Tag Archives: Israel

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!

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Lost and Found – January 5th Edition

What to remember about January 5th…

  • 1779  American explorer and army general Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr. is born in Lamberton, New Jersey (d. 1813)
  • 1781  Traitor Benedict Arnold, now a General in British army, leads loyalist troops to capture and destroy Richmond, Virginia
  • 1920  New York Yankees announce the purchase of Babe Ruth from Boston Red Sox; worst baseball deal in history?
  • 1933  Construction begins on the Great Depression delayed Golden Gate Bridge; most popular suicide location in the world
  • 1949  President Truman gives “Fair Deal” State of the Union speech outlining national health insurance, public housing, and more
  • 1967  U.S. Marines begin amphibious operations in Mekong Delta
  • 1970  United Mine Workers (UMW) leader Jock Yablonski and his family found murdered in their home; investigation reveals that UMW leadership had paid for their murders for disputing election
  • 1972  President Nixon signs bill authorizing Space Shuttle program
  • 1976  Pol Pot, murderous, communist dictator of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, renames the country Democratic Kampuchea
  • 1993  Serial killer and  child molester Westley Allen Dodd is executed; last execution by hanging in the U.S.
  • 1996  Palestinian master bomb maker is killed by Israel’s Shin Bet with bomb placed in his cell phone

Lost and Found – January 3rd Edition

What to remember about January 3rd…

  • 106 BC  Roman philosopher and statesman Cicero is born (d. 43 BC)
  • 1521  Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther from the Catholic Church, declares Luther an outlaw and heretic
  • 1777  While evading a superior British force, Patriot troops ambush straggling rear guard at Battle of Princeton
  • 1834  Founder of Texas colonies Stephen Austin is imprisoned by President Santa Ana after delivering their new Constitution
  • 1861  Vote to secede from the Union fails in Delaware
  • 1892  English author J.R.R. Tolkien is born (d. 1973), creator of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit
  • 1919  Emir Faisal and Chaim Weizmann sign agreement at the Paris Peace Conference to develop a Jewish homeland
  • 1938  President Franklin D. Roosevelt creates National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis; later renamed the March of Dimes foundation
  • 1959  President Eisenhower signs proclamation admitting Alaska as the 49th state in the Union
  • 1987 Aretha Franklin becomes 1st woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • 1990  During invasion of Panama, dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces after 10-day standoff
  • 1999  NASA launches Mars Polar Lander atop Delta II rocket

the hobbit first edition dust jacket book cover

Lost and Found – December 13th Edition

What to remember about December 13th…

    • 1577  Expedition of 5 ships led by Francis Drake sets sail from England to explore Pacific and beyond
    • 1862  Confederates deal decisive blow to Army of the Potomac as well as Union morale at Battle of Fredericksburg
    • 1887  Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York is born near Pall Mall, Tennessee (d. 1964)
    • 1918  Woodrow Wilson arrives in France becoming 1st sitting president to visit Europe
    • 1942  Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels records his contempt for the Italians’ treatment of Jews stating “The Italians are extremely lax in their treatment of Jews.
    • 1949  Israeli Knesset votes to move nation’s capital to Jerusalem
    • 2000  Al Gore concedes defeat in presidential election after Supreme Court rules a 7th recount would violate Equal Protection Clause
    • 2003  Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is captured hiding in a 6’x8′ hole near his hometown of Tikrit

Lost and Found – December 9th Edition

What to remember about December 9th…

  • 1775  Colonial militia defeat British Ethiopian regiment of slaves and redcoats at Norfolk; Patriots now control Virginia
  • 1803  Congress votes to send 12th Amendment to the Constitution to the states for ratification; changes process for electing President and Vice President due to difficulties in elections of 1796 and 1800
  • 1835  Army of Texas captures San Antonio from Mexican troops
  • 1979  Eradication of smallpox is certified; no known cases since this date; 1st and only successful elimination of a human disease
  • 1981  Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner is murdered during routine traffic stop by former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal
  • 1987  After months of escalating incidents on both sides, violence explodes as Palestinian Intifada begins against Israel
  • 1990  Founder of the Solidarity trade union Lech Walesa becomes 1st directly elected leader of Poland
  • 1992  1800 U.S. Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia as part of U.N. force; safeguarding relief supplies and refugees the stated goals
  • 2008  Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is arrested for corruption including attempted sale of Senate seat of Barack Obama

Vaccines work so don’t be stupid. Protect your kids.

Lost and Found – November 30th Edition

What to remember about November 30th…

    • 1804   Signer of the Declaration of Independence Samuel Chase is 1st and only Supreme Court Justice to be impeached; acquitted of all charges in 1805
    • 1835  American author and humorist Samuel “Mark Twain” Clemens is born in Florida, Missouri (d. 1910)
    • 1864  Assault by General Hood’s Army of Tennessee at Battle of Franklin leave Confederates with disastrous losses
    • 1874  Nobel laureate and British WWII Prime Minister Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill is born (d. 1965)
    • 1947  Civil War breaks out in British controlled Palestine with escalating Arab attacks on Jewish settlers, Brittain prepares to withdraw
    • 1954  In Sylacauga, Alabama a sleeping woman is struck by the Hodges Meteorite; only documented case of human hit by object from space
    • 1993  President Clinton signs Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Bill into law
    • 2001  Green River Killer is arrested in Reston, Washington; Gary Ridgeway believed to have murdered more than 70 women

Lost and Found – November 29th Edition

What to remember about November 29th…

    • 1775  Continental Congress establishes Committee of Secret Correspondence to elicit aid from European nations
    • 1864  Aspiring Colorado politician John Chivington leads militia band in massacre of Native Americans at Sand Creek
    • 1929  American explorer Admiral Richard Byrd and 3 companions make 1st flight over the South Pole
    • 1947  United Nations approves the partition of Palestine and creation of Israel, an independent Jewish State
    • 1963  President Johnson appoints Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of President Kennedy
    • 1972  Atari Corporation announces the release of Pong; 1st commercially successful video game
    • 1981  Actress Natalie Wood drowns in controversial boating accident off Catalina Island, California (b. 1938)
    • 1990  United Nations passes resolution requiring Iraq to withdraw from Kuwait by January 15, 1991 or face “all means necessary” for their removal by allied nations
    • 2004  Godzilla receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Lost and Found – November 21st Edition

What to remember about November 21st…

    • 1729  Josiah Bartlett is born in Amesbury, Massachusetts; signer of Declaration of Independence, delegate to Continental Congress, physician, and 1st governor of New Hampshire
    • 1783  2 Frenchmen make the 1st untethered flight in a hot air balloon; conquest of the skies begins
    • 1789  North Carolina votes to ratify the United States Constitution; admitted as 12th state in the Union
    • 1877  Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph
    • 1975  Congressional report charges that U.S. government had instigated assassinations of Fidel Castro and other leaders
    • 1976  In New York City, boxing film Rocky debuts; Sylvester Stallone becomes one of Hollywood’s biggest stars
    • 1985  Navy analyst Johnathan Pollard is arrested for espionage; delivered classified info to Israel on Arab nations
    • 1995  Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed near Dayton, Ohio, ending three years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Lost and Found – November 19th Edition

What to remember about November 19th…

    • 1794  U.S. and Great Britain sign Jay’s Treaty to resolve issues still creating tension after end of the Revolutionary War
    • 1831  Future President James A. Garfield is born near Cleveland, Ohio (d. 1881)
    • 1863  President Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address at dedication for military cemetery in Pennsylvania
    • 1942  Soviets begin counterattack at Battle of Stalingrad; by January this battle will turn the tide in the Allies favor
    • 1967  For heroism on the battlefield this day U.S. Army Chaplain Charles Watters will receive Medal of Honor (posthumously)
    • 1977  Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is 1st Arab leader to set foot in Israel; peace process moves forward
    • 1985  President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for 1st time at summit in Geneva
    • 1998  Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives begins impeachment hearings for President Clinton
    • 2002  Cameras capture King of Pop Michael Jackson dangling his infant son from a hotel balcony in Berlin
    • 2006  Nintendo releases their 7th generation gaming console the Wii

Lost and Found – November 13th Edition

What to remember about November 13th…

    • 1775  Patriot forces under General Montgomery capture Montreal, Canada
    • 1927  In New York City, the Holland Tunnel opens to traffic; 1st vehicle tunnel passing under the Hudson River
    • 1940  Walt Disney animated film Fantasia makes theatrical debut
    • 1945  President Truman announces panel to investigate settling Jewish refugees who survived Holocaust in British Palestine
    • 1969  2-day “March Against Death” begins in Washington, D.C. to protest the war in Vietnam
    • 1982  Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C.
    • 2001  President Bush signs order establishing military tribunals for foreigners captured as part of the War on Terror
    • 2009  NASA announces that impact of LCROSS satellite on the Moon has revealed the presence water