The Alaskan Air Command (AAC) was a component of the Alaskan Command, a unified command under the Joint Chiefs of Staff with responsibility for defense of Alaska and its surrounding waters.
The Alaskan Air Command was an intermediate step between the Alaskan Air Force, established December 28, 1941 at Elmendorf Army Air Field (Elmendorf AAF) and the current Eleventh Air Force, a subordinate organization of Pacific Air Forces. The lineage of the Alaskan Air Command includes an earlier designation as the 11th Air Force, located at both Elmendorf AAF and Adak, Alaska. Following World War II, with headquarters at Elmendorf Army Air Field, the Alaskan Air Command played a vital role in the air defense of the United States until its change of status in 1990.
Under the Alaskan Air Command and in the first decade after World War II, an extensive aircraft control and warning (AC&W) system was constructed along both Alaska’s coast and interior. The Alaskan segment of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line was built (later extended to the Aleutian Islands). The Command was initially equipped with P-51s, replaced in succession by F-80s, F-94s, F-89s and F-102s.
At the height of its strength in 1957, AAC had 200 fighter interceptors assigned to six squadrons organized into two air divisions providing “Top Cover for America.” Early warning and fighter direction were provided by 18 aircraft control and warning and 12 DEW Line sites tied together by the White Alice Communications System. Its assigned strength was 20,687.
By the 1950s and 1960s, forces were reduced as emphasis shifted to a defense against missile and bomber attacks. Still, Soviet aircraft intercepts were an important part of the mission of the Alaskan Air Command through the 1980s.
The Alaskan Air Command was succeeded by U.S. Air Force Forces Alaska as part of a new Alaskan Command in 1989 under Pacific Command Joint Task Forces.
Minted in a brass alloy, this coin is imbued with colorful enamel on both sides.
Each item measures a 2 inch x 1 7/8 inch (52mm x 49mm) crest.
This is a surplus NWTM item. Packaging may vary.