Global Strike, one of the air components of United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). The Eighth Air Force includes the heart of America's heavy bomber force: the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber, and the B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber aircraft.

Established on 22 February 1944 by the redesignation of VIII Bomber Command at RAF Daws Hill in High Wycombe, England, the Eighth Army Air Force (8 AAF) was a United States Army Air Forces combat air force in the European Theater of World War II (1939/41–1945), engaging in operations primarily in the Northern Europe area of responsibility; carrying out strategic bombing of enemy targets in France, the Low Countries, and Germany;[4] and engaging in air-to-air fighter combat against enemy aircraft until the German capitulation in May 1945. It was the largest of the deployed combat Army Air Forces in numbers of personnel, aircraft, and equipment.

During the Cold War (1945–1991), 8 AF was one of three Numbered Air Forces of the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC), with a three-star general headquartered at Westover AFB, Massachusetts commanding USAF strategic bombers and missiles on a global scale. Elements of 8 AF engaged in combat operations during the Korean War (1950–1953); Vietnam War (1961–1975), as well as Operation Desert Storm (1990–1991) over Iraq and occupied Kuwait in the First Persian Gulf War.

Overview

Eighth Air Force is one of two active duty numbered air forces in Air Force Global Strike Command. Eighth Air Force, with headquarters at Barksdale AFB, in the Bossier CityShreveport, Louisiana, metro area, supports U.S. Strategic Command, and is designated as U.S. Strategic Command's Task Force 204, providing on-alert, combat-ready forces to the president. The mission of "The Mighty Eighth" is to safeguard America's interests through strategic deterrence and global combat power. Eighth Air Force controls long-range nuclear-capable bomber assets throughout the United States and overseas locations. Its flexible, conventional and nuclear deterrence mission provides the capability to deploy forces and engage enemy threats from home station or forward positioned, anywhere, any time. The 8th Air Force motto is "Peace Through Strength."

The Eighth Air Force team consists of more than 16,000 Regular Air Force (e.g., active duty), Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve professionals operating and maintaining a variety of aircraft capable of deploying air power to any area of the world. This air power includes the heart of America's heavy bomber force, deploying the B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit and the B-52 Stratofortress. The Mighty Eighth's B-52 force consists of 76 bombers assigned to two active duty wings, the 2d Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana and the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot AFB, North Dakota, and one reserve wing, the 307th Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The B-2 force consists of 20 bombers assigned to the active duty 509th Bomb Wing along with the Missouri Air National Guard's associate 131st Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. The B-1 force consists of 62 bombers assigned to the active duty 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess AFB, Texas and the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. The 131st Bomb Wing is operationally-gained by AFGSC and 8 AF from the Air National Guard, while the 307th Bomb Wing is operationally-gained from Air Force Reserve Command and 10th Air Force.[5][6]

Major General James Dawkins Jr. was named Commander of 8th Air Force on August 20, 2018, after having served as the Deputy Director for Nuclear, Homeland Defense, and Current Operations on the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.