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20TH AIR FORCE

Posted 12/1/2009 Printable Fact Sheet

Mission
America's ICBM Team Deterring Conflict With Professional People And Safe, Secure, Ready Missiles

Employ Force Upon Direction

History
Twentieth Air Force has a proud heritage as America's long-range strategic force. Activated June 20, 1941, the unit's B-29 Superfortresses bombed the Japanese Islands. Twentieth Air Force bombers, the Enola Gay and Bock's Car, brought an early end to World War II after they dropped the first atomic bombs on Japan. Twentieth Air Force units also supported United Nations' forces during the Korean War.

Inactivated on March 1, 1951, the unit was reactivated Sept. 1, 1991, as a component of the Strategic Air Command and was located at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Operationally responsible for all land-based Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, 20th Air Force's rebirth came at a time when America's nuclear forces were entering a decade of unprecedented force reductions and changes. Spawned by the Cold War's end and the breakup of the Soviet Union, these changes reshaped the basic fabric of this nation's nuclear deterrent forces. For the men and women of America's ICBM Team, it proved to be a period of sustained, dramatic change. In the nearly 20 years since its rebirth, 20th Air Force has experienced four major command identities. After one year in Strategic Air Command and another year in Air Combat Command, 20th Air Force was moved under Air Force Space Command in 1993.  December 2009 marked the final transition of 20th Air Force to the newly created Air Force Global Strike Command.  Twentieth Air Force Headquarters' changed its location in 1993, moving from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to its current home here at F. E. Warren.

ICBM force structure was reduced radically as well during the 1990s, downsizing from six wings to three, and from 1,000 alert ICBMs to 550. These draw downs posed major leadership challenges for airmen at all levels of command.

Twentieth Air Force headquarters is unique in that it has dual responsibilities to Air Force Global Strike Command and United States Strategic Command. As the missile Numbered Air Force for AFGSC, 20th Air Force is responsible for maintaining and operating the Air Force's ICBM force. Designated as STRATCOM's Task Force 214, 20th Air Force provides on-alert, combat ready ICBMs to the president. Combined with the other two legs of the Triad, bombers and submarines, STRATCOM forces protect the United States with an umbrella of deterrence.







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