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.


JANUARY 18 At Indian Springs, Nevada, tragedy strikes as four T-38 Talons belonging to the Thunderbirds demon­stration team crash into the desert floor, killing four pilots.

JANUARY 26 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, Michael Collins, a major gene­ral and former astronaut, flies his final flight in an F-16, then retires from active duty.

JANUARY 28 In Georgia, the Lockheed plant receives the first C-5A Galaxy trans­port to receive new wings. The cost of modifying 76 transports costs $1.4 billion but extends the service life of these giant craft by several years.

FEBRUARY 5 The Northrop “Tacit Blue” stealth technology demonstrator makes its first secret flight to evaluate radar cross­reduction techniques. The so-called “Whale” makes a total of 135 clandestine flights during the flight program.

FEBRUARY 24 At Geilenkirchen Air Base, West Germany, the first Boeing E-3A Sentry AWACS aircraft assig­ned to NATO arrives; 17 more are planned.

MARCH 3 At Suwon Air Base, South

Korea, Project commando unfolds and includes the first six A-10 Thunderbolt IIs to arrive in that theater.

MARCH 24 Comiso Air Base, Sicily, is appointed by the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) as a storage/launch – ing site for new cruise missiles.

MAY 4—8 In Turkey, the Air Force

deploys an E-3A Sentry AWACS plane to monitor Middle Eastern affairs for the first time.

June 10 At Castle Air Force Base, Cali­fornia, an all-female crew flies a KC – 135 aircraft belonging to the 924th Air Refueling Squadron, Strategic Air Command (SAC), for the first time. Their five-hour training mission includes a scheduled refueling with a B-52 bomber.

JUNE 14 At Hahn Air Force Base, West Germany, the first operational F-16

Falcon unit in the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) is the 313th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

June 21 Over Antarctica, a Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC-10 Extender delivers 67,400 pounds of aviation fuel in support of Military Airlift Comm­and (MAC) resupply operations. This is also the southern-most in-flight refueling by an American aircraft and occurs only 750 miles from the South Pole.

July 1 At RAF Greenham Common, England, the 501st Tactical Missile Wing becomes the first of six ground-laun­ched cruise missile (GLCM) wings in Europe.

July 2 At Davis-Monthan Air Force

Base, the 570th Strategic Missile Squad­ron decommissions its remaining Titan II intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).

July 6-13 Over Africa, an Air Force C – 130 Hercules transport conveys 113 tons of food supplies to assist refugees from the Chadian civil war.

July 15 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the Strategic Air Comm­and (SAC) conducts its 1,500th missile test.

AUGUST 4 A KC-135 tanker aircraft retrofitted with CFM-56 turbofan engines flies for the first time. These new powerplants will extend the life of the KC-135 well into the 21st century.

AUGUST 30 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Northrop F-20 Tiger – shark, a lightweight air superiority fighter, performs its maiden flight.

SEPTEMBER 1 At Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, the Air Force Space Command becomes activated.

September 2 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, B-1B prototype No. 4 departs on a nonstop flight to Farnbor – ough, England. This is also the first over­seas deployment of any B-1B.

September 16 A B-52 piloted by Cap­tain Ronald L. Cavendish suffers a crip­pling in-flight emergency, yet manages to land safely through superior airmanship; Cavendish receives the Mackay Trophy.

SEPTEMBER 21 At Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, a cruise missile is fired by a B – 52G from the 416th Bombardment Wing during its first operational test. The bombers are undergoing modifications to carry six cruise missiles (ALCMs) under each wing.

November 14—19 At Eskisehir Air Base, Turkey, three F-5E Tigers of the 527th Tactical Fighter Training Aggres­sor Squadron are deployed to train the Turkish Air Force to cope with Soviet – style tactics.

November 16 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the space Shuttle Colum­bia lands safely after orbiting Earth with four crewmen for the first time.

December 16 At Griffiss Air Force Base, New York, the first air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM) are placed on alert by the 416th Bombardment Squadron.

December 24-30 The Military Air­lift Command (MAC) transport air­craft deliver 87 tons of supplies to Yemen, then staggered by a major earth­quake.


MARCH 2 In Mozambique, Operation

atlas response commences as Air Mobil­ity Command (AMC) transports deliver humanitarian relief supplies from bases in Europe.

May 3 In Europe, General Joseph W.

Ralston gains appointment as the supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); he is the first Air Force officer in 37 years to hold that position.

May 8 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, a

Titan IVB rocket hurls a Defense support Program (DsP) satellite into orbit. These function as early warning missile launch­ing detection systems with global coverage.

May 23 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, the first production T-6A Texan II turboprop trainer deploys; it will replace the Cessna T-37 and Beech T-34 as a primary pilot training aircraft.

July 15 At Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, the final production B-2 spirit bomber arrives for service. The Air Force will not add new heavy bombers to its inventory until 2035.

July 25 At Fort Worth, Texas, Bell Tex­tron rolls out the Air Force CV-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft, which is modi­fied for special operations.

SEPTEMBER 18 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the first Air Force CV – 22 Osprey arrives for testing. This hybrid design lifts off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like a regular airplane.

September 27 At St. Louis, Missouri, the Boeing XB-45A unmanned air com­bat vehicle is unveiled to the public for the first time.

OCTOBER 15 At Norfolk, Virginia, air­craft from the 75th Airlift Squadron and the 86th Aeromedical Evacuation Squad­ron fly 28 victims of the Cole bombing from Yemen, a 6,000-mile trip; they receive a Mackay Trophy.

OCTOBER 24 At Palmdale, California, the new Lockheed Martin XF-35A Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most advanced warplane, performs its maiden flight by flying to Edwards Air Force Base for testing.

OCTOBER 27 In Tampa, Florida, General Charles R. Holland gains appointment as commander of the U. S. Special Opera­tions Command; he is the first Air Force officer to hold this post.

NOVEMBER 22 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, Lieutenant Colonel Paul

Smith flies the XF-35A Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) at supersonic speeds to

34,0 feet for the first time. This craft is then returned to the factory at Palmdale to begin conversion into the XF-35B short takeoff and landing (STOL) version.


JANUARY 1 In England, the Eighth Air Force redesignates its three Bomb Divi­sions as Air Divisions. Hundreds of sorties are also flown against German troop con­centrations and communication lines, despite the bad weather.

Meanwhile, 700 heavy bombers are dispatched to strike Rhine River bridges, rail junctions, and airfields in 10 German cities. The 14 fighter groups flying escort engage 120 German interceptors over Frankfurt/Main and Hannover, claiming 17 kills.

Over Belgium, Holland, and France, the Luftwaffe launches Operation boden – PLATTE, a surprise attack on Allied forward air bases. They manage to destroy around 120 aircraft on the ground only to lose 460 to German antiaircraft crews, who assumed they were enemy formations.

JANUARY 2 Over China, troop carriers attached to the Tenth Air Force fly 546 sorties to resupply troops on the front line; amazingly, this becomes the daily operational average for the rest of the year.

In the Philippines, Far East Air Forces (FEAF) P-38s and A-20s strike Japanese targets around San Fernando Harbor while B-24s pound Clark Field and B-25s blast enemy airfields near Batangas.

JANUARY 3 Over Nagoya, Japan, 57 of 87 B-29s have been equipped with fire­bombs as part of a test-bombing mission. Results are inconclusive, giving the erro­neous impression that Japanese fire – prevention systems are working well.

JANUARY 5 In China, Operation grub­WORM, the aerial transfer of two Chinese infantry divisions, their headquarters, and all attached units, concludes. It took 1,300 transport sorties to relocate the force from Burma to the front lines, but was accomplished with the loss of only 3 aircraft.

JANUARY 7 Over northern Luzon, Phil­ippines, the Far East Air Forces (FEAF), in concert with carrier aircraft from the Third Fleet, contributes 130 light and medium bombers to attack Japanese airfields. This is also one of the largest joint missions in the Southwest Pacific campaign.

JANUARY 9 Over the Philippines, the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) continues provid­ing close air support at various points, especially in the Lingayen Gulf region.

Over Iwo Jima, B-24s equipped with H2X bombing equipment attack Japanese airfields near Suribachi Bay.

JANUARY 10 The Thirteen Air Force begins shifting bases of operation from New Guinea to Leyte, Philippines, to support the American offensive there.

JANUARY 11 Over Luzon, Philippines, a reconnaissance version P-51 Mustang (F-6D) piloted by Captain William A. Shomo shoots down seven Japanese aircraft while his wingman bags three; considering that reconnaissance pilots rarely engage in combat, he wins the Congressional Medal of Honor.

JANUARY 17 From Chengtu, China, the XX Bomber Command unleashes 91 B-29 heavy bombers over military targets at Shinchiku, Formosa (Taiwan). This is the last such raid mounted from Chengtu, and by March the force transfers to the Marianas to be closer to Japan. The 58th Bomb Wing, meanwhile, remains active in India and provides tactical help to British


General Curtis E. LeMay orchestrated the highly successful strategic bombing campaign against Japan. (Library of Congress)

forces in Burma, with an occasional raid against Singapore and the East Indies.

JANUARY 20 On Guam, Major General Curtis E. LeMay takes command of the XXI Bomber Command, replacing Briga­dier General Haywood S. Hansell. LeMay is expected to take revamp the largely unsatisfactory strategic bombing campaign against Japan. In India, Brigadier General Roger M. Ramey also assumes control of the XX Bomber Command.

JANUARY 22 Over Formosa (Taiwan), Fifth Air Force B-24s and P-38s mount their first air raid against Japanese targets, while other aircraft continue supporting ground operations on Luzon, Philippines.

JANUARY 24 Over Attu, Alaska, fighters

of the Eleventh Air Force down an armed Japanese Fu-Go balloon.

Iwo Jima, Bonin Islands, is the object of a bombing campaign by B-24s from the Seventh Air Force and B-29s from the XX Air Force.

B-24s attached to the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) commence a three-week bombing campaign against Japanese positions on Corregidor, Philippines.

January 25—26 Over Southeast Asia, the XX Bomber Command launches 70 B-29s heavy bombers, which sow mines in Singapore Harbor, Cam Ranh Bay, Pakchan River, and Phan Rang Bay; this is also the largest single mining operation of the entire war.

JANUARY 27 The Twentieth Air Force

completes a difficult transfer from Chengtu, China, to bases in India prior to a final move to the Marianas Islands in March.

In the Marianas, the XXI Bomber Command launches 130 B-29 heavy bombers, which strike targets in Tokyo, Japan. Five of the giant craft are lost to fighters while a further four ditch or crash-land due to mechanical failures. American gunners also claim to have shot down several enemy fighters.

JANUARY 28 Over Germany, this being the third anniversary of the Eighth Air Force’s founding, a 1,000-plane air raid is launched over selected targets. By this date it has flown 250,000 bomber and 210,000 fighter sorties, dropped 518,000 tons ofbombs, and shot down 13,000 enemy aircraft.

Transport aircraft in the China-Burma- India theater (CBI) continue averaging 500 sorties every day over the Hump (Himalayas), despite the fact that the Burma Road is reopened. The recent departure of B-29s based at Chengtu, China, allows more supplies to be available to the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces operating there.

Подпись: The famous B-17 formed the backbone of the American strategic bomber fleet in European skies. (Library of Congress)

JANUARY 31 Over Austria, good weather allows the Fifteenth Air Force to put over 760 B-17s and B-24s over oil refineries at Moosbierbaum and marshalling yards at Graz and Manibor. The former is struck once more by 300 bombers on the following day.

FEBRUARY 1 Over Germany, the Eighth Air Force hurls 600 heavy bombers against three airfields at Mannheim, Ludwigshafen, and Krefeld while 6 fighter groups provide escort.

FEBRUARY 3 From England, the Eighth Air Force launches the largest air raid of the war to date with 1,200 B-17s and B – 24s against targets in Berlin and Magde­burg, dropping 2,266 tons of bombs. They are escorted by over 900 escort fighters, most of which accompany them to Berlin and back.

In the Marshall Islands, B-29s of XXI Bomber Command attack industrial tar­gets in Kobe, Japan, dropping 159 tons of bombs and 13.6 tons of incendiaries; 1,039 buildings and structures are destroyed.

FEBRUARY 4 From the Marianas, the XX Air Force launches 100 B-29 heavy bombers against targets in Kobe and Nat – susaka; nearly 100 fighters rise to oppose them, but only 1 B-29 is lost, while 35 are damaged.

FEBRUARY 5 Over Italy, the Twelfth Air Force launches 270 medium bombers against German targets in the Po Valley region; an additional 730 heavy bombers from the Fifteenth Air Force fly across the Alps to strike oil refineries at Regens­burg. Both operations are escorted by far-ranging P-38 and P-51 fighters.

On Corregidor, Philippines, Japanese defenses are struck by a force of 60 B-24s from the Far East Air Forces while B-25s provide close air support for ground troops.

FEBRUARY 7 In San Diego, California, the Consolidated Vultee XP-81 prototype performs its maiden flight. This innovative design employs a turboprop engine in the nose and a turbo jet in the tail, but does not progress beyond the experimental stage.

FEBRUARY 10 Over Ota, Japan, the Nakajima aircraft factory is the target of 84 B-29s heavy bombers from the XXI Bomber Command; in the absence of fighter escorts the defenders shoot down 12 of the giant bombers.


View of the wreckage of Dresden, Germany after it wasfrebombed by the Allies in 1945 during World War II. The bombing, which targeted the civilian population, was one of the most devastating aerial raids in history and was mounted in retaliation for German V-2 rocket attacks on London. Four years after the blaze, the city still appeared as a wasteland; most of its buildings were gutted, including many 1,000-year-old structures that had been completely destroyed. It took Germany decades to rebuild the city. (Library ofCongress)

February 12—14 Over Iwo Jima, Bonin Islands, two dozen B-29s attack Japanese antiaircraft batteries while other aircraft fly reconnaissance missions for the U. S. Navy. The island’s defenses are also struck by tactical aircraft from the Seventh Air Force, softening it up for the impending invasion.

FEBRUARY 14 Over Germany, the his­toric city of Dresden, having suffered from a destructive nighttime raid by the Royal Air Force, is struck again by waves of American bombers. The ensuing firestorm flattens 1,600 square acres and kills an esti­mated 250,000 people—more than the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. The attack comes as revenge for continuing V-2 attacks against London.

FEBRUARY 16 Over Corregidor, Philippines, C-47 transports drop 2,000 parachutists while tactical aircraft of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) strike targets in and around that island in support of the invasion there.

In China, Tenth Air Force transports exceed their own record by flying 600 sorties on this day, a pace they will main­tain until war’s end. Ultimately, the Air Transport Command delivers 700,000 tons of supplies at a cost of 910 aircrew.

FEBRUARY 19 On the Marianas, and in an

attempt to draw Japanese reinforcements away from Iwo Jima, the XX Air Force launches 150 B-29 heavy bombers to strike at targets in and around Tokyo, Japan; enemy fighters shoot down 6 bombers.

February 20 In Washington, D. C., Secretary of War Henry Stimson author­izes construction of a rocket testing area at White Sands, New Mexico. He had been warned that the Soviets would probably win a postwar race to build long-range ballistic missiles.

FEBRUARY 22—23 Over Western Europe, Operation clarion unfolds as fighters and bombers of the Eighth, Ninth, Twelfth, and Fifteenth Air Forces systematically destroying German transportation net­works in occupied territories, including Holland, Belgium, and italy. collectively, they unleash over 9,000 aircraft to hit targets in occupied Europe over the next 24 hours. On the following day additional fighter sorties are launched to cover the Rhine River crossings.

FEBRUARY 24 Over Singapore, 105 B – 29 heavy bombers are launched by XX Bomber command against the Empire Dock area. The aircraft carry incendiary weapons, and the resulting firestorm burns 40 percent of all warehousing. This is also the last time the india-based B-29s sortie in such large numbers.

February 25 The Bell XP-83 turbojet fighter, essentially a scaled-up version of the earlier P-59 Airacomet, makes its initial flight; it is not pressed into production.

in Washington, D. c., the Pentagon hatches Project paperclip, which is designed to recruit German rocket scientists after the war.

From the Marianas islands, the XXi Bomber Command throws three bomb groups of B-29s against targets in the Tokyo area. This is the largest raid mounted by the XXi to date and the first employing incendiaries at high altitude. Over 15 square miles of the downtown section are burned out.

In Burma, B-25s of the Tenth Air Force provide close air support to British and chinese forces advancing.

February 26 In the Pacific, a B-24 Liberator carrying Lieutenant General Millard F. “Miff’ Harmon, commander of Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Area (AAFPAC), disappears while flying between Kwajalein and Hawaii.

FEBRUARY 27 In India, the last remain­ing B-29 wing begins deploying to the Marianas Islands; the movement contin­ues until June 6.

February 28 In Washington, D. C., General Henry H. Arnold reveals the existence of the new Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. This is the first American jet fighter to reach operational status, but it arrives too late to see service in the war.

Over Germany, the Eighth Air Force dispatches 1,104 bombers and 737 escort fighters to hit enemy transportation tar­gets; P-51 and P-47 groups also perform low-level attacks against airfields and factories.

MARCH 1 Over Austria, 630 B-24s and B-17s from the Fifteenth Air Force bomb the oil refinery at Moosbierbaum with a 200-strong fighter escort, while 47 other P-38s make strafing runs against rail traffic around Graz and Vienna.

MARCH 4 On IwoJima, Bonin Islands, the first damaged B-29 Superfortress makes an emergency landing on the air­field while Marines continue battling for control ofthe island; before the war ends, thousands of American lives are saved by the airfield.

MARCH 6 On IwoJima, Bonin Islands, 28 P-51 Mustangs and 12 P-61 Black Widows of the Seventh Air Force arrive to begin fighter escort service for B-29 formations.

MARCH 9 In the Marianas, Lieutenant General Curtis E. LeMay of XXI Bomber Command strips his B-29s of armament and loads them with 2,000 tons of incendiaries, then launches a devastating “fire raid” against Tokyo, Japan. Nearly 16 square miles, one-fourth of the city, is destroyed, and 100,000 casualties inflicted—more than Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japanese defenses down 14 of the giant bombers. To enhance effective­ness and reduce casualties, the raid was conducted from altitude between 4,000 feet and 9,200 feet. It is considered one of the most devastating attacks in aerial history.

MARCH 11—12 Over Germany, a force of 1,000 heavy bombers strikes the town of Essen, Germany, dropping a record total of 4,378 tons of bombs.

The XX Air Force unleashes 285 B-29 heavy bombers against industrial targets in Nagoya, Japan, dropping incendiaries at low altitude at night with devastating effect.

MARCH 13 Over central Burma, P-47s and P-38s of the Tenth Air Force continue providing close air support to the Chinese 50th Division, then driving along the Namtu River.

Osaka, Japan is struck by 274 B-29s of the Twentieth Air Force; incendiaries destroy eight square miles in the city center.

MARCH 14 Over the Balkans, the Fifteenth and Twelfth Air Forces dispatch heavy bombers to Hungary and Yugoslavia to assist the advancing Red Army; P-38s and P-51s also attack targets in Austria.

MARCH 16 Over Kobe, Japan, 300 B-29 heavy bombers belonging to XXI Bomber Command firebomb industrial targets. This is the largest raid mounted by the XX Air Force and the 2,300 tons of ordnance delivered burns down one-fifth of the city.

MARCH 18 Over Germany, the Eighth Air Force launches 1,250 heavy bombers and 670 fighters against Berlin’s transpor­tation network, dropping 3,000 tons in the process; this is also the largest daylight air raid of the entire war.

Over Nagoya, Japan, the XXI Bomber Command hurls 300 B-29 heavy bomb­ers against industrial targets, again flown from low altitude with devastating effect.

MARCH 21 Over Reno, Nevada, a P-63

Kingcobra shoots down a Japanese Fu- Go balloon that had drifted; the fighter refueled in order to reach the target area.

Over Rutland, Germany, a P-51 Mus­tang flown by Lieutenant John Kirk espies a German Me-262 jetfighter as it dives through a B-17 formation. Kirk kicks his wing over and pursues, disabling his adversary and making him bail out.

MARCH 24 Across Wesel, Germany, Operation plunder-varsity unfolds as 1,000 heavy bombers from the Eighth and Ninth Air Forces strike at rail yards, flak positions, and communications systems in support of the Rhine River crossings.

To facilitate the Allied crossing of the Rhine River, 2,000 transports drop two airborne divisions under Major General Matthew Ridgway near Wesel, Germany; 50 aircraft and 11 gliders are destroyed.

Over Germany, 150 heavy bombers from the Fifteenth Air Force attack Berlin, and drop 150 tons of bombs for the first time.

MARCH 27—28 One hundred B-29 heavy bombers depart the Marianas on their first mine-laying mission in the shi – monoseki strait between Honshu and Kyushu, Japan. Simultaneously, another 150 B-29s strike targets on Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, which is slated for a major invasion.

MARCH 29—30 In India, XX Bomber Command launches it final mission when 24 B-29s attack oil fields on Bukum Field, Singapore, at night.

MARCH 31 Over Omura and Tachiari, Japan, 137 B-29 heavy bombers of XX Bomb Group strike industrial targets at as a diversion for the upcoming invasion of Okinawa.

April At the Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, Dr. Theodore von Karman begins testing the concept of swept-back wings in a supersonic wind tunnel for the first time.

APRIL 1 Over Burma, Tenth Air Force B-25s attackJapanese rear areas and lines of communication while transports fly 478 sorties as the British 36th Division pushes down the railroad from Mandalay to Rangoon.

April 1—13 At Fort Bliss, Texas, JPL technicians test launch 17 Private F Rockets within the Hueco Range.

APRIL 2 Over Japan, the XX Air Force unleashes a large force of B-29 heavy bombers that mine waters around Kure and Hiroshima harbors, and also bomb the Nakajima aircraft factory near Tokyo.

April 4 In Burma, a YR-4 helicopter of the Air Jungle Rescue Detachment, Tenth Air Force, retrieves a PT-19 pilot down in the jungle.

APRIL 4—11 Over Germany, the Eighth Air Force unleashes 1,000 heavy bombers at industrial, transportation, and commu­nication targets in several concerted attacks. The Nazi national infrastructure is eroding from the constant bombardment.

APRIL 7 At IwoJima, the XX Air Force is finally able to dispatch 91 P-51 Mustangs as fighter escorts on a raid by 280 B-29s against the Japanese mainland. The fight­ers claim to shoot down 21 opposing aircraft.

APRIL 10 Over Germany, a force of 50 German Me-262 jet fighters shoot down 10 American bombers near Berlin; this is the largest single loss to enemy jets during the war. Conversely, turret gunners and fighter escorts claim to have downed 20 German jets.

APRIL 12 Over Koriyama, Japan, Staff Sergeant Henry E. Erwin picks up a phosphorous smoke flare that had back­fired into his B-29 and tosses it out the navigator’s window. He suffers severe third-degree burns, but survives and wins a Congressional Medal of Honor; he is one of only four enlisted airmen so honored.

April 13 Over the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, P-38s and P-40s of the Eleventh Air Force intercept and shoot down nine explosive Fu-Go balloons.

Over Japan, a night raid by 330 B-29 heavy bombers belonging to the XX Air Force strikes industrial targets around Tokyo.

APRIL 15 Over Germany, 850 bombers from the Eighth Air Force drop napalm weapons on German fortifications and other targets as an experiment. However, these weapons prove ineffective delivered from high altitude and the attempt is dis­continued.

In northern Italy, the Fifteenth Air Force dispatches 830 B-17s and B-24s against German supply and communication targets amply escorted by P-38s. Other fighters provide close air support for units of the Fifth Army and they continue advancing. The 1,412 sorties executed and tons of bombs dropped in this 24-hour period are a record for the Fifteenth.

Over Japan, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Kawasaki are struck by 300 B-29 heavy bombers during the night.

In Los Angeles, California, the North American XF-82 Twin Mustang prototype flies for the first time.

APRIL 16 From IwoJima, P-51 Mustangs attack ground targets on the Japanese mainland for the first time. They are guided to and from Kanoya by a B-29 accompanying them for that purpose.

April 17—May 11 Bombing priorities of the XX Air Force are shifted from stra­tegic targets on the mainland to tactical airfields on Kyushu and Shikoku, from which waves of kamikaze attacks are launched against the American fleet off Okinawa.

April 21—26 In Italy, A-20s and B-26s from the Twelfth Air Force maul German units retreating up through the Po Valley, dropping bridge spans and destroying 1,000 vehicles. These attacks severely infringe upon the enemy’s ability to retreat.

APRIL 24—25 Over Germany, a P-47 flown by Lieutenant Raymond L. Knight accounts for 14 aircraft during strafing attacks at numerous aerodromes. When Knight’s own aircraft is damaged by flak on the second day of attacks, he refuses to abandon his wingman and crashes into a mountainside; he wins a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor.

April 25 Eighth Air Force B-17s and B-24s hit armament works at Pilsen – Skoda, Czechoslovakia, and Traunstein, Germany; this is the last time they reduce industrial targets to rubble.

APRIL 26 Over Germany, Eighth Air Force fighters sweep the skies clean of enemy fighters as they raid Luftwaffe installations; a record 74 German aircraft are brought down in one day.

April 27 The authorized strength of bomber groups is reduced from 68 to 48 planes, while fighter groups shrink from 96 to 75 machines. This is the first step towards postwar demobilization.

May 1 Over Austria, B-17s of the Fif­teenth Air Force ignore poor flying con­ditions and strike marshalling yards at Salzburg, Austria. They are escorted, as usual, by swarms ofP-51s and P-38s. This is also the final sortie by the Fifteenth Air Force during the war.

In Chungking, China, Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer assumes command of the Tenth and Fourteenth Air Forces as head of Army Air Forces China Theater, and he directs medium bombers and fighters to interdict and har­ass Japanese ground units as they with­draw from southern China.

May 1—7 Over the Netherlands, Opera­tion chowhound unfolds as 400 Eighth Air Force bombers deliver 8,000 tons of food to starving citizens in the Nether­lands. An agreement had been reached with the Germans to proceed without interference.

May 2 In Germany, several missile engi­neers, including Wernher von Braun, turn themselves over to the Americans near the Austrian border. Many are secretly relo­cated to Fort Bliss, Texas, to facilitate the transfer of V-2 technology to the United States. This clandestine move is essential seeing how the Red Army has occupied the German rocket test grounds at Peene – munde. During the war, the Germans fired off an estimated 20,000 V weapons, including 2,700 V-2 weapons against England and Western Europe.

May 3 Over Czechoslovakia, the 9th Bombardment Division makes its final raid when 132 A-26 Invaders strike the Stod ammunition plant.

Once Rangoon, Burma, is recaptured by Allied forces, the Tenth Air Force dis­engages and concentrates its assets at Piar – doba, India. Only a single P-38 squadron remains behind to patrol and protect the Burma Road into southern China.

May 8 Over Western Europe, all combat missions halt, although the Twelfth Air Force continues flying evacuation and supply missions. Aircraft of the Ninth Air Force also make “demonstration mis­sions” over previously hostile target areas and liberated concentration camps.

May 9 In Europe, the Air Tactical Com­mand (ATC) commences Projects green and white to relocate personnel and equipment, respectively, back to the United States.

May 10 In England, Lieutenant General James H. Doolittle departs the Eighth Air Force and is reassigned to Army Air Forces Headquarters in Washington, D. C.; his replacement is Major General William E. Kepner.

Over Japan, a force ofB-24s from the Eleventh Air Force successfully raids enemy shipping at Kataoka naval base, sinking several vessels. A force of 16 B-25s based on Attu, Aleutian Islands, also attacks Japanese vessels within their grasp.

May 14 Over Nagoya, Japan, the XX Air Force launches 472 B-29 heavy bombers from four complete bomb groups (58th, 73rd, 313th, and 314th) against industrial targets; 11 aircraft are lost.

May 16 Over Luzon, Philippines, 100 P-38s from the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) make the largest napalm attack of the entire war by striking Japanese targets in the Ipo Dam area.

May 17 478 B-29 heavy bombers strike southern Nagoya, Japan, in the predawn darkness.

May 18 On Tinian, the advanced ech­elon of the 509th Composite Group deploys and begins setting up for opera­tions. Their purpose is to drop atomic bombs on Japan ifthe government refuses to surrender.

May 19 Hamamatsu, Japan, succumbs to 272 B-29 heavy bombers belonging to the XX Air Force.

May 23—24 Over Japan, the XX Air Force dispatches 562 B-29 heavy bomb­ers against industrial targets on the west side of Tokyo harbor. This is also the largest single B-29 raid of the war; 17 bombers are lost.

May 25 Wartime production of Ameri­can military aircraft is slashed by 30 per­cent as total victory approaches.

Tokyo, Japan, is raided again by 464 B – 29 heavy bombers of the XX Air Force, and 26 aircraft go down; this is the largest single loss suffered by B-29s during the war. Meanwhile, the VII Fighter Com­mand on Iwo Jima is assigned to the XX Air Force.

May 29 Over Japan, the XX Air Force resumes firebombing attacks by dis­patching 454 B-29 heavy bombers against targets in Yokohama, Japan; nine square miles of the downtown section are completely destroyed. The mission is escorted by 190 P-51s from VII Fighter Command on Iwo Jima; stiff resistance claims 7 bombers and 3 fighters.

Подпись: Aerial view of Kobe docks during an air raid using 500 B-29 bombers. Smoke obscures most of the city, with more bombs falling, 1945. (Corbis)

May 31 The Army Air Forces receives the last models of the 18,188 B-24 Liberators constructed during World War II. This is the most numerous American warplane ever built, and several hundred also serve in the Navy as PB4Y Privateers.

June 1 Osaka, Japan, is the target of 458 B-29 heavy bombers of the XX Air Force, of which 10 are shot down. The escort of 148 fighters from VII Fighter Command is disrupted by heavy turbulence and only a handful accompany the bombers; 27 are lost through collisions.

Over China, six B-25s from the Four­teenth Air Force strike the Sinsiang rail yards while four B-25s and four P-47s attack the bridge north of Linmingkuan.

June 5 Over Japan, the XX Air Force launches 473 B-29 heavy bombers loaded
with incendiaries against targets in Kobe, and four square miles of the city is reduced to ashes; 11 bombers are shot down.

June 7 Osaka, Japan is the objective XX Air Force B-29s; this is also the first mis­sion to utilize radar bombing technology and 55,000 buildings are destroyed. Meanwhile, the Shimonoseki Strait is mined by other aircraft.

June 9 Over Japan, factories in Akashi,

Nagoya, and Narao are struck by a force of 110 B-29s from the XXI Air Force.

Over the Kamchatka Peninsula, Soviet Union, a B-25 belonging to the Eleventh Air Force is downed by Soviet anti­aircraft fire while another is damaged and makes a forced landing at Petropav – lovsk. This is the first recorded incident of Russian harassment of American air­craft.

June 11 On Tinian, specially modified

B-29 aircraft (Silverplate) belonging to the top secret 509th Composite Group begin arriving. These aircraft have modi­fied propellers fitted, gun turrets removed, and special radio and monitor­ing equipment installed.

June 15 Osaka, Japan, is again hit by the 44 B-29 bombers of the XX Air Force, who conduct the final firebombing of the war against a large city.

June 17-18 The XX Air Force switches targeting priorities by sending 450 B-29 bombers loaded with incendiaries against smaller Japanese cities such as Omuta, Hamamatsu, Yokkaichi, and Kagoshima. Other aircraft sow the waters off Kobe and Shimonoseki with mines.

Seventh Air Force P-47 and P-61 fighters begin day and night intruder mis­sions over Kyushu and the Ryukyu Islands.

June 19 At Wright Field, Ohio, Dr. Frank L. Wattendorf of the Army Air Forces Scientific Advisory Group suggests that a new aeronautical research center be constructed near cheaper sources of elec­tricity. Its principal activity will be the development of ballistic missiles and supersonic aircraft; in 1950 it emerges as the Arnold Engineering Development Center, Tullahoma, Tennessee.

June 19-20 Over Japan, the XX Air Force dispatches B-29 heavy bombers against Toyohashi, Fukuoka, and Shi­zuoka, while mining operations continue around the mainland.

June 22 Over Borneo, heavy bombers attached to the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) strike Japanese positions at Balik – papan in anticipation of an Allied landing there.

The naval arsenal at Kure, Japan, is the object of 300 B-29s from the XX Air Force.

June 25 At White Sands, New Mexico, construction begins on a new missile prov­ing ground. Over the ensuing months, doz­ens ofcaptured German V-2 rockets will be launched as the Americans begin construct­ing their own liquid-fueled weapons.

June 26 Over Japan, the XX Air Force dispatches 450 B-29 heavy bombers against industrial targets in the city of Tsu; this time the target is oil refineries instead of urban areas.

June 28-29 487 B-29 heavy bombers of

the XX Air Force strike targets in Okayama, Sasebo, Moji, and Nobeoka, Japan, with incendiary bombs.

June 30 On Tinian, Mariana Islands,

planes and crews of the 509th Composite Group begin training missions with flight profiles closely mimicking an atomic bomb strike. These entail dropping 10,000-pound practice bombs affection­ately called pumpkins.

An official summary of wartime pro­duction reveals that 297,000 aircraft were manufactured in the United States between July 1940 and July 1945.

July 1 Over Japan, the XX Air Force unleashes 530 B-29 heavy bombers loaded with incendiaries against industrial targets in Ube, Kure, Shimonoseki, and Kumamoto, Japan. The aerial mining campaign also continues in Japanese waters.

Fighters and bombers of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) supply close air support to Australian units as the landing at Balikpapan, Borneo, unfolds. B-24s, B-25s, and P-38s continually attack enemy airfields and troop concentrations.

On Okinawa, the Seventh Air Force unleashes 33 B-25s, which sweep north and bomb Chiran Airfield on Kyushu, Japan. Meanwhile, VII Fighter Com­mand launches 84 P-51s, which bomb and strafe targets at Kasumigaura, Itami, Hamamatsu, and Nagano.

July 3 In the Pacific, the Fifth Air Force commits its first fighter sweeps over the Japanese mainland.

Over Japan, the XX Air Force dis­patches 560 B-29 heavy bombers loaded with incendiaries against industrial targets in Kochi, Himeji, Takamatsu, and Tokushima.

July 6 Over Japan, the XX Air Force launches 517 B-29 heavy bombers to firebomb industrial targets in Chiba, Aka – shi, Shimizu, and Kofu.

In China, command of all Army Air Forces passes to General George E. Strat – emeyer.

July 9 The cities of Sendai, Sakai, Gifu, and Wakayama, Japan, are firebombed by XX Air Force B-29s, while an addi­tional 60 aircraft hit the oil refinery at Yokkaichi.

July 12 Over Japan, 453 B-29 heavy bombers is launched by the XX Air Force to firebomb Utsunomiya, Ichinomiya, Tsuruga, and Uwajima, while a further 53 aircraft strike petroleum centers at Kawasaki.

July 13 In New Mexico, the White Sands Proving Ground opens as a center ofrocket research and development.

July 14 In the Pacific, the Seventh Air Force is formally assigned as part of Far East Air Forces (FEAF). The entire force relocates to Okinawa with the next two weeks.

July 16 At Harmon Field, Guam, Major General Curtis LeMay gains appointment as commander of the XX Air Force; pre­viously it had been controlled by the Joints Chief of Staff (JCS) and General of the Army Henry H. Arnold. General Carl A. Spaatz also assumes control of the U. S. Army Strategic Air Force in the Pacific.

Over Japan, the XX Air Force directs 466 B-29 heavy bombers against Numazu, Oita, Kuwana, and Hiratsuka.

Near Alamogordo, New Mexico, a seminal moment of human history unfolds as American scientists explode the “Gadget,” the first atomic bomb, under the direction of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The total yield is an impres­sive 19 kilotons (19,000 tons of TNT) while the trademark “mushroom cloud” soars to 35,000 feet. This is also the proto­type for the “Fat Man” bomb that will be employed against Nagasaki, Japan.

July 19—20 Over Japan, 420 B-29 heavy bombers from the XX Air Force strikes oil facilities at Amagasaki, Japan, along with cities of Fukui, Hitachi, Chosi, and Okazaki.

July 20 At North Field, Tinian, B-29s of the top secret 509th Composite Group conduct military operations to gain experi­ence over target areas in Japan for the forth­coming atomic bomb. They are also trying to condition the Japanese to get used to observing small groups of B-29s overhead, as if they were reconnaissance aircraft.

July 24 Over Japan, 570 B-29 heavy bombers from the XX Air Force strike at industrial targets at Hando, Nagoya, and Takarazuka. Osaka, Tsu, and Kawana are likewise hit.

July 26 At Potsdam, Germany, President Harry S. Truman, Prime Minister

Winston Churchill, and Jiang Jieshi issue an ultimatum for Japan to surrender immediately or face “utter destruction.”

At Tinian, Marianas, the cruiser Indian­apolis drops off components for the first atomic bomb, or “Little Boy.” The unit is then assembled and delivered to the 509th Composite Group there.

July 26—27 Three hundred fifty B-29

heavy bombers from the XX Air Force strike targets at Matsuyama, Tokuyama, and Omuta, Japan.

July 28 In New York City, a B-25 Mitchell bomber accidently crashes into the 79th floor of the Empire State Build­ing during foggy weather; 19 people are killed and 29 injured.

Over Japan, the XX Air Force unleashes 471 B-29 heavy bombers against Tsu, Aomori, Ichinomiya, Ujiyamada, Ogaki, and Uwajima. The oil refineries at Shimotsu are also singled out by a force of 76 additional bombers. Despite this pound­ing, the Japanese government belligerently fails to respond to the Potsdam ultimatum, thereby ensuring that atomic bombs will have to be dropped.

July 29 Far East Air Forces (FEAF) air­craft from Okinawa and Ie Shima are unleashed against numerous targets on the Japanese mainland; Douglas A-26 Invaders debut in the Pacific by raiding a naval base and engine works in Nagasaki.

AUGUST 1 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, the YP-80 Shooting Star jet prototypes easily move past slower fighter escorts and successfully “attack” bombers in mock air battles.

Over Japan, the XX Air Force dis­patches a record 825 B-29 bombers from bases in the Marianas, which unload a record 6,520 tons of bombs on Hachioji, Toyama, Nagaoka, and Mito. A further 27 bombers drop mines throughout the Shimonoseki Strait. This is the larg­est single B-29 sortie of the war but, to lessen losses, the raids are conducted at night.

Over Indonesia, B-24 bombers from the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) strike Japanese targets along Makassar Strait, while 50 B-24s are dispatched to hit targets at Nagasaki, Japan. No less than 80 P-47s also bomb and strafe railroad bridges and other targets at Sendai.

AUGUST 2 In Washington, D. C., President Harry S. Truman signs the top secret operational orders to drop an atomic device on the city of Hiroshima, southern Honshu, Japan. This is also the head­quarters of Japanese units defending the large island of Kyushu. In light of contin­ued Japanese belligerence, he feels he has no choice.

On Guam, Major General Nathan F. Twining is appointed commander of the Twentieth Air Force while Major General Curtis E. LeMay serves of chief of staff with U. S. Strategic Air Forces, Pacific.

AUGUST 3 On Okinawa, VII Fighter Command launches 100 P-51 Mustangs on a major raid over Tokyo, Japan, straf­ing and bombing airfields and railways.

AUGUST 5 From Luzon, Philippines, the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) commences a widespread bombing campaign against Kyushu, Japan, involving 330 aircraft.

August 5-6 As 470 XX Air Force B-29 heavy bombers strike targets in Saga, Maebashi, Imabari, and Nishinomiya – Mikage, a further 100 aircraft are detailed to eliminate the coke processing plant in Ube.

On Okinawa, the VII Fighter Com­mand is transferred to the XX Air Force for the duration of the war.

AUGUST 6 Over Burbank, California, Major Richard I. Bong, America’s “Ace of Aces,” dies when his Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star flames out on takeoff, and he ejects at low altitude.

Over Hiroshima, southern Honshu, the atomic bomb christened the “Little Boy” weapon, packing 20 kilotons (20,000 tons) of TNT, is delivered by Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, 508th Composite Group, whose B-29, christened Enola Gay, executes the difficult mission flawlessly. Two other B-29s accompany the flight to take photo­graphs and drop measuring equipment. An estimated 70,000 people perish, and the devastation shocks the Japanese public, but militarists controlling the government refuse to capitulate. Humanity has nonetheless crossed an important threshold.


Atomic bomb cloud begins to mushroom over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, just two minutes after the explosion. This attack, plus the subsequent bombing ofNagasaki a few days later, prompted the Japanese government to surrender unconditionally. (Corel)

On Iwo Jima, the XX Air Force com­mits 100 P-51 Mustangs to strike targets in and around Tokyo, Japan.

Over Japan, Far East Air Forces (FEAF) aircraft strike targets in Kyushu, and the southern Korean coast; they continue doing so until the end of hostilities.

AUGUST 7 Over Japan, as XX Air Force B-29s strike industrial targets in Kyushu, they are escorted by new, long-range P – 47N fighters of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF).

AUGUST 8 In Virginia, scientists working at the NACA Langley Memorial Aero­nautical Library publish an essay sug­gesting that an aircraft powered by atomic engines may one day be able to circumnavigate the globe several times without landing to refuel. Incredibly, they predict it would be powered by a fuel source no larger than a brick.

Over Japan, the combined wrath ofFar East Air Forces (FEAF) and the XX Air Force is unleashed against the Nippon Oil Refinery in Kyushu, while a further 60 B-29s hit targets that evening in Tokyo and Fukuyama.

AUGUST 9 To force Japan’s surrender and spare that nation, and the United States, the prospect of a horrifically costly con­ventional invasion, President Harry S. Truman orders a second atomic bomb dropped on Kokura. However, cloud cover forces the B-29 bomber Bock’s Car under Major Charles W. Sweeney to drop the “Fat Man” weapon against Nagasaki, which kills 35,000 people and devastates the city. Unlike the previous mission, Sweeney is plagued by technical glitches like a faulty fuel pump that force him to make an emergency landing on Okinawa.

Over Japan, 95 B-29 heavy bombers are dispatched by the XX Air Force

Подпись: Spaatz, Carl A. (1891-1974) Army Air Forces general. Carl Andrew Spaatz was born in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, passed through the U.S. Military Academy in 1914, and in 1916 switched over to aviation. During World War I, he served as an instructor at Issoudun, France, with his two most successful students being Frank Luke and Eddie Rickenbacker. Spaatz also managed to join a British unit against orders, shot down two German planes, and crash-landed after running out of fuel;he received a Distinguished Service Cross and a severe reprimand. On January 1-7,1929, he joined Ira C. Eaker and Elwood Quesada in setting a nonstop endurance record over Los Angeles that covered 11,000 miles and required 41 in-flight refuelings. In 1935 Spaatz attended the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and in 1940 he arrived in England to observe the Battle of Britain first-hand, which convinced him of America's inferiority in terms of aviation. During World War II, Spaatz functioned as commander of American air power in Europe, and he reached an agreement with the Royal Air Force for around-the-clock raids against German industry. After a stint in North Africa as a temporary lieutenant general, Spaatz returned to England in January 1944 as head of the Strategic Air Force in Europe. In concert with General James H. Doolittle, he advanced the strategy of allowing fighter escorts to concentrate on destroying the Luftwaffe. Spaatz became a general as of March 1945, and he was the Army Air Forces' last commander following the retirement of General Henry H. Arnold. He died in Washington, D.C., on July 14,1974, a major aerial architect of victory in World War II.

to strike the Nippon Oil Refinery near Amagasaki. During this mission the Superfortesses are armed with 20,648 pounds of bombs and incendiaries apiece.

AUGUST 10 In China, command of the Fourteenth Air Force passes from Major General Claire L. Chennault to Major General Charles B. Stone.

In Baltimore, Maryland, American rocket pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard dies. He launched the first liquid-fueled rocket back in 1926 and, while his experiments were ignored at home, the Germans were keen to incorporate his research efforts into their own.

AUGUST 12 Over China, aircraft of the Fourteenth Air Force attack Japanese troop convoys moving through the Changsha corridor.

AUGUST 13 Over Japan, six B-24s belong­ing to the Eleventh Air Force make that
unit’s final bomb run of the war by striking targets at Kashiwabara by radar.

August 14-15 Over Japan, the XX Air Force mounts its largest sortie ever—754 bombers and 169 fighters—on a final wave of bombing raids against the Japanese mainland. Targets at Hikari and Osaka are struck. The P-51s complete their mission by attacking airfields en route to returning to Iwo Jima. That night 160 B-29s make the final incendiary raid of the war by attacking Kumagaya and Isezaki. A smaller sortie from the Marianas to Tsuchizakiminato covers 3,650 miles round-trip—the longest such mission of the entire war. Before the bombers can return to base, President Harry S. Truman announces Japan’s unconditional surrender.

AUGUST 15 In Tokyo, Japan, Emperor Hirohito takes to the airwaves and orders his countrymen to surrender. The Japanese people are stunned by this, but

unhesitatingly obey. Meanwhile, General Douglas MacArthur is appointed supreme commander of all United Nations powers, and all offensive actions against Japan are ordered to halt.

AUGUST 18 Over Tokyo, Japan, a pair of B-32 Dominators commits the final American reconnaissance mission of the war. They are attacked by Japanese fighters, which kill one American and wound two others while losing two aircraft to bomber defenses. This is also the final aerial combat mission of World War II.

AUGUST 27 Over China, B-29s of the XX Air Force begin airdropping supplies to prisoners ofwar in the Weihsien camp near Beijing. Ultimately, 4,470 tons of food and supplies are delivered to 154 camps and the 63,500 inmates housed.

AUGUST 29 Over Korea, a B-29 bomber delivering supplies to prisoners is attacked by Soviet fighters and shot down; this is the first brush with the Red Air Force.

August 30-September 11 In Tokyo, Japan, Mission 75 commences as C-54 transport aircraft arrive and deliver the 11th Airborne Division, the 27th Infantry Division, and advanced echelons from General Douglas MacArthur’s head­quarters. They fly a total of 1,336 missions without a single mishap.

September In Washington, D. C., the Bell XP-59, America’s first jet fighter, arrives at the Smithsonian Institution for exhibition purposes. Today it resides at the National Air and Space Museum’s Milestones of Flight gallery.

September 3 In Japan, film and photos taken of the surrender ceremony in

Tokyo are placed onboard a C-54 Skymaster, which promptly arrives in Washington, D. C., a record 31 hours and 25 minutes later. Ironically, due to crossing the international dateline en route, the flight starts and finishes on the same calendar day!

September 4 Near Hokkaido, Japan, Soviet fighters intercept two Eleventh Air Force B-29s as they conduct a high – altitude reconnaissance mission of Para – mushiru and Shimushu.

SEPTEMBER 5 Over Santa Monica, Cali­fornia, the Douglas XC-74 prototype flies for the first time. This huge, four – engined transport enters service as the Globemaster.

SEPTEMBER 26 At the White Sands Range, New Mexico, the U. S. Army fires its first liquid-propelled rocket, the WAC Corporal, which reaches an altitude of 43.5 miles. This device is a copy of the German V-2.

SEPTEMBER 15 The U. S. Army Air Forces obtains its 1,391st JB-2 Loon guided rocket, after which production ceases.

September 29 Project paperclip contin­ues as German scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun and his scientific consorts arrive in the United States to assist in the American missile and space program.

OCTOBER 4 In Washington, D. C., an Army Air Forces C-54 Skymaster com­pletes the first global flight for an aircraft of its kind by covering 23,279 miles in 149 hours and 44 minutes. This includes 33 hours and 21 minutes on the ground to refuel at various places.

OCTOBER 11 At the White Sands Prov­ing Ground, New Mexico, a Tiny Tim rocket, the first liquid-fueled rocket of American origin, is fitted to the nose of a WAC (without altitude control) Corpo­ral and fired, reaching an altitude of 43 miles.

OCTOBER 13 At Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, the Army Air Forces sponsors a large open house to display American and captured aircraft to the public. The display draws one million visitors over the following week.

OCTOBER 20 In Washington, D. C., a flight of three B-29 bombers led by Lieu­tenant General Nathan F. Twining lands, having covered 13,000 miles from Guam in only 60 hours. There were refueling stops in India and Germany.

NOVEMBER 7 The Bell Aircraft Corpora­tion flies a remote-controlled version of its P-59 jet fighter. A cockpit television camera projects instrument panel readings to a ground station.

November 19-20 In Washington, D. C., the B-29 bomber Pacusan Dreamboat piloted by Lieutenant Colonel G. R. Stan­ley completes a record 7,196-mile nonstop flight from Guam in only 35 hours.

NOVEMBER 25 From Savannah, Georgia, a Douglas A-26 Invader flown by Colonel Joseph Holzapple flies around the world in only 96 hours, 50 minutes of flying time, then lands in Washington, D. C.

November 29 At Maxwell, Alabama, the Army Air Forces School permanently relocates from Orlando, Florida. This institution becomes a major command and is the present-day site of the Air University.

December 3 At March Field, California, the 412th Fighter Group is the first

American unit equipped with new Lockheed P-80A Shooting Star jetfighters.

December 8 The ubiquitous, glass – domed Bell Model 47 becomes the first CAA-certified helicopter to fly commer­cially in the United States. It sees wide­spread civilian and military applications over the next three decades.

At Washington, D. C., the Douglas XB-42 Mixmaster flown by Lieutenant Colonel H. F. Warden and Captain Glenn W. Edwards arrives from Los Angeles, California, after a record transcon­tinental flight offive hours, 17 minutes, and 55 seconds. Though this was a propeller – pusher design, the XB-42 averages 433.6 miles per hour in flight.

DECEMBER 11 In New York, the B-29 Pacusan Dreamboat piloted by Colonel Clarence S. Irvine arrives from Burbank, California, having covered the 2,464- mile distance in a record 5 hours, 27 minutes, and 8 seconds. Its average speed was 450.38 miles per hour, a record for multiengine aircraft.

December 14 The Bell Aircraft Com­pany contracts with the Army Air Forces to construct three swept-wing, super­sonic research aircraft; the three aircraft eventually emerge as the X-2.

December 17 In Washington, D. C., General Carl A. Spaatz receives the Col­lier Trophy from President Harry S. Tru­man for successfully directing the air war in Europe.

December 30 The Republic XF-12 Rainbow reconnaissance aircraft makes its maiden flight. This well-stocked flying photo laboratory carries five crewmen at 425 miles per hour, but the Army Train­ing Support Center subsequently cancels its order for six additional aircraft.


JANUARY 10 Over Stratford, Connecti­cut, a Sikorsky R-5 helicopter piloted by C. A. Moeller and D. D. Viner sets an unofficial world helicopter altitude record of 21,000 feet.

JANUARY 16 The U. S. government insti­tutes the Upper Atmospheric Research panel for the purpose oftesting and evalu­ating 60 captured German V-2 rockets. Their work inspires similar rocket pro­grams at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, and the Naval Research Labo­ratory.

JANUARY 19 Over Pinecastle Army Air Base, Florida, the Bell XS-1 rocket – powered research plane completes its first successful glide test with Jack Woolams at the controls.

JANUARY 26 At Eglin Field, Florida, the First Experimental Guided Missile Group is assembled to test and develop rocket propulsion technology.

A Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star piloted by Colonel William H. Councill completes a transcontinental flight in only 4 hours and 13 minutes. His plane aver­ages 584 miles per hour.

FEBRUARY 3 The Army Air Forces reveals plans to develop a totally auto­matic flight profile system, whereby the onboard pilot will only be required to monitor controls in flight.

FEBRUARY 4 Lieutenant General James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle is installed as the first president of the new Air Force Asso­ciation. This civilian organization exists to help promote aerospace power to the public, along with the strategic role it plays in national defense.

FEBRUARY 9 Command of the Army Air Forces (AAF) passes from General of the Army Henry H. Arnold to General Carl A. Spaatz, who formally assumes office as of March 1.

FEBRUARY 26 At Honington Air Station, Suffolk, England, the Army Air Forces officially closes the last of its 112 World War II-era bases. However, a snowstorm prevents the departure of the last remain­ing B-17 heavy bomber.

February 28 The Republic XP-84 prototype flies for the first time with Major William Lien at the controls. As the Thunderjet, it becomes the first post­war jetfighter acquired by the Army Air Forces (AAF).

MARCH In Los Angeles, California, the new Project RAND is established in con­junction with the Douglas Aircraft Com­pany to investigate the possibilities and potential uses of rockets, satellites, and supersonic aviation.

In light of the real hazard posed to the United States by V-2-type weapons, the Army Air Forces announces a new pro­gram to develop a ballistic missile defense system.

MARCH 8 The glass-domed Bell Model 47 becomes the first helicopter certified for flight by the Civil Aeronautic Agency. This mainstay of military aviation enters service as the UH-13.

MARCH 11 An early afterburner is tested at simulated high altitudes by the NACA Lewis Altitude Wind Tunnel.

MARCH 12 At Maxwell Field, Alabama, the new Air University replaces the Army

Air Forces School. As such it enjoys juris­diction over the Air Command and Staff School, the Air War College, and bases offering support and training functions.

MARCH 15 At the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, the Army Air Forces test fires a captured German V-2 rocket in static mode for the first time.

MARCH 21 The Army Air Forces acti­vates three new organizations: the Air Defense Command (ADC), the Strategic Air Command (SAC), and the Tactical Air Command (TAC).

MARCH 22 A WAC rocket is the first American projectile to penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere as it reaches an alti­tude of 50 miles. The device was a col­laboration between Army Ordnance and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

APRIL 1 In Buffalo, New York, the Bell Corporation signs a few postwar missile contracts to develop Project MX-776, a guided tactical missile capable of hitting targets at distances of 100 miles. This is eventually known as the Rascal missile.

APRIL 16 At the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, the Army Air Forces launches a German V-2 rocket for the first time. The United States is slowly entering the Space Age with cap­tured enemy equipment and technology.

April 19 In San Diego, California, the Consolidated Vultee Company contracts with the Army Air Forces to develop the first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This project goes under the name MX-774.

April 22 In Maryland, the Glenn L. Martin Company signs a contract to con­struct a surface-to-surface guided missile with a 600-mile range. This is the genesis of the Matador missile, or MX-771.

It is announced that the U. S. Weather Bureau is teaming up with the Army Air Forces, Navy, NACA, and several universities to collect data for a better understanding of weather and related phe­nomena. Among the devices employed are pilotless P-61 aircraft and manned gliders.

MAY 16 At Wright Field, Ohio, the Army Air Forces Institute of Technology is founded and is intended to graduate 350 officers annually after advanced studies.

May 17 In Los Angeles, California, the Douglas XB-43 becomes the first jet – powered American bomber to fly. This twin jet design, while impressive, does not go into production.

MAY 28 The Army Air Forces initiates Project NEPA to investigate the potential for atomic energy as a means of aircraft propulsion; work continues over the next decade.

May 29 In Washington, D. C., the War Department Equipment Board reports that tactical missiles and rockets will play an important role in future armed com­bat. They also recommend the develop­ment of no less than seven new systems, including surface-to-surface projectiles with ranges up to several thousand miles.

June 3 A Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star flown by Lieutenant Henry A. Johnson sets a world speed record over a 1,000- kilometer course by averaging 462 miles per hour; he finishes in only 1 hour and 20 minutes.

June 5 The Army Air Forces announces that it has decided to commence con­struction of two new multiengine jet bombers, the North American XB-45 and the Boeing XB-47.

June 17 In Washington, D. C., Professor Theodore von Karman is appointed the first chair of the new Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) created at the Pentagon. This forms from the original 33 scientists and engineers cobbled together for Oper­ation lusty, then tasked with acquiring secret German technology at the end of World War II. It remains in active service to present times.

June 22 Two P-80 Shooting Stars take off from Schenectady, New York, with one proceeding to Washington, D. C., and the other to Chicago, Illinois. This act initiates the world’s first jet-powered airmail delivery.

June 26 The Army Air Forces and the Navy both adopt the knot (one nautical mile per hour) and the nautical mile


Atomic bomb explodes during the “Baker Day” test at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands on July 25, 1946. This ground level image was taken about six seconds after detonation. The advent of nuclear weapons wielded an indelible impact on subsequent military strategy and tactics. (Naval Historical Center)

(1.15 of a statute mile) as standard units of measurement for speed and distance.

June 28 In Seattle, Washington, the Boe­ing Company contracts with the Army Air Forces to design and develop a new generation of heavy jet bombers; it ulti­mately emerges as the B-52 Stratofortess.

July 1 At Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, Operation crossroads unfolds as a B-29 christened Dave’s Dream drops a Fat Man-type atomic bomb over an armada of 73 anchored test vessels. The bomb is offtarget yet still manages to sink five ves­sels and heavily damage nine more. Much valuable information is gathered follow­ing the detonation.

July 25 At Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, Operation crossroads continues as a second atomic bomb is detonated 90 feet below the ocean surface; the ensuing blast sinks eight more ships and causes considerable radioactive contamination.

AUGUST 6 At Muroc Dry Lake, California, two remote-controlled B-17s successfully complete a flight that originated at Hilo, Hawaii.

AUGUST 8 At Fort Worth, Texas, the mas­sive six-engine XB-36 prototype, which has been under development since 1941, flies for the first time. Thus huge craft enters service as the B-36 Peacekeeper.

AUGUST 12 In Washington, D. C., President Harry s. Truman signs legisla­tion establishing the National Air Museum at the smithsonian Institution. This remains the most visited museum in the world, with 100 million guests annually.

AUGUST 17 Over Ohio, Sergeant Larry Lambert becomes the first American to utilize an ejection seat after he vaults from a P-61 Black Widow and survives. At the time he was traveling 302 miles per hour at an altitude of 7,800 feet.

AUGUST 31 A Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star flown by Colonel Leon Gray wins the Jet Division of the first postwar Bendix Cup Race by flying from Los Angeles, California, to Cleveland, Ohio, in 4 hours and 8 minutes while averaging 495 miles per hour.

SEPTEMBER 30 At Muroc Field, California, the NACA Muroc Flight Test Unit arrives from Langley Laboratory to assist development of the Bell XS-1 program. This detachment consists of 13 scientists under the direction of Walter Williams. Ironically, friction arises between the scientists and the Army Air Forces over which group will be responsible for achiev­ing supersonic flight. Nonetheless, they constitute the origins for the future NASA Flight Research Center at present-day Edwards Air Force Base.

October 4—6 A B-29 christened Pacu – san Dreamboat, piloted by Colonel C. S. Irvine, completes the first nonstop flight over the North Pole. Irvine’s flight takes him from Hawaii, over the pole, to his final destination in Egypt, having covered

10,0 miles in 40 hours of flight time.

OCTOBER 7 In Buffalo, New York, the first Bell XS-1 rocket plane is shipped off to Muroc Dry Lake, California, for flight – tests. A total of three are constructed, although they subsequently receive the more famous designation X-1.

October 10 At White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, space science begins once a V-2 rocket goes aloft carry­ing specialized equipment for taking spectroscopic readings of the upper atmosphere.

October 25 At White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, a DeVry 35mm camera fitted to a V-2 rocket is carried to an altitude of 65 miles to make the first film records of planet Earth from that height. At its apogee, the camera captures an area of 40,000 square miles.

DECEMBER 8 Over Muroc Dry Lake, California, the first Bell XS-1, piloted by Chalmers Goodlin, is successfully dropped by a B-29 carrier aircraft, ignites its rocket motors, then flies up to 35,000 feet and Mach 0.75.

December 17 At Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, the National Institute of Health creates a space biology research program, which includes a high-speed rocket sled to study the effects of high-G (gravity) situations on human beings.

At the White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico, a V-2 rocket reaches 166 miles in height and a speed of 3,600 miles per hour, both world records for a single-stage rocket. The device also carries fungus spore samples into space to test their reaction to cosmic rays.



JANUARY 2 Over the Red River Valley, North Vietnam, Operation bolo com­mences as three flights of F-4 Phantoms under Colonel Robin Olds, the 8th Tac­tical Fighter Wing, mimic the usual routes flown by F-105 Thunderchiefs and lure a large party of unsuspecting MiG-21s into combat. The Communists are badly bested and lose seven MiGs— this is the largest single-day tally of the war.

JANUARY 18 An Air Force Titan IIIC launches eight defense communications satellites at a single throw.

JANUARY 27 Tragedy strikes Cape Ken­nedy, Florida, when the Apollo space capsule on the launching pad catches fire, killing Air Force lieutenant colonels Gus Grissom and Ed White, and Navy lieu­tenant commander Roger Chaffee.

FEBRUARY 22 Near the Cambodian bor­der, Operation junction city unfolds as the 173rd Airborne Brigade drops into combat from 23 C-130 Air Force trans­ports. This is the first such tactical deploy­ment of the war and is part of a large search-and-destroy operation with the Army 1st U. S. infantry Division.

FEBRUARY 24 Over Dalat, South Viet­nam, a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog flown by Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks, 21st Tactical Air Support Squadron, flies down low fir­ing his rifle and smoke rockets in support of some South Vietnamese rangers; he is shot down and killed, winning a post­humous Congressional Medal of Honor.

MARCH 10 Over North Vietnam, an F – 105 piloted by Captain Merlyn H. Deth – lefsen, 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron, makes repeated passes at Communist antiaircraft positions, allowing other air­craft to complete their bomb run; he wins a Congressional Medal of Honor. Another F-105 flown by Captain Max Brestel manages to down two MiG-17s in one day.

MARCH 10—11 Over North Vietnam,

Air Force F-105s and F-4s operating out of Ubon, Thailand, strike the Thai Nguyen steel factory.

MARCH 11 Near Hanoi, North Vietnam, the Canal des Rapides bridges are attacked by Air Force warplanes.

MARCH 15 The Sikorsky HH-53B, the largest and fastest helicopter available in the Air Force inventory, performs its maiden flight.

MARCH 22 At U-Tapao, Thailand, a new B-52 base is constructed to alleviate the congestion at Andersen Air Base, Guam.

MARCH 25 At Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, the primary role of strategic reconnaissance falls upon the 6th Strategic Wing, which flies a variety of RC-135 aircraft.

April 3 In Washington, D. C., Paul W. Airey gains appointment as the first chief master sergeant of the Air Force. As such he is tasked with advising the service lead­ership on enlisted personnel issues.

April 10 At U-Tapao, Thailand, B-52 bombers begin staging their first combat missions ofthe war. Due to their proxim­ity to Vietnam, in-flight refueling is not necessary.

Подпись: 1967 Подпись: 239

APRIL 19 Over North Vietnam, flying an F-105 Thunderchief, Major Leo K. Thorsness, 357th Tactical Fighter Squad­ron, completes his bombing sortie, then fights gamely against Communist jets and antiaircraft fire as a diversion for other aircraft; he manages to down two MiG-17s and wins a Congressional Medal ofHonor.

APRIL 26 Over North Vietnam, Air

Force bombers are finally allowed to attack Communist airfields at Kep and Hoa Lac. However, airfields within the boundaries of Hanoi remain off limits.

April 28 At Ramstein Air Base, West Germany, Air National Guard KC-97Ls participate in Operation creek party; this is the first time that the ANG has contrib­uted to operations supporting military contingencies.

An Air Force Titan IIC missile hauls five Vela satellites aloft, which are designed to test the explosion of nuclear weapons back on Earth.

May 31 Over the Gulf of Tonkin, Viet­nam, a KC-135 Stratotanker piloted by Major John H. Casteel, 902nd Air Refu­eling Squadron, manages to refuel six Navy fighters which were extremely low on fuel. Casteel and his men win the Mackay Trophy.

May 31 Over North Vietnam, the A-12 high-speed reconnaissance aircraft performs its first 3 hour, 40 minute mis­sion. It is flown by CIA pilot Mele Voj – vodich.

June 1 In Paris, France, pair of Air Force

helicopters recreates Charles Lindbergh’s solo transatlantic flight in 31 hours and 9 aerial refuelings. This is also the first non­stop flight by helicopters from New York to Europe.

June 5—11 At Wheelus Air Force Base,

Libya, the Air Force relocates 8,000 U. S. and European citizens after the six day war erupts between Israel, Egypt, and Syria.

July 1 A Titan IIIC missile places six additional satellites into Earth orbit as part of the Initial Defense Communications Satellite Program (IDCSP).

July 30 At Fort Worth, Texas, the Gen­eral Dynamics F-111 variable geometry (swing-wing) fighter performs its maiden flight.

AUGUST 10 In Washington, D. C., the Senate Appropriations Committee elimi­nates $172 million from the F-111B pro­gram intended for the U. S. Navy once critics felt the aircraft would be too big and heavy to land on carriers.

AUGUST 11 Over North Vietnam, two

spans of the Paul Doumer Bridge is destroyed by F-105s of the 355th and 388th Tactical Fighter Wings, which flew in from bases in Thailand.

AUGUST 21 Over North Vietnam, a record 80 surface-to-air missiles are launched at attacking U. S. warplanes; this is the highest tally for the entire war.

August 24-September 4 The American government enacts another round of bombing suspensions in a futile attempt to encourage peace talks with North Vietnam. The Communist regime fails to respond or reciprocate.

AUGUST 26 Over North Vietnam, an

F-100 piloted by Major George E. Day is brought down; Day, captured and badly injured, makes several failed escape attempts; he receives a Congressional Medal of Honor.

AUGUST 28 The advanced Lockheed U-2R performs its maiden flight, although only six are acquired by the Air Force and six by the Central Intelligence Agency.

SEPTEMBER 9 Over South Vietnam, Ser­geant Duane D. Hackney shows remark­able courage while rescuing a downed Air Force pilot and he becomes the first enlisted man to receive the Air Force Cross.

October 3 The hypersonic X-15 research rocket plane piloted by William Knight reached a new world speed record of 4,543 miles per hour (Mach 6.7) at 102,100 feet.

In St. Louis, Missouri, the new McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II is rolled out; this is the first version with an internally mounted 20mm cannon.

October 16 At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, the first General Dynamics F-111 arrives for operational testing. In addition to featuring swing-wings, the craft can also fly nighttime, terrain­following flight paths.

OCTOBER 24 Over North Vietnam, the large aviation complex at Phuc Yen is struck by a joint force ofAir Force, Navy, and Marine Corps warplanes.

OCTOBER 30 Over North Vietnam, Communist troops launch six SA-2 Guideline missiles at an A-12 passing overhead; none hit the aircraft, but mis­sile fragments are subsequently found in a frontal fillet area.

November 9 Inside Laos, an HH-3E rescue helicopter piloted by Captain

Gerald O. Young is shot down while attempting to rescue an Army reconnais­sance team. Though wounded, he refuses to be evacuated and evades capture for 17 hours until he can summon his own rescue mission. He wins a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Over North Vietnam, an F-4 Phantom II piloted by Captain Lance P. Sijan is shot down; he manages to eject but is badly injured and tortured. Sijan manages to escape but is recaptured, and he dies of illness on January 21, 1968. Sijan is the first U. S. Air Force Academy graduate to be awarded a posthumous Congressional Medal of Honor.

November 15 The X-14 hypersonic research plane piloted by Major Michael J. Adams breaks up in flight after enter­ing into a spin at Mach 5, killing him. He wins a posthumous set of astronaut wings.

November 17-December 29 Over Southeast Asia, Operation eagle thrust unfolds as C-133 and C-141 transports convey 10,000 paratroops and 5,000 tons of equipment from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. This is also the longest-ranging aerial troop transfer of the war.

DECEMBER 8 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, an F-104 crash takes the life of Major Robert H. Lawrence, the first African American selected by NASA to serve in the astronaut pro­gram.

December 29 At Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, a chapter closes as the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing retires its last remaining RB-47H.


FEBRUARY At Lagos, Nigeria, 15 tons of communications equipment are con­veyed by a C-141 Starlifter to replace a telecommunication center that burned down.

FEBRUARY 1 In Honduras, a show of solidarity against regional Comm­unist-inspired insurgencies unfolds as Air Force units participate in Operation ahuas tara I with forces from Central American countries. This maneuver is aimed at the Communist dictatorship in Nicaragua, then fomenting guerilla insur­gencies throughout the region.

At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, the 868th Tactical Missile Training Squadron begins handling ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) for future deployment in Europe.

FEBRUARY 2 At Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, pilots begin training to fly the new F-16 Fighting Falcon.

FEBRUARY 3 All Minuteman III inter­continental ballistic missiles are retrofitted with modified reentry systems designed to enhance retaliatory capabilities.

MARCH At Langley Air Force Base, Vir­ginia, the Air Force Thunderbirds dem­onstration team flies F-16 fighters for the first time.

MARCH 1 At Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, the Twenty-Third Air Force organizes to conduct missions involving combat rescue, weather reconnaissance, missile site security, and aircrew special operations training.

At Hurlburt Field, Florida, the 1st Spe­cial Operations Wing arrives and is reas­signed from the Tactical Air Command (TAC) to the Miliary Airlift Command (MAC).

MARCH 7 In South Korea, three wings of B-52Gs simulate mine-laying operations off the coast as Team Spirit 83 unfolds.

MARCH 15—28 At the Pacific Miss­ile Test Range, Kwajalein, a B-52 successfully fires three Navy AGM – Harpoon antiship missiles. The Strate­gic Air Command (SAC) is presently seeking ways of performing sea interdic­tion missions against the formidable Red Navy.

April 1 The Strategic Air Command (SAC) yields 4 installations and 31 opera­tional units to Space Command, as the majority ofthese are concerned with mis­sile warning and space surveillance mis­sions.

April 1—8 In Colombia, floods and earthquakes prompt C-130 Hercules air­craft to transport 34 tons of shelters, medical supplies, and electric generators to assist survivors.

April 5—10 After southeastern Louisiana is severely flooded by torrential rains, Air Force C-141 Starlifters convey 83 tons of food and medical supplies to victims.

APRIL 26 At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the first crews training to handle ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) graduate and are assigned to tactical missile wings in Europe.

May 1 Over the Bahamas, Air Force air­craft surveillance missions commence to assist law enforcement agencies and help suppress drug smuggling operating off­shore.

June 4 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, a final flyby is arranged for the few remain­ing F-105s in the Air Force Reserve before being retired from active service.

June 17 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, an MX (Peacekeeper) missile is launched for the first time with multi­ple dummy warheads. These are pro­grammed to splash down in the Kwajalein test range.

June 26 In northwestern Peru, the Mili­tary Airlift Command (MAC) dispatches three C-130 Hercules aircraft to provide relief supplies for victims of recent flood­ing.

July 1 The Air Force deploys a provi­sional support squadron at Riyadh Air Base, Saudi Arabia, in light of the ongoing Iran-Iraq War. The oil-rich region of the Persian Gulf remains an area of vital strategic interest to the United States and the West.

July 7 At McEntire Air National Guard Base, South Carolina, the 169th Tactical Fighter Group is the first Guard unit to receive F-16As.

On this day, General Dynamics also completes its 1,000th Falcon of the 2,165 ordered by the Air Force.

July 24—August 6 In western Ecuador, the Air Force dispatches two UH-1 heli­copters to deliver medical supplies and personnel to flood victims.

AUGUST Over Minnesota, the 907th Tactical Airlift Group dispatches three

C-123 Providers to spray insecticide to fight an encephalitis epidemic in 11 counties.

AUGUST 1 At Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, a microburst inflicts $465,000 in damages; the storm was packing 120- mile-per-hour winds.

AUGUST 10 In Washington, D. C., Secre­tary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger announces that 100 MX (Peacekeeper) missiles will be deployed in existing Minuteman silos.

August 15-September 15 The Air

Force dispatches 12 Starlifters to convey 185 tons of cargo to the African nation of Chad in support of an ongoing security assistance program.

AUGUST 30 Lieutenant Colonel Guion S. Bluford becomes the first African Ameri­can to ride in space on the space shuttle Challenger.

SEPTEMBER 1 Over Sakhalin Island, Soviet Union, a Korean Airlines 747 is shot down after it strays into Soviet air­space. Air Force HC130 transports of the 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron deploy from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, and comb the waters for survi­vors; all 269 passengers perish.

SEPTEMBER 3-25 In Lebanon, Operation rubber wall commences as the Military Airlift Command (MAC) delivers

4,0 tons of supplies in 100 heavy-lift mis­sions in support of marines operating there. The effort involves 85 C-141 Starlifters, 24 C-5 Galaxies, and 4 C-130 Hercules sorties.

SEPTEMBER 5 A Strategic Air Command (SAC) KC-135 piloted by Captain Robert J. Goodman refuels an F-4E Phantom II jet four times over water and even tows it along with the refueling boom until it lands safely; Goodman receives the Mackay Trophy.

September 28 The Air Force declares its EF-111A Raven electronic warfare air­craft operational after extensive testing; pilots dub it the “Spark Vark” because of its extensive electronic suite.

OCTOBER 1 At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, the last operational B-52D arrives for a final resting place in the “bone yard.”

OCTOBER 4-5 Over Maricopa, Arizona,

the 302nd Special Operations Squadron deploys four CH-3 helicopters to rescue 57 civilians trapped by floodwaters.

OCTOBER 6 Three B-52Gs are modified by the Strategic Air Command (SAC) to carry and fire the AGM-Harpoon anti­ship missile. These aircraft are intended to perform maritime interdiction missions against the Red Navy.

OCTOBER 23 In Beirut, Lebanon, trans­ports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) convey 239 dead and 95 wounded marines, the victims of a terror­ist truck bombing, to European and American hospitals.

OCTOBER 25-30 Over Grenada, Air Force MC-130s drop paratroopers on Point Salines, Grenada. Lieutenant Colonel James L. Hobson, Jr., manages to keep his aircraft under control despite intense antiaircraft fire, guiding the mis­sion to success; he wins a Mackay Tro­phy. Transports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and the Air Force Reserve also fly 11,389 passengers and 7,709 tons of cargo to facilitate Operation urgent fury. A total of 496 sorties are performed by C-141 Starlifters, C-5 Galaxies, and C-130 Hercules aircraft.

Подпись: Members of the 82nd Airborne Division board a C-141 Starlifter aircraft at Point Salines Airport during Operation Urgent Fury, November, 1983. (U.S. Department of Defense for Defense Visual Information Center)

OCTOBER 26 At the Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, initial operational capability is achieved by the initial batch of five F-117 Nighthawks. Ongoing operations are conveniently covered by the activity of 18 A-7 Corsair IIs.

OCTOBER 27 B-52 Stratofortesses deploy

at air bases for the first time in Spain.

November 1—5 After severe earth­quakes rattle northern Turkey, four C-141 Starlifters and six C-130s Her­cules transports are dispatched by the Military Airlift Command (MAC) to convey 234 tons of relief supplies to the survivors.

November 23 In Bonn, West Germany, the government ignores the KGB – orchestrated nuclear freeze movement and votes to deploy Air Force ground-
launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) and Army Pershing II ballistic missiles as a counter to Soviet weapons of the same class.

December 3 The Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC) begins inactivating the 571st Strategic Missile Squadron and dis­bands its Titan II intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

December 6 At Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, the new National Transonic Wind Tunnel becomes operational. This device is expressly designed for research­ing the fastest jets being designed or under construction.

December 23 The 390th Electronic Combat Squadron is the first operational unit equipped with General Dynamics EF-11A Ravens.


JANUARY 11 In Washington, D. C., a Congressional Space Commission report recommends that the Air Force receive increased responsibilities and increased organizational realignments.

JANUARY 20 In Washington, D. C., Law­rence J. Delaney becomes acting secretary of the Air Force.

JANUARY 22—26 “Schriever 2001,” the first war game to include elements of space control, including countering hos­tile space capabilities, is conducted by the Air Force Space Command Warfare Center.

February 3 In India, Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-17 Globemaster IIIs convey reliefsupplies and food to vic­tims of a recent earthquake. They are refueled while traversing the Pacific and Indian Oceans by KC-135s.

February 21 At Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, an RQ-1 Predator pilotless drone has been modified to carry a Hell- fire C missile, which it then fires to destroy a target. This becomes the first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to do so.

February 24 At March Air Force Base, California, Lieutenant Colonel Stayce D. Harris takes control of the 729th Airlift Squadron, becoming the first African

American woman to command an Air Force unit.

April 22—23 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the RQ-4 Global Hawk flies nonstop to Adelaide, Australia. This is the first transoceanic flight by an unmanned aerial vehicle and it covers 7,500 miles in 23 hours, a new world’s record.

May 7 Off the China coast, an RC-135

aircraft from Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, resumes intelligence flights in inter­national airspace.

May 8 In Washington, D. C., the Secre­tary ofDefense declares that the Air Force has the sole executive control over the Pentagon’s activities in space.

JUNE 1 In Washington, D. C., James G.

Roche gains appointment as the new sec­retary of the Air Force.

June 5 Major GeneralJames E. Sherrard, III, the Air Force Reserve commander, gains his third star to lieutenant general. He advocates a “total force” concept closely integrating Reserves into the regular Air Force.

July 13 Historic Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, the cradle of American military aviation, and McClellan Air Force Base, California, are closed due to budget cuts.

Подпись: 2001 Подпись: 319

AUGUST 6 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the XF-35B returns to Palm­dale, signaling the end of another success­ful round of flight-testing. En route the aircraft reaches 34,000 feet at Mach 1.2, and sustains it for 3.7 hours, the longest flight of the test program so far.

AUGUST 24 At Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, another Cold War mile­stone passes as the final Minuteman III missile silo, which formed the bulwark of American nuclear deterrence for three decades, is destroyed.

September 6 In Washington, D. C., General John P. Jumper gains appointment as Air Force chief of staff.

September 19 Lockheed Martin contracts with the Air Force to produce an initial production batch of 10 ultramodern F-22 Raptors.

SEPTEMBER 27 In Washington, D. C., Sec­retary of War Donald Rumsfeld declares that President George W. Bush has authorized military aircraft to shoot down commercial liners hijacked in American airspace if an emergency presents itself.

September 29 At the Kodiak Launch Complex, Alaska, the Air Force launches its first space satellite. Heretofore, all space launches were from either Florida or California.

OCTOBER In Afghanistan, the Air Force and CIA begin operations against the Taliban with unmanned, remotely guided RQ-1 Predator aircraft. These high­flying drones are armed with television cameras and deadly Hellfire missiles.

OCTOBER 1 In Washington, D. C., Gen­eral Richard B. Myers becomes the first Air Force officer to serve as chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) in almost 20 years.

The Air Materiel Space and Missile System Center are now subordinated to the Air Force Space Command (AFSPA – CECOM). The latter organization now monopolizes all Air Force space concerns.

OCTOBER 7 Over Afghanistan, Opera­tion enduring freedom begins as United States and British warplanes begin a concerted aerial campaign to drive the Taliban and al-Qaeda from power. Lieutenant General Charles F. Wald is also the Joint Force Air Component Commander throughout this operation.

At Whiteman Air Force Base, Mis­souri, B-2 Spirit bombers of the 509th Bomb Wing fly to Afghanistan and back during the longest bombing mission in aviation history.

OCTOBER 8 Over Afghanistan, C-17 Globemaster IIIs perform their first com­bat mission by airdropping pallets of humanitarian daily rations to territory controlled by the Northern Alliance.

Coalition aircraft begin around – the-clock air strikes against Taliban positions throughout Afghanistan. This enables the Northern Alliance to counterattack.

OCTOBER 26 The Department of Defense awards the Lockheed Martin Corporation with a contract to develop the new and highly advanced F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) while Pratt and Whit­ney will develop the engine. This new aircraft will be deployed by Air Force, Navy, and Marine units.

October 28-November 4 Over Afghanistan, coalition aircraft switch from bombing fixed assets of the Taliban and al-Qaeda, to front-line units oppos­ing the Northern Alliance.

NOVEMBER 2 In Afghanistan, the crew of an MH-53J Pave Low helicopter of the 20th Special Operations Squadron lands behind enemy lines to rescue the crew of another MH-53 that crashed; they receive a Mackay Trophy.

NOVEMBER 28 Near Kandahar, Afg­hanistan, Operation SWIFT FREEDOM

unfolds as Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-17 Globemaster III transports convey Army and Special Forces troops to an airstrip.

December 4 Over Afghanistan, coalition aircraft bomb the mountain refuge of Tora Bora, a heavily fortified cave com­plex 55 miles south of Jalalabad, which holds an estimated 2,000 al-Qaeda Arab fighters.

December 5 In Afghanistan, a 2,000- pound bomb dropped by a B-52 acci­dently strikes an American command post, killing three Special Forces soldiers and five Afghan allies. These are the first

American fatalities of Operation endur­ing FREEDOM.

December 12 Over the Indian Ocean, the destroyer Russell rescues the crew of a B-1B bomber that ditched en route to targets in Afghanistan. This is the first B – 1B lost in combat, and also the first air­craft lost during Operation enduring


December 17 At Istres Air Base, France, Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-17 Globemaster IIIs convey French military forces to Afghanistan in concert with Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

December 26 In Washington, D. C., Undersecretary of War Pete Aldrich announces that the Pentagon approves acquisition of the one-ton, Joint Air-to- Surface Standoff Missile. This is an advanced, precision-guided weapon capable of destroying targets 200 miles distant.


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 Aerospace Defense Command is the new name for the Air Defense Command.

JANUARY 21 At Khe Sanh, South Viet­nam, a Marine Corps garrison is sur­rounded by Communist forces for the next 77 days. The Air Force participates by flying in an average of 165 tons of equipment, weapons, and supplies every day while waves of B-52 bombers carpet bomb suspect enemy positions in the nearby hillside.

JANUARY 22 Over Greenland, a B-52 crashes while attempting an emergency landing at Thule Air Base. Radioactive debris from the four nuclear weapons it is carrying is spread across the sea ice at North Star Bay. Months of specialized cleaning are required before readings return to normal.

JANUARY 26 Over North Korea, an A – 12 top secret reconnaissance flight unfolds in response to the seizure of the USS Pueblo three days earlier.

JANUARY 30—31 Communist forces launch their surprise Tet Offensive across South Vietnam which, while a military defeat, is a turning point in American opinion against the war.

FEBRUARY 27 In Southeast Asia, AC – 130 Hercules gunships make their debut while attacking along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.

FEBRUARY 29 In Washington, D. C., a law is enacted which eliminates all obstacles against promoting women higher than the rank of full colonel. Conse­quently, Colonels Jeanne Holm, director of

Women in the Air Force, and Helen O’Day, assigned to the Air Force chief of staff’s office, both become permanent colonels.

MARCH 25 Over North Vietnam, the General Dynamics F-111 performs its first combat missions as part of Operation combat lancer. This particular deploy­ment is part of an operational testing scheme, and the jets are returned to the United States soon after.

MARCH 31 Once again, President Lyndon B. Johnson orders a partial bombing halt over North Vietnam in the hopes ofstimu – lating peace talks. He also declares that he will not be seeking reelection in the fall.

April 10 At Kadena Air Base, Japan, the 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing begins the first SR-71A missions over North Vietnam.

MAY 3 In South Vietnam, the 120th Tac­tical Fighter Squadron arrives from Buck­ley Air National Guard Base, Colorado, becoming the first ANG unit committed to combat operations.

MAY 12 At Kham Duc, South Vietnam, Air Force C-130s assist Army and Marine Corps helicopters to evacuate the out­numbered garrison while under enemy fire. Mortar fire strikes a C-130, killing all 150 people on board, and a total of eight aircraft are lost. Lieutenant Colonel Daryl D. Cole is awarded a Mackay Tro­phy, while four airmen receive the Air Force Cross. A C-123 under Lieutenant Colonel Joe M. Jackson also lands under intense fire to bring off a three-man com­bat control team; he is awarded a Congressional Medal of Honor.

Подпись: A U.S. Air Force B-57 Canberra bombs a suspected Viet Cong jungle position in North Vietnam on March 17, 1967. The longest bombing campaign ever conducted by the U.S. Air Force, Operation Rolling Thunder lasted from March 1965 to October 1968. (AP/Wide World Photos)

June 13 At Cape Kennedy, Florida, a Titan IIIC launch vehicle hoists eight communications satellites into orbit to augment the existing Defense Satellite Communications System.

June 17 At Long Beach, California, the first McDonnell Douglas C-9 Nightin­gale is completed; this is intended as an aeromedical aircraft with United States boundaries.

June 30 The Lockheed C-51 Galaxy, then the world’s largest aircraft, performs its maiden flight. The Military Air Com­mand (MAC) is slated to receive 81 of them.

AUGUST 1 In South Vietnam, General George S. Brown gains appointment as commander of the Seventh Air Force.

AUGUST 25 In South Vietnam, the North American OV-10 Bronco commences a 90-day combat evaluation period.

SEPTEMBER 1 Over Quang Binh Prov­ince, South Vietnam, an A-1H Skyraider piloted by Lieutenant Colonel William A. Jones III withstands a storm of enemy ground fire to land and rescue a downed pilot. Jones is badly injured in the action and his aircraft is shot up, so he receives a Congressional Medal of Honor.

September 26 The Air Force LTD A – 7D Corsair II light attack bomber flies for the first time.

OCTOBER 11 At Cape Kennedy, Florida, Air Force major Donn F. Eisele is one of three astronauts on the Apollo 7 mission, launched today on board a Saturn IB rocket.

Подпись: 1969 Подпись: 243

OCTOBER 31 Over North Vietnam, the United States concludes Operation roll­ing thunder, its first sustained aerial offensive of the war.

NOVEMBER 1 Over Laos, Operation commando hunt commences as all other aerial attacks on North Vietnam are sus­pended. However, reconnaissance mis­sions are flown throughout the region.

November 26 Over Duc Co, South Vietnam, a UH-1F Huey helicopter piloted by Lieutenant James P. Fleming,
20th Special Operations Squadron, retrieves a six-man reconnaissance team under heavy enemy fire while being extremely low on fuel. Fleming receives a Congressional Medal of Honor.

December 21-28 At Cape Kennedy, Florida, Apollo 8 is launched into space on a mission to orbit the moon. The three-man crew consists ofAir Force col­onels Frank Borman and William Anders, and Navy captain James Lovell. This is also the first space flight to actually leave Earth orbit.



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.