The Department of the Air Force was created by the National Security Act of 1947 after a need was seen for a branch of military dedicated to both combat and defense in the air after vast improvements in flight technology over several decades. The Air Force Seal displays 13 stars which represent the original 13 colonies and the Roman numerals stand for 1947. The American bald eagle represents the United States and its air power. The Air Force thunderbolt with flames symbolizes the striking power through the use of both air and space. The thunderbolt is made up of a vertical twist with 3 flames at each end which crosses a pair of horizontal wings and 8 lightening bolts.