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The period from 1947 to 1959 was a time of unprecedented challenges for Air Force engineers. Engineers assigned to the newly formed Air Force began careers as air installation personnel, then installations engineers; by 1959, the function formally was renamed civil engineering.
The Cold War dramatically impacted the engineering community. The hardline stance of the U.S.S.R. and U.S. foreign policy response led the United States to maintain a sizeable overseas military presence and to reaffirm commitments to the defense of Europe and Asia.
Civil engineers joined aeronautical engineers in supporting a wave of new technologies adopted by the Air Force in the 1950s. The advent of nuclear weapons and missile technology was accompanied by a new perspective on national defense.
At the same time, civil engineers improved and maintained bases for the Air Force. Air Force size peaked in 1956 and included 183 wings (143 combat wings) located on 162 major operational installations. Air Force civil engineers met myriad challenges related to increasingly more powerful jet aircraft fighters, nuclear-capable bombers, and transports – and growing Air Force communities.
Air Force civil engineers were keenly aware of their professional role in the growth and development of the postwar military. Successful Air Force careers were assured through commitment, educational advancement, and professional development. Leaders of the Air Force civil engineering community strove to implement a wide range of engineering programs to advance the growth and maturation of the new Air Force.
Next Era Rising to the Challenge 1960-1974
*the content above is an excerpt taken from Leading the Way.