FEBRUARY 17 At Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, the 403rd Wing accepts delivery of the first Lockheed C-130J, a high-tech version mounting six-bladed propellers.

MARCH 24—June 10 Over Kosovo, Air Force and NATO warplanes commence Operation noble anvil to halt Serbian forces committing “ethnic cleansing.” This is the largest aerial offensive in Europe

since World War II, and aims to stop Serbs under President Slobodan Milosevic from further atrocities. American aircraft consti­tute 723 out of 1,023 aircraft involved. This also witnesses the combat debut of the B-2 Spirit bomber. On the first day of the campaign, an F-16C piloted by Captain Jeffrey G. J. Hwang shoots down a pair of Serbian MiG-29s with new AIM-120 AMRAAM missiles in one quick action, winning a Mackay Trophy.

MARCH 27 Over Kosovo, a Lockheed F-117 stealth fighter is downed by Serbian missiles, but the pilot is rescued after being spotted by A-10 pilot Captain John A. Cherrey; Cherrey receives a Silver Star for his assistance.

April 4 In Tirana, Albania, Operation sustain hope unfolds as Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-17 Globemaster Ills fly 3,000 tons of relief supplies from Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, to refu­gees in Kosovo.

April 8 Over Serbia, Air Force and NATO aircraft begin around-the-clock bombing sorties to convince President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw from Kosovo.

April 17 Over Serbia, the unmanned RQ-1 Predator drone performs its first known combat operation by firing a Copperhead missile.

May 1 The Air Force Reserve Com­mand mobilizes its first tanker wing for active duty, this being the first of five wings facing activation over the next nine months.

In Kosovo, a Serbian bus plunges off a bridge recently bombed by NATO aircraft; there are 47 fatalities. By this point in Operation allied force, the American sortie rate has reached 150 per day.

May 2 Over Serbia, an F-16 is downed by ground fire, although the pilot is res­cued by an MH-60 helicopter. This is the second and final aircraft lost during Operation ALLIED FORCE.

May 4 Over Kosovo, an F-16C pilot shoots down a MiG-29; this is the final Air Force victory of Operation allied


May 7 In Belgrade, Serbia, ordnance fired by a B-2A Spirit stealth bomber accidently strikes the Chinese embassy, killing three. The problem was incorrect coordinates provided by headquarters. Massive demonstrations break out in China as a result.

June 10—July 6 Over Kosovo, Air Force and NATO air raids are suspended as Serbian forces begin withdrawing. This is also the first military campaign won by air power alone.

July 23—27 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, Colonel Eileen M. Collins becomes the first woman to command a space shuttle flight when she lifts off with the Columbia. The Chandra X-Ray Observatory is placed in orbit during this mission.

July 30 In Washington, D. C., F. Whit­ten Peters is named secretary of the Air Force in full capacity. Chief Master Ser­geant Frederick J. Finch also gains appointment as chief master sergeant of the Air Force.

SEPTEMBER 20 In Dili, East Timor, air­craft of the Air Mobility Command (AMC) begin transporting Australian peacekeeping forces to restore stability to that island.

OCTOBER 1 Aerospace Expeditionary Force 1 is sent to Southwest Asia for the first time. This new system is designed to permit more effective deployments around the world while also rendering them more predictable to increase unit morale.

At Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, “Warrior Week” is initiated by the Air Education and Training Comm­and to grant basic trainees a glimpse of the Aerospace Expeditionary Force concept. This also constitutes the biggest change in military training in half-a – century.

OCTOBER 6 At Langdon, North Dakota, 150 Minutemen III silos are destroyed in accordance with the Strategic Arms Reduc­tion Treaty (START II) with Russia.

NOVEMBER 2 In the Panama Canal Zone, Howard Air Base is relinquished by American authorities; this had been an active airfield for the past 82 years.

December 20—28 In Venezuela, Air Mobility Command (AMC) C-5, C – 141, and C-130 transports convey huma­nitarian aid supplies to assist 200,000 vic­tims of severe flooding.