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Cold War Collection

By Peter Grier
Candy Bomber, engineer, unofficial ambassador.

SAC's Half Century
By John T. Correll
There has been nothing like it before or since.

White vs. LeMay: The Battle Over Ballistic Missiles
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.

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

Big Bang
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.

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

Cleaning the Bug House
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.

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

The Heyday of Nuclear Air Defense
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.

The Berlin For Lunch Bunch
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.

They Called It Star Wars
By John T. Correll
The critics sneered at it, but the Soviets weren’t so sure.

Air Strike at Osirak
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.

The Bear Went Over the Mountain
By John T. Correll
Soviet forces in Afghanistan found themselves bogged down in a fight they could not win.

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

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

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

Spying on the MiGs
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.

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

When the U-2 Fell to Earth
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.

A Small War in Panama
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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

How the West Would Have Won
By Christopher J. Bowie
A top airpower analyst looks back at the greatest air war that never was.

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

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

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

The Ups and Downs of Counterforce
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.

The Air Force and the Cold War: A Chronology, 1945-91
By John T. Correll
Here are the key events of a world conflict that shaped, and was shaped by, the Air Force.

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

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

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

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

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

The Strategic World of Russell E. Dougherty
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.

Moscow’s Fatal Military Adventure
By Walter J. Boyne
The thunderous collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to the invasion of Afghanistan 25 years ago.

The Secret at Complex J
By Dwayne A. Day
At Tyuratam, the Soviet moon booster emerged slowly and suffered disaster.

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

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

Big Fella
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.

Von Karman's Way
By Walter J. Boyne
The legendary scientist used every available means to push the Air Force into the future.

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

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

The Short, Happy Life of the Glick-Em
By Peter Grier
Twenty years ago, the Air Force activated its first Ground Launched Cruise Missile wing in Europe.

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

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

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

The Man Who Built the Missiles
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.

The Blueprint for Cold War Defense
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.

The Rise of Air Defense
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.

The Quiet Coup of 1949
By Herman S. Wolk
Fifty years ago, Congress shifted power from the services to the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Stuart Symington
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.

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

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

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

The Long Reach of the Stratojet
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.

The First Five Years of the First 50
By Herman S. Wolk
The Air Force gained its independence on Sept. 18, 1947. Then the crises started popping, one after the other.

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

The Battle of the B-36
By Herman S. Wolk
The "Revolt of the Admirals" focused on the big bomber, but the real issues ran much deeper.

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

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

Reflections on the Osirak Strike
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.

Big Lift: Boon, Boondoggle, or Bust?
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.