Brazilian Air Force Anniversary Date in the current year: May 22, 2024

Brazilian Air Force Anniversary Although the Brazilian Air Force was formally established on January 20, 1941, it celebrates its anniversary on another date, May 22. On this day in 1941, the National Air Forces of the Ministry of Aeronautics were renamed the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira — FAB).

The Brazilian Air Force is one of the three service branches of the Brazilian Armed Forces, alongside the Brazilian Army and the Brazilian Navy. It was formally founded in 1941, following the establishment of the Ministry of Aeronautics and the merger of the air branches of the Army and the Navy.

However, the history of Brazilian military aviation began several decades earlier. It was first employed in battle in 1915 during the Contestado War between settlers and government-supported landowners. The first Brazilian Army aviator was Ricardo Kirk, who graduated from an aviation school in France. He died in a plane crash during a reconnaissance mission on March 1, 1915. Military aviation also made a big impact during the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, where it was used by both the federal government and the Paulistas (rebels).

For almost three decades, Brazilian military aviation was part of the Army and the Navy; the country’s armed forces didn’t have a separate air force. The idea of organizing a national air force first came up in 1928, but it took over a decade to actually implement it.

One of the main supporters of the idea was Getúlio Vargas, the 14th president of Brazil. In 1940, he initiated the establishment of the Ministry of Aeronautics responsible for the country’s civil and military aviation. It was formally founded on January 20, 1941. The military branch of the ministry was named the National Air Forces. On May 22, its name was changed to the Brazilian Air Force. The anniversary of the renaming is observed as Brazilian Air Force Day.

During World War II, the Brazilian Air Force contributed greatly to the Allied war effort. The 1st Fighter Aviation Group fought on the Italian front as part of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force. Its contribution is celebrated on April 22, which was designated as Brazilian Fighter Aviation Day. In addition, the FAB patrolled the Atlantic throughout the war.

After the Second World War, the Brazilian Air Force was engaged in the Lobster War between Brazil and France, the1964 Brazilian coup d’état that resulted in the overthrow of President João Goulart and beginning of military dictatorship, the Araguaia Guerrilla War between the military government and Brazilian Communists, Operation Saucer (Operação Prato) regarding alleged UFO sightings, and Operation Traira against a Colombian guerrilla group.

Today, the Brazilian Air Force has an active strength of almost 81,000 personnel and operates around 676 aircraft (as of 2020). It is the second largest air force in the Americas after the United States Air Force (USAF) and the largest Air Force in the Southern Hemisphere. The motto of the Brazilian Air Force is “Wings that protect the country” (Asas que protegem o País).

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