Page:A Concise History of the U.S. Air Force.djvu/28
35 percent of America's total investment in equipment and munitions for the war. They were supported and flown by two and a half million men and women, nearly a third of the U.S. Army's total strength.
As important as production to Arnold was training. The demands of flight required the best from the brightest. Voluntary enlistments swelled the USAAF initially, supplemented by a pool of deferred flyers previously enrolled in the Air Corps Enlisted Reserve. Flying Training Command prepared nearly 200,000 pilots, nearly 100,000 navigators and bombardiers, and many hundreds of thousands of gunners and other specialists. American pilots received more uninterrupted training than those of any other nation, again because of Arnold's strategic vision and America's bountiful resources. Primary, basic, and advanced training were for individual flyers, brought together at operational training units under the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Air Forces and I Troop Carrier Command for forming into new units. Technical Training Command prepared over two million others, mostly mechanics and specialists to keep aircraft airworthy. Arnold and others labored to insure that the equipment these legions employed was the most advanced available. Research centers and test facilities sprang up all over the United States, dedicated to stretching aviation performance to the limit―and beyond. High octane aviation gasolines, radars, jets, rockets, radios, and special bombs were all products of the USAAF's commitment to basic and applied research and development.
This enormous aerial force was wielded by General Arnold, who assumed control over all USAAF units, with the War Department reorganization of March 1942. He quickly agreed with General George Marshall to postpone any discussion of an independent air force until after the war. However, Arnold was a member of both the American Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the joint American and British Combined Chiefs of Staff. The March 1942 reorganization and Arnold's position on the Combined Chiefs of Staff, nevertheless, gave the USAAF a large measure of autonomy, which was subsequently enhanced with the formation of the Twentieth Air Force (responsible for the B-29 campaign against Japan and under Arnold's direct command). A tireless commander, Arnold sacrificed his health building a winning air force.Before the United States entered the war, American and British officials met from January to March 1941 for the ABC-1 talks and agreed on a strategy for defeating the Axis nations. They decided that because Germany represented the stronger enemy, British forces in the Mediterranean would hold their positions. In the Pacific, American forces would go on the strategic defensive, while Allied armies in Europe built up for