Warbirds – F-16 Fighting Falcon

Our latest edition of Warbirds brings us to the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon.  This storied Cold War veteran took its first flight on January 20, 1974.

f-16 fighting falcon thunderbird

Requests for proposals in the 1972 Lightweight Fighter (LWF)  initiative brought five companies into competition.  General Dynamics and Northrop were eventually awarded contracts for prototype production.  During a near disastrous taxi test the XF-16 was forced into an unscheduled first flight to avoid destroying the aircraft.  Despite this, the Falcon went on to win the joint U.S. and NATO Air Combat Fighter competition – outperforming the Saab 37E “Eurofighter”, the Dassault-Breguet Mirage F1M-53, the SEPECAT Jaguar, and the Northrop P-530 Cobra (similar to the XF-17).  Citing better maneuverability, greater range, and lower operating costs, the Secretary of the Air Force announced in 1975 its intent to order the first 650 F-16’s.

f-16 fighting falcon line drawing

The first delivery of an F-16A to the USAF occurred on January 6, 1979.  Operational deployment began on October 1, 1980 with the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB in Utah.  Since then, over 4500 units of a variety of models have been built.  Air forces of 25 nations have had the F-16 in their service.

f-16 fighting falcon weapons load display

The first combat experiences of the Falcon took place during the 1981 Lebanese Civil War.  F-16s of the Israeli Air Force (IAF) successfully downed in air-to-air combat a Syrian Mi-8 helicopter and a MiG-21.  Later that year, a combined flight of IAF F-16s and F-15s destroyed the nearly completed Iraqi nuclear plant at Osirak.

In the 1980s, NATO and US deployment of the F-16 provided an effective counter to the massive deployments of Warsaw Pact aircraft in Eastern Europe.  Innumerable aerial challenges occurred through the end of the Cold War, but no real combat.  The first action seen by US and NATO F-16s occurred during the 1991 Gulf War – Operation Desert Storm.  From January 16 to February 28, F-16s flew over 13,000 sorties with seven aircraft lost.  Of these losses, only three were due to enemy fire.  Despite their heavy operational tempo, it would be 1992 before the first USAF F-16 would get an air-to-air kill.  During enforcement of the US/UK no-fly zones over Iraq, an F-16D shot down a Mig-25 with an AIM-120 AMRAAM.  This event also marked the first kill by an AMRAAM missile.

f-16 fighting falcon burning iraqi oil wells

F-16s continued to provide vital service throughout the next two decades.  Action was seen in the Balkans in ’93,’94, and ’99 as well as Pakistan from ’86 to ’88 against  Afghan Air Forces.  Later, the Falcons saw combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom (’03-’10) and during operations of the IAF in Lebanon in ’06 as well as from ’08 to ’09.  Today, Japanese and South Korean F-16s routinely deal with aerial challenges from Russian, North Korean, and even Chinese threats.

f-16 fighting falcon show of force

With the ongoing upgrade scheme, the USAF plans to keep the F-16 in service through 2025.  However, with the delayed acquisitions of the F-35 Lightning II, the Fighting Falcon may see its US service extended well beyond that date.  You should expect to see them in the air forces of other nations quite a bit longer.

This is a great documentary on the USAF Thunderbirds, their history, and the F-16. Enjoy!

Lost and Found – January 20th Edition

What to remember about January 20th…

  • 1732  American Patriot and statesman Richard Henry Lee is born in Virginia; President of  Continental Congress and Senator
  • 1783  Gret Britain signs peace treaty with France and Spain ending last hostilities of the American Revolution
  • 1801  President John Adams nominates John Marshall to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; establishes Court role and tradition
  • 1841  China cedes Hong Kong to Britain in bid to end 1st Opium War; in 1898 2nd Convention of Peking grants 99 more years of British rule; Hong Kong turned back over to China in 1997
  • 1920  American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is founded
  • 1942  Wansee Conference is held to inform senior Nazi officials of Hitler’s “final solution to the Jewish question” and their roles in it
  • 1945  Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes 1st and only President elected to 4 terms in office; in 1947 22nd Amendment to the Constitution is passed limiting office holders to 2 terms
  • 1981  20 minutes after Ronald Reagan is sworn in as the 40th President Iran releases American hostages it has held for 444 days
  • 1996  Terrorist and founder of Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Yasser Arafat elected president of Palestinian National Council

25 Statements On Politics And Government

You can double-check the sourcing on these, but I think I have them right (Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it. – Edmund Burke)
  1. In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm and three or more is a congress.–John Adams
  2. If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed–Mark Twain
  3. Suppose you were an idiot.. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But then I repeat myself.–Mark Twain
  4. I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.–Winston Churchill
  5. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.–George Bernard Shaw
  6. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money –G. Gordon Liddy
  7. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner–James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
  8. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer of money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.–Douglas Casey (Classmate of Bill Clinton at Georgetown University)
  9. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.–P.J. O’Rourke, Civil Libertarian
  10. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.–Frederic Bastiat, French economist(1801-1850)
  11. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it.. If it keeps moving, regulate it.. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.–Ronald Reagan (1986)
  12. I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts–Will Rogers
  13. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free–P.J. O’Rourke
  14. In general, the art of government consists of taking as much money as possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other–Voltaire (1764)
  15. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!–Pericles (430 B.C.)
  16. No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.–Mark Twain (1866)
  17. Talk is cheap except when Congress does it.–Anonymous
  18. The government is like a baby’s alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other.–Ronald Reagan
  19. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.–Winston Churchill
  20. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.–Mark Twain
  21. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools.–Herbert Spencer, English Philosopher (1820-1903)
  22. There is no distinctly Native American criminal class save Congress–Mark Twain
  23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.–Edward Langley, Artist (1928-1995)
  24. A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.–Thomas Jefferson
  25. We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.–Aesop

Cicero on balancing the budget

Lost and Found – January 19th Edition

What to remember about January 19th…

  • 1807  Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee born in Virginia (d. 1870); formerly superintendent of  U.S. Military Academy
  • 1809  American poet and author Edgar Allen Poe is born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1849)
  • 1861  Georgia joins other Southern states in seceding from the Union
  • 1915  German zeppelins bomb Britain; 1st major bombing of civilian targets kill 20 people
  • 1920  Despite President Wilson’s efforts, United States Senate votes against America joining the League of Nations
  • 1978  Last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany rolls off production line; some minor production continues at South American facilities until 2003
  • 1981  Agreement is signed securing release of 52 hostages taken from American Embassy in Teheran, Iran
  • 1983  Klaus Barbie, “butcher of Lyon”and Former Nazi Gestapo chief, is arrested in Bolivia for crimes against humanity
  • 2006  NASA launches New Horizons probe; 1st mission destined to examine Pluto

herbie the love bug volkwagen beetle

Lost and Found – January 18th Edition

What to remember about January 18th…

  • 1776  Council of Safety in Savannah, Georgia issues arrest warrant for royal governor James Wright; Patriots place him under house arrest
  • 1778  English explorer Captain James Cook is 1st European to discover Hawaiian Islands; landfall is in 2 days
  • 1803  President Jefferson sends secret message to Congress requesting $2500 to fund exploratory mission of Lewis and Clark
  • 1862  Former 10th President and Confederate congressman-elect from Virginia John Tyler dies (b. 1790)
  • 1911  Pilot Eugee B. Ely is 1st to land an aircraft on a ship when he flew onto the deck of USS Pennsylvania in San Francisco Harbor
  • 1944  Soviet forces liberate Leningrad (modern Day St. Petersburg) from nearly three-year Nazi siege
  • 1964  Plans are unveiled for the World Trade Center to be built in New York City
  • 1990  Mayor of Washington, D.C. Marion Barry arrested for drug possession in FBI sting; after completing prison term, Barry returns to politics
  • 1993  Martin Luther King holiday is celebrated in all 50 states for the 1st time

world trade center concept plan drawing

Lost and Found – January 17th Edition

What to remember about January 17th…

  • 1706  American inventor, statesman, printer, and Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is born in Boston, Massachusetts (d. 1790)
  • 1781  Continental Army victory at Battle of Cowpens opens door for reconquest of South Carolina by Patriot forces; Tarleton and his Legion crushed
  • 1865  Pausing in Savannah after city’s capture, rains General Sherman’s Union forces from beginning their assault on the Carolinas
  • 1893  Civil War general and former 19th President of the United States Rutherford B. Hayes dies at home from a heart attack (b. 1822)
  • 1893  American sugar planters led by Sanford Dole overthrow Hawaiian monarchy; U.S. Marines arrive to protect American civilians
  • 1944  Operation Panther begins; Allies try to wrest control of Cassino region of Italy from the Germans
  • 1953  Chevrolet unveils the prototype for iconic Corvette
  • 1961  In his farewell address to American people, President Eisenhower warns of the rising “military-industrial complex”
  • 1966  In-flight collision of a B-52 bomber and a KC-135 tanker drops 4 hydrogen bombs on Spain and surrounding ocean waters; last bomb recovered April 7th
  • 1994  At 4:30am the 6.7 magnitude Northridge quake strikes San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles; 54 die and billions in damage reported
  • 1994  Federal sexual harassment lawsuit is filed in Littlerock, Arkansas by Paula Jones accusing President Bill Clinton
  • 1991  Iraq fires 8 Scud missiles at Israel in an unsuccessful attempt to draw them into the Persian Gulf War
  • 1998  On his website The Drudge Report, Matt Drudge breaks the story of alleged affair between President Clinton and intern Monica Lewinsky

drudge report scoop on lewinsky

Lost and Found – January 16th Edition

What to remember about January 16th…

  • 1861  Crittenden Compromise amendments to the Constitution are defeated in the U.S. Senate ending last effort to prevent the Civil War
  • 1919  Ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is certified; era of Prohibition begins in the United States
  • 1945  Adolf Hitler moves into bunker for 105 days; Hitler will marry Eva Braun and commit suicide while underground
  • 1970  American inventor and designer Buckminster Fuller is awarded Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects for developing the geodesic dome
  • 1979  Violent demonstrations by Islamic radicals and a possible military mutiny force Shah of Iran flees the country; eventually arrives in America
  • 1991  After U.N. deadline passes, U.S. and coalition forces launch 1st air attacks of the Persian Gulf War; ground offensive will begin February 24th
  • 2003  Space Shuttle Columbia launches on what will be her last voyage; craft will disintegrate on re-entry February 1st
  • UPDATE:2017  Eugene Cernan, US Navy pilot and NASA Astronaut, dies in Houston, TX (b. 1934); he was the last man to have walked on the Moon

Lost and Found – January 15th Edition

What to remember about January 15th…

  • 1777  New Connecticut (Vermont) declares independence from Britain and the colony of New York
  • 1815  USS President is captured by British squadron during War of 1812
  • 1919  Storage tank holding 2.5 million gallons of boiling molasses ruptures in Boston killing 21 and injuring scores with 8-foot high molten wave
  • 1929  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is born in Atlanta, Georgia (d. 1968)
  • 1943  Dedication of the United States Department of Defense headquarters in Arlington, Virginia; building popularly called “the Pentagon”
  • 1947  “Black Dahlia” investigation  begins with discovery of body of Elizabeth Short in Los Angeles, California; mystery remains unsolved today
  • 1951  Ilse Koch known as “Witch of Buchenwald”, wife of commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp is sentenced to life in prison
  • 1973  President Nixon suspends offensive military action in Vietnam to give peace process a better chance of success
  • 2009  Commercial airline pilot Captain “Sully” Sullenberger performs his Miracle on the Hudson; lands powerless Airbus 320 safely on the water; walks the flooding aircraft twice to ensure all 150 passengers escape safely

Lost and Found – January 14th Edition

What to remember about January 14th…

  • 1639  Fundamental Orders are adopted in Connecticut; 1st written constitution in the colonies
  • 1741  American General turned traitor Benedict Arnold is born in Norwich, Connecticut (d. 1801)
  • 1784  War for Independence ends officially as Continental Congress ratifies second Treaty of Paris; Britain acknowledges colonies now as United States; known in U.S. as Ratification Day
  • 1875  Nobel Prize-winning physician, theologian, and musician Dr. Albert Schweitzer is born (d. 1965)
  • 1942  President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, persons from Axis nations of Italy, Germany and Japan required to register with Department of Justice; opened door to full-scale internment
  • 1950  1st flight of the Soviet Union’s MiG-17 jet fighter
  • 1963  George Wallace is inaugurated as Democrat governor of Alabama; ran on platform of  “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
  • 1969  Accidental explosion aboard the USS Enterprise kills 27 and injures over 300; serious safety flaws revealed aboard the 1st nuclear aircraft carrier
  • 2005  World Health Organization reports that worldwide polio cases have doubled since Islamic boycott on vaccines began; Muslims claim an American plot
  • 2008  Bobby Jindal is sworn in as the 56th Governor of Louisiana; 1st Indian-American governor elected in the U.S.

USS Enterprise fire 14 January 1969

Lost and Found – January 13th Edition

What to remember about January 13th…

  • 1776  British marines raid Rhode Island to steal sheep and supplies; ambushed by Minutemen, redcoats go home empty-handed
  • 1842  Lone British survivor reaches friendly guard post; 16,000 British and allied troops were ambushed and slaughtered in Afghanistan
  • 1847  Treaty of Cahuenga ends hostilities in Mexican-American War; Treaty of Hidalgo will cede California in 1848
  • 1910  Opera performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York becomes first public radio broadcast
  • 1966  President Lyndon Johnson appoints Robert C. Weaver as head of Department of Housing and Urban Development; 1st African-American cabinet member
  • 1968  Johnny Cash performs live at Folsom Prison; the recording is an unexpected smash hit
  • 1990  Douglas Wilder becomes takes office in Virginia as 1st African-American governor
  • 1999  Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan retires for the second time; he’ll return to the sport in 2001
  • 2002  President George W. Bush chokes on a pretzel and passes out while watching Miami Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game

Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison Album