This Week In AFLCMC History - November 21-27, 2022

  • Published
  • By Air Force Life Cycle Management Center History Office
21 Nov 1995 (88 ABW—Wright-Patterson AFB)

The Balkan Proximity Peace Talks, which had started on 1 November, concluded with the Dayton Peace Agreement, putting an end to the 3 1/2-year-long Bosnian War. The agreement was formally signed in Paris on 14 Dec 1995. Wright-Patterson AFB (WPAFB) had fewer than two weeks to “[prepare] the peace talk complex, [support] the negotiators, and [create] an atmosphere that fostered diplomatic success.” Supporting this major international event involved numerous base organizations, ranging from Civil Engineering and Communications to Security and Protocol. Ultimately, more than 2,000 WPAFB employees and servicemembers were recognized with awards or other forms of recognition.  (Photo shows a bench and plaque to commemorate The Peace Walk  at WPAFB). 

22 Nov 1978 (Digital Dir.—Hanscom AFB)

The first Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) Class 1 Hughes Improved Terminal (HIT) was shipped from Fullerton, California, to the JTIDS Adaptable Surface Interface Terminal (ASIT) contractor, IBM, Oswego, New York. JTIDS was developed as a se-cure, jam-resistant data distribution system for use in joint
operational command, control, and communications. It was discovered in studies in the late 1960s, and for real during the Vietnam War, that the U.S. was not coordinating its joint forces (and particularly its air forces) as effectively as it could be with better communication strategies - and part of the solution for this problem was to develop improved command and control systems like JTIDS. 

23 Nov 1998 (Fighters & Adv. Aircraft Dir.—Hill AFB)

The first A-10 Thunderbolt II arrived at Hill AFB as part of a workload transfer from the Sacramento Air Logistics Complex (ALC) to the Ogden ALC. It was a demonstration model for depot maintenance. The A-10 was already an established airplane by this point, having had its first flight in 1972, but would become especially iconic during America’s fighting in the Middle East. Often known by its nickname, the “Warthog,” the A-10 played a large role in close air support missions throughout operations in Afghanistan and Iraq (going back to the Gulf War where it saw its first combat missions, and flying approximately a third of all combat sorties for Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom). The A-10 continues to see use today. 

24 Nov 1993 (Bombers Dir.)

The B‑1B Lancer System Program Office (SPO) issued a Selected Stop Work Order to Rockwell to stop certain activities related to the Conventional Mission Upgrade Program (CMUP) while conducting a contract restructuring. The B-1B CMUP was designed to transition the nuclear-capable B-1B bomber to an exclusively conventional weapons role following the end of the Cold War. Upgrades eventually included software and comms upgrades, the ability to deliver cluster bombs, more weapons flexibility, a targeting pod, and enhanced avionics. The most recent upgrades were in 2019. 

25 Nov 1943 (Wright-Patterson AFB)

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) Detachment, HQ Army Air Force Materiel Command, was activated at Wright Field. In 1938, there were around 2,400 people employed by the then-separate Wright Field and Patterson Field. By mid-1944, there were roughly 50,000 military and civilian workers. By 1945, the two Army Air Force fields made up 35% of Dayton’s total industrial payroll. At Patterson Field, which was conducting many depot-level functions, 50% of the workers were women. 

26 Nov 1962 (Acq. Excellence & Prog. Exec. Dir.—Hill AFB)

The USAF activated the Vernal AF Seismological Site in Vernal, Utah, as a detached installation, assigning Hill AFB jurisdictional accountability. In less than a month, on 19 December, ceremonies marking the official opening of the installation occurred. The observatory was one of four completed by the Texas Instruments, Inc., under Department of Defense contract for research into detection and identification of distant underground nuclear weapons tests. The $500,000 observatory, located 12 miles southwest of Vernal, was situated on 2,312 acres of land. The site was given to the National Science Foundation in 1972. 

27 Nov 1957 (Wright-Patterson AFB, Tinker AFB)

Wright-Patterson AFB participated in Tactical Air Command’s Operation Sun Run. This was a transcontinental speed and effectiveness test of the RF-101C Voodoo aircraft, a supersonic photo reconnaissance aircraft, which set three new transcontinental speed records. The success of the Sun Run depended in part on five KC‑135 aerial tankers, highlighting the value of this aircraft as well as its high speed, which allowed it to refuel the participating RF-101C aircraft 26 times over the course of the Run. 

Native American Heritage Month: Tinker AFB

Present-day Oklahoma has been occupied by indigenous peoples for over 10,000 years. These Paleo-Indians were mostly migratory hunters and foragers. The area was then home to the southwestern reaches of the Mississippian Culture (just as Ohio was home to the northeastern-most) characterized by mound building, complex settlements, and extensive trade. The tribes included the Wichitas, Quapaws, Apache, and especially the Caddo. The Spanish expedition led by Fernando de Soto were the first Europeans to encounter these Native Americans in the 16th Century.

The 1800s, following the creation of the United States, were the most radical and devastating for the majority of native tribes in this region. A series of one-sided treaties and Congressional Acts formalized relocation of indigenous peoples, particularly from southeastern states. The so-called “Five Civilized Tribes” of Creek, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole, along with dozens of smaller ones, were forcibly removed to “Indian Territory” set aside for them - even though the lands were still home to existing native cultures. Thousands died during this enforced movement, which included the infamous Trail of Tears.

After the Civil War, Indian Territory to the east and Oklahoma Territory in the west were subdivided among various tribes, but were under constant pressure from settlers, who were granted property under official “Land Runs.” Both territories pushed for statehood in the early 1900s, with Indian Territory tribes advocating for their own state of Sequoyah. However, President Teddy Roosevelt combined them into a single state - Oklahoma, in 1907. Today, Oklahoma is home to over three dozen federally recognized tribes. Continuing a tradition of honoring its connection to local Native Americans, Tinker AFB established an Inter-Tribal Council in 2007 to further cultivate that relationship and to educate the local community.

Tinker AFB itself is named in honor of Maj Gen Clarence L. Tinker, born in the Osage Nation of Indian Territory. He joined the Army in 1912, rising to head the 7th Air Force out of Hawaii after Pearl Harbor. As a Major General and highest ranking Native American in the military at the time, he commanded a long-range bombing strike against Wake Island in 1942. His plane disappeared en route to the target, making him the first general officer to perish during the war. The Air Depot in Oklahoma City was named in his honor.