Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in History



Major Advisor

David M. Walker, Ph.D.


Lisa Marie Brady, Ph.D.


Nicholas Miller, Ph.D.


From its inception recruitment and retention concerned Air Force leaders, more specifically Strategic Air Command (SAC) and Air Defense Command (ADC) leadership in the early years, and it continued as a recurring theme throughout the Air Force's very short lineage. Early Air Force leaders recognized a need for attracting the nation's most desirable and competent, as well as the need to retain those individuals for an extended amount of time. Recruiting methods that only targeted the Airmen quickly changed as Air Force leaders realized that the Air Force recruited Airmen, but retained families. Early airpower leaders, including SAC's longest serving commander General Curtis E. LeMay, thus offered benefits, or as many later labeled them, entitlements, to attract and retain the whole family. The majority of these programs for the Air Force originated in the late 1950s and matured during the mid- 1960s. Beyond recruitment, SAC’s “People Programs” contributed to the Air Force's integration process while building a foundation for race and gender equality. The creation of the Air Force's welfare programs, while successful, also created a slew of bills that leadership now struggles to pay.