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.