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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1,0 miles per hour.