This Week In AFLCMC History - November 6 - 12, 2023

  • Published
  • By Air Force Life Cycle Management Center History Office
6 Nov 1996 (AFLCMC)

The Aeronautical Systems Center (or ASC, an AFLCMC predecessor), transferred management of ongoing A-76 cost comparison studies from the 88th ABW to the ASC Manpower and Quality Office. The name of the studies referred to an OMB circular that reaffirmed the competitive enterprise system by indicating that the U.S. government should govern, not compete with, its citizens. In practical terms, the A-76 study assessed what activities were being conducted by civil servants to see which were truly “inherently governmental functions” and if any of that work (and jobs) could be turned over to the private sector and handled by contractors. Although the studies were not always great for government employee morale (helping to encourage “peace dividends”-era expressions like “do more with less”), they did result in some short-term cost savings (mostly through manning changes).
7 Nov 2000 (Fighters and Advanced Aircraft Directorate)

On this date in 2000, the Lockheed Martin X-35A—a Joint Strike Fighter program concept demonstrator aircraft, which would go on to become the F-35A Lightning II— completed its first aerial refueling in the skies over Edwards AFB. It was the demonstrator’s tenth flight, and it completed four refueling operations with a KC-135 at 23,000 feet. It was flown by Air Force test pilot Lt Col Paul Smith. Lockheed Martin vice president and program manager Frank J. Cappuccio remarked at the time that “everything went exactly as planned with no surprises.” The F-35 fifth-generation fighter is planned to eventually replace the F-16 and A-10. (Image of Lightning II above).
8 Nov 1953 (Wright-Patterson AFB)

70 years ago today in 1953, the NCO Club at Wright-Patterson AFB was burned almost entirely down in an early morning blaze. Total damages were estimated at $87,000. The structure was first built in 1943, but had recently undergone modifications at the time of the fire—including the construction of a new 40 by 90 foot wing, the laying of new flooring, and several interior upgrades. This prompted club day manager, TSgt Bob Stieferman, to lament that “it took two years to build … two hours to burn.”
9 Nov 1967 (ISR & SOF Directorate)

U.S. Combat Search and Rescue missions during the Vietnam War saved more than 4,000 servicemembers, more than 2,750 of whom were rescued from combat situations. These high-risk rescue missions embodied the Air Force core value of “Service Before Self.” One Airman put this value on display on today’s date in 1967: Capt Gerald Orren Young, commander of an HH-3E rescue helicopter, put his life on the line attempting to save two members of an Army ground reconnaissance team, despite being warned off by the pilot that rescued the other three soldiers of the team due to concentrated fire from enemy automatic weapons. Unfortunately, after boarding the two wounded men, Capt Young’s HH-3 took fire and crashed. Surviving the crash landing, Young aided another crewmember, a sergeant, and then, in spite of severe burns, led the enemy away from the sergeant’s hidden position. He evaded capture for more than 17 hours before rescue. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968 for his valor and heroism.
11 Nov 1948 (Armistice Day/Veterans Day)

On this date, 75 years ago, Dayton paid tribute to the soldiers, airmen, and sailors who lost their lives during WW1 and WW2. It was the 30th anniversary of the end of the First World War—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918—and was still widely called “Armistice Day” at the time. Today it is known as “Veterans Day.” The 1948 parade began at Dayton’s Memorial Hall at 10:30 am, then went north up St. Clair Street, west on Monument Street, and south on Main Street, to end at the old courthouse. At 11:00 am, a minute of silence was observed, before Charles P. Pfarrer of the Ohio American Legion and former Dayton Mayor Charles L. Brennan gave short addresses from the courthouse steps. Similar events were held all over the country, and we continue to remember, mourn, and celebrate those who died for our freedoms today.
12 Nov 1964 (AFLCMC/Hanscom AFB)

Today in 1964, then-Major General (ret. Lt Gen) John W. O'Neill, who was Hanscom Field’s Electronic Services Division (ESD) Commander at the time, announced that ESD’s Research and Development Contracts Divisions (Procurement and Production Office) had won the Air Force Systems Command (AFSC) “Research and Development Procurement Award” for Fiscal Year 1964. The award was an annual award given to the AFSC organization which had distinguished itself through its outstanding performance of its research and development procurement mission that year. The award was accepted by Mr. Carmin J. Iadonisi, the Contract Division chief, who told those present that “the credit [for the award] was shared by 56 other employees in [his] organization, as well as those other sections which supported [his] division.” After serving at Hanscom, Gen O’Neill would go on in Jul 1967 to command AFSC’s Space and Missile Systems Organization in Los Angeles, and then to serve as the Command’s vice-commander (in Sep 1969), before retiring in 1972.
AFLCMC History Highlight: First AFIT Class (10 Nov 1919)

On a Monday morning, exactly one year since the final day of fighting in the First World War, five senior officers of the still-young US Army Air Service reported to their new duty station at McCook Field in Dayton, Ohio. All commanded (or had commanded) aviation fields, but now shared the distinction of being the very first students of the Army’s Air School of Application, known today as the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT).
Early aviation languished in the Army until its exponential growth during World War I led to its separation from the Signal Corps in mid-1918. The War’s end just months later left the Air Service with a kludge of reservists, regular army, temporary officers, and an archaic organization and leadership taken from the infantry. In that context, a few dedicated airmen fought to shape and cement aviation’s role in the military.
One of the most unheralded of these pioneers was McCook’s commander and head of the Engineering Division (AFLCMC’s predecessor), Col Thurman Bane. He went from West Point (where he ranked well above classmate Hap Arnold) and cavalry to aviation before becoming McCook’s first, and longest-serving, post-War commander, setting a technology-centric path for the Air Service’s future.
Bane realized the necessity of establishing a level of professionalism for airmen equal to the Army’s other “arms,” the normalization of military aviation, and technical credibility in the engineering and industry community. To that end, he proposed on 30 November 1918 (the very day he took command of McCook) that he be permitted to establish an “Air School of Application,” paralleling those of the other disciplines, specifically aimed at educating the Air Service’s senior leaders, many of whom were neither pilots nor even acquainted with airplanes. In his words: “No man can efficiently direct work about which he knows nothing.”
Nearly a year later, the school’s first class convened on 10 November 1919. The students were: Lt Col Lawrence W. McIntosh, Lt Col Ira Rader, Lt Col Charles C. Benedict, Maj Walker H. Frank, and Maj Alfred L. Sneed. Colonel Herbert Dargue joined them in January, with McCook lieutenants Louis Meister and C.H. Wilcox attending part-time. Colonel Bane was the school’s first commandant and Lt Edwin Aldrin (father of second-man-on-the-moon Buzz Aldrin) was in charge of the curriculum. McCook’s technical experts served as the instructors, both in their labs and a dedicated school building. The coursework consisted of both practical and theoretical instruction: machining, construction, armament, aerodynamics, propellers, engines, navigation, parachutes, materials, and more. This first class graduated from the renamed “Air Service Engineering School” the following November. Theirs was the only one geared toward commanders; subsequent classes were comprised of more junior officers seeking a dedicated technical education to further their career, more akin to AFIT today. Its students have included notable airmen like Jimmy Doolittle and over a dozen astronauts—including Buzz Aldrin.