The Numbered Air Forces
During it's lifetime,
SAC commanded 5 numbered air forces. In the early years, they
were based on the type of aircraft flown, but were later based on
geographic location. The Second, Eighth and Fifteenth were its primary units.
Eighth Air Force headquarters was located at Westover AFB,
Mass and commanded all SAC bases in the eastern United States. The
Fifteenth Air Force was located at Barksdale AFB, La and commanded the SAC
bases in the mid-west. The Second Air Force commanded SAC bases on the
west coast. Each had its own command post that could take over
operations in the event SAC headquarters at Offutt AFB, Nebraska was taken
out by an enemy attack.
16th Air Force commanded the reflex bases in
Europe. During World War II, The 20th Air Force commanded the
B-29s in the Pacific and oversaw the dropping of the nuclear bombs
on Japan. After the war, it remained in the Pacific. In
1990, it was assigned to SAC and took over the command of the ICBM
Although the names are often expressed
numerically, the proper form is for them to be spelled out.