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Air Force Monthly Historical Dates

April 1st - 30th

• 01 Apr 1915 - French Lt. Roland Garros shoots down a German Albatros with a machine gun on the nose of his Morane-Saulnier monoplane, fitted with steel deflector plates to protect the blades from damage as the rounds pass through.

• 01 Apr 1918 - Britain creates the world's first formally recognized, independent air arm, the Royal Air Force.

• 01 Apr 1939 - The prototype for the Mitsubishi A6M1 Reisen, or "Hero" (Allied code name "Zeke") makes its first flight in Japan. The Zero would serve from Pearl Harbor to war's end. With 10,500 built, it is probably Japan's most famous WWII aircraft.

• 01 Apr 1941 – The U.S. and Mexico signed an agreement providing for reciprocal transit of military aircraft through the territory of the two countries.

• 01 Apr 1942 – Air Corps Proving Ground became Proving Ground Command with its main base at Eglin Field, Florida.

• 01 Apr 1948 - Cold War: Berlin Airlift - Military forces, under direction of the Soviet-controlled government in East Germany, set-up a land blockade of West Berlin.

• 01 Apr 1952 - In a further change from practices carried over from the Army, the Air Force re-designates private first class, corporal, and buck sergeant as airman third class, airman second class, and airman first class.

• 01 Apr 1954 - President Eisenhower signs into law a bill creating the US Air Force Academy.

• 01 Apr 1958-Strategic Air Command activated its first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Squadron, the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron, for the Atlas missile at Cooke AFB, Calif. (renamed Vandenberg on Oct. 4, 1958). It had two "soft" launch complexes, one with three gantries and the other with three above ground coffin launchers, for the Atlas D.

• 01 Apr 1960-Strategic Air Command activated its first Atlas E squadron, the 567th Strategic Missile Squadron, at Fairchild AFB, Wash.

• 01 Apr 1960 - The RCA-built TIROS 1 (Television Infrared Observation Satellite), the world's first meteorological satellite, is launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., atop a Thor launch vehicle.

• 01 Apr 1961-Strategic Air Command activated its first Atlas F squadrons, the 550th Strategic Missile Squadron at Schilling AFB, Kan. and the 551st Strategic Missile Squadron at Lincoln AFB, Neb.

• 01 Apr 1962-The U.S. Air Force made the Air Weather Service the single manager for aerial sampling aircraft.

• 01 Apr 1965-Strategic Air Command took its last Titan I missiles off alert with the 509th Strategic Missile Squadron, Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, to complete the operational phase-out of this weapon system.

• 01 Apr 1966 - Strategic Air Command activated its last Minuteman squadron, the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron, at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

• 01 Apr 1968 - President Lyndon B. Johnson halted the bombing of North Vietnam above 20 degrees north latitude, changing the bombing line to north of 19 degrees, effective April 4. He expected North Vietnam to act in good faith and de-escalate. The North Vietnamese, however, used the halt period for restoration and reconstruction, the reinforcement of air defenses and the movement of more material and troops to the south.

• 01 Apr 1970 - Maj. Jerauld R. Gentry received the Octave Chanute Award for outstanding achievements as the Air Force's X-24 Lifting Body project officer.

• 01 Apr 1970 - Strategic Air Command placed the command and control of all strategic missiles under Fifteenth Air Force.

• 01 Apr 1970 - Air Force Systems Command combined the Air Force Western Test Range at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., and two aerospace test wings to form the Space and Missile Test Center under the Space and Missile Organizations.

• 01 Apr 1972 - Pacific Air Forces inactivated the 20th Special Operations Squadron, and its UH-IN helicopter gunships were shipped back to the U.S.

• 01 Apr 1972 - The Chief of Staff of the Air Force terminated Guardrail, the Air National Guard's rotational airlift support for the U. S. Air Forces in Europe.

• 01 Apr 1972 - Air Training Command activates the Community College of the Air Force at Randolph AFB, Texas.

• 01 Apr 1976 - The U. S. Air Forces in Europe activated the 527th Tactical Fighter Aggressor Squadron at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, to conduct dissimilar air combat tactics training for fighter and reconnaissance aircrews.

• 01 Apr 1983 - A Military Airlift Command C-130 airlifted 34 tons of shelters, medical supplies, generators and floodlights through April 8, from Panama to southwestern Colombia to aid earthquake victims.

• 01 Apr 1997 - The Northrop Grumman B-2A Spirit Stealth Bomber reaches initial operational capability (IOC) with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB, Mo.

• 01 Apr 1985 - The Minuteman Integrated Life Extension Program (Rivet Mile) began at the 341st Strategic Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

• 01 Apr 1992 - A 437th Airlift Wing C-141 Starlifter from Charleston AFB, S.C., dropped 115 barrels of helicopter aviation fuel to a floating American-Russian ice station in Antarctica. The drop allowed the $9 million joint scientific effort to continue its effort. The C-141 flew 7,000 miles from Charleston AFB, S.C. to Howard AFB, Panama and on to Punta Arenas, Chile, before flying 1,200 nautical miles to the ice flow.

• Apr 1, 1997 - At Langley AFB, Va., Gen. Richard E. Hawley Air Combat Commander, announced the initial operational capability of the B2A Spirit at Whiteman AFB, Mo., after earlier, successful tests of the JDAM and the GPS aided munition.

• 01 Apr 1997 - The U.S. Air Force transferred all operational C-130s from Air Combat Command to Air Mobility Command, except for the 314th Air Wing and its C-130 schoolhouse. Those units went to Air Education and Training Command.

• Apr 1, 1997 - The 375th Airlift Wing at Scott AFB, Ill., regained control of C-21 flying operations in the U.S., when the U.S. Air Force consolidated eight C-21 units at various bases into two airlift squadron wings, 458th Airlift Squadron operating from Scott AFB, Ill., and the 457th Airlift Squadron from Andrews AFB, Md.

• 02 Apr 1942 – Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton led three heavy bombers in the first Tenth Air Force combat mission to attack ships near Port Blair, Andaman Islands.

• 02 Apr 1944-The XX Bomber Command's first B-29 landed in India

• 02 Apr 1954-The 59th Air Refueling Squadron and its H-19 helicopters helped refugees through April 6, in Iraq's flooded Tigris River Valley. In 66 sorties, the H-19s dropped 30,000 pounds of food to 4,000 victims.

• 02 Apr 1959-NASA selected seven out of 110 candidates for Project Mercury. They were: Air Force Capts. L. Gordon Cooper Jr, Virgil I. "Gus" Grissom and Donald K. "Deke" Slayton; Navy Lt. Cmdrs. Walter M. Shirra Jr and Alan B. Shepard Jr and Lt. M. Scott Carpenter, and Marine Lt. Col. John H. Glenn Jr.

• 02 Apr 1972 - Vietnam: The Easter Offensive begins - North Vietnamese soldiers of the 304th Division take the northern half of Quang Tri Province.

• 02 Apr 1976 - The last C-118A Liftmaster in the active inventory went to Davis- Monthan AFB, Ariz. for storage.

• 02 Apr 1997 - A C-141 assigned to the 459th Airlift Wing, Andrews AFB, Md., left Scott AFB, Ill., for Sucre, Bolivia, with enough donated medical equipment to set up two surgical rooms. The Diocese of Joliet Peace and Justice at Romeoville, Ill., donated the cargo.

• 03 Apr 1967 - Strategic Air Command held its first missile combat competition through April 7. The 351st Strategic Missile Wing, Whiteman AFB, Mo., won the Blanchard Trophy for the best missile unit.

• 03 Apr 1967 - Paul W. Airey becomes the first chief master sergeant of the U.S. Air Force.

• 03 Apr 1979 - Two C-141 Starlifter aircraft flew 21 tons of relief supplies from Howard AFB, Panama and Andersen AFB, Guam through April 5, to Nandi IAP, Fiji Islands, after a typhoon battered the islands.

• 03 Apr 1999 - During Operation Allied Force, NATO missiles struck central Belgrade for the first time and destroyed the Yugoslav and Serbian interior ministries.

• 04 Apr 1944- Fifteenth Air Force conducted the first American bombing raid on Bucharest, Rumania.

• 04 Apr 1945- An YR-4 helicopter from the Tenth Air Force Air-Jungle Rescue Detachment landed in enemy territory in Burma and successfully rescued a PT-19 crash survivor. This event was the first helicopter combat rescue.

• 04 Apr 1964-After an earthquake hit Anchorage and Seward, Alaska, C-124s, airlifted 235,000 pounds of supplies from McChord AFB, Wash., to the area. The Air Rescue Service flew medical supplies, reconnaissance and evacuated the injured and homeless.

• 04 Apr 1969 - The X-24 Lifting Body completed its first captive flight with test pilot Maj. Jerauld R. Gentry at the controls.

• 04 Apr 1969 - The 49th Tactical Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem AB, Germany redeployed 72 F-4Ds to Holloman AFB, N.M., using 504 refuelings. The unit earned the Mackey Trophy for this event. (lasting through April 10.

• 04 Apr 1972 - The U.S. Air Force renamed the advanced intercontinental ballistic missile as Missile-X.

• 04 Apr 1975 - To evacuate Cambodia and Vietnam, Strategic Air Command flew tanker and reconnaissance sorties to support the U.S. withdrawal. Through April 30, C-141's and C-130s flew 375 missions to carry 50,493 Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees from Indochina to Pacific staging areas. From April 12 to August 16, Andersen AFB, Guam became a temporary haven for some 110,000 refugees who traveled to the U.S.

• 04 Apr 1975 - A Military Airlift Command C-5 crashed in an emergency landing near Saigon, while flying the first mission in Operation Babylift. It carried South Vietnamese children and their escorts from Tan Son Nhut AB in Saigon to Clark AB, Philippines. Of the 314 passengers, 176 survived the crash. 1st Lt. Regina C. Aune, a flight nurse aboard the C-5, ignored broken leg and other injuries to help evacuate nearly 80 children from the plane's wreckage. She received the 1975 Cheney Award for her efforts. The pilot and copilot Captains Dennis W. Traynor III and Tilford W. Harp, also received the Air Force Cross for extraordinary heroism. Despite this tragedy, the operation succeeded as C-141s and commercial planes moved 1,794 orphans from South Vietnam and Thailand to the U.S. West Coast through May 9.

• 04 Apr 1990 - The U.S. Air Force adds to its inventory the last of 60 official KC-10A Extender tanker/cargo aircraft built by McDonnell Douglas.

• 04 Apr 1991 - Strategic Air Command assigned KC-10s to Tactical Air Command's 4th Wing, the first composite wing. Strategic Air Command remained the single air refueling manager.

• 04 Apr 1999 - A C-17 Globemaster III started Operation Sustain Hope by airlifting relief supplies from Dover AFB, Del., to Tirana, Albania. The humanitarian airlift component of Operation Allied Force, Air Mobility Command used C-5s, C-17s and C-130s to airlift 913 passengers and 5,939 short tons of food and supplies to refugee camps in Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro until July 8.

• 05 Apr 1949-Fairchild AFB, Wash., completed the first two production models of the C-119 troop-carrying transport

• 05 Apr 1958-A U.S. Air Force Atlas Intercontinental Ballistic Missile flew from Cape Canaveral to an impact area some 600 miles away.

• 05 Apr 1966 - The Air Force Avionics Laboratory conducted the first successful voice communication test with airplane, satellite and ground equipment.

• 05 Apr 1966 - Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense, approved the separation of Naval and U.S. Air Force airlift. The Navy phased out three airlift and one maintenance squadron from Military Airlift Command; however, MAC retained 48 C-130Es. That action ended an Air Force-Navy airlift partnership that began in 1948 when Air Transport Command and Naval Air Transport Service units merged.

• 05 Apr 1978 - An Air Force interim program management directive initiated the cruise missile carrier aircraft program to analyze the suitability of wide-body aircraft as missile carriers.

• 05 Apr 1983 - After 20 inches of rain fell on southeastern Louisiana in five days, Military Airlift Command aircraft used four C-141s to airlift 83 tons of tents, cots, field kitchens and other relief cargo to the area through April 10.

• 05 Apr 1985 - Military Airlift Command sent two C-141s and one C-130 with 10.9 tons of fire-fighting equipment, 21,000 gallons of fire retardant, and 190 firefighters to fight a blaze covering 700 acres in the western North Carolina mountains.

• 05 Apr 1986 - Four C-141 Starlifters and one H-3 Jolly Green Giant helicopter from the 63rd Military Airlift Wing flew through April 6, in fire suppressant foam and airlifted out burn victims from Osan AB, Korea, after a 700,000-gallon tank of jet fuel exploded. The helicopter flew the burn victims to Seoul for medical treatment.

• 05 Apr 1988 - Eight C-5s and 22 C-141s airlifted 1,300 security specialists from the U.S. to Panama through April 8, where political instability threatened the safety of thousands of Americans. The deployment included 45 missions.

• 05 Apr 1991 - Military Airlift Command units flew more that 7,000 tons of supplies to Northern Iraq, Southeastern Turkey, and Western Iran to July 15, to help more than 1 million Kurdish rebels, who fled from Iraq after being defeated by Iraqi forces.

• 05 Apr 1996 - Tests to help determine C-17A Globemaster III's suitability for its aeromedical evacuation role took place through April 9 at Pope AFB, N.C. Twelve active-duty and reserve aeromedical personnel put the C-17 through its paces to test and critique its built-in aeromedical evacuation hardware and equipment.

• 06 Apr 1953-The 306th Bombardment Missile Wing Commander, Col. Michael N.W. McCoy, flew a B-47 miles from MacDill AFB, Fla., via Limestone AFB, Maine to Royal Air Force Fairford, United Kingdom, a 3,120-mile trip in record time, five hours, 38 minutes

• 06 Apr 1953-A B-36 dropped an experimental atomic air-to-air missile warhead in a Mark 5 ballistic casing from 42,000 feet. Retarded by parachute, the bomb exploded six miles above Yucca Flat, Nev., at the highest known altitude of any nuclear blast by that date.

• 06 Apr 1959-Cmdr. L. E. Flint flew a F4H-1 Phantom II to a new world altitude record by reaching 98,560 feet over Edwards AFB, Calif.

• 06 Apr 1966 - The U.S. Air Force and Army signed an agreement on aircraft use. The Army relinquished intra-theater, fixed-wing airlift operations and gave the U.S. Air Force all CV-2 Caribous and CV-7 Buffalos. They were designated the C-7A Caribou and C-8A Buffalo. In return, the U.S. Air Force agreed not to use rotary-wing aircraft for intra-theater movements, fire support or supply of Army forces.

• 06 Apr 1966 - Military Airlift Command C-141s began flying aeromedical evacuations from Europe. They replaced the bi-weekly C-135 flights.

• 06 Apr 1967 - Flying modified F-105F Wild Weasel aircraft, capable of both night radar bombing and Wild Weasel missions, Ryan's Raiders went into action at night, striking a target deep inside North Vietnam.

• 06 Apr 1972 - American aircraft and warships began heavy, sustained attacks on North Vietnam, the first time since the October 1968 cessation of bombing.

• 06 Apr 1980 - The stretched C-141B flies its first operational mission. An aircrew from the 443d Military Airlift Wing flies it nonstop from Beale AFB, Calif., to RAF Mildenhall, England in 11 hours, 12 minutes with only one aerial refueling.

• 06 Apr 1984 - The 375th Aeromedical Airlift Wing accepted the first Lear Jet C-21A. It was the first of 80 Lear jets to be delivered to the U.S. Air Force as replacements for the CT-39 Sabreliner.

• 07 Apr 1945- Twentieth Air Force made the first fighter-escorted B-29 mission against Japan. The taking of Iwo Jima, within fighter range of Japan, made this raid possible.

• 07 Apr 1958-Brig. Gen. William E. Eubank Jr, 93rd Bombardment Missile Wing Commander at Castle AFB, Calif., flew a KC-135 through April 8, on an 18-hour flight from Tokyo, Japan, to Lajes Field, Azores, to set two records. The marks included longest straight-line distance without refueling, 10,229.3 miles in 18 hours 48 minutes and speed 492.262 mph from Tokyo to Washington, D.C. in 13 hours, 45 minutes and 46.5 seconds.

• 07 Apr 1967 - Air Force Systems Command's 6511th Parachute Test Group dropped 50,150 pounds from a C-130 to claim an unofficial world record.

• 07 Apr 1971 - Second Lt. Susanne M. Ocobock becomes the first woman civil engineer in the Air Force and is assigned to Kelly AFB, Texas.

• 07 Apr 1972 - For Operation Constant Guard I, Military Airlift Command moved personnel and cargo from McConnell AFB, Kan., and Seymour Johnson AFB, N.C., to Thailand. U.S. answered North Vietnam's Spring offensive through April. Through May 13, the U.S. Air Force moved 12 squadrons and 200 aircraft to Southeast Asia to fight off the North Vietnamese.

• 07 Apr 1995 - A C-141 left McGuire AFB, N.J. in support of Operation Provide Hope for Donetsk, Ukraine, carrying 40 passengers and six pallets of equipment and medical supplies. The passengers from the U.S. European Command later taught hospital personnel in Donetsk how to use the donated medical equipment.

• 07 Apr 2003 - Gulf War: U.S. troops capture Baghdad; Saddam Hussein's regime falls two days later.

• 08 Apr 1940 – A B-18 made the first nonstip flight from Denver, Colo, to Miami, Fla.

• 08 Apr 1942 – The Army bagan the largest airlift in World War II, using aircraft acquired from Pan American Airlines. Two DC-3’s airlifted gasoline and lubricating oil over the Himalaya Mountains from Dirjan, in Eastern India, to Yunnan-yi in southern China to begin the “Hump Airlift”. A total of eight airplanes carried enough fuel and oil to refuel and service the B-25 Bombers for the later “Doolittle Raid”. From December 1942, when the airlift became the Air Transport Command’s responsibility, through the close of the operation in November 1945, the airlift delivered nearly 740,000 tons of cargo.

• 8 Apr 1943 - A P-47 Thunderbolt flew its first combat sortie over Western Europe.

• 08 Apr 1944- By sending 163 B-26s and 105 P-47s against enemy facilities at Hasselt, Belgium, Ninth Air Force conducted one of the largest tactical raids of World War II.

• 08 Apr 1959-Col. E. H. Taylor set a world record of 700.05 mph in an RF-101C over a 1,000-kilometer closed-circuit course.

• 08 Apr 1967 - The Atlantic Command initiated the joint Clove Hitch III exercise in Puerto Rico for 21,000 Army, Navy, Air Force and National Guard personnel. The exercise featured C-141's making their first airdrop of paratroopers.

• 08 Apr 1970 - The U.S. Air Force launched two Vela nuclear-detection satellites from the Eastern Test Range on a Titan III-C booster. Each 700-pound satellite carried optical sensors to detect electromagnetic impulses, or brief radio signals generated by atomic explosions anywhere in the atmosphere. Sensors could also detect atomic weapons tests up to 100-million miles in space and distinguish between weapons tests and exploding stars.

• 08 Apr 1995 - Small arms fire hit a C-130 Hercules 12 times on takeoff from Sarajevo, Bosnia, on a flight to Italy during Operation Provide Promise. The aircraft had carried flour to Bosnia.