ACC highlights 30 years of combat air power

  • Published
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

On June 1, 1992, the U.S. Air Force’s Tactical Air Command and Strategic Air Command major commands combined to form Air Combat Command.

The establishment of ACC followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, and marked a post-Cold War shift from preparing for large-scale peer conflict to readying forces for smaller-scale regional conflicts and humanitarian operations. Upon activating, ACC assumed control of all fighter units based in the continental United States to also include all bomber aircraft, reconnaissance platforms, battle management resources, and intercontinental ballistic missiles.

ACC focused in on its newly streamlined objectives, creating a culture of inclusivity and diversity, and laid the foundations, from past to present, for success and a legacy of Airmen-led innovation.

ACC’s beginnings:

The establishment of ACC in 1992 was entrusted to retired Gen. John M. Loh, the final commander of TAC, who set his sights on defining an inclusive culture for the new command.

Loh did not consider himself to be a pioneer, he was just fortunate and humbled enough to be named the first commander of Air Combat Command, and to set the stage and operating style of the command. According to Loh, this wasn’t the old SAC or the old TAC, but a new command that required a new and different culture.

He made communicating his intent for the new command a critical part of his leadership strategy.

When he went out to the field he ensured all Airmen knew they were vitally important to the success of ACC’s mission. 

ACC’s future:

ACC leaders are always looking to the future. The creation of a fighter roadmap, assuming the role of lead command for cyber, and other major efforts like standing up the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing, developing cyber mission defense teams, and establishing a Diversity and Inclusion office create more opportunities for ACC Airmen to grow.

To improve readiness the command is instituting the Combat Air Force Force Generation model. ACC is evolving its organizational structures, warfighting concept of operations, force presentation and generation, and how it prepares its Airmen to ensure they are ready strategic competition.


July 1, 1993 – ACC’s ICBM mission, along with the Twentieth Air Force and F.E. Warren AFB transferred to Air Force Space Command. 

July 27, 1993 – The first female fighter pilot, 2nd Lt. Jeannie Flynn, began her F-15E course flight training at Luke AFB.

Aug. 11-13, 1993 – Two B-1Bs from the 28th Bomb Wing at Ellsworth AFB circumnavigated the globe for the first time and in a record-breaking 24.4 hours non-stop.

Dec. 11, 1993 – ACC officially accepted ACC-1 (the “Spirit of Missouri), it’s first B-2 aircraft.

June 3, 1995 – Two 7th Bomb Wing B-1Bs landed after completing a historic 36-hour, 13 minute, 20,100 mile, non-stop around-the-world flight.

Aug. 25, 1995 – A 2nd Bomb Wing B-52H Stratofortress and it’s five-member crew set an aviation world record from Edwards AFB, flying 5,400 nautical miles, unrefueled, with a payload of 11,000 pounds – in 11 hours, 23 minutes with an average speed of 556 mph.

Aug. 31, 1995 – ACC’s first SR-71 Blackbird aircrew became fully mission qualified, with the second crew being qualified Nov. 21, 1995.

June 11, 1996 – The first production E-8 Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System aircraft was formally accepted by ACC and the 93d Air Control Wing at Robins AFB. 

April 9, 1997 – The first production F-22 was unveiled and named “Spirit of America.”

Sept. 11, 2001 – As one of the earliest response unit F-15 Eagles from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley AFB were scrambled in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Dec. 30, 2002 – ACC accepted its first F-22 Raptor.

Jan. 22, 2006 – The 27th Fighter Squadron from Langley AFB flew the first F-22 operational sorties in support of Operation NOBLE EAGLE.

Feb. 7, 2008 – The first overseas operational deployment of the 12 F-22 Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron supporting the U.S. Pacific Command’s Theater Security Package in the Western Pacific.

March 6, 2013 – ACC’s first F-35s were delivered to Nellis and Edwards AFBs.

May 3, 2013 – ACC declared Initial Operation Capability for the F-35A.

Oct. 1, 2015 – ACC officially transferred the B-1B lancers of the 7th and 28th Bomb Wings and the Long-Range Strike-Bomber Program to Air Force Global Strike Command, placing all strategic command bomber assets under a single MAJCOM.

Sept. 1, 2017 – As the first operational F-35 unit, the 34th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB received its twenty-sixth and final block 3F F-35A.

June 7, 2018 – Air Force officials announced the service’s cyber responsibilities will realign to ACC from AFSPC.

April 15, 2019 – ACC F-35A Lightning II’s deployed into combat for the first time from the 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB.

April 30, 2019 – Two U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II’s conducted the first combat air strikes of that platform in support of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

Oct. 11, 2019 – ACC activates Sixteenth Air Force at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, integrating Twenty-Fourth Air Force along with Air Force Cyber, and Twenty-Fifth Air Force into a single headquarters to provide global intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, electronic warfare and information operations. 

Aug. 20, 2020 – ACC activates Fifteenth Air Force, integrating wings and direct reporting units from the Twelfth Air Force and Ninth Air Force to form the 15th AF, responsible for generating and presenting ACC’s conventional forces. 

Oct. 29, 2020 – The first iteration of AGILE FLAG ended. The experiment was a stepping stone to the ability to deploy into theater as Lead Wings.

Nov. 5, 2020 – The 23rd Wing and 347th Rescue Group leadership received the Air Force’s first two HH-60W Jolly Green II helicopters at Moody AFB. 

April 20, 2021 – ACC’s receives its first F-15EX Eagle II designated EX-2 at Eglin AFB, Florida.