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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

October 27 Over Cuba, a U-2 piloted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


February 8—17 In New England, Operation snow blow її unfolds as Air Force C-5As, C-141s, and C-130s deliver 2,300 tons of snow-removal equipment to help assist stranded moto­rists.

February 22 An Atlas F rocket places the first global positioning system (GPS) satellite into orbit. A total of 24 such sat­ellites are planned by 1994, which prom­ises to revolutionize navigation and weapons delivery.

May 16—27 In Zaire, Operation zaire i unfolds as two C-5A Galaxy transports deliver French and Belgian troops to help local forces suppress rebels in Katanga Province. The aircrews are awarded a Mackay Trophy.

May 31—June 16 Over Zaire, Air Force transports continue bringing in UN peacekeeping forces and evacuate French and Belgian troops. A total of 1,600 tons of cargo and 1,225 passengers are deliv­ered in 72 sorties.

July 12 The last remaining Boeing KC- 97L Stratotanker is retired from active duty following a quarter-century of service.

July 27 In England, new Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt Ils of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing deploy at Bentwaters/ Woodbridge Royal Air Force Base for the first time.

AUGUST 14—16 In Khartoum, Sudan, 26 tons of relief supplies are delivered to flood victims by a single C-141 Starlifter.

AUGUST 17 At Fort Worth, Texas, the first production F-16 Fighting Falcon is accepted into Air Force service.

NOVEMBER 22—29 In Guyana, the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squad­ron dispatches several HH-53 helicopters to assist in the removal of 900 bodies in the wake of a mass suicide at Jonestown. Once deposited at Georgetown, they are placed aboard C-141s and flown to the United States.

December 9 In Tehran, Iran, Air Force C-5As and C-141s arrive to evacuate 900 U. S. citizens as the Shah’s regime begins to crumble.


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

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

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

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

Подпись: 1995 Подпись: 305

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 2-3 At Dyess Air Force Base,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 31 At Whiteman Air Force Base,

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUGUST 31 Over Sarajevo, Bosnia, Air

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

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

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

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

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

DELIBERATE FORCE resume in full fury

against remaining targets.

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

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

September 8 In northwest Bosnia-

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

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

September 10 In northwestern Bosnia,

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

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

SEPTEMBER 11 Over Bosnia, Operation

DELIBERATE FORCE continues with four

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

activates the 609th Information Warfare Squadron.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

May 1 Over Edwards Air Force Base,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUGUST 1 The NASA satellite Mariner II is

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

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

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

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

Operation GREASED LIGHTNING unfolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

MARCH 31 Over the Yellow Sea, Major

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAY 2—3 Two E-3A Sentry AWACS

aircraft begin their first overseas training mission in central Europe.

June 1 The Air Force Community Col­

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2,0 citizens and foreign nationals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 3 The Air Combat Com­

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 30 In Western Europe, the

Seventeenth Air Force is inactivated after four decades of service.

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

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

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

NOVEMBER 5 In Washington, D. C.,

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

November 21 In Washington, D. C.,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,0 miles per hour.


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

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

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

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

MARCH 31 At Naha Air Base, Okinawa,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 10-October 3 At Moody Air

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

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

July 30-August 1 Over the San Ber­

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OCTOBER 20—23 Southern Air Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 23-December 2 The

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

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

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

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

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

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


JANUARY 1 In northern Iraq, Operation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1 At Whiteman Air Force Base,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bomb fitted with a highly accurate satel­lite guidance system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

March 2-October 31, 1968 Over

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

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

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

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

MARCH 30—May 23 On Cyprus, Air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOVEMBER 1 In Washington, D. C.,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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