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 6 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the first operational F-16 Falcon deploys with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. This multirole aircraft is capable of performing air superiority and close support missions.

January 29 E-3A Sentry AWACS air­craft are assigned responsibilities within the continental air defense mission.

February 27 At St. Louis, Missouri, the improved F-15C Eagle flies for the first time.

March 9 Two E-3A AWACS aircraft participate in Operation flying star, as they are dispatched to Saudi Arabia in light of perceived threats from revolutionary Iran.

MARCH 31 Over the Yellow Sea, Major

James E. McArdle, Jr., pilots an H-3 Helicopter which rescues 28 Taiwanese seamen whose ship had run aground; he wins the Mackay Trophy.

Following the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, and C-130 Her­cules transports begin flying in lead shielding and testing equipment to the afflicted area.

April 3—5 At Nandi International Air­port, Fiji, two C-141s of the Military Air­lift Command (MAC) deliver 20 tons of food and supplies to assist survivors of Typhoon Meli.

April 13 A C-141 Starlifter carrying 20 tons of vegetable seed is dispatched by the Military Airlift Command (MAC) to assist famished inhabitants of Kamina, Zaire.

APRIL 19—20 Transports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) deliver 139 tons of humanitarian supplies to Titograd International Airport, Yugoslavia, after earthquakes ravage Adriatic coastal regions.

May Sembach Air Base, West Germany, becomes the first forward operating base (FOB) for A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This new tactical planning allows Air Force jets to operate closer to the front in the event of a Soviet invasion.

MAY 2—3 Two E-3A Sentry AWACS

aircraft begin their first overseas training mission in central Europe.

June 1 The Air Force Community Col­

lege departs Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for a new home as part of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

RAF Fairford, England, becomes an active in supporting Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC) tanker operations.

June 5 In Washington, D. C., develop­ment of the new MX intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is authorized by President Jimmy Carter.

July 8-16 Operation GLOBAL SHIELD 79 commences. This intricate nuclear war plan exercise also involves 100,000 mem­bers ofthe Strategic Air Command (SAC) and hundreds of bombers, tankers, and missiles being placed on alert or dispersed to various locations to test the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). GLOBAL SHIELD remains an annual SAC exercise for the rest of the Cold War.

July 26 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the 400th Minuteman missile test is performed by Air Force crews.

August 31-November 21 Military Airlift Command (MAC) cargo planes begin delivering 2,900 tons of relief sup­plies to Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricanes David and Frederic.

SEPTEMBER 12 At RAF Fairford, England, Strategic Air Command (SAC) refueling operations are assisted by the first two KC-135 Stratotankers deployed there.

SEPTEMBER 15-22 Over Southern Cali­fornia, 732,000 gallons of water and flame retardant are dropped by Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130s in a massive firefighting operation.

OCTOBER 1 The Air Defense Command (ADC) is gradually decommissioned as the Air Force begins phasing out its responsibilities to the Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC) and the Tactical Air Com­mand (TAC).

OCTOBER 19 At Yokota Air Base, Japan, specially-equipped C-141 Starlifters arrive to transport 38 severely burned marines to medical facilities at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas.

OCTOBER 26 At St. Louis, Missouri, McDonnell Douglas terminates F-4 Phantom II production after a run of 5,000 machines.

December 2-21 The Military Airlift Command (MAC) transports begin delivering 650 tons of relief supplies and 250 medical personnel to Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, in the wake of Typhoon Abby.

December 20 A Minuteman I missile carries an Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV) on board for the first time. This device employs an autonomous navigation system to avoid enemy antimissile weapons.


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 29 In Washington, D. C., President Lyndon B. Johnson acknowl­edges the existence of the Lockheed A-12 high-speed reconnaissance aircraft, although he mistakenly calls it the A-11.

MARCH 28 Near Anchorage, Alaska, Operation helping hand unfolds as Air Force transports fly in 1,800 tons of relief supplies to assist earthquake victims. The endeavor lasts over the next three weeks.

APRIL 21 The Strategic Air Command (SAC) reaches a significant crossroads when the number of intercontinental bal­listic missiles in its inventory equals its ground alert bombers.

May 11 An F-104G Starfighter flown by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran sets a new women’s speed record by reaching 1,429.3 miles per hour over a fixed course.

May 18 The first McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft performs its maiden flight; it acquires a significant career in the Viet­nam War.

June 9 Over Southeast Asia, KC-135 Stratotankers refuel eight F-100 Super Sabres for the first time during an air strike against Communist gun emplace­ments in Laos.

In Washington, D. C., President Lyndon B. Johnson acknowledges the existence of the Lockheed RS-71 high­speed high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, although he misidentifies it as the SR-71; the name is retained.

AUGUST 5 In response to Communist aggression in the Gulf of Tonkin Inci­dent, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes air strikes against military tar­gets in North Vietnam. The Air Force is now directly involved in the Vietnam conflict and it begins deploying B-57s, F-100s, F-102s, RF-101s, and F-105s for combat operations.

AUGUST 14 At Vandenberg, California, the Air Force launches its first Atlas/ Agena D rocket; this soon becomes a standard launch vehicle.

SEPTEMBER 21 Over Palmdale, California, the North American XB-70A Valkyrie performs its maiden flight. This is a large delta-wing configuration with moveable wing tips that angle down for greater stabil­ity at high speed.

NOVEMBER 1 At Bien Hoa Air Base, a Viet Cong mortar attack destroys 5 B – 57s parked on the ramp and damages 15 more. The South Vietnamese Air Force also loses four A-1 Skyraiders.

November 10 Over Cuba, the first A – 12 reconnaissance flight occurs, although the Central Intelligence Agency denies it happened.

NOVEMBER 12 In Zaire, Operation dragon rouge unfolds as a C-130 Her­cules from the 464th Troop Carrier Wing delivers French paratroopers to help resolve a hostage situation and remove refugees. The unit receives the Mackay Trophy.

December 9—10 Over Quang Tin and Binh Dinh Provinces, South Vietnam, Air Force A-1 Skyraiders attack exposed Viet Cong units, inflicting several casu­alties.

December 10 The Air Force utilizes a Titan II rocket booster to put a 3,700- pound satellite into space using new “Transtage” technology, which places the third stage of the rocket in orbit before firing the satellite into a separate orbit.

December 14 Over northern Laos, Operation barrel roll commences as the Air Force begins flying armed recon­naissance and close support missions for allied forces.

December 15 Over South Vietnam, a C-47 piloted by Captain Jack Harvey performs the first aerial gunship sortie by firing four side-mounted Gatling guns at Communist ground targets.

December 21 At Fort Worth Texas, the General Dynamics YF-111A performs its maiden flight.

December 22 Over California and Oregon, Operation biglift commences as Air Force transports deliver reliefsup – plies to victims of recent flooding, deliv­ering 1,500 tons through the following month.

The top secret Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird prototype flies its first one – hour mission, in this instance reaching

1,0 miles per hour.


January 2—4 Two C-141s from the 437th Military Airlift Wing, Military Air­lift Command (MAC), deliver 700 tents and 1,000 blankets to earthquake victims on Terceira Island, Azores. Meanwhile, a C-141 from the 86th Military Airlift Squadron conveys 17 tons of relief sup­plies for victims of Cyclone Claudette on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius.

January 8 In Washington, D. C., the government announces that 300 Air Force personnel had participated in mili­tary exercises in Egypt during the pre­vious December, a sign of greater cooperation with that Muslim nation.

February 25—28 Off the Philippine coast, four Soviet Tu-95 Bear reconnais­sance aircraft are intercepted by F-15 Eagles from Clark Air Base as they attempt to penetrate local air defenses.

MARCH 12—14 Two B-52 bombers from the 644th Bombardment Squadron fly around the world in order to locate Soviet warships in the Arabian Sea. They cover 22,000 miles in 43 hours, with an average speed of488 miles per hour. This is the third time (since 1949 and 1957) that Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers circumnavigate the globe non­stop; the crews win a Mackay Trophy.

MARCH 31 At Naha Air Base, Okinawa,

the Air Force turns over control of facili­ties back to the Japanese government for the first time since 1945.

APRIL 6 At Beale Air Force Base, Califor­nia, the C-141B Stratolifter flies to RAF Mildenhall, England, in 11 hours and 12 minutes. This is also the first opera­tional mission of this aircraft and in­flight refueling is also necessary.

APRIL 7 In light of tensions between the United States and Iran, all Iranian mili­tary personnel currently attending the Air Training Command are forced to depart.

APRIL 18 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, a $3 million Data Transfer System is installed to help guide space shuttle, missile testing, and global posi­tioning system (GPS) satellite network endeavors.

April 22 Southeast of Manila, the Philip­pines, aircraft of the 33rd Aerospace Res­cue and Recovery Squadron rescue 900 passengers from a ferry that sank.

May Lieutenant Mary L. Wittick is the first female candidate to receive Air Force helicopter flight training.

May 18—June 5 Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service (ARRS), Military Air­lift Command (MAC), and the 9th Stra­tegic Reconnaissance Wing fly humanitarian and rescue missions to afflicted persons in the vicinity of Mount St. Helens. SR-71 Blackbirds also fly photographic sorties to assist ground res­cue teams.

May 25 The Oregon National Guard dispatches radar-equipped OV-1 Mohawk reconnaissance aircraft to survey the condition of Mount St. Helens fol­lowing its violent eruption.

July 8 The McDonnell Douglas FSD F- 15B (F-15E Strike Eagle) flies for the first time; this is a two-seat version that includes a weapons systems officer (WSO) and is equipped for ground strike roles.

July 10-October 3 At Moody Air

Force Base, Georgia, Operation PROUD phantom unfolds as 12 F-4E Phantom IIs deploy to Egypt. This training exercise is conducted with the Egyptian Air Force, which recently acquired Phantom IIs of its own.

July 28-30 At Tengah Air Base, Singa­pore, four F-4E Phantom IIs of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing arrive from Clark Air Base, the Philippines in the first good­will mission mounted by the Air Force since Singapore gained its independence in 1965.

July 30-August 1 Over the San Ber­

nardino National Forest, California, three C-130s dispatched from the 146th and 433rd Tactical Airlift Wings drop 10,500 gallons of fire retardant on raging forest fires.

August 7-16 The Air Force Southern Command deploys transports to deliver 61 tons of relief supplies and a 107-person cleanup crew after Hurricane Allen rav­ages Haiti and St. Lucia in the Caribbean.

August 14 At Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, the first C-5A with modified wings flies for the first time; all 77 aircraft will be similarly modified to extend their service life into the 21st century.

September 2 At the Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, a detachment from the Air Force Air Weather Service assists NASA operations.

September 10 At Osan Air Base, South Korea, an HH-3E Jolly Green Giant heli­copter is dispatched to rescue 229 people struggling in the Sea ofJapan following Typhoon Orchid.

SEPTEMBER 16 Over the Mediterranean, a Libyan MiG-23 fighter attacks an Air Force RC-135 electronic surveillance aircraft, which maneuvers drastically to avoid being hit. The United States has recently stepped up electronic intelli­gence missions along the Libyan coast.

September 20 The Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) dispatch two F-15s and an E – 3A on goodwill trips to New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.

October 1 In the Persian Gulf, Op­eration elf one places E-3A AWACS aircraft and KC-135 tankers in Saudi Arabia to closely monitor military
communications. They remain in place over the next eight years as the bloody Iran-Iraq War continues.

OCTOBER 3 One hundred and twenty miles south of Yakutat, Alaska, an HH-3 Jolly Green Giant helicopter piloted by Captain John J. Walters rescues 61 pas­sengers from the Dutch cruise ship Prin – sendam after it catches fire; he receives a Mackay Trophy for his efforts.

OCTOBER 12—23 The Military Airlift Command (MAC) begins transporting 400 tons of relief supplies and medical personnel to El Asnam, Algeria, after a destructive earthquake that kills 6,000 people.

OCTOBER 20—23 Southern Air Division

transport aircraft convey 40 tons of food and relief supplies to Nicaragua in the wake of severe flooding there.

November 12-14 At Hahn Air Base, West Germany, the United States Air

Force in Europe (USAFE) instructs the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing to modify its wartime mission for a possible chemical warfare environment.

NOVEMBER 12-25 In Egypt, Operation bright star unfolds as Rapid Deployment Force elements of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) participate in this first joint exercise held with Egyptian forces.

November 20 At RAF Lakenheath, the first operational Pave Tack F-111 deploys with the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing. The Pave Tack system allows bombing mis­sions under 24-hour, high – and low – altitude bomb runs.

November 21 Over Las Vegas, Nevada, 310 guests are rescued from the burning 26-story MGM Grand Hotel by helicop­ters from Nellis Air Force Base.

November 23-December 2 The

Подпись: An overall view of the camp set up for an unidentified exercise, 1980. A special operations C-130 Hercules aircraft is visible in the background. (U.S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information Center)

United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) dispatches transports with

300 tons of blankets, tents, and medical supplies to assist survivors of severe earth­quakes around Naples, Italy.

NOVEMBER 25 In England, the 26th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron flies T-38 Talons for the last time and they are returned to the Air Training Command. They are replaced by F-5E Tiger II jets.

November 25—29 Transports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and the Air Force Airlift Readiness Center drop five tons of retardant on 11 fires rag­ing in four different counties east of Los Angeles, California.

DECEMBER 10 From Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, four additional Boeing E-3A AWACS aircraft are de­ployed to help monitor military events throughout the Middle East. A further four E-3As are deployed to Europe to keep tabs on the ongoing crisis in Poland.


JANUARY 1 In northern Iraq, Operation

northern watch supersedes Operation pro­vide comfort to enforce no-fly zone condi­tions north of the 36th north latitude line.

At Beale Air Force Base, California, two SR-71 Blackbirds are declared operational by the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing.

The top secret machines had recently been brought out of retirement.

JANUARY 6 Abdullah Hamza Al – Mubarak is the first Muslim chaplain commissioned by the U. S. Air Force.

JANUARY 31 The Air Force activates the 31st Air Expeditionary Wing (AEW) as the first operational unit of its kind. This formation can be deployed or rotated any­where around the world with little delay.

FEBRUARY 17 The Air Force Reserve is upgraded to the status of a major command within the Air Force and receives the new designation Air Force Reserve Command.

February 18-March 3 In Liberia, Operation assured lift commences as five C-130s of the 37th Airlift Squadron land 1,160 soldiers and 450 tons of cargo from several neighboring African nations to assist peacekeeping operations.

FEBRUARY 20 In San Diego, California, the Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical plant rolls out its first Global Hawk long-range reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

March 17 In Zaire, Operation guardian retrieval commences as aircraft of the Spe­cial Operations Command (SOC) and Air Mobility Command (AMC) evacuate 532 individuals threatened by civil unrest. The mission requires 57 sorties and employs a variety of aircraft and helicopters.

April 1 At Whiteman Air Force Base,

Missouri, the 509th Bomb Wing is the first operational B-2 Spirit unit; they cur­rently deploy six bombers.

All C-130 transports deployed in the continental united States with the Air Com­bat Command (ACC) are hereafter assigned to the Air Mobility Command (AMC).

April 4 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, a Titan IIG rocket lifts a Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellite into a polar orbit. This also consti­tutes the first time that a converted ICBM has been used as a launch vehicle.

April 9 At Marietta, Georgia, the first production Lockheed Martin/Boeing F – 22 Raptor, Spirit of America, rolls out of the factory in front of 3,000 attendees. This aircraft reflects doctrinal changes in Air Force thinking, from air superiority to air dominance.

April 22-25 In Las Vegas, Nevada, Air Force Fifty, the 50th Anniversary of the U. S. Air Force’s founding, un­folds with a meeting of all Global Air Chiefs; the event is capped off by an impressive air show at nearby Nellis Air Force Base.

May 12 At Zhukovsky, Russia, a group of U. S. Air Force test pilots from Edwards Air Force Base, California, visit the Rus­sian Air Force Flight Test Facility at the Gromov Flight Research Institute for the first time. The Americans each get an orientation flight in a MiG-29 fighter.

May 17 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Douglas X-36 remotely piloted research aircraft is successfully tested for the first time. This is a tailless, high angle of attack fighter drone.

June 10 In England, the Air Force Special Operations Command directs an MC – 130H Combat Talon II from the 352nd Special Operations Squadron to convey a European political survey crew into Brazzaville, Republic ofCongo, then in the throes of political instability. They depart RAF Mildenhall, Great Britain, and ensuing flight lasts 13 hours, involves

three aerial refuelings, and covers 3,179 nautical miles. Braving ground fire from rebels, the team lands, deposits their charge, and extracts 56 people from dan­ger. Lieutenant Colonel Frank J. Kisner and his crew receive a Mackay Trophy.

June 24 The Air Force issues a report entitled “The Roswell Report: Case Closed” to refute assertions that it is involved in a cover-up related to a 1947 UFO crash. However comprehensive, it fails to silence critics, who continue accusing the Air Force and government of a cover up.

July 28-AuGUST 1 Over the United States, a Russian Antonov An-30 trans­port conducts a practice overflight from the Open Skies Treaty to monitor infor­mation about military forces. Twenty- seven countries are signatories, but Rus­sia, Belarus, and the Ukraine have yet to ratify the treaty.

September 1 In Washington, D. C., General Ralph Eberhart gains appoint­ment as temporary Air Force chief of staff to replace the retiring General Ronald R. Fogleman.

September 7 At Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, the F-22 Raptor flies for the first time. This aircraft is intended to gradually replace F-15 Eagles after a four-year test program.

SEPTEMBER 12 At Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Air University introduces the Air and Space Basic Course.

September 14—15 Over Kazakhstan, C – 17 Globemasters arrive nonstop from Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, and airdrop 500 men from the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division to participate in an exercise dubbed centrazbat ’97. The 19-hour flight required three in-flight refuelings.

OCTOBER 6 In Washington, D. C., General Michael E. Ryan gains appoint­ment as the 16th chief of staff, U. S. Air Force.

OCTOBER 12 In Indonesia, three C-130s of the 153rd Airlift Wing, Wyoming Air National Guard, arrive to help fight fires. They convey the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, capable of dropping

3,0 gallons of water or flame retardant per aerial sortie.

November 1 In Washington, D. C., F. Whitten Peters gains appointment as act­ing secretary of the Air Force.

December 18 After a seven-year gesta­tion, the Joint Stars airborne communica­tion and monitoring system is declared operational.

December 27-January 4 At Ander­sen Air Force Base, Guam, the Air Mobility Command (AMC) dispatches C-5s, C-141s, C-130s, and KC-135s with 2.5 million pounds of relief supplies in the wake of Typhoon Paka.

February 11 At China Lake, California, dropped by a B-1B Lancer for the first

aJoint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) is time. This is a 2,000-pound conventional

bomb fitted with a highly accurate satel­lite guidance system.

FEBRUARY 28 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Teledyne Ryan Company RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies for the first time. This jet-propelled device is a reconnaissance platform capable of reaching 65,000 feet and photographing an area as large as Kentucky in under 24 hours.

March 23-April 3 On Guam, the B – 2A Spirit stealth bomber makes its first overseas deployment from the United States, proving its capacity for global operations.

May 27 Over Mount Torbert, Alaska, the 210th Rescue Squadron Alaska (ANG) dispatches a Guard HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter to save six surveyors trapped in an airplane that had crashed on a glacier. The crew, braving extreme wind and temperature, safely extracts the passengers, winning a Mackay Trophy.

May 29 The Air Force transfers primary control of the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program to the National

Oceanic and Atmospheric Institute. This constitutes the first transfer of an opera­tional space system to a civilian agency.

September 22 Destructive Hurricane George induces Air Force transports to deliver food and medical supplies to vic­tims on Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and along coastal Mississippi.

November 6 After powerful Hurricane Mitch cuts a swath of destruction through Central America, Air Force transports convey 3,500 tons of relief supplies in 200 sorties that last until March 1999.

December 9 In Washington, D. C., Benjamin O. Davis attends ceremonies commemorating receipt of his honorary fourth star on the retired list. During World War II, he commanded the legen­dary Tuskegee Airmen.

DECEMBER 16—20 Over Iraq, Operation desert fox commences in retaliation for Iraqi obstruction and deceit in connec­tion with a UN arms inspection mission. Consequently, the Air Combat Com­mand (ACC) contributes several B-1B Lancers, this being their combat debut in the Persian Gulf.


JANUARY 6 In Texas, General Dynamics begins extensive testing of the F-111A variable geometry (swing-wing) fighter – bomber by shifting the wings for the first time. No ill effects are experienced during the transition.

JANUARY 21 An Air Force Atlas ICBM is launched and carries the Aerospace Research Satellite into Earth orbit. This is also the first satellite slipped into a westward-facing orbit.

FEBRUARY 1 In Washington, D. C., Gen­eral John P. McDonnell gains appoint­ment as the Air Force chief of staff.

FEBRUARY 4 An Air Force Titan IIIC solid-fuel rocket booster is test fired for the first time, generating 1.25 million pounds of thrust. This output is 25 per­cent greater than calculated.

FEBRUARY 8 Over North Vietnam, Op­eration flaming dart unfolds in retalia­tion for Viet Cong attacks on allied air bases. This day Air Force F-100 Super Sabres make their first appearance in Communist airspace by flying top cover for South Vietnamese warplanes.

FEBRUARY 18 Over An Khe, South Vietnam, Air Force B-57 Canberras and F-100 Suber Sabres make their first aerial attacks on Communist positions.

March 2-October 31, 1968 Over

Подпись: B-57 Canberra bombers on the Da Nang flight line, This situation invariably drew Viet Cong mortar attacks with planes parked wingtip to wingtip and nose to tail, 1965. (Library of Congress)

North Vietnam, the United States com­mences Operation rolling thunder, a concerted aerial offensive against Com­munist military and economic targets. The onslaught involves both Air Force and carrier-based Navy aircraft. An F – 100 Super Sabre flown by Lieutenant Hayden J. Lockhart is shot down on the

first day of the offensive; he remains in captivity over the next eight years.

MARCH 23 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, Major Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom becomes the first American astronaut when he blasts into orbit aboard Gemini II, accompanied by Navy Lieutenant Com­mander John W. Young.

MARCH 30—May 23 On Cyprus, Air

Force C-124s transport 3,000 Danish UN peacekeepers and 76 tons of cargo during a period of unrest.

April 3 Over Southeast Asia, Operation steel tiger commences to interdict the Communist supply line known as the Ho Chi Minh Trail. This involves bomb­ing targets in Laos and Cambodia for the remainder of the war.

APRIL 3—4 Over North Vietnam, two F – 105 Thunderchiefs are shot down while trying to bomb the Thanh Hoa bridge. The attack fails to bring down any spans. These are also the first Air Force combat losses.

April 20 A milestone is passed after the final production Atlas ICBM is placed in storage for use as a research vehicle, having been largely supplanted by solid-propellant missiles like the Minuteman.

April 23 At Travis Air Force Base, Cali­fornia, the first operational Lockheed C – 141 Starlifter is deployed.

April 29—May 5 At Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, Operation power PACK unfolds as Air Force C-130s and C – 124s transport 12,000 troops and

17,0 tons of supplies during a stabiliza­tion and peacekeeping mission in the Dominican Republic. Personnel from the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are active throughout.

May 1 A Lockheed YF-12A flown by Colonel Robert L. Stephens estab­lishes a new world’s speed record by reaching 2,070 miles per hour in level flight. Consequently, the YF-12A/ SR-71 Test Force receives a Mackay Trophy.

May 12—18 The United States suspends its bombing campaign to gauge North Vietnam’s willingness to negotiate and to end the conflict—the gesture is not recip­rocated.

May 22 Once the bombing of North Vietnam resumes, Air Force F-105s strike targets above the 20th parallel for the first time by bombing army barracks.

June 3—7 In Earth orbit, Air Force astro­nauts and Majors Edward H. White and James A. McDivitt set an American endurance record in space by completing 63 orbits in 97 hours. On June 4, White also becomes the first American to depart his space capsule and drifts on a tethered line with a gas propulsion unit.

June 18 On Guam, B-52s sortie to con­duct the first arc light (carpet bombing) missions against Viet Cong positions near Saigon, South Vietnam. This is also the giant bomber’s baptism by fire.

A Titan III rocket launcher lifts a satel­lite weighing 10.5 tons into orbit by generating 2.5 million pounds of thrust. This system consists of a three-stage liquid-fuel rocket and two strap-on solid-fuel boosters.

June 30 At Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, the 800th Minuteman ICBM becomes operational, being the last ofthis variant deployed.

July 8 Control of NASA satellites Syncom II and Syncom III is assumed by the Air Force Satellite Control Facility for the Department of Defense. These geosyn­chronous devices relay communications and weather data.

July 10 Over North Vietnam, two Communist MiG-17s are shot down by F-4C Phantom IIs of the 45th Tactical Fighter Squadron. These are the first Air Force victories in Southeast Asia.

July 16 The North American/Rockwell YOV-10A Bronco performs its maiden flight as a COIN (counterinsurgency) light attack aircraft. It serves in Vietnam with distinction as a Forward Air Con­troller (FAC) vehicle.

July 23 Over North Vietnam, a Soviet- supplied SA-2 surface-to-air missile (SAM) downs an Air Force F-4 Phantom II jet for the first time.

AUGUST 5 The Saturn V first-stage booster is run at a full-power static test, whereby its five engines generate 7.5 mil­lion pounds of thrust for 2.5 minutes. The device is subsequently placed on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

AUGUST 21—29 At Cape Kennedy, Florida, the Gemini V space capsule is launched with Air Force astronaut L. Gordon Cooper and Navy counterpart Charles Conrad, Jr., on a week-long mis­sion that completes 120 Earth orbits.

September 15—21 In Southwest Asia, Operation nice way commences as the Air Force evacuates 1,000 U. S. citizens as India and Pakistan fight another war.

OCTOBER 23 In South Vietnam, the 4503rd Tactical Fighter Squadron receives the first Northrop F-5E jet fight­ers sent to the region.

OCTOBER 31 At Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, the 447th Strategic Missile Squadron deploys the first 10 Minuteman II ICBMs. This weapon is larger and more capable than the first generation Minuteman I, but still squeezes into the same silo.

NOVEMBER 1 In Washington, D. C.,

Colonel Jeanne M. Holm gains appoint­ment as director of the Women of the Air Force.

NOVEMBER 14—16 In South Vietnam, the costly battle of Ia Drang, the Vietnam War’s first conventional encounter, is waged between U. S. and Communist forces. Air Force B-52s play a supporting role by pounding enemy positions; the battle ends with 71 Americans dead and 121 wounded while 2,000 Communists are estimated to have been killed.

December 15 High above the Earth, the Gemini VI space capsule piloted by Navy captain Walter M. Schirra and Air Force major Thomas P. Stafford maneuvers close to Gemini VII under Air Force astronaut Frank Borman and Navy officer James A. Lovell.

December 10 In order to facilitate aerial targeting, the U. S. Pacific Command divides North Vietnam into six “route packages”; those numbered 1, 5, and 6B were assigned to the Air Force and 2, 3, 4, and 6A went to the Navy.

December 22 North of Hanoi, North Vietnam, F-105F Wild Weasels fly their first mission of the war and destroy a Communist Fan Song radar and an SA-2 missile site.

December 23-January 23 At Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, Operation blue light unfolds as Air Force transports move the Army’s 3rd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division to bases at Pleiku, South

Vietnam. They deliver 3,000 troops and 4,600 tons of cargo in a month, which is one of the largest maneuvers of its kind to that point.


JANUARY 10—11 At Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, the 416th Bombard­ment Wing receives the first two Boeing air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) for testing and maintenance training. These revolutionary weapons possess a 1,500- mile range, carry nuclear or conventional warheads, and navigate through a precise terrain-contour matching system allow­ing high-speed ingress to targets at low altitude.

JANUARY 12 In Puerto Rico, terrorists destroy nine parked A-7D Corsair II air­craft belonging to the 156th Tactical Fighter Group, Air National Guard.

January 23 Two hundred and forty miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii, two heli­copters from the 6594th Test Group hoist an injured seaman from a merchant vessel.

JANUARY 25 At Wiesbaden, West Ger­many, an Air Force VC-137 transport flies 52 former American hostages to the United States and freedom.

FEBRUARY 10 In Las Vegas, Nevada, three U-1 helicopters dispatched by the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing rescue nine guests trapped on the roof of the 30-story Las Vegas Hilton.

February 26-March 6 The 7206th Air Base Group, Hellenikon Air Base, assist relief efforts with supplies and equipment in the wake of severe earth­quakes in central Greece.

MARCH 12 The Aerospace Defense Command selects Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, as the backup facility for the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in the event of technical failure.

MARCH 17 The first McDonnell Douglas KC-10 Extender is delivered to Strategic Air Command (SAC); this aircraft carries more fuel and cargo than the KC-135 Stratotanker it will replace.

MARCH 18 Eighty F-15 Eagles are deliv­ered to the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, which transfers its 79 F-4 Phantoms to other commands. This completes the conversion of the Pacific Air Forces to F-15 standards.

Подпись: Freed American hostages greet a crowd on their arrival from Algiers after leaving Tehran, Iran, January 1981. They had been held hostage in the U.S. embassy by Iranian students since November 4, 1979. (Department of Defense)

April 1 The Air Force deploys the 527th Tactical Fighter Training Aggressor Squadron to RAF Alconbury, England, to further hone the skill of its fighter pilots. It is equipped with Northrop F – 5E Tiger IIs, which simulate Soviet fight­ers during air-to-air combat drills.

April 12—14 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the space shuttle Columbia is launched for the first time. This milestone flight involves taking off like a rocket then returning to Earth as a conventional airplane. Communications with the vehicle are also facilitated by the Aero­space Defense Command and the Air Force Communications Command.

May 2 At White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, the Airborne Laser Labora­tory (ALL) successfully downs an aerial target drone. This aircraft in question is a modified KC-135 carrying a carbon dioxide laser.

June 14 The United States Air Force in Europe’s (USAFE) 32nd and 36th Tacti­cal Fighter Wings contribute seven F-15s to the Tactical Air Command’s Red Flag exercise.

June 18 At Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth aircraft performs its maiden flight at night for security reasons. Extreme secrecy surrounds the test program until 1988.

July South of Osan Air Base, South Korea, 118 people are assisted from rising floodwaters by helicopters of the 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squad­ron (ARRS).

August 3 Air Force controllers are call­ed in to fill in, after civilian air traffic controllers stage an illegal strike, to al­low commercial air travel to continue safely.

AUGUST 15 At Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, the first air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) are fitted to B-52G bombers. This weapon adds new and potentially lethal capabilities to the aging aircraft.

September 14 At Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) deploy the first operational F-16 Falcons in this theater.

September 15 The first Lockheed TR – 1A strategic reconnaissance aircraft are delivered to the Strategic Air Command (SAC); this latest version of the venerable U-2 spyplane is capable of all-weather operations from altitudes of 70,000 feet.

At RAF Lakenheath, the 494th Tacti­cal Fighter Squadron, the first unit equipped with Pave Tack laser-guided weapons systems mounted on their F- 111s, is deployed on operational status.

September 21 Off the Philippine coast, members of the grounded Philippine destroyer Datu Kalantiaw are rescued by helicopters of the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS); in the past 35 years, the ARRS has saved 20,000 lives.

OCTOBER At Sheppard Air Force Base, the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program is initiated.

OCTOBER 1 At Mather Air Force Base, California, the Air Training Command begins training German weapons systems officers for the European Tornado fighter-bomber.

OCTOBER 14 The Tactical Air Com­mand (TAC) deploys two E-3A Sen­try aircraft to monitor regional events in the Middle East following the assassina­tion of Egyptian prime minister Anwar Sadat.

OCTOBER 21 At Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, the new Joint Jet Pilot Training Program accepts candidates from NATO members.

NOVEMBER 5 At Mountain Home, Idaho, the first operational EF-111A Raven deploys with the 388th Electronic Combat Squadron (ECS). Popularly known as the “Spark Vark,” it replaces EB-66 and EB-57 aircraft in electronic warfare and defense suppression missions.

NOVEMBER 23 Over Egypt, Operation bright star 82 unfolds as eight B-52 bombers fly 15,000 miles from North Dakota to drop training bombs on a prac­tice airfield target. This is the longest B-52 bombing mission conducted to date and requires 31 hours and three air refuelings.

December 31 At Hahn Air Base, West Germany, the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing receives the first operational F-16s assigned to the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE).


FEBRUARY 17 At Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the 403rd Wing accepts delivery of the first Lockheed C-130J, a high-tech version mounting six-bladed propellers.

MARCH 24—June 10 Over Kosovo, Air Force and NATO warplanes commence Operation noble anvil to halt Serbian forces committing “ethnic cleansing.” This is the largest aerial offensive in Europe

since World War II, and aims to stop Serbs under President Slobodan Milosevic from further atrocities. American aircraft consti­tute 723 out of 1,023 aircraft involved. This also witnesses the combat debut of the B-2 Spirit bomber. On the first day of the campaign, an F-16C piloted by Captain Jeffrey G. J. Hwang shoots down a pair of Serbian MiG-29s with new AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles in one quick action, winning a Mackay Trophy.

MARCH 27 Over Kosovo, a Lockheed F-117 stealth fighter is downed by Serbian missiles, but the pilot is rescued after being spotted by A-10 pilot Captain John A. Cherrey; Cherrey receives a Silver Star for his assistance.

April 4 In Tirana, Albania, Operation sustain hope unfolds as Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-17 Globemaster Ills fly 3,000 tons of relief supplies from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, to refu­gees in Kosovo.

April 8 Over Serbia, Air Force and NATO aircraft begin around-the-clock bombing sorties to convince President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw from Kosovo.

April 17 Over Serbia, the unmanned RQ-1 Predator drone performs its first known combat operation by firing a Copperhead missile.

May 1 The Air Force Reserve Com­mand mobilizes its first tanker wing for active duty, this being the first of five wings facing activation over the next nine months.

In Kosovo, a Serbian bus plunges off a bridge recently bombed by NATO aircraft; there are 47 fatalities. By this point in Operation allied force, the American sortie rate has reached 150 per day.

May 2 Over Serbia, an F-16 is downed by ground fire, although the pilot is res­cued by an MH-60 helicopter. This is the second and final aircraft lost during Operation ALLIED FORCE.

May 4 Over Kosovo, an F-16C pilot shoots down a MiG-29; this is the final Air Force victory of Operation allied


May 7 In Belgrade, Serbia, ordnance fired by a B-2A Spirit stealth bomber accidently strikes the Chinese embassy, killing three. The problem was incorrect coordinates provided by headquarters. Massive demonstrations break out in China as a result.

June 10—July 6 Over Kosovo, Air Force and NATO air raids are suspended as Serbian forces begin withdrawing. This is also the first military campaign won by air power alone.

July 23—27 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, Colonel Eileen M. Collins becomes the first woman to command a space shuttle flight when she lifts off with the Columbia. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is placed in orbit during this mission.

July 30 In Washington, D. C., F. Whit­ten Peters is named secretary of the Air Force in full capacity. Chief Master Ser­geant Frederick J. Finch also gains appointment as chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

SEPTEMBER 20 In Dili, East Timor, air­craft of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) begin transporting Australian peacekeeping forces to restore stability to that island.

OCTOBER 1 Aerospace Expeditionary Force 1 is sent to Southwest Asia for the first time. This new system is designed to permit more effective deployments around the world while also rendering them more predictable to increase unit morale.

At Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, “Warrior Week” is initiated by the Air Education and Training Comm­and to grant basic trainees a glimpse of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force concept. This also constitutes the biggest change in military training in half-a – century.

OCTOBER 6 At Langdon, North Dakota, 150 Minutemen III silos are destroyed in accordance with the Strategic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty (START II) with Russia.

NOVEMBER 2 In the Panama Canal Zone, Howard Air Base is relinquished by American authorities; this had been an active airfield for the past 82 years.

December 20—28 In Venezuela, Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-5, C – 141, and C-130 transports convey huma­nitarian aid supplies to assist 200,000 vic­tims of severe flooding.


JANUARY 1 The Military Airlift Com­mand (MAC) is the new designation for the Military Air Transport Command (MATS). Concurrently, the Eastern Air Transport Force is renamed the Twenty – First Air Force and the Western Air Transport Force is now the Twenty – Second Air Force.

Over Southeast Asia, the Air National Guard commits men and resources to augment the Military Airlift Command to fly 75 airlift missions every month from bases in the United States.

January 7 At Beale Air Force Base, California, the 4200th Strategic Recon­naissance Wing receives the first opera­tional SR-71 Blackbird.

January 17 Off the coast of Spain, a B-52 armed with thermonuclear weapons collides with a KC-135 tanker, killing 7 of 11 light crew members. All the weap­ons are recovered from the crash site, although the last had to be fished up from 2,500 feet down.

MARCH 4 Over North Vietnam, a flight of Air Force Phantom II jet fighters is attacked by three Communist MiG-17s, who make one pass then disappear back to their base.

MARCH 10 In the A Shau Valley, South Vietnam, an A-1E Skyraider flown by Bernard F. Fisher rescues the crew of another downed aircraft under enemy fire; he wins the first Congressional Medal of Honor granted an Air Force officer in the war, and the first designed especially for the Air Force.

MARCH 16-17 High in Earth orbit, the Gemini VII space capsule piloted by Navy astronaut Neil A. Armstrong and Air Force astronaut David Scott has to make an emergency splashdown after one of its maneuvering thrusters jams. This is also the first recovery mission in which Air Force aircraft participate.

MARCH 31 The Strategic Air Command (SAC) phases out the last of its B-47 Stra – tojets, ending the career of the first gener­ation of swept-wing jet bombers.

APRIL 1 In Saigon, South Vietnam, the headquarters, Seventh Air Force under Lieutenant General Joseph H. Moore, becomes a subcommand of the Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

April 6 Tactical airlift aircraft of the U. S. Army are transferred to the Air Force, and are subsequently redesignated the C-7A Caribou and the C-8A Buffalo.

APRIL 11 East of Saigon, South Vietnam, Airman 1st Class William H. Pitsenbarger is mortally wounded while assisting in the evacuation of several wounded soldiers. He dies after refusing to be evacuated, winning a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor.

APRIL 12 Over North Vietnam, B-52 bombers make their combat debut 85 miles north of the Demilitarized Zone by bombing supply lines at the Mu Gia Pass.

April 25 The 447th Strategic Missile Squadron becomes the first Strategic Air Command unit to deploy Minuteman II ICBMs.

APRIL 26 Over Hanoi, North Vietnam, a Soviet-supplied MiG-21 fighter falls to an F-4C flown by Major Paul J. Gilmore and Lieutenant William T. Smith. This is the first kill of its kind and occurs while a flight of F-105s was being escorted to a target.

May 3 At Edwards Air Force Base, Cali­fornia, the Fulton Recovery System, designed to “snatch” a man from the ground to a moving airplane, is success­fully tested by an HC-130H.

JUNE 3—6 High over the Earth, the Gem­ini IX space capsule piloted by Air Force astronaut Thomas Stafford and Navy astronaut Eugene Cernan experiences technical problems attempting to link up with an orbiting Agena Target Docking Adapter and the mission ends prema­turely.

June 8 Tragedy strikes as the second XB – 70A Valkyrie I is struck by an F-104N Starfighter flying in close formation. Both aircraft are destroyed in the ensuing crash, which takes the lives of NASA chief test pilot Joe Walker and Air Force Major Carl Cross.

July 1 At Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam, command of the Seventh Air Force passes to General William W. Momyer.

July 18-21 Above the Earth, the Gemini X space capsule flown by astro­naut John Young and Air Force astronaut Michael Collins completes two rendez­vous with an Agena target vehicle and then returns home.

August 20-29 In response to a destruc­tive earthquake in Turkey, transports from the United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) bring in 50 tons of medical and relief supplies for the survi­vors.

SEPTEMBER 3 Over North Vietnam, large numbers of new MiG-21 jet fighters begin appearing for the first time. These are based at a series of airfields ringing Hanoi, which are off limits to U. S. bombing.

September 20 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, a NASA M2-F1 “lifting body” is flown by Lieutenant Colonel Donald M. Sorlie, the first Air Force offi­cer to test fly the vehicle.

November 11 Above the Earth, the Gemini XII space capsule flown by Navy astronaut James Lovell and Air Force astronaut Buzz Aldrin complet­es several docking maneuvers with an Agena target vehicle before returning safely.

November 14 On the Antarctic ice shelf, a C-141 Starlifter lands at McMurdo Sound after completing a 2,200-mile flight from Christchurch, New Zealand.

December 14 Over Southeast Asia, Colonel Albert R. Howarth flies his aircraft coolly and effectively under fire; he wins a Mackay Trophy for the effort.