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1918 Mar 26
Col. Raynal Bolling (b.1877), architect of American air power in WWI and resident of Greenwich, Connecticut, was shot dead by a German patrol in France.
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1945 Aug 6
Hiroshima, Japan, was struck with the uranium bomb, Little Boy, from the B-29 airplane, Enola Gay, piloted by Col. Paul Tibbets (1915-2007) of the US Air Force along with 11 other men. The 9,600 pound bomb had a 2-part core of enriched uranium-235. It killed an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare. Major Thomas Wilson Ferebee (d.2000 at 81) was the bombardier. Richard Nelson (d.2003) was the radio operator. In 1946 John Hersey authored “Hiroshima,” an account of the bombing based on interviews with 6 survivors.
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1946 May 28
The US Army Air Force initiated the Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft program (NEPA). Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corp. was selected to study the possibility of developing a long range strategic bomber powered by a nuclear reactor.
Links: USA, Aviation, Nuclear, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1948 Mar 20
A severe tornado moved through Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City destroying 52 aircraft.
Links: USA, Oklahoma, Tornado, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1949 Sep 3
A US Air Force B-29 detected a radioactive cloud over the Pacific, which indicated that the Soviets had detonated an atomic device.
Links: Russia, USA, USSR, Nuclear, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1950 Feb 13
A US Air Force B-36 crashed near the coast of northern British Columbia during a simulated nuclear attack on San Francisco. 12 of 17 men on board survived. A Mark 4 bomb, which lacked a plutonium core needed for a nuclear blast, was dropped over the ocean before the plane crashed.
Links: Canada, USA, Air Crash, Nuclear, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1950 Mar 22
A one-page memo was addressed to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover from Guy Hottel, then head of the FBI's Washington, D.C., field office. It relayed some information from an informant. The subject: FLYING SAUCERS INFORMATION CONCERNING: "An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico. They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed fliers and test pilots.” The file was released in April 2011 under the Freedom of Information Act. The memo is dated nearly three years after the infamous events in Roswell in July 1947.
Links: USA, New Mexico, FBI, UFO, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1951
The US Atomic Energy Commission and the Air Force instituted the Aircraft Nuclear propulsion development Program (ANP). It ended in 1961 under Pres. John F. Kennedy.
Links: USA, Aviation, Nuclear, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1954
The Semiautomatic Ground Environment (SAGE) program was established by the US Air Force. It was an air defense network of the time using the largest computer ever built. SAGE machines contained 55,000 vacuum tubes, weighed 275 tons and occupied half an acre of floorspace.
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1955 Sep 17
A US Convair B-36 bomber took off from Carswell AFB, Texas, becoming the first aircraft in the world to fly with a nuclear reactor. Over the next 2 years the Convair Crusader made 47 flights.
Links: USA, Aviation, Texas, Nuclear, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1956
The US Air Force KC-135 came into service under Pres. Eisenhower. The newest of the roughly 400 Stratotankers in service in 2012 started flying in 1964.
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1957
In northern California the Almaden Air Force Station was established on Mount Umumhum, a 44-acre site just south of Los Gatos. The site had played a role in the creation story of the local Amah Mutsun Indians. The base was decommissioned in 1979. In 2010 a cleanup of toxic paint and asbestos began under a $3.2 million federal grant.
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1958 Aug 29
Air Force Academy, established in 1954, opened its doors near Colorado Springs, Colo.
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1962 Jul 17
Air Force pilot Robert White (1924-2010) flew the rocket-powered X-15 to an altitude of 314,750 feet (59.6 miles).
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1968 Mar 10
1968 Mar 11
The ultra secret facility Lima Site 85 in Phou Phathi, Laos, was manned by USAF personnel and 11 were KIA or MIA as it was overran. The event has been characterized as the largest single day ground loss for the USAF.
Links: USA, Laos, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1968 Jun 30
The Lockheed C-5A Galaxy, a large US Air Force transport plane, made its first flight.
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1968 Oct 3
American Independent Party presidential candidate George Wallace tapped retired Air Force Gen. Curtis E. LeMay to be his running mate.
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1969 Dec 17
The U.S. Air Force closed its Project "Blue Book" by finding no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings. It had begun in 1948 as Project Sign.
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1970 Oct 24
The X24A lifting body exceeded Mach 1. The X-24A was the Martin Corporation's subsonic test version of the US Air Force's preferred manned lifting body configuration. The lifting bodies were used to demonstrate the ability of pilots to maneuver and safely land wingless vehicles designed to fly back to Earth from space and be landed like an airplane at a predetermined site.
Links: USA, Aviation, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1972 Mar 8
Gen’l. John D. Lavelle, Seventh Air Force Commander in Vietnam, decreased the bombing raids against North Vietnam when he became the target of a congressional investigation.
Links: USA, Vietnam, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1972 Jun 12
At a hearing in front the of a U.S. House of Representatives committee, Air Force General John Lavalle defended his orders on engagement in Vietnam.
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1974 Jul 14
Carl A. Spaats (b.1891), 1st chief of staff of USAF, died at age 83.
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1974 Oct 25
The US Air Force fired its 1st ICBM. The Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) successfully launched a Minuteman I from a C-5A cargo aircraft.
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1974
The US Air Force established a requirement that flight recorders be installed on all newly purchased aircraft.
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1975 Apr 4
Some 155 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force C-5A transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans as part of "Operation Babylift" crashed shortly after takeoff from Saigon.144 adults and 76 babies were killed. There were over 170 survivors.
Links: USA, Vietnam, Air Crash, Tragedy, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1975 Sep 8
Leonard Matlovich (b.1943) appeared in his Air Force uniform on the cover of Time magazine. He challenged the ban against homosexuals in the US military and was given a "general" discharge by the Air Force after publicly declaring his homosexuality. NBC subsequently made a TV movie of his story. His suit dragged on until 1980 when a federal judge ordered Matlovich reinstated. Instead of re-entering the Air Force, Matlovich accepted a settlement of $160,000. Matlovich became a gay rights activist and dies of AIDS in 1988."
Links: USA, Gays, Magazine, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1975 Nov 7
On the eve of the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution Capt. Valery Sablin (1939-1976) seized control of the Storozhevoy (Vigilant), a Russian destroyer in the Baltic, intending to proclaim a new revolution. The Russian air force managed to disable the vessel and Sablin was executed for the mutiny. This incident inspired Tom Clancy’s novel and the film “The Hunt for Red October.”
Links: Russia, USSR, Ship, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1976 Jun 28
The first women entered the U.S. Air Force Academy.
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1979 Jan 23
The USAF's 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hill AFB, Utah, became the first unit anywhere to receive the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Lockheed Corp. produced the F-16 fighter jet. It became the first production military aircraft to incorporate a fly-by-wire control system.
Links: USA, Aviation, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1979
Construction began in the Lompoc Valley for a $3.5 billion space shuttle port at Vandenberg Air Base. It was finished in 1986 but never used. In 1992 the Air Force turned it over to NASA, which sold it to Spaceport Systems Int’l.
Links: USA, California, NASA, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1980
1990
The US Dept. of Defense allowed the open pit burning of highly toxic classified materials at a top secret Air Force base called Area 51, 125 northwest of Las Vegas. Workers later complained of strange skin diseases and other health problems and file suit against the DoD. Government lawyers use the "mosaic theory" argument in defense and claim that they can't acknowledge seemingly innocuous facts without creating a mosaic that an enemy could use to figure out military secrets.
Links: USA, Environment, Nevada, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1982 Jan 24
A draft of Air Force history reported that the U.S. secretly sprayed herbicides on Laos during the Vietnam War.
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1986 Mar 25
US Supreme Court ruled that the Air Force could ban wearing of yarmulkes.
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1987 May 5
The congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. General Richard V. Secord as the lead-off witness.
Links: USA, Govm’t Scandal, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1987 Oct 20
Ten people were killed when an Air Force jet crashed into a Ramada Inn hotel near Indianapolis International Airport after the pilot, who was trying to make an emergency landing, ejected safely.
Links: USA, Air Crash, Indiana, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1988 Jun 22
Gay rights activist Leonard Matlovich, discharged from the U.S. Air Force because of his homosexuality, died at age 44.
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1989 Sep 4
The Air Force launched its last Titan 3 rocket, which reportedly carried a reconnaissance satellite. Since 1964, the Titan 3 had sent more than 200 satellites into space.
Links: USA, Espionage, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1990 Oct 1
Curtis E. LeMay (83), Air Force General and VP candidate, died at March Air Force Base, California.
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1991 May 29
President Bush, addressing the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, unveiled a plan to curb "unnecessary and destabilizing weapons" in the Middle East.
Links: USA, Colorado, BushHW, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1991 Nov 26
The Stars and Stripes were lowered for the last time at Clark Air Base in the Philippines as the United States abandoned one of its oldest and largest overseas installations, which was damaged by a volcano.
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1991
The US government closed Norton Air Force base in California’s San Bernadino Ct., costing the region some 10,000 jobs.
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1993 Dec 9
The US Air Force destroyed the first of 500 Minuteman II missile silos marked for elimination under an arms control treaty.
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1993 Dec
A U-2 pilot was killed on takeoff from Beale Air Force Base southeast of Oroville, Calif., on a routine training mission.
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1993
James H. Doolittle, head of the 1942 US air raid on Tokyo, died.
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1994 Feb 10
Jeannie Flynn (b.1966)), the first female combat pilot in the US Air Force, finished flight training in the F-15.
Links: USA, Women, Aviation, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1994 Jun 20
Former airman Dean Allen Mellberg went on a shooting rampage at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane, Wash., killing four people and wounding 22 others before being killed by a military police sharpshooter.
Links: USA, Murder, Mad Man, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Apr 17
An Air Force jet exploded and crashed in a wooded area in eastern Alabama, killing eight people, including an assistant Air Force secretary and a two-star general.
Links: USA, Air Crash, Alabama, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Jun 2
A US Air Force F-16C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb surface-to-air missile while on a NATO air patrol in northern Bosnia; the pilot, Captain Scott F. O’Grady, was rescued six days later.
Links: Bosnia, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Jun 3
Bosnian Serb officials made contradictory statements about the whereabouts of an American pilot, a day after his Air Force jet was shot down. Bosnian Serb military sources claimed that the pilot, later identified as Captain Scott F. O’Grady, was in Bosnian Serb hands—a claim that proved false.
Links: Bosnia, USA, Serbia, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Jun 8
US Marines rescued U.S. Air Force pilot Captain Scott O’Grady, whose F-16C fighter jet had been shot down by Bosnian Serbs on June second.
Links: Bosnia, USA, Serbia, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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1995 Jun 9
One week after being shot down over Bosnia by a Bosnian Serb missile, and a day after being rescued, US Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady was warmly welcomed by his comrades at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
Links: Italy, Bosnia, USA, Serbia, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Jun 10
US Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady, rescued after being shot down over Bosnia, described his six-day ordeal at a news conference at Aviano Air Base in Italy, saying he was no Rambo and no hero.
Links: Bosnia, USA, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1995 Jun 12
Air Force Captain Scott O’Grady, rescued after being shot down over Bosnia, was treated to lunch at the White House and a hero’s welcome at the Pentagon.
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1995 Jun 20
US Air Force Captain Jim Wang, a radar officer, was cleared of wrongdoing in a friendly fire attack on 2 US helicopters over northern Iraq in 1994 that resulted in 26 deaths.
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1995 Aug 2
China ordered the expulsion of two US Air Force officers it said were caught spying on military sites.
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1995 Nov 6
The US Air Force launched the most powerful unmanned rocket, Titan 4, with a $1 bil. Milstar communications satellite for the defense dept.
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1995 Dec 4
In Texas Diane Zamora and David Graham, high school sweethearts, killed Adrienne Jones (16). It was alleged that Jones and Graham had had sex and the murder was reported as an appeasement to Zamora. Graham went on to the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. The murder remained a mystery until Zamora confided her story to classmates at the Annapolis Naval Academy in Sep 1996. Zamora later testified that Graham shot and killed Jones. Zamora was convicted in Feb, 1998, and received a life sentence with possible parole after 40 years. Graham was convicted in July, 1998, and received an automatic life sentence.
Links: USA, Murder, Texas, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
 
1996 Jul 11
An Air Force F-16 jet trying to make an emergency landing slammed into a house in Pensacola, Fla., setting the home on fire, killing a 4-year-old boy and badly burning his mother. The pilot ejected safely.
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1996 Aug 6
Officials announced the Air Force had punished 16 officers in connection with the crash that killed Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and 34 others the previous April.
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1996 Aug 16
Eric Nesbitt (21), an airman at Langley AFB, was shot and killed after he was abducted and forced to withdraw money from an ATM machine by Daryl R. Atkins and another man. Atkins scored 59 on an IQ test in 1998, below the Virginia cut-off of 70 for retardation. In 2002 the US Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded. In 2004 Atkins scored 74 and faced another trial. In 2005 a jury found Atkins to be mentally competent.
Links: USA, Virginia, Murder, Air Force     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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