. 1971

JANUARY 28 Over South Vietnam, the final ranch hand defoliating mission is conducted by Fairchild UC-123B sprayer aircraft.

January 31-February 9 The Apollo 14 expedition arrives at the moon and safely returns. Air Force astronaut Stuart A. Roosa pilots the Command Module that remains in orbit.

MARCH 17 At Auburn University, Ala­bama, 2nd Lieutenant Jane Leslie Holley is the first woman to be commissioned through an Air Force ROTC program.

April 26 An SR-71 Blackbird piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Thomas B. Estes and Lieutenant Colonel Dewain C. Vick sets a speed record for covering 15,000 miles in 10 hours and 30 minutes, nonstop; the flight wins a Mackay Trophy along with the Harmon International Aviator Award.

July 16 In Washington, D. C., Colonel Jeanne M. Holm is promoted to brigadier general, becoming the first female general in the Air Force. She remains as director of Women in the Air Force.

June 16-July 18 Over India, Operation bonny jack unfolds as Air Force C-130s and C-141s transfer 23,000 refugees from East Pakistan (Bangladesh) during a civil war there. A further 2,000 tons of relief supplies are also delivered.

June 26 At Phang Rang Air Base, South Vietnam, F-100 Super Sabres of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing are relieved of front-line service as the unit redeploys back to the United States.

July 12 In Washington, D. C., retired general Benjamin O. Davis, the Air Force’s first African American senior offi­cer, is appointed Assistant Secretary of Transportation by President Richard Nixon.

July 26-AUGUST 7 At Cape Kennedy, Florida, an all-Air Force crew pilots Apollo 15 to the moon and back; this is the first mission to include a lunar rover.

July 29 The Air Force concludes research on the X-24A lifting body, information from which proved instru­mental in the space shuttle program.

AUGUST 1 In South Vietnam, General John D. Lavelle gains appointment as the new commander ofthe Seventh Air Force.

SEPTEMBER 21 Over North Vietnam, 200 Air Force fighter-bombers conduct the first all-instrument bombardment of the war by employing loran (Long Range Air to Navigation) to destroy the fuel and storage area at Dong Hoi, burning 350,000 gallons of fuel.

OCTOBER 1 In Washington, D. C., Richard D. Kisling is appointed the new chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

NOVEMBER 7-8 Over North Vietnam, Air Force fighter-bombers strike Com­munist airfields at Dong Hoi, Vinh, and Quan Lang.

DECEMBER 26-30 Over North Vietnam, Air Force aircraft launch over 1,000 sor­ties against targets south ofthe 20th paral­lel. This is the largest raid of its kind since 1968.

. 1987

JANUARY 16 Over the Tonopah Test Range, Nevada, a short-range attack mis­sile (SRAM) is fired for the first time by a B-1B Lancer.

FEBRUARY 3 At Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, the first Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk helicopters are delivered to the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. The Pace Low III infrared sys­tem is retrofitted to them to facilitate long-range search and rescue missions.

FEBRUARY 13—15 On Vanuatu, New Hebrides, survivors of Typhoon Uma are assisted by two C-141 Starlifters and two C-130 Hercules, which transport 64 tons of tents and plastic sheeting for them.

FEBRUARY 16 In San Antonio, Texas, the Joint Military Medical Command, staffed by both Army and Air Force per­sonnel, is activated.

April 14 From Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, a B-1B Lancer flies 9,400 miles in 21 hours and 40 minutes, while utilizing five in-flight refuelings. This is the lon­gest flight to date by a bomber of this


May 5 At Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, the Air Force retires the last liquid-fueled Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from active ser­vice. This is the largest ballistic missile fielded by the United States during the Cold War.

May 6 At Sembach Air Base, West Ger­many, the 43rd Electronics Combat Squadron receives the first EC-130H Compass Call aircraft.

JUNE 1 The Special Operations Com­mand is established by the Air Force.

June 10 At the Paris Air Show, France, the B1-B Lancer makes its first European debut.

July 4-September 17 A Rockwell B-1B Lancer piloted by Lieutenant Robert Chamberlain establishes 12 new world records for speed and payload. Another Lancer flown by Major Brent A. Hedgpeth sets an additional 9 speed records. For their efforts, the B-1B Sys­tem Program Office, Air Force Systems Command, wins the Mackay Trophy.

July 17 At Hurlburt Field, Florida, the Air Force Logistics Command delivers the first Sikorsky MH-53J Pave Low heli­copter, and it begins operational service within a year. This machine is outfitted for poor weather/nighttime operations and is associated with Special Forces.

July 22—December 21 In the Persian Gulf, Operation earnest will unfolds as Air Force E-3A Sentry aircraft begin rou­tine patrols once the Iran-Iraq War begins spilling over into other countries. More­over, C-5A Galaxy and C-141 Starlifter transports convey mine-sweeping equip­ment to the region, while Air Force tank­ers assist Navy aircraft patrolling the gulf waters.

August 31-September 9 C-130 and

C-141 aircraft deliver 2,511 tons of fire retardant across the coastal regions of Oregon and Northern California, to com­bat a fire consuming 970 square miles.

September 17 A Rockwell B-1B Lancer piloted by Major Brent A. Hedgpeth sets

9 new world records during a five-hour sortie by carrying 66,140 pounds for 3,107 miles and at 655 miles per hour.

SEPTEMBER 24 Over Beijing, China, the Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration squadron entertains a crowd of 20,000 onlookers.

September 28 A severe bird strike brings down the first B-1B during a training mission. The cost to the taxpayers is $100 million.

OCTOBER 1 At Onizuka Air Force Sta­tion, California, the Space Command takes command of the Air Force Satellite Control Network, a set of worldwide remote-tracking stations.

At Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and Clark Air Base, Philippines, the Pacific Air Forces retire their T-33 jet trainers after 32 years of distinguished ser­vice.

NOVEMBER 19 In California, the North-

rop Corporation contracts with the Air Force to design and construct the next generation of stealth aircraft, the B-2. While invisible to radar, projected costs per bomber are $1 billion, making them the most expensive aircraft ever built.

November 24 An air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) is successfully deployed by a B-1B Lancer for the first time.

December 5 Six C-130 Hercules trans­ports from the 374th Tactical Airlift Squadron arrive in Luzon, Philippines, bringing in 34 tons of supplies, clothing, and rice to assist the victims of Typhoon Nina.


January 3—8 In Sri Lanka, a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft delivers a pair of HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopters follow­ing a destructive tsunami. C-130s also arrive from Japan to convey 145 tons of relief supplies.

MAY 12 At Langley Air Force Base, Vir­ginia, the first operational F-22A Raptor deploys with the 27th Fighter Squadron, 1st Fighter Wing. This is the most advanced fighter aircraft in the world, and incorporates such novel technologies as stealth and “supercruise.”

MARCH 1 The Air Force declares the

MQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operational.

MAY 13 Over Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, massed C-17 Globemaster IIIs deploy to Biggs Army Airfield, Texas;

this is also the largest C-17 formation to fly cross-country.

June 16 Captain Nicole Malachowski

joins the Thunderbirds aerobatic team as the first female demonstration pilot ofany U. S. military high-performance jet team.

June 22 Over Southwest Asia, a U-2 aircraft from the 9th Reconnaissance Squadron experiences a catastrophic fail­ure in midair, and crashes; the pilot is killed.

July 29 In Rwanda, Air Force transports redeploy 1,200 soldiers to Sudan on yet the latest UN peacekeeping missions.

AUGUST 23—29 As Hurricane Katrina ravages the Gulf of Mexico, several Air Force bases in its path are evacuated in advance.

Подпись: 2005 Подпись: 325
Подпись: Two F-22A Raptors from the 27th Fighter Squadron, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia fly information. This is presently the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft, and it combines high performance with advanced avionics and stealth capabilities. (U.S. Department ofDefense Visual Information Center)

September 2 In Washington, D. C., General T. Michael Moseley gains appointment as chief of staff, U. S. Air Force.

September 10 Over Afghanistan, an all­female crew flies their first C-130 combat mission.

September 24 Near Houston, Texas, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) begins flying new GA-8 Airvan aircraft to assess dam­age in the wake of Hurricane Rita.

OCTOBER 15—18 From Langley Air Force Base, Virginia the 27th Fighter Squadron flies its F-22A Raptors to as part of Operation combat hammer at Hill Air Force Base, Utah,. There they drop their first JDAMs on a target range.

September 2 In Washington, D. C., Michael W. Wynne gains appointment as secretary of the Air Force.

NOVEMBER 5 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, the first TH-1H Huey train­ing helicopters are deployed.

November-January 2006 At Camp Lemonier, Africa, Air Force C-130s support military exercises as part of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

December 7 In a sign of the times, the new Air Force mission statement includes cyberspace to the existing combat domains of air and space.

December 15 The F-22 Raptor air superiority fighter is declared operational.


FEBRUARY 26 Off the coast of Califor­nia, test pilot George Smith is forced to eject from his F-100 Super Sabre at a speed of Mach 1.7. He is knocked uncon­scious by the blast of 64 g’s while exiting the aircraft, but is safely conveyed to the water by his shredded parachute. Smith is the first man to survive a supersonic ejection.

MARCH 1 At Otis Air Force Base, Maine,

the first operational Lockheed RC-121D airborne early warning platforms begin patrolling the East Coast of the United States.

In Washington, D. C., Trevor Gardner gains appointment as the first secretary of the Air Force for Research and Develop­ment.

MARCH 2 The Boeing Model 367-80 (KC-135) successfully demonstrates its new in-flight refueling system, which departs from the probe-and-drogue sys­tem pioneered by the British.

MARCH 6 In Washington, D. C., Air Force Chief of Staff General Nathan F. Twining announces that the Atlas, Nav – aho, and Snark programs will be acceler­ated in light of recent Soviet advances in missile technology.

April 6 Above Yucca Flat, Nevada, a B-36 bomber releases a nuclear-tipped missile at 42,000 feet, which then climbs six miles before detonating.

April 21 The Air Force launches its first

Aerobee-Hi sounding rocket, which reaches upwards for 123 miles while car­rying a 200-pound payload.

May 2 In Washington, D. C., the Depart­ment of the Air Force gives its nod towards the Western Development Division’s suggestion to construct a sec­ond, more capable type of intercontinen­tal ballistic missile, which emerges as the Titan.

May 10 The Air Force accepts the last of 448 Douglas C-124 Globemaster II trans­ports into active service. This capable craft was known as “Old Shaky” to those who flew it.

Over Schenectady, New York, an experimental GE XJ-79 turbojet engine is test flown in the belly of a RB-45C air­craft. The J-79 engine goes on to power an entire generation of Air Force fighters and bombers.

May 15 The governments of the United States and Canada agree on the details of a major construction project to build the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line. This consists of a series of radar sites across the northern hemisphere that will detect any incoming Soviet bomber aircraft.

June 11 At Wright-Patterson Air Force

Base, Ohio, an experimental F-80C fighter partially constructed of magne­sium alloys is used to test the strength and weight of new aviation alloys.

The first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile is test fired for the first time. This liquid-fueled weapon is capable of accu­rately hitting a target several thousand miles away with a nuclear warhead.

June 29 At Castle Air Force Base, Cali­fornia, the 93rd Bombardment Wing accepts delivery of the first production B – 52 Stratofortress.

July 1 Dr. S. J. Gerathewohl is tasked by the Air Force with directing a research program on weightlessness. He initiates airborne parabolic flight profiles that tem­porarily induce zero-gravity conditions while descending.

July 11 At Lowry Air Force Base, Colo­

rado, the first class of the U. S. Air Force Academy, consisting of 306 students, gathers for initial instruction.

July 20 The NB-36H Peacemaker research aircraft goes aloft for the first time, but the nuclear reactor it carries remains inactivated.

AUGUST 1 Lockheed F-80s and T-33s conduct the first zero-gravity research flight involving parabolic flight profiles.

AUGUST 4 At Groom Lake, central Nevada, the top secret Lockheed U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft flies for the first time.

In China, the Communist government releases the crew of the B-29 Stardust 40; they had been held in captivity since being shot down over North Korea on January 13, 1953. They have been held prisoner longer than any other captives from this conflict.

AUGUST 8 Over California, a Bell X-1A explodes prior to being dropped by a B-29 mother ship; pilot Joseph A. Walker manages to escape the crippled craft, which is then released from the bomb bay.

AUGUST 20 Over the Mojave Desert, California, an F-100 Super Sabre piloted by Colonel Horace A. Hanes, who is also the director of the Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, set a world speed record of 822.1 miles per hour at high altitude. He consequently wins the Mackay Trophy.

OCTOBER 5 Boeing contracts with the Air Force to construct an initial batch of 29 KC-135 tanker aircraft, although over 700 will ultimately be acquired.

OCTOBER 20 At Biggs Air Force Base, Texas, the last Boeing B-50 Superfortress is finally retired from the 97th Bombard­ment Wing.

October 22 The Republic XF-105 prototype flies for the first time and breaks the sound barrier during its maiden flight. It enters service as the F-105 Thunderchief and serves with distinction throughout the Vietnam War.

November 8—14 Because President Dwight D. Eisenhower has pronounced the acquisition ofICBMs and IRBMs as the nation’s highest priority, the Air Force proffers streamlined procedures for their development and adoption.

November 18 Over California, the Bell X-2 research plane drops from an EB – 50A mothership with Lieutenant Colonel Frank Everest at the controls. On this ini­tial flight it reaches Mach 0.95, or 627 miles per hour.

December 10 The Ryan X-13 Vertijet makes its maiden flight. While designed for vertical lift-off, it is fitted with conventional landing gear for its initial foray and makes a conventional flight profile.


JANUARY 5 In Washington, D. C., President Richard M. Nixon declares that $5.5 billion has been budgeted for the new space shuttle program.

FEBRUARY 17 At Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, a VC-137 Stratoliner from the 89th Military Airlift Wing con­veys President Richard M. Nixon on his historic mission to Beijing, China.

February 20 In Illinois, an HC-130H Hercules sets a new world record by fly­ing in from Taiwan during a nonstop, unrefueled flight.

MARCH 30 In Washington, D. C., the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) authorizes 1,800 B-52 sorties throughout Southeast Asia. This total is up 600 sorties from a previous directive issued on February 8.

The massive Communist “Easter Offensive” erupts across South Vietnam as 40,000 North Vietnamese troops, backed by 400 tanks, attacks through the Central Highlands. They are largely halted by Air Force and Navy aircraft.

April 6 In light of the Communist offen­sive in South Vietnam, Air Force and Navy aircraft resume their bombardment of North Vietnam for the first time since 1968.

April 7 In South Vietnam, General John W. Vogt, Jr., gains appointment as head of the Seventh Air Force.

April 7—May 13 In South Vietnam, Operation constant guard unfolds as 200 Air Force aircraft, stationed stateside, arrive to help contain the Communist Easter Offensive.

April 16—27 Apollo 16 becomes the fifth successful lunar expedition as Air Force astronaut Charles Duke, Jr., and Navy astronaut John Young re­main a record 71 hours on the moon’s surface.

April 27 Over North Vietnam, Air Force warplanes use 2,000-pound laser – guided Paveway I “smart bombs” against the Thanh Hoa Bridge, dropping several spans. Previously, 850 conventional attacks failed to seriously damage this structure.

MAY 5 The new Pave PAWS system becomes operational, being specifically design to detect incoming, sea-launched ballistic missiles.

MAY 10-October 23 The Fairchild YA-10 prototype, conceived as a heavily armed and armored close support aircraft, flies for the first time; in January 1973 it enters production as the A-10 Thunder­bolt II.

Over North Vietnam, Operation free­dom train commences as the Air Force resumes full-scale aerial attacks against military and economic targets. Early on, the name is changed to Operation line­backer i. At one point in the campaign, F-4 Phantoms from the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing knock out Hanoi’s Paul Doumer Bridge with precision-guided bombs.

May 13 Over North Vietnam, 14 F-4 Phantoms drop laser-guided and conven­tional ordnance against the Thanh Hoa Bridge, dropping several spans and ren­dering it useless for rail traffic for several months.

JUNE 11 Over Hanoi, North Vietnam, laser-guided bombs dropped by B-52s destroy a major hydroelectric plant.

JUNE 29 In Quang Tri Province, an A-10 Bronco piloted by Captain Steve L. Bennett, 20th Tactical Air Support Squad­ron, attacks enemy units preparing to ambush friendly forces, despite the fact that no other air support is available. After his plane is shot, Bennett orders his observer to bail out, but he dies in an attempt to ditch in some nearby water; he receives a post­humous Congressional Medal of Honor.

July 26 Rockwell International is declared to be the prime contractor to build a fleet of space shuttles for NASA.

July 27 The McDonnell Douglas YF – 15A air superiority fighter performs its maiden flight; it enters production as the F-15 Eagle.

August 11 The Northrop F-5E Tiger II prototype is flown for the first time; this is
a single-seat, armed version of the T-38 Talon trainer.

August 28 Over North Vietnam, Cap­tains Richard S. Ritchie and Charles DeBellevue shoots down their fifth MiG-21, becoming the first Air Force aces of this war.

SEPTEMBER 9 Over North Vietnam, weapons systems operator Captain Charles DeBellevue downs his sixth MiG-21, becoming the highest-scoring ace of the war.

SEPTEMBER 11 Over North Vietnam, Air Force fighter-bombers drop precision – guided weapons on the Long Bien Bridge in Hanoi, destroying it.

Подпись: Ritchie, Steve (1942-) Air Force pilot. Richard Steven Ritchie was born in Reidsville, North Carolina, on June 25,1942, and he passed through the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1964. He earned his wings at Laredo Air Force Base, Texas, in 1966, and arrived in Vietnam two years later flying F-4 Phantom II jet fighters. During his first tour, Ritchie pioneered the Fast FAC (forward air control) technique to better guide and support aerial bombing efforts. He flew 169 such missions before rotating back to the United States to attend the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. At the time, the Air Force was upgrading the flying skills of fighter pilots through the Red Flag program, which pitted them against instructors versed in Soviet-style tactics. Ritchie then returned to Vietnam in 1972 flying an improved model of the Phantom II, armed with better missiles and radar. Ritchie deployed with the 555th (“Triple Nickle”) Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Udon, Thailand, and he flew combat missions over North Vietnam to prevent the small but determined People's Air Force from attacking American bombers. On May 10,1972, Ritchie and Weapons Officer Captain Charles DeBellevue shot down their first MiG-21. Three more consecutive kills followed and, on August 28, 1972, Ritchie and DeBellevue bagged their fifth MiG-21, becoming the first Air Force aces of the Vietnam War. Ritchie retired from active duty in 1974, although he remained active in the Air Force Reserve as a brigadier general in charge of recruiting activity at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas. He retired in January 1999, and presently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

OCTOBER 2 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, an Atlas-Burner launch rocket carries two satellites aloft: Space Test Program 72-1, to measure radiation effects in space, and Radcat, a passive radar and optical calibration target.

OCTOBER 13 Over North Vietnam, weapons officer Captain Jeffrey S. Fein – stein shoots down his fifth MiG, becom­ing the final Air Force ace of the war. Feinstein, Richard S. Ritchie, and Charles B. DeBellevue all win the Mackay Trophy.

NOVEMBER 22 Over North Vietnam, a B-52 is damaged by a Communist SA- 2 missile and the crew manages to eject over Thailand; this is the first heavy bomber lost.

December 1 Colonel and astronaut Thomas P. Stafford is promoted to briga­dier general in the Air Force, aged 42 years.

DECEMBER 18—29 Over North Vietnam, Operation linebacker II kicks into effect in order to bring North Vietnam back to the Paris peace talks. All told, 741 B-52 sorties are flown, along with 796 flak sup­pression missions; 15 B-52s are downed, along with 2 F – 111s, 3 F-4s, 2 A-7s, 2 A-6s (Navy), 1 EB-66, 1 HH-53, and 1 RA-5C (Navy). On the first day of the attack, B-52 gunner Sergeant Samuel O. Turner downs a MiG-21 as it tries to attack.

DECEMBER 24 Over North Vietnam, B – 52 gunner Airman First Class Albert E. Moore shoots down the second MiG-21 scored in this fashion.


JANUARY 1 Mixed male/female teams to serve as Minuteman and Peacekeeper strategic missile crews are allowed by the Strategic Air Command (SAC) for the first time.

JANUARY 20 At Palmdale, California, the 100th Rockwell B-1B Lancer strategic bomber rolls off the assembly line. This is also the last example acquired.

JANUARY 25—28 In Manila, the Philip­pines, two C-5 Galaxy transports from the 60th Military Airlift Wing arrive with 102 tons of medical supplies to refresh the stocks of Americares, a private relief organization.

February 19-22 A C-141 of the 86th Military Airlift Wing conveys 50 tons of construction materials to repair housing in the Marshall Islands, recently battered by Typhoon Roy.

MARCH 16-28 In Honduras, Operation golden pheasant unfolds as Air Force transports convey 3,200 Army troops to counter Nicaraguan Sandinista threats to the region.

APRIL In Panama, 8 C-5 Galaxies and 22 C-141 Starlifters from the Military Airlift Command (MAC) convey 1,300 security specialists once political instability threat­ens the safety of Americans living there.

April 17-July 23 A C-5A Galaxy piloted by Captain Michael Eastman of the 436th Military Airlift Wing delivers nuclear test monitoring equipment to the Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan. This is in support of joint verification experi­ments, and Eastman wins the Mackay Trophy for the efforts.

April 18 In the Persian Gulf, Air Force tankers actively refuel Navy aircraft during a confrontation with Iranian naval forces.

April 30 At McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas, the final Rockwell B-1B Lancer arrives with the 384th Bombardment Squadron.

May At Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, C-5 Galaxy transports convey 73 tons of relief supplies to Islamabad, Pakistan, to assist refugees fleeing the onset of civil war in neighboring Afghanistan.

June 2—August 11 Sectarian warfare in

southern Sudan prompts transports of the 60th and 436th Miliary Airlift Wings to convey 70 tons of plastic sheeting for shelters, along with food and medical supplies.

July 7 The last F-106 Delta Darts are ordered dropped from the Air Force inventory after three decades of distin­guished service.

August 1 The last three F-106 Delta Darts are retired by the 177th Fighter Group; many surviving aircraft end up as remote-controlled target drones.

August 15—28 Air Force C-5 Galaxies from the Military Airlift Command (MAC) fly in 500 UN peacekeepers to help monitor a cease-fire between Turkey and Iraq.

August 22-October 6 At Yellow­stone National Park, the Military Airlift Command (MAC) transports 4,000 firefighters and 2,500 tons of equipment directly into a raging fire zone. Other transports, fitted with spraying equip­ment, apply flame retardant over thou­sands of acres.

August 25—31 In Somalia, a C-141 Starlifter belonging to the 41st Military Airlift Squadron delivers a 200-bed emer­gency hospital weighing 200 tons, after the onset of civil war creates an acute ref­ugee problem.

AUGUST 28 On the island of Sao Tome off the west coast of Africa, a C-141 Star – lifter from the 20th Military Airlift Squadron delivers 29 tons of medical sup­plies and hospital equipment to various facilities.

September Over Seoul, South Korea, an Air Force E-3A Sentry aircraft, escorted by fighters, patrols the airspace above the peninsula to deter any North Korean aggression during the Olympic games there.

September 10—15 In Bangladesh, no less than four Airlift Wings—the 60th, 62nd, 63rd, and 436th—bring 100 million tons of humanitarian supplies to the victims after catastrophic flooding leaves 28 mil­lion people homeless.

September 29 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, Discovery is launched into orbit under Air Force Colonel Richard O. Covey. This comes two-and-a-half years after the Challenger space shuttle dis­aster.

OCTOBER 25 At Marikina, Philippines, severe flooding results in two HH-3 Jolly Green Giant helicopters from the 31st Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squad­ron (ASSR) saving 27 stranded residents over an eight-hour period.

NOVEMBER 9 At Niamey, Niger, the 709th Military Airlift Squadron dis­patches a C-5 Galaxy with a mobile den­tal clinic and two ambulances at the behest of the U. S. State Department.

November 10 The existence of the Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk is made known to the public. This light bom­ber employs the smallest radar cross­section of any aircraft at the time, and is virtually invisible to radar. The Air Force acquires 59 F-117s at $42.6 million apiece.

November 16—30 At Dakar, Senegal, aircraft of the 60th, 63rd, 437th, and 438th Military Airlift Wings deliver tons of insecticide to thwart major locust infestations.

NOVEMBER 22 At Palmdale, California, the new Northrop B-2 Spirit bomber is made public; it is reputedly invisible to radar, and also costs a whopping $1 billion per aircraft. The Air Force seeks to acquire 132 such aircraft as its front-line bomber.

November 29 The 60th and final KC – 10 Extender is delivered to the Air Force. This newest version employs wing – mounted refueling pods to complement the traditional, centerline boom.

December 12 In the Pacific Ocean, the 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) dispatches a helicopter that saves 11 passengers on a life raft once their vessel sank. They are flown to Clark Air Base for treatment.


JANUARY 14 At the San Antonio Mon­ster Jam, Texas, the Air Force enters a monster truck christened Afterburner in a car-smashing contest; it loses to the equally huge competitor Grave Digger.

JANUARY 15 Over northwest Pakistan, a U. S. air strike in the Bajaur tribal region, intended for al-Qaeda second-in­command Ayman al-Zawahiri, kills sev­eral terrorists along with 18 civilians.

FEBRUARY 8 At Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, the first C-17 Globemaster III deploys to that state.

FEBRUARY 22—25 During a three-day aerial exercise off Okinawa, Japan, four F-15s of the 18th Fighter Wing simulta­neously target and fire at aerial decoys for the first time.

MARCH 20 The Air Force deploys the first of its CV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor air­craft. Unlike the Marine Corps version, this variant is outfitted for special operations.

MARCH 22 At Davis-Monthan Force Base, Arizona, A-10 Thunderbolt IIs arrive for “Hawgsmoke 2006,” an annual ground support exercise.

JUNE Former astronaut Susan J. Helms takes command of the 45th Space Wing as a newly minted brigadier general.

JUNE 7 Near Baqubah, Iraq, an air strike by two Air Force F-16s kills terrorist ringleader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi at his hiding place. The raid was directed by nearby Special Forces.

June 30 In Washington, D. C., Chief Master Sergeant Rodney J. McKinley gains appointment as chief master ser­geant of the Air Force.

OCTOBER 14 In Arlington, Virginia, cer­emonies mark the dedication of the new Air Force Memorial.

DECEMBER 15 The Lockheed Martin F – 35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter per­forms its maiden flight.


January 1 A milestone is passed as the 1000th Boeing B-47 Stratojet is accepted into service by the Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC). It continues on as the main­stay of American nuclear deterrence until the larger and more capable B-52s are available in greater numbers.

January 17 In Washington, D. C., the Department of Defense declares that an automated, electronic air defense system called SAGE (semi-automatic ground environment) has been developed and deployed. This is a complex phone sys­tem tied to computer centers for a rapid transfer of real-time information.

February 17 The first production Lockheed F-104 Starfighter makes its ini­tial flight.

MARCH 9 The new Boeing B-52C Stra – tofortress, equipped with large under­wing tanks for greater range, performs its maiden flight.

MARCH 24 Airman D. F. Smith is sealed in the Air Force space cabin simulator for 24 hours without ill effects.

APRIL 23 The Douglas C-133A Cargo – master flies for the first time. The Air Force acquires 50 ofthese giant transports to haul ICBMs and other missile systems around the country.

Подпись: A SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) terminal used during cold war to analyze radar data in real time to target Soviet bombers. The light pen, which was shaped similar to a handheld power drill or gun, is resting on the console. Notice the built-in cigarette lighter and the ashtray just left of the light pen. (U.S. Air Force)

May 7 Off the coast of Cape Cod, the first Air Force “Texas Tower” early warning radar is constructed 100 miles at sea on the Georges Bank.

May 21 Over Bikini Atoll, a B-52 piloted by Major David Crichlow drops a thermonuclear bomb from 50,000 feet. This is the first airborne delivery for such a weapon and the test is considered a suc­cess.

May 31 At Turner Air Force Base, George, the 4080th Strategic Reconnais­sance Wing deploys the first RB-57D Canberra jet.

June 4 Over Wichita, Kansas, the first B – 52D Stratofortess flies for the first time; this version is especially equipped for long-range bombing missions.

June 22 In the Caribbean, Operation six­teen ton unfolds as Air Force Reserve transports begin their first sustained cargo airlift into that region.

July 4 At Wiesbaden, West Germany, the top secret Lockheed U-2 spyplane makes its first clandestine overflight of the Soviet Union by photographing air­fields in the Baltics, Minsk, and Leningrad before returning home.

July 15 At Torrejon, Spain, the Six­teenth Air Force is created as part of NATO.

July 18 At Renton, Washington, the last Boeing KC-97G propellor-driven tanker aircraft is rolled out of the factory.

July 23 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Bell X-2 rocket-powered research aircraft is flown by Lieutenant Colonel Frank K. Everest to a record speed of 1,900 miles per hour at an alti­tude of 75,000 feet.

AUGUST 27 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Thor rocket engine undergoes its first static test firing by the Air Force Flight Test Center.

AUGUST 31 At Renton, Washington, the first Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker is rolled off the assembly line.

SEPTEMBER 7 Over California, the Bell X-2 rocket research airplane is flown by Captain Iven C. Kincheloe to an altitude of 126,200 feet—the first time a human being has exceeded 100,000 feet. Kinche – loe receives a Mackay Trophy for his endeavor.

September 15 At Hahn Air Base, West Germany, the 701st Tactical Missile Wing deploys as part of the Twelfth Air Force. This is the first unit of its kind and operates Matador missiles.

September 20 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the three-stage Jupiter C missile is launched for the first time. It ventures 3,300 miles downrange after reaching an altitude of 680 miles.

September 27 Over California, disaster strikes as the Bell X-2 rocket plane flown by Captain Milburn G. Ap loses control after reaching 2,094 miles per hour at an altitude of 65,000 feet. He manages to eject but dies after his capsule hits the des­ert floor.

OCTOBER 26 At Fort Worth, Texas, the Bell XH-40 helicopter prototype takes to the air. It enters production as the UH-1 Iroquois, or Huey, and sees widespread service in the Vietnam War.

NOVEMBER 6 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the first Navajo ramjet ICBM is launched and breaks up after 30 seconds of flight.

November 11 At Fort Worth, Texas, the Convair XB-58 prototype completes its maiden flight. This sleek, delta­winged bomber enters production as the B-58 Hustler and is the first aircraft of its class to incorporate “area rule” in its design.

November 16 In California, parts of Camp Cooke are transferred to the Air Force by the Defense Department. This is the future site ofVandenberg Air Force Base and also the first active ICBM base.

November 26 In Washington, D. C., Defense Secretary Charles E. Wilson del­egates operational jurisdiction over long – range missiles to the Air Force.

November 30 After a final successful test, the Martin TM-61 Matador is certi­fied as operational. This is the Air Force’s first tactical missile and it can reach 35,000 feet at a speed of 650 miles per hour.

December 9 The 463rd Troop Carrier Wing accepts delivery of the first Lockheed C-130 Hercules transport. This versatile craft can carry 92 fully armed troops or 92 tons of cargo for 2,500 miles and operate from unprepared runways as short as 4,000 feet.

December 10 In West Germany, Oper­ation safe haven begins as the Military Air Transport Service begins lifting 100,000 Hungarian refugees fleeing a Soviet invasion of their country. The operation lasts seven months.

December 21 At Dayton, Ohio, Major Arnold I. Beck reaches a simulated alti­tude of 198,770 feet in an Air Research and Development Command chamber.

December 26 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Convair YF-106 prototype makes its initial flight. It enters service as the F-106 Delta Dart and serves with distinction as a bomber interceptor.


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

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

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

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

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

FEBRUARY 21 Over Laos, a cease-fire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 12-April 6 In the Middle

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

October 14-November 14 In Israel,

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

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

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

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


JANUARY 7—20 At Monrovia, Liberia, MEDFLY 89, a joint-service humanitarian effort, unfolds as two C-130 Hercules from the 167th Tactical Airlift Group deliver needed medical supplies and personnel.

JANUARY 10 The AGM-136 Tacit Rain­bow missile is tested by a B-52 bomber for the first time. This advanced weapon flies to specific coordinates then loiters until radar energy is detected and identi­fied, whereupon it homes in and destroys the target.

FEBRUARY At Dakar, Senegal, the 63rd Military Airlift Wing dispatches two C – 141 Starlifters carrying 20 tons of insecti­cide to control swarming locusts.

FEBRUARY 16 In California, the T-38 Talon production line is finally closed by

Northrop after the 3,806th supersonic jet trainer is manufactured.

MARCH 27 In Alaska, Military Airlift Command (MAC) transports convey over 1,000 tons of cleanup equipment after 10 million gallons of oil are spilled by the tanker Exxon Valdez.

APRIL In Africa, the 436th Military Airlift Wing delivers 32 pallets of relief supplies to malnourished inhabitants of Gambia, Equatorial Guinea, and Chad.

April 17 At Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, a Boeing E-3A Sentry aircraft christened Elf One returns after serving eight years on station over Saudi Arabia.

The U. S. Air Force accepts the 50th and final Lockheed C-5B Galaxy transport.

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May 13—18 In Panama, Operation nim­rod dancer unfolds as the Air Force transports fly in 2,600 marines, along with 3,000 tons of equipment, in response to threats to U. S. military personnel.

May 16—June 29 Continuing political unrest in Panama results in Operation blade jewel, whereby Air Force transports evacuate 6,000 nonessential personnel.

June 9—11 In response to a terrible train wreck near Ufa on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, resulting in 850 casualties, the Military Airlift Command (MAC) sends several transports to the Soviet Union with humanitarian supplies for the victims.

June 10 At Edwards Air Force Base, Cal­ifornia, Captain Jacquelyn S. Parker becomes the first female graduate of the Air Force Test Pilot School.

June 14 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the new Titan IV heavy-lift rocket booster is launched for the first time and carries a Department of Defense sat­ellite aloft.

July 6 In Washington, D. C., President H. W. Bush awards noted aviator James H. Doolittle the Presidential Medal of Freedom; he remains the only American to receive this and a Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s two highest awards.

July 17 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the new Northrop-Grumman B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flies for the first time.

AUGUST 16 The first Pacific Air Chiefs Conference is hosted by the Pacific Air Forces, and is attended by ranking airmen from Australia, Japan, the Philippines,

Singapore, Malaysia, and Brunei. It seeks to promote regional cooperation and security through air power.

September 19-21 The Military Airlift Command (MAC) conveys 4,300 tons of humanitarian supplies after Hurricane Hugo ravages the coast of South Carolina. Meanwhile, RF-4C Phantom II reconnaissance aircraft from nearby Shaw Air Force Base provide photo cov­erage to National Guard troops con­ducting rescue operations.

OCTOBER 1 General Hansford T. John­

son becomes the first U. S. Air Force Academy graduate promoted to full (four-star) rank.

OCTOBER 3 The last production U-2R spyplane is delivered to the Air Force by Lockheed; the clandestine fleet now consists of 9 U-2Rs, 26 TR-1As, and 2 TR-1Bs.

OCTOBER 4 A B-1B Lancer piloted by Captain Jeffrey K. Beene, 96th Bombardment Wing, makes a nose – wheel-up landing without seriously dam­aging the aircraft. Beene wins the Mackay Trophy.

Over Antarctica, a C-5 Galaxy from the 60th Military Airlift Wing lands for the first time at McMurdo Station with­out skids, and delivers two UH-1N Huey helicopters, 84 tons of supplies, and 72 passengers.

OCTOBER 17 After San Francisco, California, is heavily damaged by an enormous earthquake, transports from the Military Airlift Command (MAC) deliver 250 tons of supplies.

December 14 Women serve as combat crew members on C-130 and C-141 air­drop missions for the first time.

December 20—24 Over Panama, six F – 117s of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and special operations AC-130H aircraft from Air Force Special Operations Com­mand participate in Operation just cause. Military Airlift Command (MAC) trans­ports also airdrop 9,500 troops from Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, in the biggest nighttime combat operation since the World War II. Furthermore, Air Force Reserve aircraft deliver in 6,000 passengers and 3,700 tons of supplies as hostilities unfold.

The 16th Special Operations Squad­ron, flying an AC-130H named Air

Papa 06, distinguishes itself in combat during Operation just cause by destroy­ing numerous barracks and antiaircraft gun emplacements at La Comandancia (Panamanian Defense Force head­quarters) without inflicting collateral damage to civilian buildings nearby. They win a Mackay Trophy for their mission.

December 29—31 In Bucharest, Roma­nia, two C-130 Hercules from the Mili­tary Airlift Command (MAC) deliver 30 tons of medical supplies to treat the victims in the wake of a bloody anti­Communist uprising.