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

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

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

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

MARCH 31 At Naha Air Base, Okinawa,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 10-October 3 At Moody Air

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

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

July 30-August 1 Over the San Ber­

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OCTOBER 20—23 Southern Air Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 23-December 2 The

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

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

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

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

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

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


JANUARY 1 In northern Iraq, Operation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1 At Whiteman Air Force Base,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

bomb fitted with a highly accurate satel­lite guidance system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

March 2-October 31, 1968 Over

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

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

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

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

MARCH 30—May 23 On Cyprus, Air

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NOVEMBER 1 In Washington, D. C.,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.