Chicagoland/O'Hare Chapter 142

                             Air Force Association





          Air Force Monthly Historical Dates

May 1st - 31st











  • 01 May1943 - Sgt. Maynard H. Smith as gunner, came under intense enemy fire while returning from a mission to enemy-occupied Europe. Sgt. Smith, on first mission, elected to fight a fire, administer first aid, man the waist guns, and fight intense flames alternately. For his actions, Sgt. Smith received the Medal of Honor.









  • 01 May 1945 - Eighth Air Force sent nearly 400 B-17s from England on a mercy mission to drop nearly 700 tons of food over German-occupied Holland. The Germans approved this flight and promised not to shoot down the bombers if they flew along specified routes. Eighth and Royal air force bombers flew five more "Operation Chow Hound" missions during the next week and delivered nearly 7,900 tons of food.

  • 01 May 1958 - The Air Force re-designated the Florida Missile Test Range as the Atlantic Missile Range.

  • 01 May 1959 - Construction of the first Titan I launch and support facilities began at Lowry AFB, Colo.

  • 01 May 1962 - Construction ended on the Idaho first squadron of Model A Minuteman I facilities at Malmstrom AFB, Idaho. Strategic Air Command also activated its third and last Model A squadron, the 490th Strategic Missile Squadron.

  • 01 May 1962 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara told the British that the U.S. would not support the Thor squadrons in England after Oct. 31, 1964.

  • 01 May 1963 - The Air Force Weapons Laboratory established from research and development elements of the Air Force Special Weapons Center and became the tenant unit at Kirtland AFB, N.M.

  • 01 May 1963 - The U.S. Air Force dedicated the General H.H. Arnold, the first Advanced Range Instrumentation Ship, at Port Canaveral, Fla.

  • 01 May 1963 - The 6511th Test Group (Parachute) dropped a full size test module of the Apollo manned spacecraft from a modified C-133 during the first test of the earth landing system.

  • 01 May 1964 - The first generation intercontinental ballistic missiles began to phase out by taking the first Atlas-D off alert with the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron at Vandenberg, Calif. during Operation Added Effort.

  • 01 May 1965 - The YF-12A (SR-71 prototype) set nine FAI records at Edwards AFB, Calif.: 2,070.101 mph for straightaway speed; 1,642 mph for a 500-kilometer closed course; 1,688 mph for a 1,000-kilometer closed course; and 80,257 feet for sustained altitude in horizontal flight. Col. Robert L. Stevens and Lt. Col. Daniel Andre set two records, while Maj. Walter F. Daniel and Capt. James Cooney set the other two.

  • 01 May 1967 - A UH-IF helicopter, in Ohio, completed the first two-way communication to a NASA ground station in Australia, via satellite relay.

  • 01 May 1968 - The Air National Guard tactical refueling units completed a year of overseas duty on a continuous basic without mobilization. This was the first operation of its type in Guard and Reserve history.

  • 01 May 1974 - For the first time, a KC-135 refueled a C-5 in an operational setting.

  • 01 May 1983 - During Operations Bahamas and Turks, Military Airlift Command's 23rd Air Force supported South Florida's Task Force on Organized Crime. Two 20th Special Operations Squadron H-1s and aircrews also deployed from Hurlburt Field, Fla., to the Bahamas, where they flew surveillance missions to help local police capture drug traffickers. In its first year, the task force seized or destroyed $114 million in cocaine, $179 million in marijuana, 10 vessels and 17 aircraft while apprehending 72 people.

  • 01 May 1996 - A German officer assumes command of a German tactical training center at Holloman AFB, N.M. This is the first time a foreigner has commanded a unit at an Air Force base within the United States.

  • 01 May 1999 - The Air Force Reserve Command mobilized its first units to support Operation Allied Force. Eventually the command called six tanker wings and one rescue wing to active duty.





  • 02 May 1957 - The U.S. Air Force accepted its first F-101A Voodoo.

  • 02 May 1963 - Jacqueline Cochran flew a Lockheed TF-104G near Edwards AFB, Calif., to a world speed record for women of 1,203.94 mph over a closed 100-kilometer course.

  • 02 May 1970 - Ground fire in Cambodia claimed an F-4, the first Pacific Air Forces aircraft to be lost in combat operations in that country.

  • 02 May 1977 - First Lt. Christine E. Schott becomes the first woman undergraduate pilot training student to solo in the T-38 Talon.

  • 02 May 1979 - Two E-3A Sentry aircraft flew the first airborne warning and control system training mission over the Central Region of Europe lasting through May 3.

  • 02 May 1980 - Second Lt. Mary L. Wittick is the first woman to enter the Air Force undergraduate helicopter pilot training program in Class 81-05.

  • 02 May 1981 - Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. received Tactical Air Command's first OA-37 Dragonfly. It replaced the O-2A in the forward air control role.

  • 02 May 1981 - In a first, an airborne laser destroyed an aerial target, when the Airborne Laser Laboratory, a modified KC-135 aircraft armed with a carbon dioxide laser, shot down a drone over White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

  • 02 May 1988 - Col. Philip J. Ford, the 384th Bomb Wing Commander and Lt. Gen. Ellie G. "Buck" Shuler Jr, the Eighth Air Force Commander, flew the last B-1B from the Rockwell International plant to McConnell AFB, Kan.

  • 02 May 1999 - Serbian ground forces shot down an F-16 over Yugoslavia. It was the second and last U.S. aircraft lost in Operation Allied Force. An MH-60 helicopter rescued the pilot.


  • 03 May 1943 - Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, Commanding General, European Theater of Operations, U.S. Army, died in an air crash in Iceland.





  • 03 May 1945 - In the last 9th Bomb Division mission, 132 A-26s bombed Czechoslovakia's Stod ammunitions plant.

  • 03 May 1952 - A ski-and-wheel-equipped U.S. Air Force C-47 Skytrain makes the world's first successful North Pole landing.

  • 03 May 1960 - Gen. Curtis E. LeMay, Vice Chief of Staff for the Air Force, announced the approval of a single tanker force, Strategic Air Command managed and KC-135 equipped, to support training and combat for full implementation by the end of fiscal 1963.

  • 03 May 1961 - An Air Force System Command crew launched the first intercontinental ballistic missile, a Titan, from an underground silo at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

  • 03 May 1966 - The first operational service of Minuteman II began when 50 missiles were delivered to Grand Forks AFB, N.D.

  • 03 May 1966 - At Edwards AFB, an HC-130H completed the first live ground-to-air recovery with a single harness capture of Capt. Gerald T. Lyvere and a double harness capture of Col. Allison Brooks and Airman 3rd Class Ronald L. Doll.

  • 03 May 1968 - The first Air National Guard unit called to active duty, the 120th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Buckley ANG Base, Colo., arrived in South Vietnam. It started flying combat operations on May 5.

  • 03 May 1973 - The National Aeronautic Association presented the 1972 Mackay Trophy to three Vietnam aces: Capts. Richard S. "Steve" Ritchie, Charles B. DeBellevue and Jeffrey S. Feinstein.

  • 03 May 1990 - An all-Air Force crew flew Northrop's B-2A for the first time. Lt. Cols. Tom LeBeau and John Small flew the Stealth Bomber on a seven hour, 20 minute test flight above Edwards AFB, Calif.

  • 03 May 1992 - C-141 Starlifters and C-130 Hercules transports evacuated 350 people, including some Americans, from Sierra Leone after a military coup.

  • 03 May 1994 - The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., received the last B-52G for storage. That transfer left only B-52H models in the active U.S. Air Force inventory.

  • 04 May 1962 - At Lowry, AFB, Colo., the 725th Strategic Missile Squadron became the first Titan I unit to achieve alert status.

  • 04 May 1962 - Retired Gen Carl Spaatz received the Thomas D. White National Defense Award for 1968.

  • 04 May 1970 - A Strategic Air Command task force of four B-52s won the Blue Steel Trophy for the best combined bombing and navigation results in the Royal Air Force Strike Command's bombing and navigation competition at RAF Station Marham, England.







  • 04 May 1982 - The E-3A Sentry AWACS deployed to Turkey for the first time lasting through May 8.

  • 04 May 1989 - During a May 4-8 mission, Maj. Mark Lee on the Space Shuttle Atlantis released the Magellan probe that would map Venus with synthetic aperture radar.

  • 04 May 1999 - An F-16CJ pilot of the 78th EFS scored the first F-16CJ victory of Allied Force when he shot down a MiG-29.


  • 05 May 1947 - The H-20 Flying Bike, the world's first ramjet helicopter, completed its first flight.

  • 05 May 1952 - The Grumman XF10F-1 Jaguar first flew. It had a swept-wing variable geometry wing.

  • 05 May 1954 - The U.S. Air Force issued a requirement for a turbo-jet tanker to support the refueling needs of jet aircraft.









  • 05 May 1966 - U.S. Air Force A-1E Skyraider pilots flew their first strikes against targets in North Vietnam.


  • 05 May 1970 - Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps expands to include women after test programs at Ohio State, Drake, East Carolina and Auburn Universities prove successful.

  • 05 May 1971 - The U.S. Air Force's sea-launched ballistic missile detection and warning system, called the Pave Phased Array Warning System or PAWS achieved its initial operating capability.

  • 05 May 1981 - A B-52H from the 410th Bomb Wing, K.I. Sawyer AFB, Mich., landed at Royal Australian Air Force Base, Darwin for two days of public display. This event came after years of negotiating an agreement, signed in March 1981, to let B-52s land in Australia. On June 22, the bomber flew an operational sortie from Darwin on a sea-search mission.

  • 05 May 1987 - The last Titan II missile came off alert at Little Rock AFB, Ark., marking the close of a quarter century of uninterrupted service as the vanguard of America's deterrent forces.

  • 05 May 1996 - Col. Betty L. Mullis became the first woman to command a flying wing when she assumed command of the 940th Air Refueling Wing at McClellan AFB, Calif.

  • 05 May 1999 - A Department of Defense-chartered Tower Air Boeing 747 landed at McGuire AFB, N.J., with the first group of refugees from Kosovar, Serbia's southern province in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. In Operation Provide Refuge, 3,000 Kosovar Albanians were flown to McGuire and temporary quarters at neighboring Fort Dix until arrangements could be made for permanent resettlement with relatives or sponsors In the U.S.


  • 06 May 1957 - The 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., received Tactical Air Command's first RF-101 supersonic reconnaissance aircraft.

  • 06 May 1959 - Launched from Cape Canaveral, the 16th Jupiter missile struck a target area 1,500 miles down range near Antigua Island. The U.S. Air Force than declared the missile operational.

  • 06 May 1960 - At Edwards AFB, Calif., the Minuteman made its first public flight from an underground launch pad--not a silo.






  • 06 May 1967 - Strategic Air Command flew its 10,000th B-52 mission in Southeast Asia. By this time, the B-52s had dropped more than 190,000 tons of bombs in combat operations.




  • 06 May 1970 - Neil A. Armstrong and Cols. Edwin E. Aldrin and Michael Collins from Apollo XI received the Collier Trophy for putting the first man on the moon.

  • 06 May 1972 - After a North Vietnamese offensive, Military Airlift Command helped the 49th Tactical Fighter Wing move 3,195 Airmen and 1,600 tons of cargo from Holloman AFB, N.M., to Takhi, Thailand, though May 15, during Operation Constant Guard III. As this offensive continued, MAC's C-5s airlifted 26 tanks, weighing 1.6 million pounds, on 10 flights to Da Nang, where they joined the battle in a matter of hours.

  • 06 May 1973 - A C-5A returned to Edwards AFB, Calif., after a 15,000-mile flight that included a low-altitude cargo drop by parachute and an in-flight refueling.

  • 06 May 1987 - At Sembach AB, Germany, the 43rd Electronics Combat Squadron and the 66th Electronic Combat Wing, received its first EC-130H Compass Call aircraft.

  • 06 May 1994 - First Lt. Leslie DeAnn Crosby graduates from the Air National Guard's F-16 Fighting Falcon training course in Tucson, Ariz., becoming the first U.S. Air Force Reserve woman fighter pilot.









  • 07 May 1958 - Flying a Lockheed F-104A Star fighter at Edwards AFB, Calif., Maj. Howard C. Johnson set a 91,243-foot FAI altitude record for class C jets.







  • 07 May 1962 - Units of all U.S. military services cooperated in the largest U. S. land-sea-air exercise since World War II in Operation Quick Kick.

  • 07 May 1966 - The Minuteman Force Modernization program started at Whiteman AFB, Mo., when Strategic Air Command removed the first flight of 10 Minuteman 1 missiles from their silos. These missiles were replaced with Minuteman IIs.

  • 07 May 1984 - The HH-60D helicopter completed its first data flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.

  • 07 May 1985 - U.S. Air Forces in Europe EF-111 Ravens participated in their first NATO Exercise Distant Hammer lasting through May 17.

  • 07 May 1994 - Six U.S. Air Force airlift aircraft moved 623 people, including 448 Americans, from Yemen to Saudi Arabia after civil war broke out lasting through May 9.


  • 08 May 1945 - Germany surrenders unconditionally.

  • 08 May 1960 - The Air Force removed its first operational missile, a Thor, from a field unit in the United Kingdom and sent it to Vandenberg AFB, Calif., for confidence testing.





  • 08 May 1970 - An AC-119K gunship attacked a heavily defended road section in Southeast Asia. Despite losing 15 feet of the aircraft's right wing and an aileron, the crew destroyed three enemy supply trucks and then returned to base. For that accomplishment, the crew received the Mackay Trophy.







  • 08 May 1972 - President Richard M. Nixon approved Operation Linebacker I as a military measure to end the Vietnam War. It included the mining of all ports in North Vietnam, and the interdiction of supply and communication lines

  • 08 May 1994 - Five C-141s started flying humanitarian missions from Germany to Bosnia during Operation Provide Promise. They joined the earlier deployment of C-130s from the 437 Airlift Wing and 315 Airlift Wing at Charleston AFB, S.C. The C-141s delivered over 7,000 tons of cargo by the time their flights ended on July 26.


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