The United States Air Forces Southern Command
is an inactive Major Command
of the United States Air Force
. It was headquartered at Albrook Air Force Base
, Canal Zone
, being inactivated on 1 January 1976.
Formerly designated as Sixth Air Force
, the command's mission was the defense of the Panama Canal
and for USAF relations, including foreign military sales (FMS) and disaster relief assistance, with the Latin American nations. The command supported disaster relief to countries such as Guatemala
, the Dominican Republic
. It also assisted nations in Central and South America in purchases of United States military aircraft and trained their technicians in logistics and maintenance for the aircraft.
The first United States air units arrived in the Canal Zone in February 1917, with the 7th Aero Squadron
being organized on 29 March at Ancon
. It was equipped with Curtiss JN-4
"Jennys" and Curtiss R-3 and R-4 floatplanes
The squadron initially came under the control of Headquarters, U.S. Troops, Panama Canal Zone, and beginning on 1 July 1917, Army aviation units were assigned directly to the Panama Canal Department
, which was the senior United States Army
headquarters in the Canal Zone. During World War I, the 7th Aero was assigned to patrol for German U-Boats
offshore of the Canal Zone
under direction of Coast Defenses of Cristobal, from 1 June-15 November 1918.
The 7th Aero Squadron was assigned to several fields... Read More