- 25 Jul 1944 - An effort to breakout U.S. forces at Normandy began with 3,000 planes, including 1,500 Eighth Air Force bombers, attacking German posts at St. Lo near American lines for three hours during Operation Cobra. Although the operation succeeded a few bombers hit the wrong target area and killed almost 500 U.S. troops, including Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, the U.S. Ground Forces commander.
Jul 1946 - Task Group 1.5, a 2,200-man U.S. Army Air Force element,
conducted the second phase of a test to burst an A-bomb underwater
off Bikini Island during Operation Crossroads. This group provided
aircraft and personnel to photograph and collect data on the
Jul 1961 - A Titan 1 completed its first full-range flight test with
an all-inertial guidance system. It launched from Cape Canaveral,
Fla., and flew down the Atlantic Missile Range.
Jul 1981 - A B-52 with an offensive avionics system fired an
air-launched cruise missile for the first time.
- 25 Jul 1983 - Military Airlift Command operated 29 C-141 missions to move 397 tons of equipment from the U.S. and Europe to Chad as part of a security assistance program lasting through Sept. 15.
- 26 Jul 1943 - A flight of 10 P-47s destined for various units in the United Kingdom, supported by two B-24s and one C-87, flew from Presque Isle, Maine, to Prestwick, Scotland, with stops at Goose Bay, Labrador, Bluie West One, Greenland and Reykjavik, Iceland. The formation lost one P-47 in a landing accident at Greenland, while a second P-47 developed a mechanical problem on the last leg to Prestwick and had to return to Iceland. When the eight P-47s landed on Aug. 11, the pilots achieved the first, last, and only flight of single-engine fighters (reciprocating engines) across the Atlantic in World War II. The pilots from the 2nd Ferrying Group at Newcastle Army AB in Wilmington, Del., included Capt. Barry Goldwater, who ran for President in 1964.
- 26 Jul 1947 - President Harry S. Truman approved the National Security Act of 1947. He also issued Executive Order 9877 which by presidential directive outlined the duties of the three services. Each was responsible for the area in which it operated -- ground, sea and air, although the Navy retained an air arm and the Marine Corps.
Jul 1949 - The National Military Establishment announced production
of the Sikorsky H-5H, the first amphibian helicopter.
Jul 1958 - Commanders Malcoln Ross and Morton L. Lewis ascended to
82,000 feet in a balloon with 5,500 pounds of equipment, where they
stayed aloft for 34 hours, 30 minutes to set an endurance record for
a flight into the stratosphere. They also transmitted the first
stratospheric television pictures.
Jul 1962 - Strategic Air Command's first Minuteman 1A went into site
A-9 at Malmstrom AFB, Mont.
Jul 1964 - The 1964 Daniel Guggenheim Medal was awarded posthumously
to Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the father of American rockery.
Jul 1967 - The U.S. Air Force launched a flare activated
radio-biological observatory satellite to study solar-flare
Jul 1972 - Test pilot Irving L. Burrows took the McDonnell Douglas
F-15 Eagle up for its first flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.
Jul 1976 - An SR-71 flies at a speed of 2,092.29 mph over a
1,000-kilometer course over Edwards AFB, Calif. This flight sets
three closed-circuit records: world absolute speed; world jet speed
with 1,000-kilogram payload; and world jet speed without payload.
Jul 1986 - A C-9 Nightingale flew Father Lawrence Jenco, who was
released as a hostage by Muslim extremist to Lebanon, from Damascus
to the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Medical Center at Rhein-Main AB,
Jul 1996 - Lt. Gen. Lawrence Boese, the Eleventh Air Force Commander
at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, joined Senator Ted Stevens and Gen.
Richard Hawley, the Air Combat Command Commander, in a dedication
ceremony at Eielson AFB, Alaska, to christen a B-2 the "Spirit
Jul 1943 - Eighth Air Force's first long-range fighter escort
mission occurred when 100 P-47 Thunderbolts escorted B-17 Flying
Fortresses from the Dutch border.
Jul 1943 - During a bombing mission in Europe, numerous enemy
fighters attacked and severely damaged Flight Officer John C.
Morgan's B-17. A cannon shell totally shattered the windscreen and
split the pilot's skull open, leaving him in a crazed condition.
Flight Officer Morgan, as copilot, tried to fly the plane, while
struggling with the pilot to keep him from flying the bomber. He
continued the flight and for two hours flew in formation with one
hand at the controls and the other holding off the pilot until the
navigator came in to provide relief. For completing the bombing
mission and safety returning to England, Flight Officer Morgan
received the Medal of Honor. (Morgan's feat formed the basis of the
movie "Twelve O'Clock High")
Jul 1950 - The first SA-16 Albatross arrived in Japan to provide air
rescue service off the Korean coast.
Jul 1952 - Strategic Air Command presented its general concept of
operations and maintenance for the Snark, Rascal and Navaho missiles
to the Air Force.
Jul 1953 - A B-47 Stratojet bomber set a nonstop transatlantic speed
record by completing the 2,925 miles from Limestone AFB, Me. to
Fairford, England, in four hours, 43 minutes. It averaged 618 mph.
Jul 1959 - The first Atlas D launch took place at Cape Canaveral,
Jul 1964 - Cape Kennedy launched the spacecraft on its flight to the
moon. On July 31, the spacecraft took and relayed 4,316 high quality
closeup pictures of the lunar surface to earth. It then crashed on
the moon near the Sea of Clouds.
Jul 1973 - Skylab 3 launched from Kennedy Space Center on a
two-stage Saturn IB, with Allan L. Bean, Jack R. Lousma and Dr. Owen
K. Garriott. They rendezvoused with the workshop on the fifth orbit,
undocked on Sept. 25, and then separated. The craft splashed down
250 miles southwest of San Diego.
Jul 1976 - Boeing's Compass Cope, the largest remote piloted vehicle
in the U.S. Air Force todate, completed its first flight.
- 28 Jul 1980 - At Edwards AFB, Calif., an SR-71 flown by Capt. Eldon W. Joersz and Maj. George T. Morgan, the reconnaissance systems officer, set four world records, including 2,193.64 mph for the absolute and jet speed records over a 15-25 kilometer straight course. In a second flight, Capt. Robert C. Helt and Maj. Lang A. Elliot, reconnaissance systems officer, flew their SR-71 to 85,069 feet in altitude to set absolute and jet records for altitude in horizontal flight.
Jul 1980 - Four 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing F-4E Phantoms from Clark
AB, Philippines, flew to Tengah AB, Singapore, in the first visit by
U.S. Air Force tactical aircraft to the city-state since 1965
through July 30.
Jul 1952 - An RB-45 assigned to the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance
Wing flies from Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, to Yokota Air
Base, Japan, making the first nonstop transpacific flight by a jet
Jul 1961 - At Fairchild AFB, Wash., Strategic Air Command accepted
its first Atlas E Complex. It belonged to the 567th Strategic
Jul 1966 - The Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman AFB,
N.M., directed the first short range attack missile launch. A B-52H
flying over the White Sands Missile Range launched the missile.
- 29 Jul 1969 - The Air Force Missile Development Center at Holloman AFB, N.M., directed the first short range attack missile launch. A B-52H flying over the White Sands Missile Range launched the missile.
Jul 1970 - Col. Vere Short, a C-141 pilot, attained 25,000
accident-free flying hours, the most military flying time by anyone
on active duty.
Jul 1971 - The X-24A completed its flight test program. It was then
converted to a different shape with the X-24B designation.
Jul 1974 - Secretary of Defense James R. Schlesinger directed the
consolidation of all military airlift under one manager. As a
result, the U.S. Air Force became the single manager for all armed
Jul 1980 - The 146th Tactical Airlift Command and 433rd Tactical
Airlift Wing provided three C-130s to drop fire retardant chemicals
on seven brush fires in the San Bernardino National Forest near Palm
Springs, Calif. through Aug. 1. This assistance allowed the
firefighters to control the fire in three days.
Jul 1995 - The 11th Reconnaissance Squadron activated at Nellis AFB,
Nev., to operate unmanned aerial systems, the Predator. It was the
first such unit in the Air Force.
Jul 1996 - At Cannon AFB, N.M., the 27th Fighter Wing retired the
remaining F-111F Aardvarks from the U.S. Air Force inventory with a
ceremony marking the last four-ship flight to the Aerospace
Maintenance and Regeneration Center at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.
Jul 1948 - North American Aviation delivered the first operational
jet bomber, the B-45A Tornado, to the Air Force.
- 30 Jul 1950 - Forty-seven B-29s bombed the Chosen Nitrogen Explosives
Factory at Hungnam on North Korea's east coast.
- 30 Jul 1951 - Fighters participated in a coordinated attack on selected targets in Pyongyang. The 91 F-80s performing flak suppression, although hampered by cloud cover over the target, were successful as no U.N. aircraft were lost to flak at Pyongyang during the day. The 354th fighter-bombers attacking targets around Pyongyang reported fair results.
Jul 1959 - The Norair N-156F (later modified into the F-5) twin jet
tactical fighter completed its first flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.
Jul 1971- The all-Air Force crew of Apollo 15 lands on the moon.
The crew, consisting of Dave Scott, Al Worden, and Jim Irwin, name
the Lunar Module the Falcon after the Air Force Academy mascot.
Jul 1971 - The last C-133 Cargomaster retired from Travis AFB,
Calif., to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., to end a chapter in
military airlift history. It fell victim to the jet age and the
jumbo airlift capability of the C-5A Galaxy. This event ushered in
the modern all-jet airlift fleet.
Jul 1971 - The last F-100 left Vietnam for the United States. Its
departure ended a combat employment, which began in 1964 and
produced 360,283 combat sorties with 243 aircraft losses.
Jul 1981 - Military Airlift Command supported the Gambia evacuation.
When Gambia's president attended the wedding of Prince Charles and
Lady Diana in London, leftist guerrillas attempted a coup. When
loyal Gambian troops and their Senegalese allies were unable to
rescue rebel-held hostages and quell rioting in Bangul, MAC sent two
C-141s to Dakar, Senegal. On Aug. 8, the rebel force surrendered and
released its hostages. One C-141 evacuated 95 civilians from Bangul
Jul 1984 - Modified B-1A number four, avionics flight test aircraft,
completed its first flight at Edwards AFB, Calif.
Jul 1985 - The U.S. Air Force Bomarc aerial target drone program
Jul 1993 - The VISTA NF-16 employed its multi-axis thrust-vectoring
system for the first time in a flight over Edwards AFB, Calif. That
system enabled the aircraft to achieve a 110-degree transient
angle-of-attack and a sustained angle-of-attack by September.
Jul 1997 - Capt. Dewey Gay flew an F-16C Fighting Falcon from the
62nd Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB, Ariz., to history when he touched
down after a 1.3 hour sortie that pushed the F-16 over 4,000 hour
mark. It was the first C-model to reach the 4,000 hour mark. The
feat took 14 years.
Jul 1941 – The U.S. Army Air Force officially established Tuskegee
Army Air Field.
Jul 1952 - Two Military Air Transport Service Sikorsky H-19
helicopters completed the first transatlantic helicopter flight.
They touched down five times en route between Westover Field, Mass.,
and Prestwick, Scotland. This proved the feasibility of ferrying
Jul 1957 - The distant early warning line, a distant early warning
radar defense installation extending across the Canadian Arctic,
reported as fully operational.
Jul 1958 - Construction of a prototype hardened Titan I launch
control facility with a silo-lift launcher and blockhouse began at
Cooke AFB, Calif.
Jul 1968 - Two UH-IF helicopter from U.S. Air Force Southern Command
helped the Costa Rican government evacuate people endangered by the
Mount Arenal volcano.
- 31 Jul 1970 - The first class of foreign students to graduate under the President's Vietnamization Program completed undergraduate pilot training at Keesler AFB, Miss.
1973 - First Boeing T-43A aircraft delivered to Mather AFB, Calif.
Jul 1987 - Grumman's plant in Melbourne, Fla., received the first
E-8A (a modified Boeing 707-300) aircraft for upgrading to the
Jul 1989 - Military Airlift Command aircraft moved nearly 1,000
firefighters, 850 tons of equipment and medical supplies in
southwestern Idaho, where a ranging fire spread through thousands of
acres of forest. The aircraft also sprayed 3,350 tons of fire
retardant on the fire from high altitudes.
- 31 Jul 1995 - The 351st Missile Wing, the last Minuteman II unit, inactivated at Whiteman AFB, Mo.
- 31 Jul 1997 - The X-38 atmospheric test vehicle made its first captive-carry flight aboard a B-52. The subscale, unmanned X-38 shape was a joint NASA Dryden Center and Johnson Space Center project to validate concept for a future International Space Station Emergency Crew Return Vehicle. The space "lifeboat" relied on Lifting Body technology.
Jul 1999 - Two improved T-38C fighter training aircraft transferred
from Edwards AFB, Calif., to Columbus AFB, Miss., for testing. At
Edwards, the T-38s completed a development test and evaluation of
the aircraft Avionics Upgrade Program, while the move to Columbus
took the planes into initial operational testing and evaluation for
Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training course and Introduction to