- 09 Dec 1948 - An arctic storm forced a C-47 Skytrain to land on the Greenland ice cap, stranding the crew of seven. In a rescue attempt using a B-17 and a towed glider, five more crewmembers became stranded. On Dec. 28, Lt Col. Emil Beaudry landed his ski-equipped C-47 on the ice cap to rescue all 12 men and earn the Mackay Trophy for the most meritorious flight of the year.
- 09 Dec 1950 - A C-47 completed the first successful night drop of agents behind enemy lines in Korea.
- 09 Dec 1952 - Republic XF-91, rocket augmented jet became the first combat aircraft to fly a supersonic flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.
- 09 Dec 1955 - The Air Force Ballistic Missile Division received the responsibility to develop the Thor intermediate-range ballistic missile.
- 09 Dec 1956 - The 463rd Troop Carrier Wing receives the Air Force's first C-130 Hercules tactical cargo and troop carrier. This four-engine turboprop airlifter has an unrefueled range of more than 2,500 miles. It can take off and land in about 3,600 feet.
· 09 Dec 1959 - At Brookfield, Conn., Maj. William J. Davis and Capt. Walter J. Hodgson flew an H-43 Huskie helicopter to a record altitude of 21,952 feet.
- 09 Dec 1964 - Three airmen spent 38 days in a simulated spaceship to test a helium mixture of atmosphere.
- 09 Dec 1992 - During Operation Restore Hope I, Air Mobility Command aircraft moved 51,431 passengers and 41,243 tons of cargo in more than 1,000 missions to support U.N. peacekeeping efforts in Somalia through May 4, 1993. The 28,000 deployed troops protected the food, supplies, and aid workers from armed factions in the country. Air Force Reserve crews flew 190 sorties to deliver 1,500 tons of supplies, while refuelers completed 1,170 missions to deliver 82.4 million pounds of fuel.
- 10 Dec 1941 – Five B-17’s from the 93rd Bombardment Squadron carried out the first heavy bombardment mission of World War II. They attacked a Japanese convoy as they landed troops on the northern coast of Luzon,
- 10 Dec 1947 - Lt. Col. (Dr.) John P. Stapp took his first rocket propelled sled ride.
- 10 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command finished a two-week airlift for surrounded U.S. troops in North Korea by delivering 1,580 tons of supplies and equipment and moving 5,000 sick and wounded troops. Participating airlift units conducted 350 C-119 and C-47 flights.
- 10 Dec 1954 - In a rocket-propelled sled run, Col. (Dr.) John P. Stapp goes 632 mph and sustains greater g-force than ever endured in recorded deceleration tests. The test determines that humans can survive ejection from aircraft at supersonic speeds.
- 10 Dec 1955 - Ryan's X-13 Vertijet flew its first flight.
- 10 Dec 1963 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced the development of the FB-111, a strategic and tactical F-111 bomber to replace the retiring B-58s and B-52s.
- 10 Dec 1965 - Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara cancelled the X-20A Dyna-Soar Program and placed the near-earth manned orbiting laboratory project under U.S. Air Force direction.
- 10 Dec 1965 - MSgt. H. B. Whitmore, wearing a passive pressure suit developed by the School of Aviation Medicine, set a new high altitude record during tests in a chamber simulating 112,000 feet in altitude.
- 10 Dec 1980 - In response to the Polish crisis, four E-3A airborne warning and control system aircraft deployed to Ramstein AB, Germany, in an expanded Creek Sentry deployment.
- 11 Dec 1941 –Germany and Italy declare war on the United States.
- Dec 11, 1945 - Col. Clarence S. Irvine and his crew flew his Pacusan Dreamboat B-29 to a five-hour, 27-minute, eight-second record for a 2,464-mile flight from Burbank, Calif., to New York. He averaged 450.38 mph for the trip in setting a FAI record for multi-engined military aircraft.
11 Dec 1959 - Piloting an F-105 Thunderchief,
Brig. Gen. Joseph H. Moore set a world
speed of 1,216.48 mph over a closed course at Edwards AFB,
- 11 Dec 1962 - The first two flights of Minuteman I missiles were declared operational at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
- 11 Dec 1969 - The Air Force's YF-12A supersonic
aircraft made its first flight from Edwards AFB, Calif., under joint U.S. Air Force-NASA
sponsorship. This opened a program to advance American knowledge of aerial
defense tactics and the future of commercial aviation.
- 11 Dec 1984 - Two C-141 Starlifters flew survivors and two casualties of a Kuwaiti Airlines hijacking to either Rhein-Main AB,
- 11 Dec 1986 - The F-15E dual-role fighter made
its first flight at St. Louis,
- 11 Dec 1988 - Two C-141s with humanitarian relief supplies arrived in Yerevan, after a massive earthquake on Dec. 7th killed more than 40,000 people and left another 500,000 homeless. A C-5 also carried supplies to Incirlik AB, Turkey. In the ensuring 20 missions through Dec. 1989, Military Airlift Command delivered 572 tons of rescue equipment, blankets, tents, and medical supplies. For the first time, U.S. aircraft flew directly to the Soviet Union without Societ personnel on board as observers.
- 12 Dec 1941 – Maj. Gen. Herbert A. Dargue, a pioneer aviator, died when his plane crashed into a Sierra Nevada mountain side near Bishop, Calif.
- 12 Dec 1944 - Maj. Richard I. Bong, 49th Fighter Group, with 38 aerial victories, received the Medal of Honor from Gen. Douglas MacArthur in ceremonies at Tacloban in the Philippines.
- 12 Dec 1953 - In the rocket-powered Bell X-1A, which a B-29 bomber dropped over Edwards AFB, Calif., Maj. Charles E.
Yeager attained a speed of 1,650 mph, or Mach 2.44.
- 12 Dec 1957 - In an F-101A Voodoo fighter-bomber, Maj. Adrian E. Drew set a world speed record of 1,207.6 mph at Edwards AFB, Calif.
- 12 Dec 1958 - The U.S. Air Force ended the Goose missile program, which simulated a B-52 or B-47 on radar, in favor of the Snark missile.
- 12 Dec 1970 - A Scout rocket carried the first U.S. satellite launched by another country into orbit. The rocket took Explorer 42 into an equatorial orbit from Italy's San Marco launch platform in the Indian Ocean, near the Kenyan coast, to conduct a special XA-ray sky survey.
- 12 Dec 1975 - The E-3A airborne warning and control system arrived at Edwards AFB, Calif., for testing.
- 12 Dec 1985 - Military Airlift Command supported
the recovery operations after the crash of an Arrow Air DC-8 upon take-off from
Gander International Airport,
Newfoundland, claimed the lives
of 248 101st Airborne Division paratroopers and eight civilians. Nine C-141s
returned the remains to the U.S., while an additional 17 airlift missions moved 770 passengers and nearly 125 tons of cargo.
- 12 Dec 1988 - The 33rd Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service saved 11 passengers off of a life raft from the sunken ship, Selina, in the Pacific between the Philippines and Japan. The survivors received transportation to Clark AB, Philippines, for examination and treatment.
- 13 Dec 1941 – In an executive order, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the Secretary of War to take control of any civilian airline needed for the war effort. Contracts with the airlines permitted the purchase of aircraft and airline services.
- 13 Dec 1943 - Under perfect conditions for radar
bombing (interpreted as bad weather), 710 bombers from Eighth Air Force
- 13 Dec 1948 - Col. Edward P. Eagan flew 20,559 miles around the world from New York and back, in a record 147 hours, 15 minutes.
- 13 Dec 1956 - Maj. Arnold I. Beck soared to a
simulated altitude of 198,770 feet, the highest on record, in an Air Research
and Development Command altitude chamber at Dayton.
- 13 Dec 1958 - Gordo, a one-pound squirrel monkey, survived a flight to a height of 300 miles in a Jupiter missile nose cone. The nose cone returned and landed in the Atlantic Ocean 1,700 miles southeast of the Cape Canaveral. Fla., launching site; however, Gordo died before the nose cone could be recovered.
- 13 Dec 1962 - During Project Stargazer, Capt
Joseph A. Kittinger Jr. and William C. White, a Navy civilian astronomer, flew
the U.S. Air Force's Stargazer balloon to 82,000 feet in an 18-hour, 30 minute
flight above southwestern New Mexico for two days. A telescope on top of the
gondola provided Mr. White one of the clearest celestial views ever seen by an
- 13 Dec 1965 - Four U.S. Air Force officers completed the longest space cabin test yet, spending 68 days in a simulator. This included 56 days at altitude in a 30-foot long, 9-foot in diameter cabin, breathing an atmosphere of 70 percent oxygen and 30 percent helium.
- 13 Dec 1966 - A Minuteman II launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. carried the first Minuteman Emergency Rocket Communications System into space for testing and evaluation.
- 13 Dec 1971 - Vandenberg AFB, Calif. conducted the 95th and final Minuteman I operational test (Phase II) launch.
- 13 Dec 1973 - General Dynamics rolled out the YF-16 at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas.
- 13 Dec 1982 - Military Airlift Command aircraft airlifted tents, blankets, medical supplies, and generators into Yemen after massive earthquake.
- 14 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, due to advancing Chinese troops, through Dec. 17, the Combat Cargo Command moved 228 patients, 3,891 passengers, and 20,088 tons of cargo from Yonpo Airfield. The airlift support helped to evacuate the Army's X Corps from the Hamhung-Hungnam area in northeastern Korea. A Far East Air Forces airplane dropped the first six-ton Tarzon on a tunnel near Huichon with limitd effectiveness.
- 14 Dec 1959 - Capt. Joe B. Jordan set a FAI
altitude record of 103,395.9 feet at Edwards AFB, Calif., in a Lockheed F-104C Starfighter.
- 14 Dec 1960 - In a nonstop, non-refueled flight,
Lt. Col. T. R. Grissom and crew flew their B-52G over a record 10,079-mile
closed course. They flew from Edwards AFB, Calif.,
over Texas, Washington,
and back to Edwards. They had fuel for 1,000 more miles after the 19-hour,
- 14 Dec 1964 - The first armed reconnaissance mission flown in Laos, code-named Barrel Roll, this mission initiated tactical fighter operations in Southeast Asia on a continuous basis.
- 14 Dec 1966 - Col. Albert R. Howarth demonstrated exemplary courage and airmanship under the most hazardous conditions of darkness and intense enemy fire while participating in a Southeast Asia combat mission. He received the Mackay Trophy for his flight.
- 14 Dec 1970 - The final Minuteman III research and development, and the last intercontinental ballistic missile launch, from Cape Kennedy succeeded.
- 14 Dec 1986 - Chuck Yeager left Edwards AFB, Calif., on a record-setting flight to Kitty Hawk, N.C.
- 14 Dec 1989 - For the first time, Military
Airlift Command allows women to serve as crew members on C-130 and C-141
airdrop missions. This marks the entry of women into combat crew roles.
- 15 Dec 1942 - Nine B-24s from the 376th Bomb Group bombed Sfax to open Ninth Air Force's campaign against Tunisian ports.
- 15 Dec 1950 - During the Korean War, the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group inaugurated F-86 Sabrejet operations in Korea. Far East Air Forces Bomber Command launched its first mission in a new zone interdiction plan.
- 15 Dec 1951 - The U.S. Air Force directed the
military air transport service to develop the Civil Reserve Air Fleet program.
- 15 Dec 1957 - The 556th Strategic Missile
Squadron activated at Patrick AFB, Fla.,
to train missile crews and conduct test launches. It was Strategic Air
Command's first operational SM-62 Snark squadron and first missile squadron.
- 15 Dec 1959 - Capt. Joseph W. Rogers flew an
F-106 Delta Dart to 1,520.9-mph speed record on an 11-mile straight course at
Edwards AFB, Calif.
- 15 Dec 1961 - The first class of five military space pilots graduated from the eight-month Aerospace Research Pilots School.
- 15 Dec 1964 - Strategic Air Command inactivated the last Atlas D missile squadron, the 549th Strategic Missile Squadron, at Offutt AFB, Neb.
- 15 Dec 1964 - The first U.S. Air Force gunship,
the AC-47 "Spooky" enters combat in Vietnam.
- 15 Dec 1964 - In a FC-47, Capt. Jack Harvey and his crew flew the first gunship mission in the Vietnam War. The FC-47 later became the AC-47. It was equipped with Gatling guns in its cargo bay.
- 15 Dec 1969 - The U.S. agreed to withdraw from Wheelus AB, Libya.
- 15 Dec 1992 - The following Air Force bases
close: England AFB; La.; Eaker AFB, Ark.; and George AFB, Calif.
- 15 Dec 1992 - The following Air Force bases close: England AFB; La.; Eaker AFB, Ark.; and George AFB, Calif.
- 16 Dec 1958 - Launching operations began down the Pacific Missile Range with a successful Thor missile shot from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. This was the first ballistic missile flight over the Pacific Ocean.
- 16 Dec 1958 - At Dover AFB, Del., Brig. Gen. Robert J. Goewey flew a C-133 Cargomaster to airlift the heaviest load in aviation history to date. The aircraft carried 117,000 pounds to 10,000 feet.
- 16 Dec 1960 - From Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Strategic Air Command fired the first Atlas-D equipped with a Mark-3 nose cone over a 4,384-mile course to Eniwetok Atoll.
- 16 Dec 1960 - The semi-automatic ground environment facility at Gunter AFS, Ala., controlled two BOMARC-B missiles launched from Eglin AFB, Fla., and directed their interception of a B-47 drone flying at 500 mph at 30,000 feet.
- 16 Dec 1963 - A 13-man Air Force and Army team
set a 41,000-foot free-fall parachute record.
- 16 Dec 1970 - The 509th Bomb Wing at Pease AFB,
N.H., received Strategic Air Command's first combat-capable FB-111-A.
- 16 Dec 1976 - First F-16A Fighting Falcon
delivered to Edwards AFB, Calif.
- 16 Dec 1982 - The 416th Bombardment Wing at Griffiss AFB, N.Y., became the first Strategic Air Command unit to be operationally equipped with air-launched cruise missiles.