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Cold War Collection

By Peter Grier
Candy Bomber, engineer, unofficial ambassador.

By John T. Correll
There has been nothing like it before or since.


By Lawrence J. Spinetta
Gen. Thomas White triumphed in an epic battle to develop and field the Atlas, overcoming fierce resistance from Gen. Curtis LeMay.


By Phillip S. Meilinger
In the late 1940s, the Soviets had millions of men under arms, but the US had nuclear weapons and airpower.


By Walter J. Boyne
In 1962, Operation Dominic regularly lit up the sky above the Pacific Ocean with nuclear yields up to 700 times
the size that destroyed Hiroshima.


By John T. Correll
It was a rescue operation, but it also foiled a plan for Cuban-Soviet expansionism.


By Peter Grier
The new US Embassy in Moscow was half done. Then officials realized the Soviets had built hundreds of listening devices right into the structure.


By Jeffrey T. Richelson
Supersecret 7500-series satellites for years soaked up Soviet communications, while most assumed they performed missile warning missions.


By Christopher J. Bright
For a short time, the Air Force had thousands of nuclear-tipped weapons ready to defend the United States against Soviet bombers.


By Walter J. Boyne
Throughout the Cold War, USAF crews took advantage of the air corridors to Berlin to spy on the Soviet forces in East Germany.

By John T. Correll
The critics sneered at it, but the Soviets weren’t so sure.


By John T. Correll
Iraq’s nuclear reactor was about to go hot. If the Israelis were going to take action, it had to be soon.


By John T. Correll
Soviet forces in Afghanistan found themselves bogged down in a fight they could not win.


By John T. Correll
At Checkpoint Charlie, US and Soviet tanks faced each other at point-blank range.


By Rebecca Grant
The airmen assigned to airborne nuclear alert faced a difficult and deadly serious mission.


By Rebecca Grant
For decades, airmen across Europe stood ready to launch their nuclear-armed fighters against Warsaw Pact targets.


By Jeffrey T. Richelson
Everything from spy satellites to future four-stars crawling through mud gathered intel on the supersecret Soviet fighters.


By John T. Correll
The fate of the hostages rode with a C-130 descending out of the night sky with its lights off.


By John Lowery
In 1966, Israel got its hands on a MiG-21, with major benefits for itself and the US Air Force.


By Walter J. Boyne
Fifty years ago, a Soviet missile shot down Francis Gary Powers and his exotic spyplane.


By Peter Grier
This secret 1960s study left its stamp on US nuclear forces for the next 40 years.


By John T. Correll
The main Air Force contribution to Operation Just Cause was the airlift, which doubled the number of combat troops in the country.


By Stewart M. Powell
On an October day a half-century ago, the ICBM era was born.


By Walter J. Boyne
The new Soviet bomber was really just a knockoff of a famous American bomber—no Bull.


By Christopher J. Bowie
For USAF, the defense of air bases was mission-critical. And it still is.


John T. Correll
The all-volunteer force was a return to—not a departure from—the nation’s tradition of military service.


By Richard Halloran
The Reagan Pentagon wanted to plan for it. Then, all hell broke loose.


By Air Force Magazine Staff
With the success of Sputnik 1, the Space Age was born, and the Space Race was about to begin.


By Christopher J. Bowie
A top airpower analyst looks back at the greatest air war that never was.


By Walter J. Boyne
It was an all-out race to seize the best German scientists and technologies. America won.


By Peter Grier
A tale of purloined MiG fighters, secret desert airfields, and double-wide trailers ...


By Walter J. Boyne
A long time ago, in a distant place, US airmen helped out a throng of desperate Muslim travelers.


By John T. Correll
A big issue in the Cold War was whether nuclear weapons should be targeted mainly on the enemy force or on the enemy’s cities.


By John T. Correll
Here are the key events of a world conflict that shaped, and was shaped by, the Air Force.


By John T. Correll
The Russians hoped to have their missiles in operation before the Americans discovered them. They almost made it.


By Herman S. Wolk
Gen. Lauris Norstad worked well behind the scenes, and his quiet actions had a decisive impact on US defense.


By John T. Correll
The mission could have gone to the Army, which saw ballistic missiles as a new kind of artillery.


By Braxton Eisel
The Soviet Union wanted a nuclear weapon that could stage a “backdoor” strike on US soil.


By Peter Grier
The three mysterious EC-121 crashes a generation ago cost the lives of 50 airmen.

By John T. Correll
He became an Air Force leader and thinker of great distinction— but he started out as a bugler in the cavalry.


By Walter J. Boyne
The thunderous collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to the invasion of Afghanistan 25 years ago.


By Dwayne A. Day
At Tyuratam, the Soviet moon booster emerged slowly and suffered disaster.


By Bill Getz
The theft of the fighter was a classic tale of Cold War skullduggery.


By Peter Grier
It has been a half-century since the “DEW Line” first started rising in the Arctic waste.


By Bruce D. Callander
USAF built only one XC-99, in 1947. Soon, this enormous aircraft will have a new home at the US Air Force Museum.


By Walter J. Boyne
The legendary scientist used every available means to push the Air Force into the future.


By Herman S. Wolk
Under Eisenhower, strategic airpower became the centerpiece of US military strategy.


By Jeffrey T. Richelson
USAF’s KH-7 spy satellite system constituted a major advance in overhead intelligence collection.


By Peter Grier
Twenty years ago, the Air Force activated its first Ground Launched Cruise Missile wing in Europe.


By Rebecca Grant
In one spectacular engagement in the skies over Lebanon, modern airpower took a dramatic leap forward.


By Peter Grier
This grim, strange, often misunderstood concept has hovered over defense policy for more than 30 years.


By Walter J. Boyne
At the dawn of the Cold War, air surveillance missions over "denied areas" could--and did--get pretty sporty.


By Walter J. Boyne
Gen. Bernard Schriever not only produced an ICBM force in record time but also led the way to American dominance in space.


By Herman S. Wolk
NSC-68 recognized the massive changes in the postwar world and set the stage for a new kind of peacetime force.


By Walter J. Boyne
In its heyday, it included a Ground Observer Corps, radar picket lines in the far north, SAGE centers, and almost 1,500 interceptors.


By Herman S. Wolk
Fifty years ago, Congress shifted power from the services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.


By Walter J. Boyne
The first Secretary of the Air Force was a talented, hard-nosed businessman-but first and foremost a man of courage, who resigned on principle.


By Walter J. Boyne
It was justifiably called "the airlift that saved Israel.


By Gen. T. Ross Milton, USAF (Ret.)
Fifty years later, the Task Force Chief of Staff reflects on Operation Vittles.

By Stewart M. Powell
Veterans of the greatest humanitarian airlift in history recall the experiencs. It began 50 years ago this month.


By Walter J. Boyne
The B-47 first flew 50 years ago this month. Its influence went far beyond its military role. A whole host of airliners followed its basic design characteristics.


By Herman S. Wolk
The Air Force gained its independence on Sept. 18, 1947. Then the crises started popping, one after the other.


The struggle against Communism lasted longer than all of America's other wars put together.


By Herman S. Wolk
The "Revolt of the Admirals" focused on the big bomber, but the real issues ran much deeper.


By Theresa Foley
Today, the achievements of the early space satellites sound elementary. In the 1950s, though, it was a different story.


By Richard Mackenzie
How did a band of ragtag tribesmen manage to defeat the Soviet Union in its own backyard?


By Gen. T. R. Milton, USAF (Ret.)
The Israeli strike against the Osirak reactor in Iraq focused new attention on the modernization of air forces throughout the Middle East.


By Allan R. Scolin
In a brilliantly executed tactical operation, USAF flew 16,000 troops and several million pounds of equipment from Texas to Germany. Now, in the aftermath, it's time to sort out the meaning of Big Lift.