JANUARY 2 Over Ap Bac, South Vietnam, South Vietnamese aircraft attack suspected Viet Cong positions. Afterwards, Air Force Piasecki H-21 helicopters arrive to deliver supplies to troops there.
FEBRUARY 6 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, members of the 655th Aerospace Test Wing test launch a Titan II missile for the first time.
FEBRUARY 23 At Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron becomes the first operational Minuteman ICBM unit.
April 12 An F-104 Starfighter piloted by aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran sets a women’s world speed record of 1,273 miles per hour over a straight course.
May 1 Over Edwards Air Force Base,
California, aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran establishes another women’s speed record by flying a TF-104 Starfighter at 1,203.7 miles per hour over a 10-kilometer course.
May 7 Over South Vietnam, an Air Force RB-57E flies a reconnaissance mission for the first time in conjunction with Operation PATRICIA LYNN.
May 15—16 At Cape Canaveral, Major L. Gordon Cooper is blasted into orbit in his Faith 7 Mercury capsule. He circles the Earth 22 times and lands safely after 34 hours and 19 minutes. Cooper is the first American astronaut to remain in space longer than one day and he is also the last American to fly alone.
May 24 At Wendover, Utah, a top secret Lockheed A-12 crashes while undergoing an extensive flight-test.
May 27 At St. Louis, Missouri, the McDonnell Douglas F-4C Phantom II makes its maiden flight; the Tactical Air Command acquires 580 of this model.
June 8 At Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, the 570th Strategic Missile Squadron becomes the Strategic Air Command’s (SAC) first operational Titan II unit.
June 17 The new Sikorsky CH-3C, which features a hydraulic rear ramp, performs its maiden flight.
July 20 The top secret Lockheed A-12 reaches Mach 3 in level flight for the first time.
July 20—21 Over South Vietnam, a C-47 piloted by Captain Warren P. Tomsett makes a dangerous landing at Loc Ninh, near the Cambodian border, to rescue six wounded Vietnamese soldiers. The mission requires careful planning and timing, yet goes offsuccessfully; Tomsett and his crew consequently win the Mackay Trophy.
July 26 The Air Force launches Syncon 2, the first satellite placed in a geosynchronous orbit above the Earth. This leaves the satellite hovering over a fixed position in space.
AUGUST 1 The NASA satellite Mariner II is
launched by the Air Force; this device is destined to travel 540 miles to orbit the sun.
AUGUST 7 At Groom Lake, Nevada, the YF-12A, a high-speed, advanced interceptor, performs its maiden flight.
AUGUST 22 The X-15 hypersonic research aircraft piloted by Joe Walker reaches 67 miles above the Earth’s surface, placing it on the very edge of space. This is also the highest point achieved by the X-15 program.
OCTOBER 16 In concert with Project vela hotel, the Air Force launches twin 475-pound satellites that assume circular orbits at opposite ends of the planet.
Operation GREASED LIGHTNING unfolds
as a B-58 Hustler covers the 8,028-mile distance between Tokyo, Japan, and RAF Greenham Common, England, in 8 hours and 35 minutes.
October 22 The Cessna YAT-37D prototype performs its maiden flight; this an armed, light attack version of the T-37 jet trainer.
NOVEMBER 29 Cape Canaveral, Florida, is renamed Cape Kennedy in honor of the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy.
December 10 In Washington, D. C., Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara
tasks the Air Force with developing the new Manned Orbiting Laboratory.
Over Edwards Air Force Base, Colonel Chuck Yeager zooms up to 90,000 feet in a rocket-augmented NF-104A before entering a flat spin. He falls to 10,000 feet before being able to eject safely, although he suffers severe burns.
The Air Force cancels the X-20 Dyna – Soar program without ever launching a test vehicle.
December 17 At Dobbins Air Force Base, Georgia, the Lockheed C-141A prototype performs its maiden flight. This giant jet transport enters service as the Starlifter.
December 31 In Washington, D. C., President Lyndon B. Johnson authorizes the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron to perform U-2 clandestine photographic missions over Southeast Asia.