Chicagoland/O'Hare Chapter 142

                             Air Force Association





          Air Force Monthly Historical Dates

March 1st - 31st


01 Mar 1946 - Gen. Carl Spaatz designated Commander, Army Air Forces.

  • 01 Mar 1951 - The Air Force establishes its northernmost operational base, Thule Air Base, Greenland, 690 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

  • 01 Mar 1953 - The Air National Guard's 138 Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Syracuse, N.Y. and 194th Fighter-Bomber Squadron at Hayward, Calif. began augmenting Air Defense Command's runway alert program. This event began the U.S. Air Force's total force approach to reserve component use and training.

  • 01 Mar 1954 - The United States explodes the first hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands.

  • 01 Mar 1960 - The prototype GAM-72A Quail completed its first powered flight at Holloman AFB, N.M.

  • 01 Mar 1963 - The U.S. Air Force achieved its first Advanced Ballistic Missile Reentry System launch from Cape Canaveral.

  • 01 Mar 1965 - The first Minuteman I (Model B) to be launched left an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile silo at Newell, S.D. With this shot the 44th Strategic Missile Wing at Ellsworth AFB, S.D., demonstrated that a Minuteman could be launched from an operational site.

  • 01 Mar 1968 - A Minuteman II at the 341st Strategic Missile Wing, Malmstrom AFB, Mont., received the first Minuteman Mark I penetration aid.

  • 01 Mar 1972 - The first production of the Short Range Attack Missile was delivered to the Strategic Air Command.






  • 01 Mar 1973 - Fairchild-Republic received a contract for the A-10.


  • 01 Mar 1973 - McDonnell-Douglas received production approval for the first 30 operational F-15s.

  • 01 Mar 1977 - The first three F-111Fs arrived in Europe for assignment to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at Royal Air Force Lakenhealth, England.

  • 01 Mar 1979 - Aircraft flew 9,952 sorties through March 17 in the fourth annual joint/combined Team Spirit exercise in Korea.

  • 01 Mar 1989 - General Dynamics delivered the first F-16A to the Air National Guard's 114th Tactical Training Squadron, Kingsley Field, Ore.

  • 01 Mar 1991 - Forty-two C-5 Galaxies and three C-141 Starlifters from the 60th Military Airlift Wing, Travis AFB, Calif. and 436th Military Airlift Wing, Dover AFB, Del., moved more than 1,000 tons of fire-fighting equipment and 100 firemen to Kuwait City through June 30. The firemen battled more than 500 burning oil wells set afire by retreating Iraqi forces.

  • 02 Mar 43. The Battle of the Bismarck Sea begins. Gen Kenney’s forces attack and wipe out a massive Japanese resupply convoy in the Bismarck Sea off the coast of New Guinea. At the cost of four aircraft and 13 US airmen, the Japanese loose six destroyers/light cruisers, 13 to 16 merchant vessels, and 60 aircraft. Thirty-five more Japanese aircraft are probably destroyed or damaged.





  • 02 Mar 1949 - Lucky Lady II lands at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. The B-50 Superfortress completes the first nonstop, around-the-world flight in history, covering 23,452 miles in 94 hours and 1 minute.






  • 02 Mar 65. Operation ROLLING THUNDER, the air war over North Vietnam, starts. In the three-and-a-half year campaign, a total of 282,529 sorties are flown, 167,035 of which are attack sorties.

  • 02 Mar 1962 - Operation Bristle Cone, a 12-day exercise, examined the U.S. Air Force and Army capability to airlift 40,000 combat troops from Fort Lewis, Wash. and Fort Riley, Kan. to George AFB, Calif.

  • 02 Mar 1965 - Lt. Hayden J. Lockhart's F-100 was shot down by North Vietnam during his raid against an ammo dump north of the demilitarized zone. A week later, he became the first U.S. Air Force pilot taken as a prisoner of war. He was not released until February 12, 1973.

  • 02 Mar 1971 - The U.S. Air Force introduces a policy permitting women who become pregnant to remain on active duty or to be discharged and return to duty within 12 months of discharge.

  • 02 Mar 1971 - The 511th Tactical Fighter Squadron became the first operational ready A-7D unit at Myrtle Beach AFB, S.C.

  • 02 Mar 1987 - The first F-15E arrived at Edwards AFB, Calif., for flight testing.

  • 02 Mar 1997 - The 60th Airlift Missile Wing's last scheduled C-141 mission in support of Operation Deep Freeze left Travis AFB, Calif. For more than 40 years, Travis aircrews flew these missions from Christchurch, New Zealand, to McMurdo Station to resupply scientists near Antarctica's southern polar ice cap. The 62nd Airlift Wing, McChord AFB, Wash., took over the mission.










  • 03 Mar 1952 - Far East Air Forces initiated a round-the-clock interdiction effort against North Korean railroad lines in Operation Saturate. Fighter-bombers attacked during the day and B-26 bombers at night. The attacks were carried out with intensity through May, and continued periodically thereafter. The B-26s increase vulnerability to communist ground fire provoked a reassessment of the night interdiction campaign in the spring of 1952.






  • 03 Mar 1969 - A Saturn V launched from Kennedy Space Center carried Apollo IX astronauts Col. James A. McDivitt, Commander; Col. David R. Scott, command module pilot; and Russell L. Schweickart, the lunar module pilot, into space. The mission's accomplishments included the first manned flight of the Apollo lunar module and the first transfer between space vehicles via an internal connection. After 152 orbits, or 241 hours and 53 seconds in space, the command module splashed down in the Atlantic 180 miles east of the Bahamas.

  • 03 Mar 1971 - Pacific Air Forces tactical aircraft and forces participated in a JCS-directed, joint Republic of Korea-U.S. exercise called Exercise Freedom Vault through March 7 at Osan AB, South Korea. Events included an airborne assault by 683 U.S. paratroopers from Fort Bragg, N.C., who flew to Korea aboard 12 C-141s and were dropped on Osan AB. A South Korean battalion also parachuted from nine C-46s.

  • 03 Mar 1982 - The first six A-10 Thunderbolts arrived at Suwon AB, South Korea to bolster Pacific Air Forces in the country. The U.S. Air Force built more than 50 facilities, totaling 700,000 square feet, at Suwon AB to support the A-10 beddown project.

  • 03 Mar 1986 - Tactical Air Command's first OT-37 Tweet replaced the Cessna O-2 aircraft at Shaw AFB, S.C.







  • 04 Mar 1954 - The Lockheed XF-104 Starfighter first flew at Edwards AFB, Calif.


  • 04 Mar 1972 - The 42nd Bombardment Missile Wing at Loring AFB, Maine, received Strategic Air Command's first operational AGM-69A Short Range Attack Missile for use with its B-52Gs.

  • 04 Mar 1980 - The E-4B flew its first mission as Strategic Air Command's "Looking Glass" aircraft.

  • 04 Mar 1986 - During Bright Star, a combined U.S. and Egyptian exercise, U.S. Air Force tankers refueled foreign aircraft for the first time.

  • 04 Mar 1992 - Two B-52 Stratofortresses landed in Russia on a friendship mission to demonstrate the end of the Cold War.

  • 04 Mar 1995 - The C-17 flew across the Pacific for the first time, landing at Yokota AB, Japan.


  • 05 Mar 1957 - The U.S. Air Force issued initial operational capability directives to place 40 Atlas and 40 Titan I Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles on alert between March 1959 and March 1961 and 60 Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missiles on alert between July 1959 and July 1960.







  • 05 Mar 1962 - The crew of a B-58 Hustler assigned to the 43d Bombardment Wing sets three speed records in a round-trip flight between New York City and Los Angeles, Calif. The bomber makes the trip in four hours, 41 minutes, 15 seconds, averaging 1,044.46 mph.






  • 05 Mar 1965 - U.S. Air Force's F-111 completes its first supersonic flight at Fort Worth, Texas.

  • 05 Mar 1965 - At Vandenberg AFB, Calif., Strategic Air Command launched its last Titan I.

  • 05 Mar 1976 - An Air Force Systems Command aircrew, flying a B-52G over White Sands Missile Range, N.M., launched the first air-launched cruise missile.

  • 05 Mar 1986 - Capt. Marc C. Felman, 68th Air Refueling Group, and his KC-10 Extender crew provided emergency refueling to a KC-10 and three A-4s Skyhawks over the Atlantic Ocean when a crippled plane on the runway at San Maria AB, Portugal, prevented a landing. The KC-10 and A-4s did not have enough fuel to diver to another base, Learning of their plight while on the ground at San Maria, Captain Felman stopped the refueling of his KC-10, left two crewmen behind in Base Operations, did not pay for his fuel or get a flight clearance and did not align his inertial navigation system before taking off in near zero-zero weather to intersect and save a crippled Marine A-4M. He received the Mackay Trophy for the flight.

  • 05 Mar 1995 - Under the START agreement, the first Russian weapons inspectors arrived at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., to monitor the dismantling of LGM-30F Minuteman IIs.

  • 05 Mar 1996 - A C-141 from Charleston AFB, S.C., flew nonstop to Tel Aviv, Israel, with 2,800 pounds of highly sophisticated explosive-detection devices after four terrorist suicide-bombings in two weeks. A KC-135 Stratotanker from Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, refueled the C-141 en route.

  • 06 Mar 1953 - Boeing delivered its last-piston-engine bomber, a TB-50H, to the Air Force.

  • 06 Mar 1958 - After four successful test launches, Northrop Aircraft Inc., delivered the first production-model SM-62 Snark Intercontinental Ballistic Missile to the U.S. Air Force.









  • 06 Mar 1964 - The Department of Defense canceled the development of the XB-70A-3 Valkyrie.

  • 06 Mar 1972 - American aircraft and warships began heavy, sustained attacks on North Vietnam, the first time since the October 1968 cessation of bombing.

  • 06 Mar 1984 - A 319th Bomb Wing B-52G Stratofortress conducted the first air launched cruise missile captive-carry test over Canada's northern test range.

  • 06 Mar 1990 - Lt. Col. Ed Yeilding, pilot, and Lt. Col. J.T. Vida, range safety officer, set four speed records when they flew the SR-71A "Blackbird" into retirement at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. They flew a 2,404-mile course from Oxnard, Calif., to Dulles International Airport, Va., in one hour, eight minutes and 17 seconds at 2,112.52 mph for one record.

  • 06 Mar 1998 - The Secretary of Defense approved the permanent retirement of the SR-71 "Blackbird." With that decision, the U.S. Air Force would retire two SR-71A models (returned to active duty in 1995), a SR- 71A and the SR-71B trainer model on loan to NASA, and two from returnable storage. While in the Air Force inventory, the SR-71 set numerous world high-altitude and speed records.









  • 07 Mar 1942 – The first class of Tuskegee Airmen graduate from U.S. Army Air Force Tuskegee Army Air Field, Alabama.


  • 07 Mar 1961 - Strategic Air Command declared the B-52's GAM-72A Quail missile system operational.

  • 07 Mar 1961 - Maj. Robert M. White, flew the X-15A-2, with the XLR99 57,000 pound thrust engine, on its first Mach 4 flight.

  • 07 Mar 1962 - NASA launched its first second-generation satellite, 450-pound Orbiting Solar Observatory from Cape Canaveral.

  • 07 Mar 1977 - A Military Airlift Command C-130 airlifted approximately 6.6 tons of medical supplies from Ramstein AB, Germany to Bucharest, Romania, after an earthquake.

  • 07 Mar 1986 - The Air Force conducted its 11th flight test for the Peacekeeper (M-X) missile in the third launch from a modified Minuteman silo at Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The missile carried eight unarmed MK-21 reentry vehicles to the planned target area, 4,100 miles away at the Kwajalein Missile Test Range. Contractor crews conducted all previous launches; however, used two Air Force launch control officers with contractor support.

  • 07 Mar 1986 - An F-16 conducted a successful separation control test of the Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile.


  • 08 Mar 1955 - At Great Falls AFB, Mont., the U.S. Air Force formed the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. The squadron launched and recovered F-84F Thunderstreaks from B-26 bombers.




  • 08 Mar 1961 - Pacific Air Forces sent three of its remaining F-86Ds to the Military Assistance Program, the remainder went to salvage by March 10. On March 3, the last programmed F-102 Delta Dagger arrived at Clark AB, Philippines for the 509th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. This completed the replacement program begun in 1960.



  • 08 Mar 1965 - Strategic Air Command phased out its first B-52 from the 22nd Bombardment Missile Wing at March AFB, Calif. The bomber went to Chanute AFB, Ill., for use in training.

  • 08 Mar 1985 - First Tactical Air Command F-16C/D Fighting Falcon arrived at Shaw AFB, S.C.

  • 08 Mar 1991 - The first Martin Marietta Titan IV propelled by a heavy-lift space booster is launched from Vandenberg AFB, Calif. Augmenting the space shuttle, the Titan IV has two upper-stage options that enable it to carry several critical military payloads.


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