The return of Tactical Air Command and Military Airlift Command

  • Published
  • By Daniel L. Haulman
  • Air Force Historical Research Agency

The Air Force made history this year by resurrecting two of its historical major air commands, the Tactical Air Command and the Military Airlift Command, Sept. 26 and Oct. 1, 2016.

The historical commands were active from the 1940’s until 1992. They were made active again by consolidating them with two existing commands, the Air Combat Command and the Air Mobility Command.

The merging of the commands accomplished five goals.  First, it justified ACC’s use of the TAC emblem, and the AMC use of the MAC emblem. 

Secondly, it increased the number of years of service of ACC and AMC by more than 40 years.  

Thirdly, it gave the newer commands all the honors of the older commands that were merging with them. 

Fourthly, the missions of TAC and ACC were very much alike, as were the missions of MAC and AMC.  TAC and ACC both handled the Air Force’s fighters, and MAC and AMC both handled the Air Force’s transports.

Fifthly, the reason for inactivating TAC and MAC in 1992 had disappeared.

In that same year, the Air Force had inactivated not only TAC and MAC, but also Strategic Air Command.  In their places it had activated the ACC and AMC, between which the resources of Strategic Air Command had been split. Three commands had been reduced to two.

But SAC was redesignated as Air Force Global Strike Command and activated again in 2009.  Since SAC was back, there was no reason not to bring back MAC and TAC as well.

The mergers of TAC with ACC and of MAC with AMC has only advantages and no disadvantages.  By bringing back TAC and MAC, the Air Force greatly enhanced the heritages of ACC and AMC, as well as the Air Force as a whole.