JANUARY 9 Over Bosnia-Herzegovina, Operation provide promise begins coming to an end; Air Force transports have flown 4,597 sorties and delivered
62,0 metric tons of cargo to numerous refugees throughout the region. This is the longest sustained humanitarian airlift in aviation history.
FEBRUARY 14 Over the Balkans, the E-8A JSTARS aircraft flies its 50th mission in support of Operation joint endeavor; this is a highly advanced, joint surveillance and target attack radar aircraft.
February 24 The space shuttle Endeavor, commanded by Air Force colonel John H. Casper, completes a 10- day mission after spending 240 hours and 39 minutes in space and completing 160 Earth orbits.
MARCH 29 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, the Tier III Minus Dark Star unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies for the first time. This is intended as a stealthy, jet-propelled reconnaissance system, but only five are built before the program is cancelled.
April 3 Outside Dubrovnik, Croatia, an Air Force CT-43 transport jet from the 76th Airlift Squadron crashes into a mountain, killing Secretary ofCommerce Ron Brown and 34 passengers.
APRIL 9—25 Over Monrovia, Liberia, Operation assured response commences as Air Force AC-130s, MC-130s,
C-130s, and MH-53J Pave Low helicopters execute 94 missions to evacuate
2,0 citizens and foreign nationals.
April 15 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Navy and Air Force navigator trainees will jointly study in a single class for the first time.
April 18 In Sierra Leone, Africa, a pair of C-17 Globemaster Ills convey two MH – 53J Pave Low helicopters to England, at a considerable savings in time and expense had they flown under their own power.
April 30 The top secret Tacit Blue aircraft is publicly revealed for the first time; this formed the basis of the B-2A Spirit stealth bomber.
MAY 1 At Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, a German officer takes charge of the German tactical training center; this is the first time that a foreign officer commands a foreign unit within the united States.
MAY 31 The Air Force signs a $16.2 billion contract to purchase 80 additional C-17 Globemaster III transports. This is the most costly military order ever placed, bringing the total number of C-17s acquired to 120. These aircraft also allow the aging C- 141 Starlifters to be phased out.
June 6 Lieutenant Colonel Kai Lee Norwood assumes control ofthe 91st Logistic Group, becoming the first woman commander of a unit responsible for maintaining Air Force missiles.
June 11 The Air Force accepts delivery of the first production Boeing E-8 JSTARS aircraft. Previously, several preproduction models had demonstrated their utility during Operations desert storm and joint endeavor.
June 21 At Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, Navy commander David J. Cheslak assumes control of the 562nd Flying Training Squadron. He becomes the first naval officer to lead an Air Force unit, which, in this instance, is responsible for training navigators for both services.
June 25 At Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a terrorist bomb explodes outside the Khobar Towers, killing 19 airmen and injuring hundreds of passersby.
July 27 At Fort Worth, Texas, the Air Force retires its last General Dynamics F – 111s from active duty, ironically at the same plant where the first model was accepted 30 years earlier. The final unit operating F-111s, the 524th Fighter Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base,
New Mexico, is reequipped with F-16 Falcons. The nickname Aardvark, which had been the unofficial moniker for the F-111 for years, also gains official status.
September 3 The Air Combat Com
mand (ACC) activates the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron as the first unit to operate RQ-1B Predators, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). These are initially deployed to monitor the peace agreement in Bosnia.
SEPTEMBER 3—4 Over Iraq, Operation desert strike commences following Iraqi seizure of the city oflbril. Consequently, two B-52Hs depart Guam, fly to the Middle East, and launch 13 cruise missiles against antiaircraft and command and control centers. The mission requires the assistance of 29 tanker aircraft and wins the crew of Duke 01 the Mackay Trophy; this is also the first combat mission of the B-52H.
SEPTEMBER 3 Over Bosnia-Herzegovina, the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron becomes the first Air Force unit operating the new RQ-1 Predator unmanned aerial
vehicle (UAV). They help enforce peace treaty provisions.
September 4 At Bujumbura, Burundi, a C-141 Starlifter from the 305th Air Mobility Wing arrives from McGuire Air Force Base to help evacuate 30 foreign nationals during a period of civil strife.
SEPTEMBER 14 In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Air Force security personnel are on hand to help provide security during the first free elections since their civil war.
September 15—19 In northern Iraq, Operation pacific haven unfolds as Air Force transports convey two thousand Kurdish refugees to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for processing prior to settling in the United States.
September 30 In Western Europe, the
Seventeenth Air Force is inactivated after four decades of service.
OCTOBER 8 Over the Nellis Air Force Base Range, Nevada, three Northrop B – 2A Spirit bombers score 16 hits on 16 targets using the live Global Position System-Aided Targeting System. The aircraft were dropping 2,000-pound bombs from 41,000 feet.
OCTOBER 21 Over Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, an F-16C Fighting Falcon successfully conducts the first guided launch of a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). The 2,000-pound bomb, released from 20,000 feet, was partially guided by the Global Positioning System (GPS) and its own internal navigation system.
OCTOBER 22 Operational control of all C-130 Hercules transports and Learjet C-21 liaison craft in the United States is transferred from the Air Combat Command (ACC) to the Air Mobility Command (AMC), although aircraft deployed in Europe and the Pacific remain under their respective local commands.
NOVEMBER 5 In Washington, D. C.,
Chief Master Sergeant Eric W. Benken gains appointment as chief master sergeant of the Air Force.
November 21 In Washington, D. C.,
Secretary of the Air Force Dr. Sheila Wid – nall releases the policy projection paper Global Reach, Global Power, to the public. This far-sighted work conceptualizes Air Force power into the next century.
NOVEMBER 26 At Elgin Air Force Base, Florida, the first armed test of a GBU-31 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) transpires as an F-16C releases one from
20,0 feet; although the target was obscured by heavy cloud cover, the bomb fell within 9.2 meters of the target.
December 4 At Hill Air Force Base, Utah, an F-16C piloted by Captain Kurt Gallegos, 388th Fighter Wing, flies the 5 millionth hour in the Air Force’s Fighting Falcon fleet.