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  • Lockheed F-117A Nighthawk

    The Lockheed F-117A was developed in response to an Air Force request for an aircraft capable of attacking high value targets without being detected by enemy radar. By the 1970s, new materials and techniques allowed engineers to design an aircraft with radar-evading or "stealth" qualities. The result was the F-117A, the world's first operational
  • Lockheed F-94C Starfire

    The F-94 series all-weather interceptors were developed from the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star. The prototype F-94 first flew on July 1, 1949. The Starfire was subsequently produced in the A, B and C series. The F-94C (originally designated the F-97A) was a fundamental redesign of the F-94B and made its first flight on Jan. 18, 1950. Improvements in
  • Lockheed AC-130A Spectre

    The AC-130A Spectre is a C-130 converted to a gunship, primarily for night attacks against ground targets. To enhance its armament's effectiveness, it used various sensors, a target acquisition system, and infrared and low-light television systems. The versatile C-130 Hercules, originally designed in the 1950s as an assault transport, was adapted
  • Launching Missiles

    Only the President of the United States can authorize a strategic missile launch. In the Minuteman II system, the launch sequence took less than five minutes. This is what would have happened: 1. The U.S. receives warning of an attack from early-warning satellites or ground radars. The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) alerts the
  • Loss of B-52G "BRASS 02"

    On the night of December 20, 1972, the crew of a B-52G (S/N 57-6481) was flying an Operation Linebacker II mission with the call sign Brass 02. Shortly after releasing its bombs over railroad yards in Hanoi and turning for the long flight back to Guam, the aircraft suffered severe damage from two surface-to-air missiles. The pilot maintained
  • Lt. Col. Jerald Ransom: First 100 North Vietnam A-1 Missions

    In November 1966, Lt. Col. Jerald Ransom became the first A-1E Skyraider pilot to complete 100 missions over North Vietnam. Ransom was a veteran of World War II, flying 35 missions over Europe as a B-17 navigator. In 1966, as commander of the 602nd Fighter Squadron (Commando), Ransom flew 366 hours over North Vietnam, and his A-1E was hit by enemy
  • Lt Col Robert Krone: 1st Squadron Commander 100-Mission Tour

    Commander of the 469th TFS, 388th TFW, Lt. Col. Krone's first "counter" was on Nov. 15, 1965. On June 3, 1966, he became the first squadron commander to complete a 100-mission tour.Click here to return to Badge of Honor: 100 Missions Up North.  Find Out More
  • Legacy of the Southeast Asia Wild Weasels

    The Wild Weasels in Southeast Asia created an essential and lasting capability for the U.S. Air Force. Though some believed that SAMs would be "the death of the flying Air Force," the Wild Weasels provided an effective counter, paving the way and protecting strike forces over North Vietnam. The Wild Weasels accomplished their mission at great risk
  • Laos: The Panhandle and the Ho Chi Minh Trail

    THE TRAILThe confused situation caused by the civil war in Laos permitted North Vietnam to use southern Laos -- known as the "Panhandle" -- to move troops and supplies to South Vietnam. In 1959 the communists began traveling along the same network of paths through the Panhandle's mountains and jungles used against the Japanese in World War II and
  • LS 85: In the Jaws of the Enemy

    "... it appears we may have pushed our luck one day too long in attempting to keep this facility in operation ..."- Cable from William Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, to the U.S. State Department, March 11, 1968In the fall of 1967, the U.S. secretly put a modified COMBAT SKY SPOT radar on a remote Laotian mountain close to North Vietnam. The

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