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100th Anniversary Logo with the 100 in large letters and the museum logo
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.
FREE Admission & Parking

Protectors: Cold War Air Police

Enlisted Air Police contributed to peacekeeping during the Cold War by keenly guarding critical combat assets.

In 1948, shortly after becoming an independent service, the US Air Force renamed its military police “Air Police.” In the decades that followed, they shaped a new identity specific to the Air Force.

The Korean War gave Air Police a new priority—protecting combat equipment from enemy destruction. In many cases, Air Police were the only armed personnel on the base. This raised the question of how to handle air base defense, and resulted in expanded police training.

Professionalization of the force increased, and enlisted men were handpicked for Air Police squadrons based on their judgment, integrity, and leadership ability. Security no longer consisted of simply walking a post, but included duties like guarding nuclear bombs and guided missiles.

Click here to return to the Korean War Gallery