Chicagoland/O'Hare Chapter 142

                             Air Force Association





          Air Force Monthly Historical Dates

December 1st - 31st







  • 01 Dec 1941-The Civil Air Patrol was formed.




  • 01 Dec 1942 - Air Transport Command activated the India-China Division to provide airlift support to the Chunking government and American Airmen fighting in China. The airlift from bases in India over an air route through the Himalayan Mountains, called the "Hump", became the greatest sustained and intensive use of air transport to that date.

  • 01 Dec 1955 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower assigned a higher national priority to Thor and Jupiter missile development, and placed the intermediate-range ballistic missile program on an equal rank with the intercontinental ballistic missile program.
  • 01 Dec 1960 – Strategic Air Command activated the 4602nd Strategic Wing at Hill AFB, Utah, for the rail Mobile Minuteman program.
  • 01 Dec 1961 – The first Minuteman Missile squadron, the 10th Strategic Missile Squadron, is activated at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.

  • 01 Dec 1964 – Four F-4C Phantom II jets landed at MacDill AFB, Fla, after an 18-hour flight of 10,000 miles and many KC-135 refuelings. The flight established an unofficial endurance record for fighters, while evaluating the F-4C’s abilities in a sustained, long-range flight. It also examined the physiological and psychological effects on crews under these conditions.

  • 01 Dec 1964 – At Dyess AFB, Texas, the first Atlas F missile came off alert with the 578th Strategic Missile Squadron.

  • 01 Dec 1965 – During the Cuban Refugee Airlift, Military Air Transport Service (re-designated Military Airlift Command on Jan 1st, 1966) airlifters moved 26,745 Cuban refugees in 291 flights lasting through June 30th, 1966.
  • 01 Dec 1967 – Strategic Air Command inactivated the Blue Scout emergency rocket communication system sites in Nebraska.

  • 01 Dec 1971 – First Minuteman III missile wing equipped with multiple independently-targetable reentry vehicle weapons became operational at Minot AFB, N.D.

  • 01 Dec 1974 - The U.S. Air Force consolidated Tactical Airlift Command's and Military Airlift Command's airlift resources to implement the 1974 decision to have a single airlift manager.

  • 01 Dec 1978 – Strategic Air Command received the last Minuteman from Air Force Plant 77.
  • 01 Dec 1982 – The YA-10 completed its last test flight in a single-seat night attack evaluation program at Edwards AFB, CA.

  • 01 Dec 1983 – The U.S. Air Force ended training programs for Titan II missile crews.





·         01 Dec 1984 - The C-5A Galaxy enters service with the U.S. Air Force Reserve at Kelly AFB, Texas.

  • 01 Dec 1989 – In the ninth test of Tacit Rainbow, a loitering anti-radiation missile, a B-52 launched the missile from a higher altitude. It traveled to the Naval Weapons Center Test Range near China Lake, CA, loitered, and made a partially successful driving attack. 

  • 01 Dec 1989 – The 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing flew patrol flights over the Philippine Islands through Dec. 9th, in response to an attempted coup against President Corazon Aquino. 

  • 01 Dec 1990 – Two MH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters of the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron at Osan AB, South Korea, rescued 22 ship wrecked sailors from a grounded Panamanian vessel near Kunsan, South Korea.

  • 02 Dec 1943 - The Combined Chiefs of Staff asked the Allied Expeditionary Air Force to attack "ski sites" in the Pas de Calais and Cherbourg Peninsula areas of France.  These areas weere identified as V-1 missile launching sites.

  • 02 Dec 1949 – First U.S. Air Force’s Aerobee missile launched at Holloman AFB, N.M.

  • 02 Dec 1954 – The Air Force issued a requirement for the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile.

  • 02 Dec 1976 – Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld authorized the U.S. Air Force to begin B-1 production. Congress had restricted funding for the program to $87 million a month earlier in September.

  • 02 Dec 1983 – The 571st Strategic Missile Squadron at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. Became the first Titan II unit to inactivate under a deactivation program.






  • 03 Dec 1945 – The P-80 became the U.S. Army Air Force’s first jet fighter.

  • 03 Dec 1951 - First B-36s to visit North Africa arrived at Sidi Slimane, Morocco.  The six bombers from the 11th Bombardment Wing at Carswell, AFB, Texas, made the flight nonstop.

  • 03 Dec 1952 - The U.S. Air Force accepted its first two Republic F-84F Thunderstreaks.
  • 03 Dec 1957 - Col. Archie Blood led 16 F-100D Super Sabres on a 3,850-mile flight from Tokyo to Honolulu in six hours, 21 minutes to set an unofficial record.
  • 03 Dec 1960 - The 567th Strategic Missile Squadron at Fairchild AFB, Wash., received the first Atlas E missile.

  • 03 Dec 1963 - President Johnson designated NASA and other facilities at Cape Canaveral as the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

  • 03 Dec 1965 - Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara directed the U.S. Air Force and General Dynamics to develop a F-111 for reconnaissance, the RF-111A.

  • 03 Dec 1968 - Maj. William J. Knight received the 1968 Harmon International Aviator's Trophy for flights in the X-15A-2.

  • 03 Dec 1973 - Pioneer 10 became the first space vehicle to fly near Jupiter.





·         03 Dec 1987 - The last three remaining O-2As in the Air Force inventory made their last flight from Edwards AFB, Calif., to Kelly AFB, Texas, for retirement.

  • 03 Dec 1988 - After a one-year trial program, the Air Force decided to continue its policy of assigning mixed male/female crews to 24-hour missile duty.

  • 04 Dec 1942 - Ninth Air Force sent 24 B-24s to attack ships at the Naples docks in the first U.S. Army Air Forces air strike against mainland Italy in World War II.





  • 04 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, MiG-15s shot down a U.S. Air Force RB-45 Tornado reconnaissance aircraft in the theater. This event was the first successful jet bomber interception in airpower history.

  • 04 Dec 1957 - The U.S. Air Force announced that BOMARC missile sites would be built at Dow AFB, Maine, Otis AFB, Mass., Suffolk AFB, N.Y. and McGuire AFB, N.J.
  • 04 Dec 1957 - NASA tested the Mercury capsule's escape system by sending a Rhesus monkey from Wallops Island on a 55-mile, 13-minute flight into space and returning it alive.
  • 04 Dec 1959 - To enhance the reconnaissance abilities of the Nationalist Chinese Air Force, Pacific Air Forces delivered four RF-101A Voodoo aircraft to them under the auspices of Project Boomtown. Under Project Slide Rule, the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron conducted and completed the training of the pilots and maintenance personnel by Dec. 11.
  • 04 Dec 1959 - NASA tested the Mercury capsule's escape system by sending a Rhesus monkey from Wallops Island on a 55-mile, 13-minute flight into space and returning it alive.
  • 04 Dec 1961 - The U.S. Air Force launched a Blue Scout rocket from Point Arguello to 27,600 miles in altitude to measure low-energy protons emitted by the sun. 
  • 04 Dec 1972 - The last EB-66 Destroyer left U. S. Air Forces in Europe for Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

  • 04 Dec 1975 - Vandenberg AFB, Calif., launched the last Titan II in support of ballistic missile defense tests.
  • 04 Dec 1979 - Lockheed-Georgia delivered the first stretched C-141B from Marietta to Military Airlift Command's 443rd Military Airlift Wing at Altus AFB, Okla. This program lengthened all 270 C-141As by 23.3 feet and modified them for air refueling.
  • 04 Dec 1986 - The Air Force Council approved Tactical Air Command's suggestion to expand the A-10 Thunderbolt II's role from close air support missions to forward air control functions.




  • 05 Dec 1943 - Ninth Air Force pilots from the 354th Fighter Group flew P-51s into combat for the first time. They escorted Eighth Air Force bombers 490 miles to targets in northern Germany.  The presence of escort fighters reduced bomber losses significantly.

  • 05 Dec 1944 - Eighth Air Force B-17s and B-24s, escorted by P-51s, P-47s and P-38s from Eighth and Ninth Air Force, hammered German targets in Kassel, Mainz, Giessen, Soest and Bebra.

  • 05 Dec 1949 - The U.S. Air Force diverted $50 million from other projects to build a radar screen in Alaska and certain U.S. areas after detecting a Soviet atomic explosion in August 1949.
  • 05 Dec 1950 - McChord AFB, Wash., received the first two Douglas C-124 Globemaster II aircraft. The Globemaster soon became the mainstay of the strategic airlift fleet.
  • 05 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command evacuated 3,925 patients from Korea in 131 flights, with most of these flying from a frozen airstrip at Hagaru-ri.  This effort was most aeromedical airlift in one day during the Korean War.  Greek C-47's joined the Far East Air Force Combat Cargo Command airlift to supply U.N. troops surrounded in Northeastern Korea.  Additionally,  Air Force suspended attacks on the Yalu River bridges, because enemy forces were crossing the frozen river on the ice.
  • 05 Dec 1960 - The Snark missile research and development effort ended when Cape Canaveral launched the eleventh test missile.
  • 05 Dec 1962 - The U.S. Air Force ended the Atlas flight test program with an "F" model launch from Cape Canaveral on a 5,000-mile flight. Since June 11, 1957, 108 of 151 missiles launched were successful.

  • 05 Dec 1963 - Maj. Robert A. Rushworth flew the X-15A-1 to Mach 6.06 over Edwards AFB, Calif.

  • 05 Dec 1970 - The Air Force Reserve's 954th Military Airlift Group from Hill AFB, Utah, assisted in a domestic action program to provide 40,000 pounds of food and clothing to Navajo Indians on reservations spanning the corners of four states.





  • 05 Dec 1974 - Sikorsky Aircraft delivered the last HH-53 Super Jolly Green helicopter to the U.S. Air Force.
  • 05 Dec 1987 - Following Typhoon Nina, six C-130 Hercules aircraft belonging to the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing flew 34 tons of relief supplies to the island of Luzon, Philippines.




  • 06 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, the 27th Fighter Expeditionary Wing, a Strategic Air Command unit from Bergstrom AFB, Texas, launched the first F-84E Thunderjet mission in the war from Taegu airfield, South Korea.

  • 06 Dec 1954 - The Curtiss-Wright Corporation revealed the existence of what was believed to be the first rocket engine with throttle control. This control made extended flight range in supersonic airplanes possible.
  • 06 Dec 1957 - The Vanguard vehicle failed in its attempt to launch the first U.S. satellite.  It exploded on its launch platform.  
  • 06 Dec 1959 - Capt. Walter J. Hodgson flew an H-43B helicopter at Bloomfield, Conn., to a 29,846-foot altitude record for Class E1D helicopters.
  • 06 Dec 1959 - First Martin Titan II, a large two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile, launched.

  • 06 Dec 1963 - Maj. Robert W. Smith piloted the NF-104A Aerospace Trainer, with its ballistic controls (altitude control nozzles on wing tips, nose and tail) and a 6,000-pound thrust rocket engine, to 120,800 feet above Edwards AFB, Calif.

  • 06 Dec 1966 - The first of five Applications Technology Satellites (ATS-1), carrying 15 communications, technology, and scientific experiments launched at Cape Kennedy. On Dec. 9, ATS-1 took the world's first high-quality photos of the earth from synchronous orbit altitudes.

  • 06 Dec 1991 - Following Cyclone Zelda, the 834th Airlift Division sent six C-130 Hercules with supplies to provide relief to people at Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands.

  • 06 Dec 1992 - Six C-5 missions moved 415 tons of engineering vehicles and equipment to Islamabad, Pakistan, to help with flood damage lasting through Dec. 20th.

  • 06 Dec 1983 - The National Transonic Tunnel, a wind tunnel to test ultra-fast aircraft, is dedicated at Langley AFB, Va.
  • 06 Dec 1985 - The Air Force accepted the 18th and last C-23A Sherpa. On Dec. 7, the C-23 joined the 10th Military Airlift Squadron at Zweibrucken AB, Germany, with a mission to deliver engines and spares throughout the theater.
  • 06 Dec 1985 - At Barksdale AFB, La., Strategic Air Command's KC-10th Extender squadron, the 32nd Air Refueling Squadron, reached full operational capability.

  • 07 Dec 1941 – The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.






  • 07 Dec 1941 – By the time of the surprise Pearl Harbor attack, the Air Corps Ferrying Command had delivered 1,350 planes from the factories to AAF airfields, but on the east coast.




  • 07 Dec 1952 - During the Korean War, the largest F-86 claim for a day totaled seven out of 32 enemy fighters destroyed, one damaged and one probably destroyed.

  • 07 Dec 1954 - Using a fully automatic approach and landing system at Edwards AFB, Calif. and the Air Force recovered a missile, the Navaho X-10, for the first time.
  • 07 Dec 1956 - The DOD placed all air transport operations under a single service manager and named Military Air Transport Service as its operating agency. Later implemented on July 1, 1957, this directive required the Navy to transfer its transport aircraft, except for 30 four-engine transports belonging to the Fleet Logistic Air Wings, to the Air Force 

  • 07 Dec 1957 - A Thor missile, equipped with an all-inertial guidance system, completed its first fully successful test in a launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
  • 07 Dec 1961 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara terminated the Mobile Minuteman program.
  • 07 Dec 1962 - The U.S. Air Force successfully launched a Minuteman missile with a Mark 11 reentry vehicle on the first attempt. It flew on a 3,500-mile flight from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
  • 07 Dec 1965 - The U.S. Air Force announced that a Strategic Air Command crew had launched the first operationally configured Minuteman II from an operational silo at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

  • 07 Dec 1966 - The first completed Minuteman II wing, the 150-missile Wing VI complex, turned over to the Air Force at Grand Forks AFB, N.D.

  • 07 Dec 1974 - First E-4A Advanced Airborne Command Post aircraft delivered to the National Emergency Airborne Command Post.

  • 07 Dec 1977 - Secretary of Defense Harold Brown announced a cutback in the air-launched cruise missile and submarine-launched cruise missile programs as part of the SALT II treaty.

  • 07 Dec 1986 - A WC-130 Hercules flew seven tons of food, clothing, and other emergency supplies to Saipan in the Marianas Islands after Typhoon Kim devastated the island.







  • 08 Dec 1941 – The United States declares war on Japan.

  • 08 Dec 1941 – Following their Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese attacked American installations in the Philippines.  Japanese figh
ters destroyed more than 100 U.S. combat aircraft on the ground, including 17 B-17's and 55 P-40's, while killing 80 airmen and wounding another 150.  Five U.S. pilots shot down seven Japanese Planes.

  • 08 Dec 1945 - Flying a Douglas XB-42, Lt. Col. H. F. Warden and Capt. Glenn W. Edwards set a FAI record of five hours, 17 minutes, 55 seconds for a transcontinental flight between Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. They averaged 433.6 mph in the flight.

  • 08 Dec 1948 - A B-36 completed a 9,400-mile nonstop, round-trip between Fort Worth, Texas, and Hawaii without refueling.

  • 08 Dec 1962 - A silo at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., received the first Titan II.

  • 08 Dec 1964 - The Air Force accepted the first of 54 HC-130Hs.

  • 08 Dec 1965 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced that all B-58, B-52/D/E/F models would be phased out of the U.S. Air Force inventory by late 1971. 

  • 08 Dec 1976 - The full-scale development version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon made its maiden flight at Fort Worth, Texas.

  • 08 Dec 1978 - U.S. Air Forces in Europe began actively supporting the withdrawal of Americans from Iran.  Military Airlift Command airlifted 900 passengers from Tehran to bases in the U.S. and Germany aboard 11 C-141 and C-5 missions.  Another 5,700 American and third country nationals left Iran on MAC's regularly scheduled missions until February 1979, when Iran's revolutionary government closed the airport.

  • 08 Dec 1987 - The U.S. and the Soviet Union signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty to remove all intermediate range nuclear missiles (620 to 3,415 miles) from Europe. Following the agreement, the U.S. Air Force inactivated six ground launched cruise missile wings.





  • 08 Dec 1987 - The competitive fly off between the A-9 and A-10 ended.


PREVIOUS PAGE          HOME          NEXT PAGE