January 6 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, the first operational F-16 Falcon deploys with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing. This multirole aircraft is capable of performing air superiority and close support missions.

January 29 E-3A Sentry AWACS air­craft are assigned responsibilities within the continental air defense mission.

February 27 At St. Louis, Missouri, the improved F-15C Eagle flies for the first time.

March 9 Two E-3A AWACS aircraft participate in Operation flying star, as they are dispatched to Saudi Arabia in light of perceived threats from revolutionary Iran.

MARCH 31 Over the Yellow Sea, Major

James E. McArdle, Jr., pilots an H-3 Helicopter which rescues 28 Taiwanese seamen whose ship had run aground; he wins the Mackay Trophy.

Following the nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, C-5 Galaxy, C-141 Starlifter, and C-130 Her­cules transports begin flying in lead shielding and testing equipment to the afflicted area.

April 3—5 At Nandi International Air­port, Fiji, two C-141s of the Military Air­lift Command (MAC) deliver 20 tons of food and supplies to assist survivors of Typhoon Meli.

April 13 A C-141 Starlifter carrying 20 tons of vegetable seed is dispatched by the Military Airlift Command (MAC) to assist famished inhabitants of Kamina, Zaire.

APRIL 19—20 Transports of the Military Airlift Command (MAC) deliver 139 tons of humanitarian supplies to Titograd International Airport, Yugoslavia, after earthquakes ravage Adriatic coastal regions.

May Sembach Air Base, West Germany, becomes the first forward operating base (FOB) for A-10 Thunderbolt IIs. This new tactical planning allows Air Force jets to operate closer to the front in the event of a Soviet invasion.

MAY 2—3 Two E-3A Sentry AWACS

aircraft begin their first overseas training mission in central Europe.

June 1 The Air Force Community Col­

lege departs Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, for a new home as part of the Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

RAF Fairford, England, becomes an active in supporting Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC) tanker operations.

June 5 In Washington, D. C., develop­ment of the new MX intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) is authorized by President Jimmy Carter.

July 8-16 Operation GLOBAL SHIELD 79 commences. This intricate nuclear war plan exercise also involves 100,000 mem­bers ofthe Strategic Air Command (SAC) and hundreds of bombers, tankers, and missiles being placed on alert or dispersed to various locations to test the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP). GLOBAL SHIELD remains an annual SAC exercise for the rest of the Cold War.

July 26 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the 400th Minuteman missile test is performed by Air Force crews.

August 31-November 21 Military Airlift Command (MAC) cargo planes begin delivering 2,900 tons of relief sup­plies to Caribbean islands devastated by Hurricanes David and Frederic.

SEPTEMBER 12 At RAF Fairford, England, Strategic Air Command (SAC) refueling operations are assisted by the first two KC-135 Stratotankers deployed there.

SEPTEMBER 15-22 Over Southern Cali­fornia, 732,000 gallons of water and flame retardant are dropped by Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard C-130s in a massive firefighting operation.

OCTOBER 1 The Air Defense Command (ADC) is gradually decommissioned as the Air Force begins phasing out its responsibilities to the Strategic Air Com­mand (SAC) and the Tactical Air Com­mand (TAC).

OCTOBER 19 At Yokota Air Base, Japan, specially-equipped C-141 Starlifters arrive to transport 38 severely burned marines to medical facilities at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas.

OCTOBER 26 At St. Louis, Missouri, McDonnell Douglas terminates F-4 Phantom II production after a run of 5,000 machines.

December 2-21 The Military Airlift Command (MAC) transports begin delivering 650 tons of relief supplies and 250 medical personnel to Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands, in the wake of Typhoon Abby.

December 20 A Minuteman I missile carries an Advanced Maneuvering Reentry Vehicle (AMaRV) on board for the first time. This device employs an autonomous navigation system to avoid enemy antimissile weapons.