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  • Duty First, Always Ready

    Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) personnel form an elite group of Air Force warriors. It is one of the few front-line combat jobs in the Air Force. TACP members bring overwhelming firepower to the battlefield. These Airmen accompany forward Army units to direct combat aircraft engaged in close air support to ground operations. Their training is
  • David Clark MC-3 Partial Pressure Flying Suit

    Pilots of the 1950s-era high-altitude aircraft, including the U-2, wore partial pressure suits like this one. Partial pressure means the suit does not enclose the whole body. In an emergency where the cockpit depressurized, the suit would automatically tighten around the limbs and torso to protect against swelling caused by low-pressure exposure
  • David Clark S-1010A Full-Pressure Flying Suit

    With the introduction of the larger U-2R in 1967, a roomier cockpit meant pilots could wear full-pressured suits. These new suits were more effective than partial-pressure suits in preventing the effects of exposure to the low pressure found at extreme altitudes. Full-pressure suits provide gas pressure around the entire body, and are bulkier, but
  • Dragon Lady: The U-2 and Early Cold War Reconnaissance

    For more than 50 years, Lockheed Martin's U-2 has played a vital role in American strategic intelligence. The unique high-flying reconnaissance jet was designed early in the Cold War to overfly and photograph military activities in the Soviet Union and other communist nations. The U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady" after a comic strip character of the
  • Dart Aerial Gunnery Target

    This aerial gunnery tow-target was fired upon by F-84F pilots of the 162nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ohio Air National Guard, Springfield, Ohio, during 1968 summer training exercises in Michigan. The target was towed behind another aircraft on 1,500 to 2,000 feet of cable and was equipped with a radar reflector to permit the use of radar
  • De Havilland U-6A Beaver

    From 1952-1960, De Havilland Aircraft of Canada manufactured the U-6A (designated L-20 until 1962), delivering nearly 1,000 to the United States' armed services. Although flown mostly by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force employed more than 200 U-6As, primarily for aeromedical evacuation. However, the USAF also used the U-6A aircraft for courier
  • Dr. Robert H. Goddard

    "The Father of Modern Rocketry""It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow." - Robert Hutchings Goddard (1882-1945) Physicist and inventor Dr. Robert H. Goddard is considered the father of practical modern rocketry and space flight. In the early 20th century, he conceived
  • Dyna-Soar X-20A

    As the Aerobee and other programs, including the X-15, were testing the edges of the atmosphere, the Air Force was at work on a vehicle to realize the reusable spacecraft concept. Titled Dyna-Soar for "Dynamic Soaring," the new program (actually an amalgamation of several earlier programs) envisioned a delta wing boost glider that would ride into
  • Discoverer XIV

    The Discoverer XIV is the first satellite to be ejected from an orbiting space vehicle and to be recovered in midair. Discoverer XIV was launched into a polar (north-south) orbit by a Thor booster from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., on Aug. 18, 1960. After the Thor exhausted its fuel, the Agena A vehicle atop the Thor separated from it. The
  • Douglas SM-75/PGM-17A Thor

    The SM-75/PGM-17A Thor intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM) was the product of the early Cold War race to deploy nuclear armed missiles before the Soviets. Thor was designed to be an interim nuclear deterrent while the U.S. Air Force developed long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) as a top national priority. The IRBM concept

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