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• 17 Apr 1943 - Eighth Air Force made its first 100-plane attack on a single target at Bremen, Germany.

• 17 Apr 1961-The U.S. Air Force Cambridge Research Center launched a constant-altitude balloon from Vernalis, Calif. It stayed at 70,000 feet for nine days with a 40-pound payload.







• 17 Apr 1962-Maj. David W. Crow flew a C-135B to 47,171 feet to set a new weight/altitude record.

• 17 Apr 1967 - The Airborne Launch Control System successfully launched a Minuteman II on its first attempt from Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

• 17 Apr 1969 - After being dropped by a B-52, test pilot Maj. Jerauld R. Gentry completed the X-24 Lifting Body's first free-flight over Edwards AFB, Calif.

• 17 Apr 1970 - Strategic Air Command emplaced its first Minuteman III into a 91st Strategic Missile Wing silo at Minot AFB, N.D.

• 17 Apr 1988 - Improved relations between the Soviet Union and the U.S. led to joint verification experiments to monitor nuclear testing. Refueled by KC-10s, C-5s carried test equipment and scientists from the U.S. to Semipalatinsk in Kazakhstan. To complete the first mission to Semipalatinsk the crew had to overcome a void of information and numerous obstacles. For their effort, they received the Mackay Trophy for 1988.

• 17 Apr 1996 - Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti officially came to an end. The U.S. only lost one soldier to hostile fire in the 18-month operation in which U.S. military forces dismantled a military dictatorship.

• 17 Apr 1998 - The U. S. Air Force accepted the first of two C-38A aircraft. Two Air National Guard pilots from the 201st Airlift Squadron flew the aircraft from St. Louis to Andrews AFB, Md., to replace the older C-21.

• 17 Apr 1998 - The 20th Special Operations Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Fla., received the Air Force's first production-modified MH-53J Pave Low III helicopter from Lockheed Martin.

• 17 Apr 1999 - The U. S. Air Force sent the RQ-1 Predator on its first flights into a combat zone during Operation Allied Force to perform reconnaissance over Serbia.


• 18 Apr 1942 - In the early morning hours, sixteen B-25B Mitchell bombers, led by Lt. Col. James Doolittle, struck Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya and Yokohama. “Doolittle’s Raid” inflicted little physical damage to Japan; but, it gave a needed lift to morale in the U.S. In Japan, the psychological damage of the attack was more important and caused the Japanese to extend its defensive perimeter.

• 18 Apr 1943 - 1st. Lt. Rex T. Barber and Capt. Thomas G. Lamphier Jr, two P-38 pilots from Henderson Field, Guadalcanal, intercepted and shot down two Mitsubishi "Betty" bombers near Bougainville. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who planned the Pearl Harbor attack, died in the aerial attack.

• 18 Apr 1950-The Air Force announced that it would buy 1,250 aircraft for $1.2 billion from fiscal 1950 funds, including $302 million for 82 Boeing B-47B Stratojets.

• 18 Apr 1951-An Aerobee research rocket flies a monkey into space, the first primate in space, from Holloman AFB, N.M.

• 18 Apr 1962-At Lowry AFB, Colo., Strategic Air Command accepted nine missiles for the first Titan I squadron, the 724 Strategic Missile Squadron. These were the first operational missiles in hardened underground silos.

• 18 Apr 1962-At Lowry AFB, Colo., Strategic Air Command declares operational the U.S. Air Force's first Titan I squadron, the 724th Strategic Missile Squadron, equipped with nine missiles, the first placed in hardened, underground installations.

• 18 Apr 1975 - Following Secretary of Defense orders to transfer 128 KC-135s to the Air Reserve Forces, Strategic Air Command transferred the first KC-135 from the 301st Air Refueling Squadron to the 160th Air Refueling Group. Both units operated at Rickenbacker AFB, Ohio. The transfer also heralded reserve and guard support for Strategic Air Command alert operations.

• 18 Apr 1986 - A Titan 34D booster with a classified satellite on board exploded after liftoff at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. This accident, and the Jan. 28, 1986 Space Shuttle disaster, marked a serious setback in the U.S. space program and deployment of satellites.

• 18 Apr 1991 - U.S. Air Force completes the first successful flight test of the Martin Marietta/Boeing ICBM (small version). The flight trajectory was 4,000 miles from Vandenberg AFB, Calif., to the Pacific Island target area at the Kwajalein Missile Range.

• 18 Apr 1992 - C-141 Starlifters began airlifting humanitarian relief supplies to Sarajevo, the capital of the new Bosnia-Herzegovina Republic.

• 18 Apr 1996 - A C-17 Globemaster III aircraft airlifted two MH-52J Pave Low special operations helicopters from Sierra Leone, Africa to England, thus saving time and fuel.

• 18 Apr 1997 - Grand Forks AFB, N.D., opened its doors to 3,500 homeless flood victims after a heavy melt of winter snow broke through dikes in North Dakota's Red River Valley. By the time the emergency ended on Aug. 9, Air Mobility Command had flown 13 missions to airlift 146 tons of cargo and 143 passengers to support the food relief operation.

• 19 Apr 1967 - From the Air Force Western Test Range, an Atlas booster lifted a Precision Recovery Including Maneuvering Entry or PRIME unmanned spacecraft into space, where it demonstrated maneuvering, lifting, reentry and aerial recovery techniques.

• 19 Apr 1967 - Maj. Leo K. Thorsness received the Medal of Honor for actions in North Vietnam by protecting a mission to rescue downed airmen. While flying an F-105 with low fuel, Major Thorsness shot down one MiG-17, damaged another, and drove off three more. Major Thorsness, although critically short on fuel himself, helped to avert further possible loss of life and a friendly aircraft by recovering at a forward operating base, thus allowing the other aircraft in emergency fuel condition to refuel safely. Eleven days later, on his 93rd mission, just three short of returning home, enemy forces shot him down, captured him, and held him as a prisoner of war until March 4, 1973.

• 19 Apr 1975 - To support the extraction of Americans, South Vietnamese and other nationals from Saigon, Military Airlift Command deployed the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing from Kadena AB, Japan to Korat AB, Thailand; airlifted 951 troops and 269 tons of cargo from Kaneoke, Hawaii to Kadena AB, Japan; and airlifted two passengers and 12 tons from Osan AB, Korea to Korat. The command operated a total of 17 C-141, 1 C-5 and three commercial missions in support of Operation Frequent Wind through April 24.

• 19 Apr 1976 - Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfled, flew in the B-1. This was the first time a Secretary of Defense had flown in a test aircraft.

• 19 Apr 1979 - Military Airlift Command used seven C-141 and four C-130 missions through April 20 to deliver 139 tons of supplies and equipment to Yugoslavia after a major earthquake rocked the southern Adriatic coast of Yugoslavia and Albania.

• 19 Apr 1984 - The U.S. Air Force held ground-breaking ceremonies for Site III of the phased array, sea-launched ballistic warning system, Pave Paws, at Robins AFB, Ga.

• 19 Apr 1993 - Units in Alaska participated in the U.S. Air Force's first combined exercise with the Russian Air Force lasting through April 24. It featured a search-and-rescue effort in Siberia.

• 19 Apr 1995 - A powerful car bomb leveled a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 169 and wounding 400 people. The U.S. Air Force airlifted firefighters, search and rescue teams, investigators, and medical personnel to Oklahoma. Units at Tinker AFB provided supplies, equipment, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Through May 4, Air Mobility Command aircraft flew 25 missions to move 1,359 passengers and 3,864 tons of cargo.



• 20 Apr 1943 - Staging from Funafuti in Ellice Islands, Seventh Air Force B-24s attacked Tarawa for the first time.


• 20 Apr 1962-The first Titan Is placed on alert to make the 724th Strategic Missile Squadron operational at Lowry AFB, Colo.

• 20 Apr 1966 - President Dwight D. Eisenhower's aircraft, a VC-121 Super Constellation named Columbine III, was retired and flown from Andrews AFB, Md. to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. The aircraft went into service with the 89th Military Airlift Wing in August 1954.

• 20 Apr 1966 - Vandenberg AFB, Calif., launched its last Titan II operational test vehicle.

• 20 Apr 1985 - The B-52 crews completed initial training for Harpoon anti-ship missile operations. 20 Apr 1985 - The B-52 crews completed initial training for Harpoon anti-ship missile operations.


• 21 Apr 1948-The secretary of Defense issued a memo called the Key West Agreement to his secretaries, with a paper defining the functions of the services and the Joint Chiefs of Staff based on the National Security Act. It was the first functions paper drawn up after the act. The Air Force received responsibility for the air defense of America.

• 21 Apr 1953-The U.S. Air Force airlifted through May 15, 150 sick and wounded former prisoners of war from Korea to Japan and from Japan to the U.S.

• 21 Apr 1961-Maj. Robert White set a speed record in the X-15's first full-throttle flight. At 79,000 feet, he attained 3,074 mph before coasting upward to 105,100 feet.

• 21 Apr 1960-The U.S. Air Force retrieved the instrument capsule from a Titan that had flown 5,000 miles.

• Apr 21, 1967 - Strategic Air Command declared its 20th Minuteman squadron, the 564th Strategic Missile Squadron, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., to be operational. When the squadron's last Minuteman IIs went on alert in May, the deployment of a 1,000-missile Minuteman force ended.

• 21 Apr 1969 - Secretary of the Air Force Robert C. Seamans Jr, and NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine signed an agreement to establish a joint civilian-military manned space station.


• 21 Apr 1972 - The F-111 Joint Test Force at Edwards AF, Calif., flew an F-111A on its longest flight to date--5,400 nautical miles in 12 hours.


• 21 Apr 1975 - Lt. Col. Fred C. Hartstein of the 1st Combat Evaluation Group at Barksdale AFB, La., flew a operational KC-135 from March AFB, Calif., to refuel Rockwell's B-1 Lancer for the first time.

• 22 Apr 1943 - Lt. John S. Stewart, 76th Fighter Squadron, and Lt. Chin Hao, Chinese Air Force, flew a reconnaissance mission over Lashio, Burma. This flight was one of the first missions involving both Chinese and American personnel.

• 22 Apr 1958-The U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense agreed to establish an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile force with nine Thor squadrons and three Jupiter squadrons.

• 22 Apr 1960-The first attempted Atlas D launch from a Vandenberg AFB, Calif., coffin-launcher was a success.

• 22 Apr 1960-Strategic Air Command transferred its last RB-47 from Laughlin AFB, Texas to Bolling AFB, D.C.

• 22 Apr 1962-Jacqueline Cochran claimed 49 world records for her 5,120-mile, three-stop flight in a Lockheed Jet Star from New Orleans to Hanover, Germany, via Gander, Newfoundland and Shannon, Ireland.






• 22 Apr 1964-The U.S. Air Force accepted its first production RF-4C

• 22 Apr 1980 - The 33rd Air Rescue and Recovery Service Detachments at Clark AB, Philippines and Kadena AB, Japan assisted in the rescue of 900 passengers from a ferry that sank about 150 miles south of Manila.

• 22 Apr 1981 - The 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, flying A-10 Warthogs, set an Air Force record by generating 533 sorties in a single day.


• 23 Apr 1959-A B-52 fired the first North American GAM-77 Hound Dog missile at Eglin AFB, Fla. The supersonic air-launched missile was designed to deliver a nuclear warhead to a target several hundred miles away.






• 23 Apr 1964-The Department of Defense renamed the A-11 as the YF-12A, a fighter interceptor that did not enter the U.S. Air Force inventory. The U.S. Air Force later accepted a reconnaissance variant, the SR-71, "Blackbird."

• 23 Apr 1965 - The 1501st Airlift Training Wing at Travis AFB, Calif., received the first operational C-141 Starlifter.

• 23 Apr 1965 - The first operational Lockheed C-141 Starlifter aircraft is delivered to Travis AFB, Calif.

• 23 Apr 1970 - A C-130 dropped 16 million leaflets over North Korea in the first Focus Truth mission since November 1968. These Pacific Air Forces missions depended on rare southeast winds to ensure the proper distribution of leaflets.

• 23 Apr 1979 - The first B-52G modified for the air launched cruise missile program arrived for testing at Edwards AFB, Calif.

• 23 Apr 1980 - The Pacific Air Forces E-3A airborne warning and control system aircraft participated in the NATO Cloud Chorus exercise for the first time. The exercise occurred at Ramstein AB, Germany through April 24.





• 23 Apr 1991 - Donald B. Rice, Secretary of the Air Force, announced the winner of the Advanced Tactical Fighter competition. He selected the Lockheed/Boeing /General Dynamics F-22 with the Pratt and Whitney F-119 engine.

• 24 Apr 1943 - The first class of women pilots graduated from U.S. Army Air Force flight training.

• 24 Apr 1945-In his fighter bomber, Lt. Raymond L. Knight of Twelfth Air Force flew several low-level strafing missions in Italy's northern Po Valley. He destroyed 14 enemy aircraft and wrecked 10 others on the ground. In his final attack, Lieutenant Knight's plane was damaged so badly it was virtually inoperable. Realizing his unit's critical need for aircraft, he tried to return to base, but was unsuccessful. Lieutenant Knight ejected from his P-47, but his parachute failed. He died in the Apennines Mountains. He earned the Medal of Honor for his actions and sacrifice.

• 24 Apr 1962-The U.S. Air Force used an orbiting satellite for the first time to transmit television photographs from Camp Parks, Calif. to Westford, Mass.

• 24 Apr 1967 - Eight F-105s attacked Hoa Lac Airfield, a North Vietnam MiG base. This first authorized attack against an occupied North Vietnamese air base under the restrictions imposed on U.S. air power destroyed 14 MiGs on the ground.

• 24 Apr 1990 - The U.S. Air Force accepted its first British Aerospace C-29A Combat Flight Inspection Aircraft from LTV's Sierra Research Division at Buffalo, N.Y. The C-29 would help the Air Force inspect and calibrate its air traffic control and landing facilities, replacing CT-39s and C-140s used for that mission.

• 24 Apr 1992 - Two Peruvian fighters attacked and heavily damaged an Air Force C-130 Hercules in international airspace. Capt. Pete B. Eunice, a 310th Military Airlift Squadron pilot, still managed a safe landing. For this effort, the C-130 crew earned the 1992 Mackay Trophy.