JANUARY This month the Air Force dis­bands the Trailblazers, a precision flying demonstration team first formed in 1948.

JANUARY 7 At Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, C-123 Providers are assigned to Operation ranch hand, a massive defoliation campaign, to deny communist units cover in the jungle undergrowth. This project lasts nine years and is not finally halted until January 7, 1991.

January 10—11 A B-52H flown by Major clyde P. Evely sets a new unrefu­eled flight distance of 12,532 miles by fly­ing between Okinawa to Madrid, Spain, in 22 hours and 10 minutes.

JANUARY 13 Over South Vietnam, Air Force C-123 Providers fly the first ranch hand defoliation mission.

JANUARY 29 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the final Titan I ICBM test firing occurs; of 47 tests, 34 are successful while only 3 are complete failures.

FEBRUARY 2 Over South Vietnam, a ranch hand C-123 crashes while on a defoliant training mission, and Captain Fergus C. Groves, Captain Robert D. Larson, and Sergeant Milo B. Coghill become the Air Force’s first fatalities in Southeast Asia.

FEBRUARY 11 In Berlin, East Germany, U-2 pilot Francis G. Powers is exchanged for a Soviet agent after serving a year and a half in a Russian prison for spying.

MARCH 5 A B-58 Hustler flown by Captains Robert G. Sowers, Robert MacDonald, and John T. Walton, 43rd

Bombardment Group, establishes three world air speed records by flying from New York to Los Angeles and back in 4 hours, 41 minutes, and 11 seconds at an average speed of 1,044.5 miles per hour.

MARCH 16 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the 100-foot tall Titan II missile is test launched for the first time.

MARCH 21 A B-58 Hustler, traveling at 870 miles per hour, test ejects an escape capsule at 35,000 feet. The passenger—a bear—lands safely after a seven-minute parachute descent.

MARCH 22 At Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, four Convair F-102 Delta Daggers are deployed from Clark Air Force Base, the Philippines, in response to sightings of unidentified air­craft over the region.

APRIL 18—20 At Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, the 724th Strategic Missile Squadron (SMS) becomes the first operational Titan I unit. It possesses nine of the huge missiles, all stored in hardened underground silos. The first Titan goes on operational alert two days later.

APRIL 22 Aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran breaks 68 world records when she becomes the first woman to cross the Atlantic in a Lockheed Jetstar named Scarlet O’Hara. She is also the first woman to make a transatlantic crossing in a jet.

APRIL 26 The high-speed, high-altitude Lockheed A-12 makes its maiden flight; it is a forebear of the more famous SR- 71 Blackbird.

April 27 At Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the Special Air Warfare Center is created.

June 19 The classified Dyna-Soar space vehicle receives the designation X-20.

June 29 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, a military crew launches a Minuteman mis­sile for the first time and it flies 2,300 miles downrange.

July 9 Over Johnson Island in the Pacific, Operation dominic unfolds as a 1 megaton warhead is shot to an altitude of248 miles before being detonated. This is the highest thermonuclear blast and the electromagnetic pulse it generates is felt 800 miles away in Hawaii.

July 17 The X-15-1 hypersonic rocket aircraft piloted by Major Robert M. White reaches an altitude of 58.7 miles above the Earth’s surface at a speed of 3,784 miles per hour. Because White is technically in space, he becomes the first Edwards test pilot to acquire astronaut’s wings.

July 19 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, an Atlas missile is launched towards Kwajalein Island, where its nose cone is successfully intercepted by a Nike-Zeus antimissile missile. This marks the first time that an ICBM has been intercepted by a missile, the equivalent of one bullet hitting another.

August 1 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, an Atlas F missile is test launched for the first time from an under­ground silo, and it travels 5,000 miles downrange to the Pacific Test Range.

August 9 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Air Force simultaneously launches two Atlas D missiles to demonstrate its multiple countdown capabilities.

September 14 NASA announces the names of the next nine astronauts selected for the new Gemini space program. Of these, four are Air Force officers: Major Frank Borman, and Captains James A. McDivitt, Edward H. White, and Thomas P. Stafford.

September 18 A B-58 Hustler flown by Major Fitzhugh L. Fulton zooms to an altitude of 85,360 feet while carrying an 11,000-pound payload. The record remains unbroken to the present day.

OCTOBER 14 Over Cuba, a U-2 piloted by Major Steve Heyser, 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, photographs irrefutable evidence of Soviet ballistic missiles deployed there. This sets in motion a chain of events culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

OCTOBER 17 High above the Earth, a Vela Hotel satellite detects a ground – based nuclear explosion for the first time.

October 17—22 Over Cuba, the U. S. Air Force U-2s and RF-101Cs, backed by Navy RF-8 aircraft, continue high­speed reconnaissance flights and discover several Soviet IL-28 Beagle bombers on Cuban airfields.

OCTOBER 22 Once President John F. Kennedy declares a blockade of Cuba until all Soviet offensive weapons are removed, the Strategic Air Comm­and (SAC) places all its units on 24-hour alert. All B-47s are dispersed for their protection while B-52s maintain a continuous orbit outside of Soviet air­space where they can easily be seen on radar.


View from U. S. reconnaissance aircraft of Mariel Bay, Cuba. In October 1962, Soviet missile equipment and transport ships were photographed by U. S. U-2 spy planes, leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Library of Congress)

OCTOBER 25 Over the Atlantic, the Strategic Air Command (SAC) sends RB-47s and KC-97 Stratotankers to assist the Navy to locate Soviet vessels heading for Cuba.

October 27 Over Cuba, a U-2 piloted

by Major Rudolph Anderson of the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing is shot down and killed by a Soviet missile. He is posthumously awarded the first Air Force Cross for his sacrifice.

At Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, all Minuteman I missiles of the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron are placed on high alert.

October 28 After the Soviet Union agrees to remove all its offensive weapons from Cuba, the Air Force and other service elements begin to stand down. The United States, for its part, agrees to remove all obsolete Jupiter missiles from bases in Turkey.

OCTOBER 29 Over Cuba, photographic intelligence relayed by Air Force RF – 101C Voodoos reveals that the Soviets are complying with the agreement to remove all missiles and jets from the island.

NOVEMBER 2 In the wake of the Chinese invasion of northern India, President John F. Kennedy authorizes Operation long skip to transfer over 1,000 tons of military equipment to Indian forces. The Miliary Air Transport Service (MATS) complies with its new C-135 jet trans­ports and completes the task in only two weeks.

NOVEMBER 24 General Dynamics and Grumman contract with the Department of Defense to construct and build the new Tactical Fighter Experimental (TFX), a variable-swept wing, twin – engined jet fighter capable of carrying

20,0 pounds of ordnance at two-and – a-half times the speed of sound.

December 5 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Atlas missile test program ter­minates with the 151st launch; 101 of these are successful.

DECEMBER 13—14 Over New Mexico, Project stargazer unfolds as Captain Joseph A. Kittinger and a civilian astrono­mer, William C. White, drift to 82,000 feet with a telescope in their gondola for the clearest possible view of the stars. They remain aloft for 18 hours.

December 27 The Air Force orders six of the top secret Lockheed SR-71 high-speed, high-altitude reconnaiss­ance aircraft; it enters service as the Black­bird.


JANUARY 17 The 17th Airlift Squadron becomes the first Air Mobility Command (AMC) unit equipped with the C-17 Globemaster III and placed on active duty.

JANUARY 19 At Yokota Air Base, Japan, the 374th Airlift Wing begins humanitar­ian missions to assist earthquake victims in southwestern Honshu.

FEBRUARY 1-20 In Panama, Operation safe passage unfolds after Cuban refugees riot in their camps and C-5 Galaxy, C – 141 Starlifter, and C-130 Hercules air­craft transport 7,300 passengers back to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

FEBRUARY 3 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, Air Force colonel/astronaut Eileen M.

Подпись: 1995 Подпись: 305

Collins becomes the first female space shuttle commander during a mission on the Discovery.

FEBRUARY 7 Over Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, a Northrop B-2A Spirit makes the first live bomb drop as part of a Red Flag exercise.

February 3-10 In Haiti, eight C-141 Starlifters transport 300 Nepalese troops as part of UN peacekeeping force there.

MARCH 5 At Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, Russian arms inspectors arrive to monitor the destruction ofMinuteman II intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Their visit is in accordance with terms of the recent Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START II).

MARCH 10 The 11th Space Warning Squadron is the first unit able to detect launching ballistic missiles in a given the­ater, and warn battlefield commanders of their approach.

MARCH 16 At Keflavik, Iceland, the 56th Rescue Squadron dispatches an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter to save three skiers marooned by a sudden blizzard.

MARCH 24 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, Air Force technici ans launch the last remaining Atlas E booster rocket; it hoists a satellite into polar orbit.

MARCH 31 At Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Lieutenant Kelly Flinn becomes the first female bomber pilot in the U. S. Air Force when she commences training with the 11th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Bomb Wing.

April 8 In Sarajevo, Bosnia, as Operation provide promise continues, a C-130
transport is hit 12 times by small arms fire from the ground.

April 27 The Air Force Space Com­mand (AFSPACECOM) declares the Global Positioning System (GPS) opera­tional. This device provides accurate geo­graphical coordinates for both navigation and guided bomb delivery purposes.

May 8-11 In Louisiana, a deluge of rain results in Air National Guard units rescu­ing thousands of flood victims over a two-day period.

May 10-17 In Kinshasa, Zaire, trans­ports of the 60th and 349th Airlift Wings deliver several tons of medical supplies in the wake a deadly Ebola virus outbreak in Central Africa.

May 25-26 Over Bosnia, NATO high command commits aircraft strikes against Serbian artillery emplacements shelling Sarajevo, Bosnia. Air Force F-16s drop precision-guided munitions on gun emplacements while Marine Corps jets bomb Serbian ammunition dumps near the town of Pale.

JUNE 1 At Palmdale, California, the Dark Star Tier III Minus high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is rolled out by Lockheed Martin and Boeing.

June 2-3 At Dyess Air Force Base,

Texas, pair of B-1B Lancers flown by Lieutenant Colonel Doug Raaberg and Captain Gerald Goodfellow fly around the world in 36 hours, 13 minutes, and 36 seconds. Raaberg’s plane also sets an official speed record of 631.16 miles per hour. En route, the bombers refuel six times, and drop bombs on three ranges on three continents and in two hemispheres; air crews win the Mackay Trophy.

June 2—7 Over Banja Luka, Bosnia, an F – 16C flown by Captain Scott O’Grady is shot down by Serbian antiaircraft fire. He spends six days evading capture by subsisting on insects and rainwater.

June 22 In Washington, D. C., Air Force Secretary Sheila E. Widnall declares that Beechcraft will develop the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS), a modified Swiss Pilatus PC-9 turboprop aircraft that will replace aging Cessna T – 37Bs and Beech T-34Cs.

June 27—July 7 The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor prototype, an advanced air superiority fighter, begins construction.

June 28 In Washington, D. C., the Smithsonian Institution puts the B-29 Enola Gay on public display, in a factual and straightforward exhibit, devoid of political correctness.

June 30-AuGUST 10 In Croatia, Opera­tion quick lift unfolds as Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-5 Galaxies and C – 141 Starlifters transport British and Dutch peacekeepers.

July 7-AUGUST 5 In Washington, D. C.

, the Department of Defense declares that the C-17 Globemaster, whose spotty performance record threatened it with cancellation, has since been re­paired to the effect that the Air Force is now willing to purchase 120 of the giant craft.

July 8 This day the Minuteman III inter­continental ballistic missile (ICBM) achieves 100 million hours of operational duty.

July 23 In Byelorussia, a C-5 Galaxy from the 433rd Airlift Wing conveys 20 tons of medical supplies, blankets, clothes, and other supplies to alleviate economic deprivation there.

July 29 At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, the 11th Reconnaissance Squad­ron is activated as a UAV unit and equipped with the Tier II Predator for operational testing purposes.

July 31 At Whiteman Air Force Base,

Missouri, the 351st Missile Wing deacti­vates its final Minuteman II missile.

AUGUST 13 A C-5 Galaxy of the 60th Air Mobility Wing delivers 75 tons of food from Germany to Croatia to feed victims of the recent civil war there.

AUGUST 17 The E-8C joint surveillance target attack radar system (JSTARS) begins final flight-testing. These will replace pre-production models that saw extensive and successful service during the 1991 Gulf War.

AUGUST 20—21 At Ramstein Air Base, Germany, a C-5 Galaxy flies to Zagreb, Croatia, to assist refugees of the ongoing civil war.

AUGUST 25 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, a B-52H piloted by Captain Russell F. Mathers arrives from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, setting a world record of 549.45 miles per hour over a 6,200-mile course. They were airborne for 11 hours, 23 minutes.

August 25—29 In Kuwait, 11 new C-17 Globemaster Ills of the 315th and 437th Airlift Wings haul 300 tons of troops and equipment; this is also their first major exercise as an operational unit.

AUGUST 31 Over Sarajevo, Bosnia, Air

Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and NATO warplanes attack Serbian targets, including

Подпись: US Air Force personnel from the 14th Airlift Squadron unload cargo from a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at the Kuwait City International Airport, Kuwait during Operation Intrinsic Action, 1995. (U.S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information)

air defense systems, ammunition dumps, and equipment storage facilities. A 24- hour suspension of aerial activities then ensues to encourage peace negotiations with recalcitrant Serbian leaders.

September 1 The Air Combat Com­mand (ACC) reactivates its remaining SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft to resume missions previously handled by satellites.

September 5 In Bosnia, peace negotia­tions between NATO and Serbian leaders break down, and air strikes of Operation

DELIBERATE FORCE resume in full fury

against remaining targets.

September 6 Over Bosnia, an Air Force F-16C from the 23rd Fighter Squadron destroys a Serbian SA-6 radar site with a combination HARM (High-Speed Anti­Radiation) Targeting Pod System and an AGM-88 missile.

SEPTEMBER 7 Over Bosnia, Air Force and NATO warplanes deliver six strike packages against integrated targets, including six bridges and one chokepoint.

September 8 In northwest Bosnia-

Herzegovina, Operation DELIBERATE FORCE begins planning additional strike packages using standoff missiles against the Serbian integrated air defense system (IADS).

SEPTEMBER 9 Over Bosnia, three strike packages are flown against Serb targets using HARM missiles and 2,000-pound GBU-15 precision-guided glide bombs.

September 10 In northwestern Bosnia,

Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and NATO forces use Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM), HARM, and other standoff ordnance to strike down Serbian antiaircraft defenses. Other sorties support UN positions near the Tulza airport that are being shelled.

At Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the C-130 Hercules dubbed First Lady, which was the first production model accepted into the Air Force back in 1955, is finally retired as a museum exhibit.

SEPTEMBER 11 Over Bosnia, Operation

DELIBERATE FORCE continues with four

strike packages planned and delivered under favorable weather conditions. Reconnaissance efforts are also increased to provide accurate bomb damage assess­ments (BDA).

September 14 Serbian factions final­ly come to terms with UN negotia­tors, and the NATO commander orders a halt to all aerial offensive operations in Bosnia.

SEPTEMBER 14—30 In Hanoi, Vietnam, transports of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) deliver 30 tons of medical sup­plies; this is the first American military
visit to Vietnam since the war ended in 1975.

September 15-21 Throughout the eastern Caribbean, Air Force, Reserve, and National Guard transports are mobi­lized in the wake of Hurricane Marilyn to bring relief aid. C-17 Globemaster IIIs also perform their first disaster relief effort.

SEPTEMBER 20 In Bosnia, Operation DELIBERATE FORCE formally concludes, having forced tough and professional Serb forces from their positions with air power alone.

Подпись: Two U.S. AirForce F-16C Fighting Falcon aircraft prepare to take off. This high-performance, light-weight fighter has been exported to several nations around the world and will continue serving well into the 21st century. (U.S. Department of Defense Visual Information Center)

SEPTEMBER 22 At Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, an E-3B AWACS jet crashes on takeoff when two geese are ingested by the engines; all 24 crew members are killed, including 2 Cana­dians. This is also the first AWACS acci­dent in 18 years of operation.

September 30 Castle Air Force Base, California, and Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York, both former Stra­tegic Air Command (SAC) bases, are closed down. The 93rd Bombardment Group, the first Air Force unit to operate B-52s, also deactivates after 47 years of service.

OCTOBER At Marietta, Georgia, the first C-130J Hercules, an advanced technol­ogy version, rolls off the assembly line; this is instantly recognizable by its six – bladed propellers.

OCTOBER 1 Chief Master Sergeant Carol Smits becomes the first woman selected as senior enlisted adviser in the Air Force Reserve.

At Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, the Air Combat Command


These troops are in Bosnia in support of Operation Joint Endeavor. Operation Joint Endeavor is apeace­keeping effort by a multinational Implementation Force (IFOR), comprised of NATO and non-NATO mili­tary forces, deployed to Bosnia in support of the Dayton Peace Accords. (U. S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information)

activates the 609th Information Warfare Squadron.

OCTOBER 16—17 In the Gulf of Mexico, the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron dispatches aircraft to search for survivors of a Mexican pipe-laying barge that sank during Hurricane Roxanne. A single crewman is spotted and his location is relayed to the Coast Guard, who ulti­mately rescue 23 people.

October 28-December 18 In Bah­rain, Operation VIGILANT SENTINEL unfolds as F-16Cs of the 20th and 357th Fighter Wings deploy quickly and en masse. This is also the first test ofthe air expeditionary force concept.

NOVEMBER 1 At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Croatian, Bosnian, and Serbian delegates meet to conclude a for­mal peace agreement. These are all former states of the by now defunct Yugoslavia.

NOVEMBER 2 Lieutenant Colonel Greg Feest is the first Air Force pilot to acquire

1,0 hours of flight time in the F-117A Nighthawk stealth fighter.

DECEMBER In Washington, D. C., New World Vistas, a forecast of air and space technology, is unveiled by Dr. Gene McCall of the Air Force Scientific Advi­sory Board (SAB). This study was com­missioned by Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila Widnall and Air Force Chief of StaffRonald R. Fogleman.

December 6 In Bosnia, Operation joint endeavor commences as Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-130 transports from the 37th Airlift Squadron deliver American peacekeeping troops and equipment. They arrive in anticipation of a comprehensive peace treaty previously arranged at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

December 20 In Washington, D. C., the levels have dipped below the 400,000

Air Force declares that its manpower level for the first time since 1948.


JANUARY 8 Over North Vietnam, an F-4 flown by Captain Paul D. Howman and Lieutenant Lawrence W. Kullman shoots down the final MiG of the war with an AIM-7 Sparrow missile.

January 15 All Air force offensive oper­ations against North Vietnam cease once the Communists agree to return to the Paris peace talks.

JANUARY 18 In Washington, D. C., the Defense Department contracts with Fair­child Republic to produce the A-10 close support aircraft, better known to its flight crews as the “Warthog.”

JANUARY 28 Over South Vietnam, a B – 52 bomber performs the final arc light mission against suspected Communist positions. As of this date the war in Viet­nam officially ends, although aerial cam­paigns are conducted in neighboring countries.

February 12 At Hanoi, North Viet­nam, Operation homecoming unfolds as Air Force C-141s arrive to transport the first of 591 prisoners of war to Clark Air Base, the Philippines, then home. Air­crews from the Military Airlift Command (MAC) involved in this humanitarian mission receive the Mackay Trophy.

FEBRUARY 21 Over Laos, a cease-fire

between the government and Commu­nist insurgents results in an end to B-52 air strikes. However, violations of the agreement result in a resumption of attacks through April.

MARCH 28 As the last remaining Air Force aircraft depart South Vietnam, the Seventh Air Force relocates its operations to Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand.

April 10 The Boeing T-43A prototype, a modified 737-200 airliner, performs its maiden flight.

April 17 Over Laos, B-52 bombers from Guam launch air strikes on Communist positions in response to cease-fire viola­tions.

May 15 Over Africa, Operation authen­tic assistance unfolds as C-130s perform 541 missions to deliver tons of relief sup­plies to drought-stricken regions of Chad, Mali, and Mauritania. The 19 aircraft involved deliver 9,200 tons by October.

June 13 The Air Force deploys the first of its Boeing E-4A advanced airborne command posts.

August 15 Over Cambodia, B-52 bombers perform their final missions against Communist Khmer Rouge tar­gets; this concludes an eight-year-long aerial campaign, most of it clandestine.

In Thailand, an Air Force A-7D Cor­sair II performs the final bombing raid of the Southeast Asian War while an EC – 121 from Korat, Thailand, is credited with flying the last U. S. mission of this conflict. All told, the Air Force flew 5.25 million sorties since 1962 and lost 1,700 aircraft in combat.

August 20 In Pakistan, transports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC), the Tactical Air Command (TAC), and the Air Force Reserve (USAFR) convey

2,400 tons of supplies and relief equip­ment to assist victims of recent flooding.

OCTOBER 1 In Washington, D. C., Thomas N. Barnes gains appointment as the new chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

October 12-April 6 In the Middle

East, Operation GIANT REACH unfolds as nine SR-71 Blackbirds perform recon­naissance missions launched from the United States as the violent Yom Kippur War between Israel, Egypt, and Syria rages.

October 14-November 14 In Israel,

Operation NICKEL GRASS begins transport­ing war materiel to make up for losses sus­tained in the Yom Kippur War. C-5A Galaxies and C-141 Starlifters bring in

22,400 tons of supplies to offset a similar effort by the Soviet Union to Egypt and Syria. This endeavor enables the beleag­uered Jewish state to survive a well – coordinated Arab attack.

OCTOBER 6-24 In the Middle East, Operation NIGHT REACH commences as Air Force transports bring in UN peace­keeping forces to monitor the truce between Egypt and Israel.

December 13 At Fort Worth, Texas, General Dynamics rolls out its prototype YF-16 lightweight air superiority fighter; it enters production as the F-16 Fighting Falcon.


JANUARY 7 Over Somalia, an Air Force AC-130H Spectre gunship destroys a sus­pected al-Qaeda training camp.

January 24 AC-130H Spectre gunships

conduct a second round of strikes against suspected al-Qaeda terrorist training camps in Somalia.

MARCH 29 In Washington, D. C., the Tuskegee Airmen are awarded a Congressional Gold Medal for their service in World War II, and for helping to frame the civil rights issue in the postwar period.

AUGUST 1 Ceremonies are held marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U. S. Army Signal Corps, the lineal antecedent of the U. S. Air Force.

AUGUST 31 In Washington, D. C., Defense Secretary Robert Gates is noti­fied as to the mistaken transport of six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from Minot

Air Force Base, North Dakota, to Barks­dale Air Force Base, Louisiana, onboard a B-52 bomber.

OCTOBER 19 In Washington, D. C., the Air Force publicly acknowledges that six

nuclear-tipped cruises missiles were mis­takenly transported on a B-52 bomber; such incidents are referred to as a Bent Spear.


JANUARY 13 At White Sands, New Mexico, a V-2 rocket equipped with on­board telemetry equipment is launched into low Earth altitude as part of Project

HERMES. This is the first time that a rock­et’s performance and flight has been electronically monitored by a ground station.

FEBRUARY 5 In Washington, D. C., President Harry S. Truman agrees with the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and the secretaries of the Army and Navy that nuclear weapons testing and production should continue.

FEBRUARY 10 Over Dayton, Ohio, a Sikorsky R-5A helicopter piloted by Major E. M. Cassell reaches an unofficial world’s altitude record of 19,167 feet.

FEBRUARY 17 At the White Sands Prov­ing Ground, New Mexico, a WAC Cor­poral missile reaches an altitude of

250.0 feet.

February 20 At White Sands, New Mexico, the Blossom Project begins as V-2 No. 20 ejects a canister after it reaches its apogee.

FEBRUARY 27 At LaGuardia, New York, an F-82 flown by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Thacker and John M. Ard flies

5.0 miles nonstop from Hickam Field, Hawaii. This is the longest non­stop unrefueled flight by a propellor – driven aircraft, and it lasts 14 hours and 33 minutes.

MARCH 16 At San Diego, California, the twin-engine Convair 240 transport prototype flies for the first time. It even­tually enters into Air Force service as the T-29 navigator training aircraft.

MARCH 17 Over Muroc Field, Califor­nia, the North American XB-45 four-jet bomber flies for the first time with George Krebs at the controls. In two years it enters Air Force service as the B-45 Tornado, which is America’s first jet bomber.

April 30 In Washington, D. C., the Army and the Navy standardize their guided missile nomenclature as A for air, S for surface, and U for underwater. The first letter regards the weapon’s origin and the latter its target.

May 21 At Langley, Virginia, NACA

engineers fit a small aircraft with a special five-bladed propellor and muffled exhausts; the result is a near-silent flying machine.

May 27 The Corporal E, the Army’s first guided surface-to-surface missile, is successfully test fired for the first time, meeting or exceeding all technical specifications.

June 5 At Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, the first AAF research balloon, which was designed and built by New York University and the Air Materiel Command, is launched.

June 19 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, a Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star piloted by Colonel Albert Boyd, the Army’s chief test pilot, reaches a new world speed record of 623.8 miles per hour.

June 25 In Seattle, Washington, the first Boeing B-50 makes its initial flight. This is an updated version of the B-29 with more powerful engines and a taller tail.

June 30 At Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, a meeting of Army Air Forces officials and NACA representatives con­venes to iron out their differences regarding the X-1 testing program. They agree to divide responsibilities, with the Army being tasked with breaking the sound barrier, while NACA will acquire technical details from research associated with the program.

July 1 In light of budgetary restrictions, the Army Air Forces cancels its MX-774 program. However, it is revived the following decade and emerges as the Atlas ICBM.

July 3 At Holloman Air Force Base,

New Mexico, New York University scientists release a cluster of balloons with a 50-pound instrument panel to measure atmospheric conditions at 18,550 feet.

July 18 In Washington, D. C., President Harry S. Truman assigns a five-man working group under chairman Thomas K. Finletter to originate a broad-based plan to endow the United States with the greatest possible benefits from aviation, civil and military alike.

July 26 President Harry S. Truman signs the National Defense Act of 1947 into law, which makes provisions for a new, independent United States Air Force, which will enjoy equal status with the Departments of the Army and Navy. The Air National Guard also comes into being as a reserve component of the new force.

AUGUST 28 Over Texas, the first of 22 Convair B-36A Peacekeepers performs its maiden flight. This giant craft is assigned to training future B-36 aircrews as formal production gets underway.

September 18 As of this date, the U. S. Air Force is officially a separate entity in the American military establishment. Stuart A. Symington, a hard-nosed business executive, also gains appointment as the first secretary of the Air Force.

SEPTEMBER 22 At Brize Norton, England, a robot-controlled Douglas C-54 becomes the first autoguided aircraft to cross the Atlantic from Stephenville, Newfound­land. The flight lasted 2,400 miles.

September 25 At the White Sands Prov­ing Ground, New Mexico, the first liquid-propelled Aerobee sounding rocket is successfully launched. Variations of this device will be used constantly until 1985.

September 26 In Washington, D. C., General Carl A. Spaatz gains appointment as the first Air Force chief of staff. The offi­cial transfer of officers, bases, and equip­ment is also authorized by the James V. Forrestal, the new Secretary of Defense.

Major General William E. Kepner, for­merly head of the VIII Fighter Command in World War II, is installed as the head of the Atomic Energy Division within the Air Force.

OCTOBER 1 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, the North American XP-86 prototype flies for the first time with Major George Welch at the controls. This swept-wing design enters service as the F – 86 Sabrejet, a legendary fighter aircraft.

At Bethpage, Long Island, the Grum – man XJR2F-1 flying boat flies for the first time. It enters Air Force service as the SA – 16 and HU-16 Albatross, which serves as a standard rescue aircraft for two decades.

October 6 The Ryan Firebird XAAM – A-1, the Air Force’s first guided air-to-air missile, is successfully test launched for the first time.

OCTOBER 14 Over Muroc Dry Lake,

California, a Bell X-1 piloted by Captain Charles Yeager makes aviation history by flying through the sound barrier for the first time. Although several propellor – driven aircraft have also broken the sound barrier while diving, Yeager is the first achieve Mach 1.06 in sustained level flight.

OCTOBER 21 Over California, the North­

rop XB-49, a tailless, four-jet design, flies for the first time. This radical craft is an outgrowth of the propellor-driven XB-35 which flew in 1946. While impressive to

Yeager, Chuck (1923-

Air Force pilot. Charles Elwood (“Chuck”) Yeager was born in Myra, West Virginia, on February 13,1923. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1940, and he earned his pilot’s wings at Luke Field, Arizona, in July 1942. Yeager subsequently flew P-51 Mustangs with the 363rd Fighter Squadron in England, where he shot down thirteen German aircraft, including five in one day. His most notable kill happened on Novem­ber 6, 1944, when he downed a futuristic Messerschmitt Me-262 jet fighter. After the war, Yeager was selected to fly the top secret Bell XS-1 rocket research aircraft. On October 14,1947, he broke the sound barrier at Mach 1 for the first time, winning a prestigious Mackay Trophy for the year’s most outstanding flight. Yeager continued flying at Edwards Air Force Base, California, where, in December 1953, he piloted a new Bell X-1A to 1,650 miles per hour, three times the speed of sound.

In 1954 Yeager left flight-testing to command an F-100 Suber Sabre squadron in Germany, and he returned home three years later, a lieutenant colonel. In 1969 he resumed combat operations by commanding the 405th Tactical Fighter Wing, and performed 127 missions over Vietnam in B-57s. Yeager retired from active duty in 1975 as a brigadier general and, on October 14, 1997, the 50th anniversary of his record-breaking flight, he again broke the sound barrier for a final time in his F-15 Eagle jet at an Edwards Air Force Base air show;he has since retired and resides in Cedar Ridge, California. In an active career spanning 50 years, Yeager flew and tested no less that 330 different types of aircraft.


behold, the aircraft is intrinsically unstable and does not enter production.

NOVEMBER 4 At the White Sands Prov­ing Ground, New Mexico, an Aerobee rocket is successfully launched and reaches 190,000 feet above sea level.

NOVEMBER 15 The Air Force announces that it has been experimenting with ram­jet helicopter technology in the form of the McDonnell XH-20 Little Henry, operated by one man.

NOVEMBER 23 Over San Diego, Califor­

nia, the giant XC-99 transport aircraft flies for the first time. This is a transport version of the B-36 bomber then in production, although it does not enter production.

NOVEMBER 26 At Langley, Virginia, scientists successfully demonstrate the world’s first hypersonic-flow wind tunnel.

December 10 A high-speed rocket sled carrying Lieutenant Colonel John P. Stapp is launched to examine the effect of high acceleration rates on the human body. Much useful information is derived and Stapp, while bruised, is not harmed by the 2,000-foot journey.

December 17 At Seattle, Washington, the futuristic Boeing XB-47 six-engine jet bomber flies for the first time. This is the first postwar American bomber to incorporate German swept-wing infor­mation in its design, and it enters service as the B-47 Stratojet.

JANUARY 2 At Patterson, Ohio, the Air JANUARY 4 At the University of California,

Force Technical Museum is organized. scientists complete a pilot model for the

world’s first supersonic wind tunnel, a tre­mendous boon for the design of modern jet aircraft.

FEBRUARY 6 At the White Sands Prov­ing Ground, New Mexico, V-2 rocket No. 36 blasts off under the aegis of a Hermes A-1 flight control system. This is an important step in the development of guided missiles.

FEBRUARY 16 Over Germany, B-29 bombers of the Strategic Air Command arrive as part of a long-distance exercise. En route they are “intercepted” by RAF fighters as they traverse southern England.

FEBRUARY 20 The Boeing B-50, a more powerful version of the venerable B-29, is accepted into Air Force service. In addition to higher range and perfor­mance, it is also capable of being refueled in the air.

MARCH 10 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, the Air Force declares that a B-29 bomber recently dropped an explo­sive device weighing 42,000 pounds.

MARCH 11—14 By terms of the so-called Key West Agreement, military and aero­nautical rocket research is not to be monopolized by any one branch of the armed forces, but rather split equally amongst them.

MARCH 22 Over Van Nuys, California, the Lockheed TP-80C, the prototype of the T-33 jet trainer, flies for the first time. This machine enjoys widespread service in the Air Force.

MARCH 28 A series of new aerial tanker aircraft, the KB-29M, completes final testing at the behest of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). This B-29 variant can carry 2,300 gallons of fuel aloft and dis­pense it through a hose and reel system mounted in the bomb bay.

April 21 In Washington, D. C., Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal assigns the U. S. Air Force a primary responsibility for defending the country.

APRIL 26 In concert with President Harry S. Truman’s order to desegregate the mili­tary, the U. S. Air Force announces a policy to fully integrate African Americans into whatever sphere or technicality they are qualified for.

April 30 In Washington, D. C., General Hoyt S. Vandenberg becomes the second Air Force chief of staff, to replace retiring General Carl A. Spaatz.

MAY 20 Over Inglewood, California, the first production F-86A Sabrejet fighter flies for the first time. Over 6,000 of these peerless dogfighters will be constructed over the next few years.

May 24 A new world speed record for flying over a 1,000-kilometer course is established by noted aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran, who reaches 432 miles per hour.

MAY 26 In Washington, D. C., President

Harry S. Truman signs legislation creating the new Civil Air Patrol (CAP); this organization functions as an auxiliary of the U. S. Air Force in peace and war.

JUNE 1 Air Force and Navy transport commands are brought together in a new, unified entity, the Military Air Transport Service (MATS), which remains under Air Force purview.

JUNE 10 The Air Force announces that the Bell X-1 rocket plane has exceeded

Подпись: Vandenberg, Hoyt S. (1899-1954) Air Force general. Hoyt Sanford Vandenberg was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on January 24,1899, and he was assigned to the Air Service in 1923. Vandenberg won his wings at Kelly Field, Texas, and subsequently attended the Air Corps Tactical School, and the Command and General Staff School. During World War II, he served on the staff of General James H. Doolittle in North Africa, rising to brigadier general in December 1942. A year of distinguished service in the Mediterranean ensued, so in March 1944, Vandenberg rose to major general, and helped plan Operation OVERLORD in England. Shortly before World War II ended Vandenberg, who rose from lieutenant colonel to lieutenant general in only three years, became assistant chief of staff for the Army Air Forces. In April 1947 Vandenberg became deputy chief of staff of the newly independent U.S. Air Force, succeeded Spaatz the following year, and became, aged 48 years, the nation's youngest four-star general. Vandenberg realized that, in an age of fiscal restraint, the greatest firepower available would be in the form of nuclear weapons, so he spent most of his budget on expensive systems like Convair's giant B-36 bomber and a host of new jet aircraft. In 1950 the Korean War broke out and Vandenberg helped articulate the strategy that saw the U.S. Air Force gain air supremacy over the region. During his tenure the service expanded from 49 to 90 combat wings, becoming the largest aerial force in the world. Vandenberg died of cancer in Washington, D.C., on April 2, 1 954, a far-sighted aviation leader who put the new Air Force on a sound footing.

the speed of sound several times since its first successful attempt the previous March.

June 11 In Washington, the Department of the Air Force releases its new Air Force Regulations 65-60 which updates aircraft designations. Henceforth, “P” for “Pur­suit” is replaced by “F” for “Fighter”; “F” for “Fotographic” is replaced by “R” for “Reconnaissance”; and “R” for “Rotary wing” is replaced by “H” for “Helicopter.” “B” for “Bomber” is unchanged. The Office of Air Force Chaplains is also created.

June 16 In Washington, D. C., Colonel Geraldine P. May gains appointment as the first director of Women in the Air Force. She is also the first woman in the Air Force to reach colonel.

June 18 At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, and Roswell AFB, New Mexico, the first two aerial refueling squadrons are equipped and organized to use KB-29Ms.

June 26 In response to the provocative Soviet blockade of Berlin, East Germany, the first Air Force C-47 transports bring in 80 tons of supplies. General Curtis E. LeMay, the head of U. S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), begins organizing men and equipment for what becomes renowned as the Berlin Airlift.

At Fort Worth, Texas, the 7th Bom­bardment Wing accepts delivery of the first production B-36 intercontinental bombers. This is currently the world’s largest airplane.

July 13 In California, the Convair MX – 774 rocket is successfully test flown for the first time. This is the first device to employ movable (gimballed) engine noz­zles that come to characterize all inter­continental ballistic missiles, including the Atlas ICBM of the late 1950s.

July 17 In England, several B-29s of the Strategic Air Command (SAC) arrive and deploy for the first time since World War II. Ostensibly there for training pur­poses, they are known to be capable of
dropping nuclear weapons on Eastern Europe in the event of war.

July 20 At Selfridge Field, Michigan, Colonel David Schilling leads the first flight of 16 F-80 Shooting Stars on the first transatlantic deployment to FUrsten – feldbruck, West Germany, via Scotland. The mission takes them 9 hours and 20 minutes.

July 30 The Air Force accepts delivery of its first North American B-45A Tornado jet bomber. Though plagued with teeth­ing problems, it becomes the first jet bomber fitted to drop nuclear weapons.

AUGUST 6 B-29s Gas Gobbler and Lucky

Lady, from the 43rd Bomb Group, fly a 20,000-mile flight around the globe in 15 days.

AUGUST 8 In Hawaii, a Convair B-36B Peacemaker flies nonstop from Fort Worth, Texas, completing a 9,400-mile flight without refueling.

AUGUST 16 Over Muroc Dry Lake, Cal­ifornia, the Northrop XF-89 prototype flies for the first time. It enters service as the F-89 Scorpion, and is the Air Force’s first all-weather interceptor jet.

August 23 The ongoing program to develop a “parasite fighter” carried in the bellies of intercontinental bombers, a McDonnell XF-85 Goblin is dropped from a B-36, but collides with the hookup trapeze while returning and shatters its canopy. Test pilot Ed Schoch manages to land safely and the experiment is run again, successfully, on September 16.

SEPTEMBER 3 Over England, Operation dagger unfolds as Air Force B-29s and RAF fighters take part in a joint air defense exercise.

Подпись: LeMay, Curtis E. (1906-1990) Air Force general. Curtis Emerson LeMay was born in Columbus, Ohio, on November 15, 1906. He attended Ohio State University ROTC, and won his wings at March Field, California, in October 1929. In 1937 he transferred to bombers at Langley Field, Virginia, and demonstrated his navigating prowess in 1938 by intercepting the Italian liner Rex. During World War II, LeMay was colonel commanding the 305th Bombardment Squadron and, in August 1943, he personally led the first shuttlebombing run from England to North Africa. In March 1944, he became the youngest major general since Ulysses S. Grant, and transferred to China to command the XX Bomber Command flying new B-29 Superfortresses. LeMay subsequently transferred to the XXI Bomber Command on Guam, and his low-altitude raid against Tokyo on March 9, 1945, burned out 16 square miles of the city and inflicted over 100,000 casualties. In August 1945 LeMay transferred again to the staff of General Carl A. Spaatz, and helped plan atomic bomb missions against Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war LeMay served as deputy chief of Research and Development, and initiated development of America's first jet bombers. In 1948 he orchestrated Operation VITTLES, the famous Berlin Airlift, forcing the Russians to lift their blockade. He subsequently headed the Strategic Air Command (SAC), transforming it into an elite atomic strike force of nearly 2,000 jets. In June 1961 President John F. Kennedy appointed him to chief of staff of the Air Force, and, in 1965, LeMay concluded 37 years of distinguished service by resigning. He died in San Bernardino, California, on October 1, 1990, the foremost aerial strategist of the Cold War.

SEPTEMBER 15 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, an F-86A Sabrejet flown by Major Richard L. Johnson establishes a world’s speed record of 671 mile per hour.

September 18 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Convair XF – 92 makes its maiden flight. This is the world’s first jet-powered delta-wing air­craft based on the designs of Germany engineer Alexander Lippisch.

OCTOBER 15 In West Germany, Major

General William H. Tunner takes charge of the Berlin Airlift, which consists of both American and British aircraft. During World War II, Tunner was also responsible for organizing the successful India-China airlift over “The Hump.”

OCTOBER 19 General Curtis E. LeMay replaces General George Kenney as com­mander of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). This turns out to be one of the most significant appointments in aviation history.

OCTOBER 31 The Air Force announces that an F-80 fighter had been flown at high altitude using only two wingtip ram­jet engines for propulsion. This is the first known application of ramjet technology on manned aircraft.

NOVEMBER 4 In Santa Monica, Califor­nia, the RAND Corporation, an out­growth of the earlier Air Force-Douglas RAND Project, is organized to bring scientific, industrial, and military exper­tise into a think-tank for Air Force decision-making.

NOVEMBER 5 The government announ­ces that all Air Force warplanes will bear the markings “USAF,” save for those operated by the Military Air Transport Service, which are marked MATS.

November 10—12 The first symposium to ponder the theoretical problems associ­ated with spaceflight is sponsored by the School ofAviation Medicine.

November 30 A Douglas C-54 Skymas – ter equipped with Curtiss-Wright reversible-pitch propellers descends from 15,000 feet to 1,000 feet in only 1 minute and 22 seconds.

December 1 The Continental Air Com­mand (CAC) is activated for operations.

December 2 The Beech Model 45 prototype makes its maiden flight; it enters the service as the T-34A Mentor, which remains in service as a primary trainer until 1961.

December 9 In another stunning display of strategic air power, a B-36 and a B-50 fly nonstop from Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, to Hawaii. The gigantic B-36 flies nonstop while the B-50 refuels three times from a KB-29M over a 35-hour period.

DECEMBER 16 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, the Northrop X-4 Bantam flies for the first time. This is a semi-tailless, swept-wing jet design and flies as part of a joint NACA-Air Force research program.

DECEMBER 28 Over Greenland, a ski – equipped C-47 flown by Lieutenant Colonel Emil Beaudry lands and rescues 12 men of a C-47 and a B-17 that had crashed at the same site on December 9. The flight also wins the Mackay Trophy.

December 29 In Washington, D. C., Defense Secretary James V. Forrestal declares that the United States will endeavor to initiate an “earth satellite program” to study the viability of placing objects into an Earth orbit.

DECEMBER 31 Over Berlin, the airlift completes its 100,000th flight as part of Operation vittles. All told, the Soviet blockade ofBerlin has been a propaganda disaster for Premier Josef Stalin.


JANUARY 1 The Air Force Space Com­mand assumes control of the Global Posi­tioning System (GPS).

JANUARY 21 An F-15 Eagle test launches the American antisatellite missile system for the first time against a dummy vehicle emulator.

JANUARY 28 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, new F-16 Falcons replace aging F – 105 Thunderchiefs in the 419th Tactical Fighter; this is also the first Air Force Reserve unit so equipped.

JANUARY 31 The new AGM-81A Fire – bolt target vehicle breaks world records for speed and altitude by reaching Mach 1.4 at 104,000 feet.

FEBRUARY 3 At RAF Upper Heyford, England, the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing deploys with the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE), becoming the first EF-111A Raven unit in that theater.

FEBRUARY 23 The Tactical Air Com­mand (TAC) officially replaces the aging F-4 Phantom II with the F-15C Eagle as its standard air superiority fighter.

FEBRUARY 24 The Air Force selects the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle over the delta-wing General Dynamics F-16XL to serve as its next dual-role fighter-bomber.

At Cherry Point, North Carolina, two C-141 Starlifter missions land after with­drawing U. S. Marines from Lebanon and Larnaca, Cyprus.

MARCH 6 Over the Northern Test Range, Canada, a B-52G from the 319th Bombardment Wing test launches an air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) for the first time.

March 19-April 9 An E-3A Sentry aircraft is dispatched to the Middle East following threats against Egypt and Sudan by Libya. Seventeen C-141 Starlifter and twenty-eight C-5 Galaxy missions also convey military supplies to the Egyptians as a precaution.

April 6 The first of 80 Leaget C-21A air­craft are deployed with the 375th Aero – medical Airlift Wing, which phases out older Cessna CT-39 Sabreliner aircraft.

April 11 The 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing receives its first Beech C-12F operational support aircraft.

April 19 Construction begins on the phased array, sea-launched ballistic missile warning system at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia.

MAY 16 At Peshawar, Pakistan, Afghan refugees receive 22 tons of medical sup­plies from C-141 Starlifters dispatched by the Military Airlift Command (MAC).

May 25 In Washington, D. C., the Vietnam War’s Unknown Soldier re­turns home aboard a C-141 Starlifter for internment at Arlington National Cemetery. He is subsequently identi­fied as Air Force Lieutenant Michael J. Blassie and is reburied at St. Louis, Missouri.

June At Golden, Colorado, a Schweizer TG-7A motor glider is delivered to the U. S. Air Force Academy for airmanship programs; it is relegated to the 94th Air Training Squadron.

June 15 At Kansas City, Missouri, a C-130 Hercules from the Military Airlift Command (MAC) arrives with 4.5 tons of pumping equipment to assist flood­fighting efforts in that region of the state.

At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, an MX (Peacekeeper) mis­sile is test launched with a Mark-21 test reentry vehicle for the first time.

June 16 At Fort Worth, Texas, the improved F-16C Falcon flies for the first time. This new version boasts improved heads-up display (HUD) instrumentation and more capable multimode radar.

June 20 The first KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft deploys with the 384th Air Refuel­ing Wing, Strategic Air Command (SAC). This variant is equipped with new CFM – 56 fan-jet engines, possessing higher thrust and lower fuel consumption.

June 21 Over Antarctica, a Military Air­lift Command (MAC) C-141 Starlifter carrying supplies for U. S. bases at McMurdo Sound refuels en route with a 22nd Air Refueling Wing KC-10 Extender flying out of Christchurch International Airport, New Zealand.

June 30 Hancock Field, New York, is closed by the Air Force after 32 years of constant operations.

July At Loring Air Force Base, Maine, the 69th Bombardment Squadron accepts the first deliveries of AGM-84 Harpoon antiship missiles. These are intended for B-52 bombers during interdiction mis­sions at sea.

July 31 At Davis-Monthan Air Force

Подпись: An RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter is offloaded from a C-5A Galaxy aircraft, as Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron 14 (HM-14) arrives to participate in Operation Intense Look, August, 1984. (U.S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information Center)

Base, Arizona, the 390th Strategic Missile Wing becomes the first Titan II unit to be decommissioned.

August 7-October 2 In the Red Sea, Operation intense look unfolds as the United States begins minesweeping efforts in the Red Sea at the request of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Air Force trans­ports convey 1,300 tons of cargo and

1,0 military personnel to the region in support of this effort.

August 8 In Europe, the first C-23 Sherpa, a small cargo/liaison aircraft for flying between airfields and depot cen­ters, begins operations.

AUGUST 19—20 On Johnson Island, 715 miles from Hawaii, two C-141 Star – lifters from the 22nd Air Force evacuate 382 American military and civilian per­sonnel as Typhoon Kell approaches.

AUGUST 28 At Florennes Air Base, Bel­gium, a C-5 Galaxy touches down with the first supply of ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs). Consequently, the noisy and KGB-orchestrated antimissile movement in Europe, sensing the futility of further opposition, begins disbanding.

August 29 At Sembach Air Base, Ger­many, the last OV-10 Broncos conclude a decade of service with the United States Air Force Europe (USAFE) and depart for the United States.

SEPTEMBER 2—3 In South Korea, 148 stranded civilians in a recent flood are saved by helicopters of the 38th Aero­space Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS).

September 4 At Palmdale, California, the first production B-1B Lancer inter­continental strategic bomber rolls out of the factory to begin flight-testing.

September 14—18 Aeronaut Joe Kit – tinger, Jr., who is also a retired Air Force colonel, flies a balloon nonstop from Caribou, Maine, to Savona, Italy, in 84 hours. He also establishes a new bal­loon distance record.

October 11—14 During a visit by Pope John II to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Military Airlift Command (MAC) trans­ports convey Secret Service vehicles for his use.

October 18 At Palmdale, California, the first operational B-1B, christened Star of Abilene, flies for the first time ahead of schedule.

October 18—20 The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center directs search and rescue operations and saves 47 lives after Colorado and New Mexico are struck by heavy snowstorms.

October 23—24 In Baguio, Philippines, a fire breaks out at the Pines Hotel during a visit by General Douglas MacArthur’s veterans. The 31st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) dis­patches an H-3 helicopter, which lifts nine people trapped on the roof to safety. A C-130 Hercules transport subsequently conveys 48 injured people to Clark Air Base for treatment.

October 25 Off the coast of Salto di Quirra, Sardinia, F-4Es of the 86th Tacti­cal Fighter Wing participate in live missile exercises with U. S. Navy units.

November 2 At McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, a Titan II missile bursts into flames as it is being drained of liquid fuel. This incident threatens to delay deactiva­tion of this elderly system.

November 19 At Bogota, Colombia, the Military Airlift Command dispatches two C-141 Starlifters to deliver vehicles, small arms, and ammunition to the U. S. Embassy, after drug lords threaten it.

November 20 In Washington, D. C., President Ronald W. Reagan authorizes creation of a unified United States Space Command.

December 1 At Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, the Air Force Reserve accepts its first C-5A Galaxy.

December 11-12 At Rhein-Main Air Base, West Germany, survivors and two wounded victims of a hijacked Kuwaiti airliner arrive onboard C-141 Starlifters before being flown to the United States.

December 20 A collapsed tunnel in Huntington, Utah, results in two C-130 Hercules aircraft arriving with 23.8 tons of emergency equipment to rescue 27 coal miners trapped there; unfortunately, all had died from smoke inhalation beforehand.

December 22-March 1985 Eight Military Airlift Command (MAC) C – 141 Starlifters are dispatched to Kassala, Sudan, with 200 tons of food and medical supplies to combat an ongoing famine there.


JANUARY 2 Over Ap Bac, South Vietnam, South Vietnamese aircraft attack suspected Viet Cong positions. Afterwards, Air Force Piasecki H-21 helicopters arrive to deliver supplies to troops there.

FEBRUARY 6 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, members of the 655th Aerospace Test Wing test launch a Titan II missile for the first time.

FEBRUARY 23 At Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron becomes the first operational Minuteman ICBM unit.

April 12 An F-104 Starfighter piloted by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran sets a wom­en’s world speed record of 1,273 miles per hour over a straight course.

May 1 Over Edwards Air Force Base,

California, aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran establishes another women’s speed record by flying a TF-104 Starfighter at 1,203.7 miles per hour over a 10-kilo­meter course.

May 7 Over South Vietnam, an Air Force RB-57E flies a reconnaissance mis­sion for the first time in conjunction with Operation PATRICIA LYNN.

May 15—16 At Cape Canaveral, Major L. Gordon Cooper is blasted into orbit in his Faith 7 Mercury capsule. He circles the Earth 22 times and lands safely after 34 hours and 19 minutes. Cooper is the first American astronaut to remain in space longer than one day and he is also the last American to fly alone.

May 24 At Wendover, Utah, a top secret Lockheed A-12 crashes while undergoing an extensive flight-test.

May 27 At St. Louis, Missouri, the McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II makes its maiden flight; the Tactical Air Command acquires 580 of this model.

June 8 At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, the 570th Strategic Missile Squad­ron becomes the Strategic Air Command’s (SAC) first operational Titan II unit.

June 17 The new Sikorsky CH-3C, which features a hydraulic rear ramp, per­forms its maiden flight.

July 20 The top secret Lockheed A-12 reaches Mach 3 in level flight for the first time.

July 20—21 Over South Vietnam, a C-47 piloted by Captain Warren P. Tomsett makes a dangerous landing at Loc Ninh, near the Cambodian border, to rescue six wounded Vietnamese soldiers. The mission requires careful planning and timing, yet goes offsuccessfully; Tomsett and his crew consequently win the Mackay Trophy.

July 26 The Air Force launches Syncon 2, the first satellite placed in a geosynchro­nous orbit above the Earth. This leaves the satellite hovering over a fixed position in space.

AUGUST 1 The NASA satellite Mariner II is

launched by the Air Force; this device is destined to travel 540 miles to orbit the sun.

AUGUST 7 At Groom Lake, Nevada, the YF-12A, a high-speed, advanced inter­ceptor, performs its maiden flight.

AUGUST 22 The X-15 hypersonic research aircraft piloted by Joe Walker reaches 67 miles above the Earth’s surface, placing it on the very edge of space. This is also the highest point achieved by the X-15 program.

OCTOBER 16 In concert with Project vela hotel, the Air Force launches twin 475-pound satellites that assume circular orbits at opposite ends of the planet.

Operation GREASED LIGHTNING unfolds

as a B-58 Hustler covers the 8,028-mile distance between Tokyo, Japan, and RAF Greenham Common, England, in 8 hours and 35 minutes.

October 22 The Cessna YAT-37D prototype performs its maiden flight; this an armed, light attack version of the T-37 jet trainer.

NOVEMBER 29 Cape Canaveral, Florida, is renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy.

December 10 In Washington, D. C., Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara

tasks the Air Force with developing the new Manned Orbiting Laboratory.

Over Edwards Air Force Base, Colonel Chuck Yeager zooms up to 90,000 feet in a rocket-augmented NF-104A before entering a flat spin. He falls to 10,000 feet before being able to eject safely, although he suffers severe burns.

The Air Force cancels the X-20 Dyna – Soar program without ever launching a test vehicle.

December 17 At Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, the Lockheed C-141A prototype performs its maiden flight. This giant jet transport enters service as the Starlifter.

December 31 In Washington, D. C., President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron to perform U-2 clandestine photographic missions over Southeast Asia.


JANUARY 9 Over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation provide promise begins com­ing to an end; Air Force transports have flown 4,597 sorties and delivered

62,0 metric tons of cargo to numerous refugees throughout the region. This is the longest sustained humanitarian airlift in aviation history.

FEBRUARY 14 Over the Balkans, the E-8A JSTARS aircraft flies its 50th mission in support of Operation joint endeavor; this is a highly advanced, joint surveillance and target attack radar aircraft.

February 24 The space shuttle Endeavor, commanded by Air Force colonel John H. Casper, completes a 10- day mission after spending 240 hours and 39 minutes in space and completing 160 Earth orbits.

MARCH 29 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Tier III Minus Dark Star unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies for the first time. This is intended as a stealthy, jet-propelled reconnaissance sys­tem, but only five are built before the program is cancelled.

April 3 Outside Dubrovnik, Croatia, an Air Force CT-43 transport jet from the 76th Airlift Squadron crashes into a mountain, killing Secretary ofCommerce Ron Brown and 34 passengers.

APRIL 9—25 Over Monrovia, Liberia, Operation assured response commences as Air Force AC-130s, MC-130s,

C-130s, and MH-53J Pave Low helicop­ters execute 94 missions to evacuate

2,0 citizens and foreign nationals.

April 15 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Navy and Air Force navigator trainees will jointly study in a single class for the first time.

April 18 In Sierra Leone, Africa, a pair of C-17 Globemaster Ills convey two MH – 53J Pave Low helicopters to England, at a considerable savings in time and expense had they flown under their own power.

April 30 The top secret Tacit Blue air­craft is publicly revealed for the first time; this formed the basis of the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber.

MAY 1 At Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, a German officer takes charge of the German tactical training center; this is the first time that a foreign officer commands a foreign unit within the united States.

MAY 31 The Air Force signs a $16.2 billion contract to purchase 80 additional C-17 Globemaster III transports. This is the most costly military order ever placed, bringing the total number of C-17s acquired to 120. These aircraft also allow the aging C- 141 Starlifters to be phased out.

June 6 Lieutenant Colonel Kai Lee Nor­wood assumes control ofthe 91st Logistic Group, becoming the first woman com­mander of a unit responsible for main­taining Air Force missiles.

June 11 The Air Force accepts delivery of the first production Boeing E-8 JSTARS aircraft. Previously, several pre­production models had demonstrated their utility during Operations desert storm and joint endeavor.

June 21 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Navy commander David J. Cheslak assumes control of the 562nd Flying Training Squadron. He becomes the first naval officer to lead an Air Force unit, which, in this instance, is respon­sible for training navigators for both services.

June 25 At Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a ter­rorist bomb explodes outside the Khobar Towers, killing 19 airmen and injuring hundreds of passersby.

July 27 At Fort Worth, Texas, the Air Force retires its last General Dynamics F – 111s from active duty, ironically at the same plant where the first model was accepted 30 years earlier. The final unit operating F-111s, the 524th Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base,

New Mexico, is reequipped with F-16 Falcons. The nickname Aardvark, which had been the unofficial moniker for the F-111 for years, also gains official status.

September 3 The Air Combat Com­

mand (ACC) activates the 11th Recon­naissance Squadron as the first unit to operate RQ-1B Predators, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). These are initially deployed to monitor the peace agreement in Bosnia.

SEPTEMBER 3—4 Over Iraq, Operation des­ert strike commences following Iraqi seiz­ure of the city oflbril. Consequently, two B-52Hs depart Guam, fly to the Middle East, and launch 13 cruise missiles against antiaircraft and command and control cen­ters. The mission requires the assistance of 29 tanker aircraft and wins the crew of Duke 01 the Mackay Trophy; this is also the first combat mission of the B-52H.

Подпись: A Crew Chief from the 9th Fighter Squadron salutes the pilot of a F-117 Nighthawk aircraft after final checks prior to takeoff for Operation Desert Strike against Iraqi air defense forces. (U.S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information)

SEPTEMBER 3 Over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron becomes the first Air Force unit operating the new RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial

vehicle (UAV). They help enforce peace treaty provisions.

September 4 At Bujumbura, Burundi, a C-141 Starlifter from the 305th Air Mobility Wing arrives from McGuire Air Force Base to help evacuate 30 foreign nationals during a period of civil strife.

SEPTEMBER 14 In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Air Force security personnel are on hand to help provide security during the first free elections since their civil war.

September 15—19 In northern Iraq, Operation pacific haven unfolds as Air Force transports convey two thousand Kurdish refugees to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for processing prior to set­tling in the United States.

September 30 In Western Europe, the

Seventeenth Air Force is inactivated after four decades of service.

OCTOBER 8 Over the Nellis Air Force Base Range, Nevada, three Northrop B – 2A Spirit bombers score 16 hits on 16 tar­gets using the live Global Position System-Aided Targeting System. The air­craft were dropping 2,000-pound bombs from 41,000 feet.

OCTOBER 21 Over Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, an F-16C Fighting Falcon success­fully conducts the first guided launch of a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). The 2,000-pound bomb, released from 20,000 feet, was partially guided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its own internal navigation system.

OCTOBER 22 Operational control of all C-130 Hercules transports and Learjet C-21 liaison craft in the United States is transferred from the Air Combat Com­mand (ACC) to the Air Mobility Com­mand (AMC), although aircraft deployed in Europe and the Pacific remain under their respective local commands.

NOVEMBER 5 In Washington, D. C.,

Chief Master Sergeant Eric W. Benken gains appointment as chief master ser­geant of the Air Force.

November 21 In Washington, D. C.,

Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila Wid – nall releases the policy projection paper Global Reach, Global Power, to the pub­lic. This far-sighted work conceptualizes Air Force power into the next century.

NOVEMBER 26 At Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, the first armed test of a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) transpires as an F-16C releases one from

20,0 feet; although the target was obscured by heavy cloud cover, the bomb fell within 9.2 meters of the target.

December 4 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, an F-16C piloted by Captain Kurt Gallegos, 388th Fighter Wing, flies the 5 millionth hour in the Air Force’s Fight­ing Falcon fleet.


February 2 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the YF-16 prototype performs its maiden flight.

April 10 In the Middle East, Operation nimbus star unfolds as Air Force C-130 communication aircraft begin mine­sweeping efforts along the Suez Canal.

July 1 In Washington, D. C., General David C. Jones gains appointment as the new Air Force chief of staff.

July 25 On Cyprus, USAFE C-130s arrive with 10,000 blankets, 7,500 cots, 600 tents, and other items to assist refu­gees from the recent Turkish invasion of that island.

AUGUST 17 Operation compass cope continues as the first test of Teledyne remote pilotless vehicles is conducted by the Air Force.

SEPTEMBER 1 In London, England, an SR-71 Blackbird piloted by Majors James V. Sullivan and Noel Widdifield touches down after a record-breaking flight of 1 hour, 54 minutes, and 56 seconds from New York. Their average speed was 1,800 miles per hour.

SEPTEMBER 3 At Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, the last remaining Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missiles are re­moved and replaced by new Minuteman III missiles.

SEPTEMBER 13 At Los Angeles, Califor­nia, an SR-71 piloted by Captains Buck Adams and William Machorek arrives from London after setting a new world record of3 hours, 47 minutes, and 39 sec­onds. Their average speed was 1,436 miles per hour.

OCTOBER 24 Over the Pacific, a C-5A Galaxy transport releases a Minuteman I ICBM from 19,500 feet, which is then successfully launched.

December 2 In Washington, D. C., the Department of Defense approves the Joint Air Force-Navy NAVSTAR global positioning satellite system. This new technology promises to revolutionize global navigation and weapons accuracy.

DECEMBER 23 In California, the Rock­well B-1A variable-geometry bomber performs its maiden flight.


JANUARY 29 In northwestern Pakistan, a missile strike launched by an unmanned Predator drone kills wanted terrorist leader Abu Laith al-Libi.

FEBRUARY 20 In Washington, D. C., the Defense Department declares that a U. S. missile has successfully destroyed a falling spy satellite to prevent its fuel tank from contaminating parts of the Earth as its orbit decays.

FEBRUARY 23 On Guam, a B-2A Spirit stealth bomber crashes shortly after take­off, although both crew members survive. This is the first accident involving a B-2, of which only 21 were built, and it sets the taxpayers back $1 billion.

MARCH 24 In Washington, D. C., Air Force and Defense Department officials admit that in 2006 a shipment of ICBM – related parts had been mistakenly shipped to the Republic of China (Taiwan) instead of helicopter batteries. The government at Taipei reported the inci­dent at the time, but it took nearly a year for military officials to rectify the mistake.

June 5 In Washington, D. C., Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dismisses Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley for an August 2007 incident whereby a B-52 bomber had unintentionally flown with six nuclear – tipped cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.

June 21 In Washington, D. C., President George W. Bush nominates Michael B. Donley to serve as acting secretary of the Air Force.

JULY 6 In Nangarhar Province, Afghani­

stan, an American air strike kills several Taliban militants, but Afghan govern­ment officials complain that 47 civilians at wedding party also died.

July 22 Off Guam, a B-52 bomber from the 36th Bomb Wing crashes, killing all six crew members.

AUGUST 12 In Washington, D. C., Gen­eral Norton A. Schwartz gains appoint­ment as the 19th Air Force chief of staff.

OCTOBER 2 In Washington, D. C., the U. S. Senate confirms Lieutenant General Craig R. McKinley, present director of the Air National Guard, to full (four – star) general and head of the National Guard Bureau. He is also the first Air Force officer to hold that post since 2002.

OCTOBER 17 In Washington, D. C., Michael B. Donley gains appointment as the 22nd secretary of the Air Force.


January 1 At an undisclosed location, two senior al-Qaeda leaders, Usama al – Kini and Sheikh Salim Swedan, are killed by a missile launched from a U. S. Preda­tor drone.

January 23 In North and South Waziristan, Pakistan, five missiles fired in two U. S. Predator drone attacks kill 14 Taliban militants. These are the first attacks since President Barack Obama took office and signal that these tactics will continue.

February 14 Near the town of Makeen, South Waziristan, Pakistan, two missiles by a U. S. Predator drone kill an estimated 30 Taliban militants.

FEBRUARY 16 In the Kurram Valley, Pakistan, missiles fired by U. S. Predator drones kill an estimated 30 Taliban mili­tants.

MARCH 1 In Sararogha village, South

Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from U. S. Predator drones kill seven Taliban militants.

MARCH 12 Over Afghanistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill an estimated 24 Taliban militants.

MARCH 15 InJani Khel, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, missiles fired from U. S. Predator drones kill four Tali­ban operatives.

MARCH 25 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, the first ultramodern F-22A Raptor jet fighter crashes; the pilot is killed.

Near Makeen, South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S.

Predator drone kill seven Taliban mili­tants riding in two vehicles.

MARCH 26 Over Essokhel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile fired from a U. S. Predator drone kills four Taliban militants.

APRIL 1 In the Orakzai tribal area, Pakistan, a missile strike by a U. S. Preda­tor drone kills 14 Taliban militants.

APRIL 4 In North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills 13 suspected Taliban.

APRIL 8 In Gangi Khel, South Waziri – stan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills four Taliban militants in a vehicle.

APRIL 19 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills three suspected Taliban militants.

APRIL 29 In Kanni Garam village, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills six Taliban militants.

May 2 In Canberra, Australia, Prime Min­ister Kevin Rudd announces the purchase of 100 Lockheed F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters as part ofan overall military buildup and modernization program.

May 9 In Sararogha, South Waziristan,

Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone kills six Taliban militants.

May 12 In Sra Khawra village, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills eight Taliban militants.

Подпись: 3292009

Подпись: A U.S. Air Force B-2A Spirit aircraft in flight. This is presently the world’s most advanced intercontinental strategic bomber and employs advanced stealth technology that render it virtually invisible to enemy radar. (U.S. Department of Defense Visual Information Center)

May 16 Over Sarkai Naki, North Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill 25 Taliban mili­tants.

May 22 At Edwards Air Force Base, Cal­ifornia, a T-38 Talon jet trainer crashes, killing the pilot.

JUNE 4 In Washington, D. C., the Air Force reveals the existence of its Counter-Electronics High-Powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. This new weapon is a cruise missile capable of emitting focused bursts of high-power microwaves (HPM) that fry enemy electronics without harming their operators. A $40 million prototype is expected to be operational within five years or less.

JUNE 6 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Air Force unveils the top secret X-37B
unmanned space plane in anticipation of aJanuary 2010 launch. This five-ton craft is only 27 feet long and 15 feet across, yet is capable of performing a variety of clas­sified missions.

JUNE 14 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill five Taliban militants in a vehicle.

June 18 In northwest Pakistan, a sus­

pected U. S. missile strike kills eight peo­ple at the villages of Gharlamai and Nandaran; most were apparently Taliban guerillas, but two dozen villagers may also have been injured.

JUNE 22 The Air Force announces that it has developed a new bomb rack for the B-2 stealth bomber, enabling it to carry the advanced MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator), weighing 30,000 pounds.

June 23 In Makeen, South Waziristan,

Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone missile strike at a funeral for fallen Taliban leader Niaz Wali kills 45 guerillas in attendance. A concurrent missile strike in Neej Narai also kills eight suspected Taliban militants.

June 24 In Washington, D. C., a com­muter train crash kills nine people, including Major General David F. Wher – ley, Jr., formerly commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force Base. On September 11, 2001, he scrambled jets over the capital to thwart potential terrorist attacks.

June 29 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the 576th Flight Test Squadron launches a Minuteman III ICBM for test and reliability purposes, and it flies 4,300 miles downrange to tar­gets near Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.

June 30 In Khost Province, along the

Afghan-Pakistani border, U. S. airstrikes
reportedly kill 12 Taliban militants hiding in a bunker complex.

July 3 Over Pakistan, a U. S. Predator

drone launches missiles at Taliban train­ing facilities, killing 17 people and wounding 27 others. The facility was operated by Baitullah Mehsud, wanted for the assassination offormer prime min­ister Benazir Bhutto.

July 4 The Air Force announces that all F-22 Raptor fighters will be upgraded for ground attack missions. This is pos­sible due to modifications to the onboard AN/APG-77 radar, which allow it to see realistic photo images on the ground.

July 7 In the Makeen area of South Waziristan, Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone strike against Taliban targets kills 12 militants associated with the band of Baitullah Mehsud.

Подпись: B-2 Spirit Air Force stealth bomber. With the perfection of practical stealth technology in the late 1970s, the Air Force contracted with the Northrop Corporation to design and construct a bomber that would be invisible to Soviet-style radar defenses. The prototype XB-2 rolled out in 1988 as a flying wing incorporating stealth design features such as trailing wing edges in a double-W configuration. The aircraft was also fully automated and operated by a crew of two. The XB-2 first flew on July 17,1989, but, by the time the first production models became available, the Soviet Union had collapsed and the Cold War was over. Given the great expense of the B-2, with a price tag of nearly $1 billion apiece, Congress capped acquisition at 21 aircraft. Nonetheless, it still reigns as the world's most advanced bomber, capable of penetrating all present radar systems without detection. It can deliver nuclear weapons, and can also be fitted with eighty 500-pound or sixteen 2,400-pound conventional bombs. Thus augmented, the B-2 can strike up to 60 targets in a single pass and, possessing a 6,000-mile range, can reach across the world with relative ease. The Spirit made its combat debut over Kosovo in 1999, and accounted for 33 percent of all Serbian targets destroyed in an eight-week period. It has since been active in Operations ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan and IRAQI FREEDOM in Iraq, performing bombing missions up to 60 hours in duration from the United States. These ultrasophisticated, ultraexpensive weapons are expected to remain operational well into the twenty-first century.

July 8 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone launches missiles at a

Taliban target, critically wounding Mau – lana Fazlullah and killing 45 associates.

JULY 10 In Ghazni Province, Afghani­stan, a U. S air strike results in the deaths of 22 Taliban insurgents.

JULY 17 In Garhiwam Bahadur Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes the home ofmilitant Abdul Majid, killing five Taliban militants.

In Washington, D. C., Senators Carl Levin and John McCain argue for striking additional funding for the F-22 jet fighter; President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any defense appropria­tion bill containing more money than for the 187 aircraft requested.

July 18 In eastern Afghanistan, an F-15E Strike Eagle inexplicably crashes, killing two crew members. The cause of the loss remains speculative but enemy action is ruled out.

July 23 At an undisclosed location in Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone reputedly kills the son of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden.

JULY 30 In a major policy shift, the U. S. government announces that Pre­dator drone strikes in Pakistan will – refocus from neutralizing al-Qaeda tar­gets to local Taliban efforts. The change will help shore up the Pakistani regime in the face of a protracted radical insur­gency.

AUGUST 4 According to a national survey released by the Quinnipiac poll organiza­tion, 61 percent of Americans support the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945; only 23 percent objected, while 16 percent were undecided.

AUGUST 5 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes the home ofwanted Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, killing one of his two wives.

AUGUST 7 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as he lies on a rooftop. Mehsud, who suffered from diabetes, was observed having his legs massaged—a clear indica­tion of who it was. This activity was clearly observed by television cameras onboard the Predator, and the attack followed.

AUGUST 8 In Ottawa, Canada, the gove­rnment announces that it has possibly found the wreckage of a U. S. Army OA-10A Catalina amphibious air­craft that crashed in the St. Lawrence River on November 2, 1942. The United States and Canada will work to recover the wreckage and any human remains there.

AUGUST 10 The Strategic Air Command (SAC), which was disbanded in 1992 fol­lowing the collapse of the Soviet Union, is revived in the form of the new Global Strike Command. The spit-and-polish attitude of SAC, along with instant dis­missal of officers who do not measure up, becomes incorporated into the unit fol­lowing a rash of nuclear-related mishaps.

In Afghanistan, U. S. and coalition offi­cials point to declining numbers of Afghan civilians killed due to new restric­tions and rules of engagement for drop­ping bombs. Taliban militants routinely use civilians as “human shields” to evade bombing attacks, but the tradeoffin terms of better public relations is viewed as worth such restraint.

AUGUST 11 In Kaniguram, South Waziri- stan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a

U. S. Predator drone strikes a house used by Taliban militants, killing 14 people.

AUGUST 21 In Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone strikes a sus­pected Taliban hideout, killing 11 insur­gents.

AUGUST 23 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the Air Force launches another Minuteman III ICBM for testing purposes, which splashes down at a target range in the Kwajalein Atoll, 4,200 miles distant.

AUGUST 27 In Tapar Ghar, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes a Taliban hideout operated by Waliur Rehman, killing six militants.

September 13 In the Bala Baluk district of Farah Province, Afghanistan, air strikes by U. S. and coalition warplanes kill several dozen Taliban militants.

September 14 In the town of Mir Ali, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone strikes a car, killing four Taliban militants.

SEPTEMBER 17 Over Pakistan, a missile fired by a U. S. Predator drone kills two dangerous al-Qaeda leaders, including Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov from Uzbekistan.

September 24 In the village of Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile fired from a U. S. Predator drone kills 12 Taliban militants.

September 28 Off the Southern Califor­nia coast, an amateur historian con­ducting a sonar search discovers the wreckage of a Lockheed T-33 jet trainer that had been missing since October 15, 1955.

September 29 In North and South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles launched from a U. S. Predator drone strike two buildings operated by Taliban militants, killing 13 people including commander Irfan Mehsud.

September 30 In Washington, D. C., the Senate votes 64-34 to continue produc­tion of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at a price of $2.5 billion; another 10 air­craft will be procured to keep the assembly lines open. Senator John McCain accuses President Barack Obama of caving in to special interests and not fighting the Chicago-based aerospace firm.

OCTOBER 13 In Washington, D. C., Pentagon officials announce that they are accelerating delivery of the 15-ton Mas­sive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), or “bunker buster.” The move is viewed as a warning to Iran, which is digging underground nuclear facilities near the holy city of Qom. This weapon, which carries 5,300 pounds of explosives, is 10 times more destructive than the weap­ons it is designed to replace.

October 16 Off the coast of South Carolina, two F-16Cs collide during train­ing exercises; one aircraft makes it back to base safely, but the other and its pilot, Captain Nicholas Giglio, are missing.

December 21 In Afghanistan, it is announced that the first MC-12W spy- planes, which are highly advanced and clas­sified, will deploy under the aegis of the U. S. Air Force. This twin-engined aircraft is equipped with videocameras and other sensors, and is capable of beaming real­time intelligence to troops on the ground.