JANUARY 29 In northwestern Pakistan, a missile strike launched by an unmanned Predator drone kills wanted terrorist leader Abu Laith al-Libi.
FEBRUARY 20 In Washington, D. C., the Defense Department declares that a U. S. missile has successfully destroyed a falling spy satellite to prevent its fuel tank from contaminating parts of the Earth as its orbit decays.
FEBRUARY 23 On Guam, a B-2A Spirit stealth bomber crashes shortly after takeoff, although both crew members survive. This is the first accident involving a B-2, of which only 21 were built, and it sets the taxpayers back $1 billion.
MARCH 24 In Washington, D. C., Air Force and Defense Department officials admit that in 2006 a shipment of ICBM – related parts had been mistakenly shipped to the Republic of China (Taiwan) instead of helicopter batteries. The government at Taipei reported the incident at the time, but it took nearly a year for military officials to rectify the mistake.
June 5 In Washington, D. C., Secretary of Defense Robert Gates dismisses Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley for an August 2007 incident whereby a B-52 bomber had unintentionally flown with six nuclear – tipped cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
June 21 In Washington, D. C., President George W. Bush nominates Michael B. Donley to serve as acting secretary of the Air Force.
JULY 6 In Nangarhar Province, Afghani
stan, an American air strike kills several Taliban militants, but Afghan government officials complain that 47 civilians at wedding party also died.
July 22 Off Guam, a B-52 bomber from the 36th Bomb Wing crashes, killing all six crew members.
AUGUST 12 In Washington, D. C., General Norton A. Schwartz gains appointment as the 19th Air Force chief of staff.
OCTOBER 2 In Washington, D. C., the U. S. Senate confirms Lieutenant General Craig R. McKinley, present director of the Air National Guard, to full (four – star) general and head of the National Guard Bureau. He is also the first Air Force officer to hold that post since 2002.
OCTOBER 17 In Washington, D. C., Michael B. Donley gains appointment as the 22nd secretary of the Air Force.
January 1 At an undisclosed location, two senior al-Qaeda leaders, Usama al – Kini and Sheikh Salim Swedan, are killed by a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone.
January 23 In North and South Waziristan, Pakistan, five missiles fired in two U. S. Predator drone attacks kill 14 Taliban militants. These are the first attacks since President Barack Obama took office and signal that these tactics will continue.
February 14 Near the town of Makeen, South Waziristan, Pakistan, two missiles by a U. S. Predator drone kill an estimated 30 Taliban militants.
FEBRUARY 16 In the Kurram Valley, Pakistan, missiles fired by U. S. Predator drones kill an estimated 30 Taliban militants.
MARCH 1 In Sararogha village, South
Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from U. S. Predator drones kill seven Taliban militants.
MARCH 12 Over Afghanistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill an estimated 24 Taliban militants.
MARCH 15 InJani Khel, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, missiles fired from U. S. Predator drones kill four Taliban operatives.
MARCH 25 Over Edwards Air Force Base, California, the first ultramodern F-22A Raptor jet fighter crashes; the pilot is killed.
Near Makeen, South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S.
Predator drone kill seven Taliban militants riding in two vehicles.
MARCH 26 Over Essokhel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile fired from a U. S. Predator drone kills four Taliban militants.
APRIL 1 In the Orakzai tribal area, Pakistan, a missile strike by a U. S. Predator drone kills 14 Taliban militants.
APRIL 4 In North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills 13 suspected Taliban.
APRIL 8 In Gangi Khel, South Waziri – stan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills four Taliban militants in a vehicle.
APRIL 19 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills three suspected Taliban militants.
APRIL 29 In Kanni Garam village, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills six Taliban militants.
May 2 In Canberra, Australia, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announces the purchase of 100 Lockheed F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters as part ofan overall military buildup and modernization program.
May 9 In Sararogha, South Waziristan,
Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone kills six Taliban militants.
May 12 In Sra Khawra village, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills eight Taliban militants.
May 16 Over Sarkai Naki, North Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill 25 Taliban militants.
May 22 At Edwards Air Force Base, California, a T-38 Talon jet trainer crashes, killing the pilot.
JUNE 4 In Washington, D. C., the Air Force reveals the existence of its Counter-Electronics High-Powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project. This new weapon is a cruise missile capable of emitting focused bursts of high-power microwaves (HPM) that fry enemy electronics without harming their operators. A $40 million prototype is expected to be operational within five years or less.
JUNE 6 At Cape Canaveral, Florida, the Air Force unveils the top secret X-37B
unmanned space plane in anticipation of aJanuary 2010 launch. This five-ton craft is only 27 feet long and 15 feet across, yet is capable of performing a variety of classified missions.
JUNE 14 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles fired from a U. S. Predator drone kill five Taliban militants in a vehicle.
June 18 In northwest Pakistan, a sus
pected U. S. missile strike kills eight people at the villages of Gharlamai and Nandaran; most were apparently Taliban guerillas, but two dozen villagers may also have been injured.
JUNE 22 The Air Force announces that it has developed a new bomb rack for the B-2 stealth bomber, enabling it to carry the advanced MOP (Massive Ordnance Penetrator), weighing 30,000 pounds.
June 23 In Makeen, South Waziristan,
Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone missile strike at a funeral for fallen Taliban leader Niaz Wali kills 45 guerillas in attendance. A concurrent missile strike in Neej Narai also kills eight suspected Taliban militants.
June 24 In Washington, D. C., a commuter train crash kills nine people, including Major General David F. Wher – ley, Jr., formerly commander of the 113th Fighter Wing at Andrews Air Force Base. On September 11, 2001, he scrambled jets over the capital to thwart potential terrorist attacks.
June 29 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the 576th Flight Test Squadron launches a Minuteman III ICBM for test and reliability purposes, and it flies 4,300 miles downrange to targets near Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands.
June 30 In Khost Province, along the
Afghan-Pakistani border, U. S. airstrikes
reportedly kill 12 Taliban militants hiding in a bunker complex.
July 3 Over Pakistan, a U. S. Predator
drone launches missiles at Taliban training facilities, killing 17 people and wounding 27 others. The facility was operated by Baitullah Mehsud, wanted for the assassination offormer prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
July 4 The Air Force announces that all F-22 Raptor fighters will be upgraded for ground attack missions. This is possible due to modifications to the onboard AN/APG-77 radar, which allow it to see realistic photo images on the ground.
July 7 In the Makeen area of South Waziristan, Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone strike against Taliban targets kills 12 militants associated with the band of Baitullah Mehsud.
July 8 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a U. S. Predator drone launches missiles at a
Taliban target, critically wounding Mau – lana Fazlullah and killing 45 associates.
JULY 10 In Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, a U. S air strike results in the deaths of 22 Taliban insurgents.
JULY 17 In Garhiwam Bahadur Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes the home ofmilitant Abdul Majid, killing five Taliban militants.
In Washington, D. C., Senators Carl Levin and John McCain argue for striking additional funding for the F-22 jet fighter; President Barack Obama has threatened to veto any defense appropriation bill containing more money than for the 187 aircraft requested.
July 18 In eastern Afghanistan, an F-15E Strike Eagle inexplicably crashes, killing two crew members. The cause of the loss remains speculative but enemy action is ruled out.
July 23 At an undisclosed location in Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone reputedly kills the son of Saudi terrorist Osama bin Laden.
JULY 30 In a major policy shift, the U. S. government announces that Predator drone strikes in Pakistan will – refocus from neutralizing al-Qaeda targets to local Taliban efforts. The change will help shore up the Pakistani regime in the face of a protracted radical insurgency.
AUGUST 4 According to a national survey released by the Quinnipiac poll organization, 61 percent of Americans support the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945; only 23 percent objected, while 16 percent were undecided.
AUGUST 5 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes the home ofwanted Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, killing one of his two wives.
AUGUST 7 In South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone kills Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as he lies on a rooftop. Mehsud, who suffered from diabetes, was observed having his legs massaged—a clear indication of who it was. This activity was clearly observed by television cameras onboard the Predator, and the attack followed.
AUGUST 8 In Ottawa, Canada, the government announces that it has possibly found the wreckage of a U. S. Army OA-10A Catalina amphibious aircraft that crashed in the St. Lawrence River on November 2, 1942. The United States and Canada will work to recover the wreckage and any human remains there.
AUGUST 10 The Strategic Air Command (SAC), which was disbanded in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, is revived in the form of the new Global Strike Command. The spit-and-polish attitude of SAC, along with instant dismissal of officers who do not measure up, becomes incorporated into the unit following a rash of nuclear-related mishaps.
In Afghanistan, U. S. and coalition officials point to declining numbers of Afghan civilians killed due to new restrictions and rules of engagement for dropping bombs. Taliban militants routinely use civilians as “human shields” to evade bombing attacks, but the tradeoffin terms of better public relations is viewed as worth such restraint.
AUGUST 11 In Kaniguram, South Waziri- stan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a
U. S. Predator drone strikes a house used by Taliban militants, killing 14 people.
AUGUST 21 In Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone strikes a suspected Taliban hideout, killing 11 insurgents.
AUGUST 23 At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the Air Force launches another Minuteman III ICBM for testing purposes, which splashes down at a target range in the Kwajalein Atoll, 4,200 miles distant.
AUGUST 27 In Tapar Ghar, South Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched by a U. S. Predator drone strikes a Taliban hideout operated by Waliur Rehman, killing six militants.
September 13 In the Bala Baluk district of Farah Province, Afghanistan, air strikes by U. S. and coalition warplanes kill several dozen Taliban militants.
September 14 In the town of Mir Ali, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile launched from a U. S. Predator drone strikes a car, killing four Taliban militants.
SEPTEMBER 17 Over Pakistan, a missile fired by a U. S. Predator drone kills two dangerous al-Qaeda leaders, including Najmiddin Kamolitdinovich Jalolov from Uzbekistan.
September 24 In the village of Dande Darpa Khel, North Waziristan, Pakistan, a missile fired from a U. S. Predator drone kills 12 Taliban militants.
September 28 Off the Southern California coast, an amateur historian conducting a sonar search discovers the wreckage of a Lockheed T-33 jet trainer that had been missing since October 15, 1955.
September 29 In North and South Waziristan, Pakistan, missiles launched from a U. S. Predator drone strike two buildings operated by Taliban militants, killing 13 people including commander Irfan Mehsud.
September 30 In Washington, D. C., the Senate votes 64-34 to continue production of the Boeing C-17 Globemaster III at a price of $2.5 billion; another 10 aircraft will be procured to keep the assembly lines open. Senator John McCain accuses President Barack Obama of caving in to special interests and not fighting the Chicago-based aerospace firm.
OCTOBER 13 In Washington, D. C., Pentagon officials announce that they are accelerating delivery of the 15-ton Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), or “bunker buster.” The move is viewed as a warning to Iran, which is digging underground nuclear facilities near the holy city of Qom. This weapon, which carries 5,300 pounds of explosives, is 10 times more destructive than the weapons it is designed to replace.
October 16 Off the coast of South Carolina, two F-16Cs collide during training exercises; one aircraft makes it back to base safely, but the other and its pilot, Captain Nicholas Giglio, are missing.
December 21 In Afghanistan, it is announced that the first MC-12W spy- planes, which are highly advanced and classified, will deploy under the aegis of the U. S. Air Force. This twin-engined aircraft is equipped with videocameras and other sensors, and is capable of beaming realtime intelligence to troops on the ground.