The Air Force Birth Certificate

Dec. 1, 2002

“Memorandum No. 6”

Brig. Gen. James Allen,

Chief Signal Officer of the Army

Signal Office

Washington, D.C.,

August 1, 1907


In 1907, the chief of the Army Signal Corps created the progenitor to the US Air Force when he issued Memorandum No. 6, officially placing three men in a separate division—the Aeronautical Division—to oversee work on military balloons, air machines, and related subjects.

The air arm gained more permanence and resources—60 officers and 260 enlisted men—when Congress in 1914 created an Aviation Section within the Signal Corps. Four years later, the Army Air Service was established, followed by the Army Air Corps in 1926 and the Army Air Forces in 1941. (The Army Air Corps existed under the AAF until 1947.)

In 1947, Congress established the US Air Force as a separate service—climaxing a 40-year effort.


An Aeronautical Division of this office is hereby established, to take effect this date.

This division will have charge of all matters pertaining to military ballooning, air machines, and all kindred subjects. All data on hand will be carefully classified and plans perfected for future tests and experiments. The operations of this division are strictly confidential, and no information will be given out by any party except through the Chief Signal Officer of the Army or his authorized representative.

Captain Charles DeF. Chandler, Signal Corps, is detailed in charge of this division and Corporal Edward Ward and First-class Private Joseph E. Barrett will report to Captain Chandler for duty in this division under his immediate direction.