Air Force

Air Force Motto: Fly-Fight-Win (& 11 Other Things To Know)

The men and women of the United States Air Force ensure the success of the United States against its enemies through air dominance.

With their heads held high, they soar through the skies and provide support on the ground, embodying the essence of their powerful motto: Aim High… Fly-Fight-Win.

Beyond their captivating motto, there are countless characteristics about the Air Force that make it a unique branch of the military, filled with unsung heroes, untold stories, and exciting adventures.

In this article, we will discuss the meaning of the Air Force motto and unveil 11 other interesting facts about its traditions, history, and operations.

Related Article6 Military Mottos For Each Branch Explained

#1. Official Air Force Motto: Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win

air force motto

The official States Air Force motto is Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win.

It reflects the Air Force’s core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.

To better understand the motto, let us break it down.

Aim High embodies its core value of excellence in all we do.

It reminds those who serve to strive to do their best in all aspects of their service, from occupational proficiency to serving with integrity.

This mindset is crucial to mission accomplishment, ensuring its personnel are constantly driven to improve their skills and capabilities.

“Fly-Fight-Win” refers to the Air Force’s mission statement: To fly, fight, and win…airpower anytime, anywhere.

It is a dedication to the defense of the United States, and its citizens, and to dominate air, space, and cyberspace battlefields through superior capabilities and unmatched expertise.

#2. The Air Force Is the Largest Aerial Force in The World

The United States Air Force is the largest aerial force in the world.

It has over 5,000 mission-capable military aircraft and over 500,000 active duty, reservists, and national guardsmen.

That is more than double the number of military aircraft compared to China.

The Air Force is the second largest department in the Department of Defense, coming in second to the Army.

An interesting fact about the Air Force is that it has the largest percentage of women in the Department of Defense. Over 20% of the active enlisted force is female, which is more than the 17.9% average of all U.S. military forces.

The lowest demographic of women in the military is the Marine Corps.

#3. Roof Stomp

air force roof stomp

A “Roof Stomp” is a unique tradition in the United States Air Force, where airmen welcome new commanders, celebrate retirements, or other special occasions.

Air Force Officers typically conduct the tradition.

During these occasions, airmen would climb on the roof of their commander’s house and make a bunch of noise, or they would bang on the walls and windows until the commander would invite the Airmen in for drinks, food, and entertainment.

It originated in flying units as a no-notice hospitality check.

Here’s a video of the tradition being conducted: 

#4. The Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds are an elite aerobatic demonstration unit in the Air Force.

The Air Force created the unit in 1953 to showcase the precision, dedication, and teamwork required to be an Air Force pilot.

While the Thunderbirds consist of 8-12 pilots, the unit comprises more than 130 enlisted Airmen.

Operating out of Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, the Thunderbirds fly the advanced F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft, which is renowned for its agility, power, and speed.

You may be lucky enough to watch them performing throughout the United States and the world, even though they are stationed in Nevada.

#5. The Air Force Was a Part of the Army

It may surprise you that the history of the United States Air Force started with the Army.

The initial resemblance of the Air Force was the Aeronautical Division of the Signal Corps of the Army back in 1907.

During World War I, the Army recognized the importance of aviation assets in their strategic strength.

However, as the potential of air power became increasingly clear, the need to develop a separate and autonomous branch dedicated to aerial warfare was realized.

The aerial branches of the Army evolved over time to face the new challenges from the Signal Corps to the U.S. Army Air Forces up to 1947. That’s when the Air Force became its own independent branch with the signing of the National Security Act.

This separation allowed for a more focused approach to developing and implementing strategic policies, advancing technology, and specialized training for air superiority.

Today, the Air Force continues to evolve and adapt to modern warfare requirements, maintaining its vital role in ensuring national security and global peace.

#6. Second Youngest Branch in the Department of Defense

As mentioned above, the Air Force is one of the youngest branches of the military.

With the signing of the National Security Act in 1947, it became its own service.

Even though it is the second youngest branch in the military, it became a powerhouse in aerial combat and strategies, which allows the United States to maintain air superiority.

#7. The Space Force is a Department of the Air Force

us space force

Congress created the United States Space Force in 2019 when they signed the National Defense Authorization Act.

However, much like the United States Marine Corps, it is a department of another branch.

The Space Force is a Department of the Air Force, similar to how the Marine Corps falls under the Department of the Navy. The Space Force’s mission is focused on the global space domain to enable joint service operations.

Their capabilities include command and control of all Department of Defense satellites to provide global coverage, secure communications, and ballistic missile launch monitoring to provide space superiority.

Related ArticleNavy SEAL Creed / Ethos

#8. The Air Force Has a Band

The Air Force Band is a prestigious part of the United States Air Force, focusing on fostering national pride, esprit de corps, and connecting with the global community.

It is composed of two premier bands, five Air National Guard bands, a deployed band, and nine active-duty bands.

Each member is a highly skilled musician who has undergone extensive training and competitive auditions to earn their spot in the band.

The band performs at various military events, public concerts, and educational outreach programs.

They perform various music genres, including jazz, pop, ceremonial, and classical, providing a diverse and engaging musical experience for audiences.

Through their exceptional musical abilities and professionalism, members of the Air Force Band showcase the dedication, discipline, and teamwork that embody the core values of the United States Air Force.

#9. Santa Claus Tracking

The North American Aerospace Defense Command’s (NORAD) mission is to provide aerospace warnings and threat detection for North American ocean borders and airspace.

Every Christmas, this command tracks the whereabouts of Santa Claus during his annual journey around the world.

This tradition dates back to 1955, when a misprint in a newspaper advertisement led children to call the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) to find out where Santa was.

When children called the line, Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup realized the mistake and told them he was Santa.

Since then, NORAD has deployed its high-powered satellite systems and radars to ensure a safe journey for Santa Claus each year.

Millions of users visit the Santa tracking website annually, and volunteers answer more than 130,000 phone calls.

#10. First Pilot to Break the Sound Barrier

the air force was the first military branch to break the sound barrier

Air Force Captain Charles E. Yaeger was the first pilot to break the sound barrier in 1947.

He was chosen to pilot the rocket-powered Bell X-1 aircraft over the southern Californian desert because he was a decorated World War II ace and the Air Force’s most experienced test pilot.

The X-1 was a purpose-built aircraft to break the sound barrier, and on its 9th flight, it succeeded in traveling at Mach 1.06.

While not having an immediate impact, the 78 flights of the X-1 provided invaluable data to improve the Air Force’s combat aircraft to ensure future air dominance.

#11. Ace

Fighter aces are considered to be the most skilled pilots in the Air Force during combat.

A fighter pilot must have five or more confirmed enemies taken down during combat to qualify as an ace.

Air-to-air combat is intense and requires a high degree of skill and courage.

However, with the evolution of combat, there has not been an ace since the Vietnam War.

Captain Richard Ritchie was the only pilot to receive the ace status in Vietnam and with modern warfare tactics, may be the last.

Even though there are no modern aces, the United States Air Force employs the latest fighter jets, and their pilots train rigorously to face any emerging threat.

#12. The Air Force Special Forces

The Air Force Special Warfare (AFSPECWAR) Command comprises ground combat forces specializing in gaining access to contested areas, coordinating precision strikes, and personnel recovery.

These forces are broken down into operators, enablers, mission support, and human performance optimization.

The operator field has several specializations, including Combat Rescue, Special Tactics, Tactical Air Control Party, Combat Control, Pararescue, Special Reconnaissance, and Tactical Air Control Party.

One notable component of the Air Force Special Forces is the Combat Control Team (CCT), which establishes air traffic control and communications in remote and hostile environments.

CCT operators are highly skilled in both air traffic control and combat tactics, often deploying alongside other special operations forces such as Navy SEALs and Army Rangers.

Another notable component is Pararescue, these Airmen specialize in personnel recovery and providing emergency medical treatment.

Related ArticleAir Force Combat Controller (CCT) (1C2X1): Career Details


The United States Air Force’s motto, “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win,” is burned into everything the men and women who serve do day to day.

They strive for excellence in everything they do and win battles for the United States to ensure air dominance and the safety of the citizens of the United States.

Now that you know the meaning of the Air Force motto and the traditions, history, and workings of the service, you should have a better look into what it means to be an Airmen and their importance to the success of the United States.

Featured Image Source:

Kevin R.
Latest posts by Kevin R. (see all)
Fly Fight Win

Fly Fight Win

4.5 out of 5 (76 Ratings)

Aim High: Fly, Fight, Win, is the US Air Force motto. Learn more about it here.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally vetted. Learn more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *