Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson referred to as LBJ, was an American politician who served as the 36th president of the United States from 1963 to 1969. The 37th vice president of the United States from 1961 to 1963, he assumed the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A Democrat from Texas, Johnson served as a United States Representative and as the Majority Leader in the United States Senate. Johnson is one of only four people. Born in a farmhouse in Stonewall, Johnson was a high school teacher and worked as a congressional aide before winning election to the House of Representatives in 1937, he won election to the Senate in 1948 and was appointed to the position of Senate Majority Whip in 1951. He became the Senate Minority Leader in 1953 and the Senate Majority Leader in 1955, he became known for his domineering personality and the "Johnson treatment", his aggressive coercion of powerful politicians to advance legislation. Johnson ran for the Democratic nomination in the 1960 presidential election.
Although unsuccessful, he accepted the invitation of then-Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts to be his running mate, they went on to win a close election over the Republican ticket of Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. On November 22, 1963, Kennedy was assassinated and Johnson succeeded him as president; the following year, Johnson won in a landslide. With 61.1 percent of the popular vote, Johnson won the largest share of the popular vote of any candidate since the uncontested 1820 election. In domestic policy, Johnson designed the "Great Society" legislation to expand civil rights, public broadcasting, Medicaid, aid to education, the arts and rural development, public services and his "War on Poverty". Assisted in part by a growing economy, the War on Poverty helped millions of Americans rise above the poverty line during his administration. Civil rights bills that he signed into law banned racial discrimination in public facilities, interstate commerce, the workplace and housing.
With the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the country's immigration system was reformed, encouraging greater emigration from regions other than Europe. Johnson's presidency marked the peak of modern liberalism after the New Deal era. In foreign policy, Johnson escalated American involvement in the Vietnam War. In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which granted Johnson the power to use military force in Southeast Asia without having to ask for an official declaration of war; the number of American military personnel in Vietnam increased from 16,000 advisors in non-combat roles in 1963 to 525,000 in 1967, many in combat roles. American casualties soared and the peace process stagnated. Growing unease with the war stimulated a large, angry anti-war movement based chiefly among draft-age students on university campuses. Johnson faced further troubles when summer riots began in major cities in 1965 and crime rates soared, as his opponents raised demands for "law and order" policies.
While Johnson began his presidency with widespread approval, support for him declined as the public became frustrated with both the war and the growing violence at home. In 1968, the Democratic Party factionalized. Nixon was elected to succeed him, as the New Deal coalition that had dominated presidential politics for 36 years collapsed. After he left office in January 1969, Johnson returned to his Texas ranch, where he died of a heart attack at age 64, on January 22, 1973. Johnson is ranked favorably by many historians because of his domestic policies and the passage of many major laws that affected civil rights, gun control, wilderness preservation, Social Security, although he has drawn substantial criticism for his escalation of the Vietnam War. Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, near Stonewall, Texas, in a small farmhouse on the Pedernales River, he was the oldest of five children born to Samuel Ealy Johnson Rebekah Baines. Johnson had one brother, Sam Houston Johnson, three sisters.
The nearby small town of Johnson City, was named after LBJ's cousin, James Polk Johnson, whose forebears had moved west from Georgia. Johnson had English and Ulster Scots ancestry, he was maternally descended from pioneer Baptist clergyman George Washington Baines, who pastored eight churches in Texas, as well as others in Arkansas and Louisiana. Baines, the grandfather of Johnson's mother, was the president of Baylor University during the American Civil War. Johnson's grandfather, Samuel Ealy Johnson Sr. was raised as a Baptist and for a time was a member of the Christian Church. In his years the grandfather became a Christadelphian; as a politician, Johnson was influenced in his positive attitude toward Jews by the religious beliefs that his family his grandfather, had shared with him. Johnson's favorite Bible verse came from the King James Version of Isaiah 1:18. "Come now, let us reason together..." In school, Johnson was an awkward, talkative youth, elected president of his 11th-grade class.
He graduated in 1924 from Johnson City High School, where he participated in public speaking and baseball. At age 15, Johnson was the youngest member of his class. Pressured by his parents to attend college, he en
First National Center (Oklahoma City)
The First National Center known as First National Bank Building, is a prominent mixed-use skyscraper in downtown Oklahoma City. The art deco tower is 446 feet tall at the roof, is 493 feet at its spire and contains 33 floors; the building was constructed in 1931 by the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City and has 990,000 square feet of office space. First National Center is the third tallest building in Oklahoma City, after the Devon Tower and Chase Tower, respectively; the tower is the sixth tallest building in the state of Oklahoma. The tower has a notable architectural resemblance to the Empire State Building in New York City; the First National Center is connected to adjacent buildings in the downtown area via the Oklahoma City Underground series of tunnels and elevated walkways. In 2007, the building had a 40% occupancy rate. By 2016, the occupancy rate had dropped to less than 20%; the owner of the building was the First National Bank Corporation for use by the First National Bank and Trust Company of Oklahoma City.
The bank's president E. P. Johnson and stockholders S. M. Gloyd, W. T. Hales, H. R. Hudson, R. A. Vose, H. M. Johnson underwrote the construction; the cost of the building was $5 million. Work began with the demolition of several smaller buildings on the site. By January 1931, the site was clear, construction on the tower began February 1 and was completed by November of the same year; the bank moved into the building on December 14, 1931. When it was completed, the 33-story skyscraper was declared to be the fourth tallest building west of the Mississippi River. In September 1957, the 14-story First National Office Building was completed on the east side of the tower, in October 1977 an adjoining 14-story L-shaped annex was added that went east to Broadway Avenue, bringing First National Center complex to its current state. Among many businesses of early day Oklahoma City, the Beacon Club was once located at the top of the building; the First National Bank Corporation ran into troubled times in the 1980s, failed.
However, due to Oklahoma's liberalization of interstate banking, First Interstate Bank of Los Angeles assumed the assets of First National upon its failure in 1985, the opened under their new name the following day. At the time, First National's failure was the largest bank in the nation to have sought FDIC protection. First Interstate operated the bank until 1991, when they sold it off to Boatmen's Bancshares of St. Louis. In May 1992, Boatmen's announced it would vacate the banking lobby. Boatmen's had acquired Leadership Bank, chose to utilize their headquarters in Leadership Square to the immediate northwest of First National Center. Boatmen's was acquired by NationsBank - now Bank of America - and retains the Leadership Square headquarters for their Oklahoma City operations. Since Boatmen's departure, no bank has utilized First National Center; the building was sold to a California buyer for $21 million, with plans of a major renovation of the property. The buyer was organized as two separate entities, First National I, LLC and First National II, LLC, both of which are part of the Milbank Real Estate Group, led by chief executive officer Aaron Yashouafar.
Renovations were begun, with plans to restore it to its 1930s glory. The buyer, ran out of money and filed for bankruptcy in the U. S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Oklahoma in October 2010. Since filing for bankruptcy, restoration activities within the building have ceased, leaving the building in apparent disrepair due to the halfway completed construction projects; the famous "Great Banking Hall" is today used for various social events, galas and proms. In August 2015, state agencies that had leased space within the building announced emergency relocations due to deteriorating conditions, including non-functioning elevators and an imminent air conditioning cutoff due to unpaid bills. On September 3, 2015, U. S. Federal Judge Stephen P. Friot ordered that the building be placed in receivership and for air conditioning and elevator service be restored as soon as possible. In January 2017, the sale was finalized to local developer Gary Brooks and Charlie Nicholas for $23 million with plans to restore for use as a hotel and offices.
Coury Hospitality will be managing the future use of the hotel. The renovation will transform 190,000 square feet of the 1932 First National Bank office tower into a hotel with 139 keys; the restoration will include repair to murals, decorative painted ceilings, stone columns, cast stone, metal finishes, vault doors and safes. The basement and ground floor will be a mixture of retail and commercial spaces; the Great Banking Hall will be utilized as a public lobby and event space. The naming for the hotel is planned to be'The National'. Construction is estimated to take 3 years. First National Center was built with an Art Deco, Neoclassical style inside and out, featuring polished aluminum, granite and several varieties of marble from around the world. Rising 446 feet above the sidewalk, the building was topped out with an aluminum aviation tower and a red beacon light above a polished aluminum notched roof line; the aviation tower housed a massive white rotating beacon, visible for 75 miles. When radio navigation superseded visual navigation after WWII, the powerful white was replaced with a lower-power red warning light.
The 32nd floor was a public observation deck. One of First National's most distinctive features is its night lighting, where the upper-story setbacks are lit white. There have been times when the lighting has changed - after 9/11, the setbacks were lit in red, white and bl
Convair B-58 Hustler
The Convair B-58 Hustler was the first operational jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight. The aircraft was designed by Convair and developed for the United States Air Force for service in the Strategic Air Command during the 1960s, it used a delta wing, employed by Convair fighters such as the F-102, with four General Electric J79 engines in underwing pods. It carried five nuclear weapons. Replacing the Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bomber, it was intended to fly at high altitudes and supersonic speeds to avoid Soviet fighters; the B-58 was notorious for its sonic boom, heard by the public as it passed overhead in supersonic flight. The introduction of highly-accurate Soviet surface-to-air missiles forced the B-58 into a low-level-penetration role that limited its range and strategic value, it was never employed to deliver conventional bombs; this resulted in only a brief operational career between 1960 and 1970 when the B-58 was succeeded by the smaller, swing-wing FB-111A. The genesis of the B-58 program was the Generalized Bomber Study issued in February 1949 by the Air Research and Development Command at Wright-Patterson AFB, for the development of a supersonic, long-range, bombardment aviation platform.
The proposed bomber's design and development was to begin less than two years after sustained supersonic flight had been achieved. Contractors who bid to perform the generalized study included Boeing, Curtiss, Douglas and North American Aviation. Convair, which had built the XF-92A and other delta-wing fighters looked at swept and semi-delta configurations settled on the delta wing planform, which offered good internal volume for support systems and fuel, it had low wing loading, permitting supersonic flight in the mid-stratosphere at 50,000 to 70,000 ft. The final Convair proposal, coded FZP-110, was a radical two-place, delta wing bomber design powered by General Electric J53 engines; the performance estimates included a 3,000-mile range. The Air Force chose Convair MX-1626 to proceed to a Phase 1 study; the Convair design and redesignated the MX-1964, was chosen in December 1952 to meet the newly proposed SAB-51 and SAR-51, the first General Operational Requirement worldwide for supersonic bombers.
In February 1953, the Air Force issued a contract to develop Convair's design. The resulting B-58 design was the first "true" USAF supersonic bomber program; the Convair design was based on a delta wing with a leading-edge sweep of 60° with four General Electric J79-GE-1 turbojet engines, capable of flying at Mach 2. Although its large wing made for low wing loading, it proved to be well suited for low-altitude, high-speed flight, it seated three in separated tandem cockpits. Versions gave each crew member a novel ejection capsule that could eject at an altitude of 70,000 ft at speeds up to Mach 2. Unlike standard ejection seats of the period, a protective clamshell would enclose the seat and the control stick with an attached oxygen cylinder, allowing the pilot to continue to fly "turtled up" and ready for immediate egress; the capsule was buoyant. Unusually, the ejection systems was tested with live chimpanzees; the XB-70 would use a similar system with capsules of a different design. To protect against the heat generated while cruising at Mach 2, the crew compartment, the wheel wells and electronics bay were pressurized and air conditioned.
The B-58 was one of the first extensive applications of aluminum honeycomb panels, which bonded outer and inner aluminum skins to a honeycomb of aluminum or fiberglass. The pilot's cockpit was rather conventional for a large multi-engine aircraft; the electronic controls were advanced for the day. The navigator and DSO's cockpits featured wraparound dashboards with warning lights and buttons, automatic voice messages and warnings from a tape system were audible through the helmet sets. Research during the era of all-male combat aircraft assignments revealed that a woman's voice was more to gain the attention of young men in distracting situations. Nortronics Division of Northrop Corporation selected actress and singer Joan Elms to record the automated voice warnings. To those flying the B-58, the voice was known as "Sexy Sally." The Sperry AN/ASQ-42 bombing/navigation system combined a sophisticated inertial navigation system with the KS-39 Star tracker to provide heading reference, the AN/APN-113 Doppler radar to provide ground speed and windspeed data, a search radar to provide range data for bomb release and trajectory, a radar altimeter.
The AN/ASQ-42 was estimated to be 10 times more accurate than any previous bombing/navigation system. Defensive armament consisted of a single 20 mm T-171E-3 rotary cannon with 1,200 rounds of ammunition in a radar-aimed tail barbette, it was remotely controlled through the Emerson MD-7 automated radar fire-control system only requiring the DSO to lock-on a selected target blip on his scope and fire the gun. The system computed aiming, velocity or heading differential, range compensation. Offensive armament consisted of a single nuclear weapon, along with fuel tanks, in a streamlined MB-1C pod under the fuselage. Incurable dif
Tinker Air Force Base
Tinker Air Force Base is a major United States Air Force base, with tenant U. S. Navy and other Department of Defense missions, located in Oklahoma County, surrounded by Del City, Oklahoma City, Midwest City; the base known as the Midwest Air Depot, is named in honor of Oklahoma native Major General Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American Major General. Tinker is the headquarters of the Air Force Materiel Command's Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, the worldwide manager for a wide range of aircraft, missiles and avionics and accessories components; the commander of Air Force Sustainment Center is Lieutenant General Lee K. Levy II and the commander of the OC-ALC is Brigadier General Tom Miller; the host unit at Tinker is the 72d Air Base Wing which provides services and support for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center and its tenant organizations. The Wing and Installation Commander of Tinker Air Force Base is Col. Kenyon Bell. Tinker AFB is home to major Department of Defense, Air Force and Navy units with national defense missions.
The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex is the largest air logistics center in the Air Force Materiel Command. It provides depot maintenance, product support and supply chain management, information support for 31 weapon systems, 10 commands, 93 Air Force bases and 46 foreign nations, it is the contracting office for the Air Force's Contract Field Teams program. The 72d Air Base Wing is a multi-unit, multi-mission wing that includes base services and support for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, associate organizations and retirees; the 76th Maintenance Wing includes the 76 Aircraft Maintenance Group, the 76 Propulsion Maintenance Group, the 76 Commodities Maintenance Group, the 76 Software Maintenance Group and the 76 Maintenance Support Group. The 38th Cyberspace Engineering Group, Air Force Space Command, has worldwide responsibility for engineering and interoperability of all communications and electronic facilities for the Air Force. Oklahoma Wing Civil Air Patrol Headquarters is located at the base ops building and provides state level support to the 17 units across the state.
The Flying Castle Composite Squadron is a Civil Air Patrol squadron, composed of cadet and senior members that meet Tuesday evenings. The 552d Air Control Wing flies Air Combat Command's E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft; the E-3's radar and other sensors provide deep-look surveillance, interception control and airborne battle management. The 552 ACW encompasses 3 groups: 552d Operations Group, 552d Maintenance Group and 552d Air Control Group. Two Air Reserve Component wings operate twelve KC-135R "Stratotanker" air refueling aircraft at Tinker; the aircraft are operationally gained by Air Mobility Command, but the two units have different administrative chains. The 507th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command is one of two Air Force Reserve flying units in the state of Oklahoma and administratively reports to Fourth Air Force; as an associate unit, the 507 ARW operates the Federal Aviation Administration's British Aerospace 125-800 aircraft in the aviation standards and navigational aid inspection mission.
The Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Air Refueling Wing assumed an aerial refueling mission in 2008 in accordance with the 2005 BRAC Recommendations. The 137th Airlift Wing relocated from Will Rogers Air National Guard Base to Tinker AFB, was redesignated as an air refueling wing, associated with the 507 ARW while its C-130H aircraft were redistributed to other ANG airlift wings; the United States Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One consists of three squadrons and a wing staff, employs over 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, operations, administration and logistic support for the E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet. The E-6B Mercury enables the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense to directly contact submarines and missile silos enforcing the country's national security through nuclear deterrence; the wing operates alert facilities for E-6B aircraft at Travis AFB, California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Defense Mega Center Oklahoma City is the local branch of the Defense Information Systems Agency.
The Mega center serves 110 other bases in 46 states. Tinker has on base several offices of the Defense Logistics Agency, the agency that provides supplies to the military services and supports their acquisition and transportation of repair parts and other materials. DLA Aviation has two offices at Tinker Air Force Base, DLA Aviation Customer Operations commanded by COL Rex Adee, USAF, DLA Strategic Acquisitions at Tinker AFB, under Frances Evans, Acting Director, DLR Procurement Operations. DLA Distribution Oklahoma City provides the receipt, issue and shipment of material, including material quality control and packaging, transportation functions and pick up and delivery services in support of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, other tenants at Tinker Air Force Base, other global customers. Support to the Air Logistics Center is for programmed depot maintenance for aircraft and engines; the majority of the items shipped from Oklahoma City are destined for "customers" on base including the 552nd Air Control Wing, the U.
S. Navy Strategic Communications Wing One, the 507th Air Refueling Wing and the 3rd Combat Communications Group. DLA Document Services provides a full portfolio of document services including traditional offset printing, on-demand printing, online document services. DLA Document S
Stewart Lee Udall was an American politician and a federal government official. After serving three terms as a congressman from Arizona, he served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Born January 31, 1920, in Saint Johns, Arizona, to Louisa Lee Udall and Levi Stewart Udall, he had five siblings: Inez, Morris and David Burr. As a young boy Stewart worked on the family farm in St. Johns. Stewart was remembered by his mother as a child with tremendous energy and an unquenchable curiosity. Stewart Udall attended the University of Arizona for two years until World War II, he served four years in the Air Force as an enlisted gunner on a B-24 Liberator, flying fifty missions over Western Europe from Italy with the 736th Bomb Squadron, 454th Bomb Group, for which he received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He returned to the University of Arizona in 1946, where he attended law school and played guard on a championship basketball team.
In 1947, along with his brother Mo, helped integrate the University of Arizona cafeteria. Mo and Stewart were respected student athletes and Mo was student body president. On their way to lunch at the Student Union one day, they saw a group of black students eating lunch outside the building. Black students had to eat outside; when Mo and Stewart invited Morgan Maxwell Jr. a black freshman, to share their table in the cafeteria, it helped to calm some long-simmering racial issues surrounding segregation at the university. Udall received his law degree and was admitted to the Arizona bar in 1948, he began his law practice in Tucson shortly thereafter. Udall became active in public service, being elected to the School Board of Amphitheater Public Schools in Tucson in June 1951; as a school board member, he participated in desegregating the Amphitheater School District before the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Board of Education. Udall was elected to the U. S. House of Representatives from Arizona's Second District in 1954.
He served with distinction in the House for three terms on the Interior and Education and Labor committees. Udall served as Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969 under presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Under his leadership, the Interior Department aggressively promoted an expansion of federal public lands and assisted with the enactment of major environmental legislation. Among his accomplishments, Udall oversaw the addition of four national parks, six national monuments, eight national seashores and lakeshores, nine national recreation areas, twenty national historic sites, fifty-six national wildlife refuges, including Canyonlands National Park in Utah, North Cascades National Park in Washington, Redwood National Park in California, the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey, the Appalachian National Scenic Trail stretching from Georgia to Maine. Udall played a key role in the enactment of environmental laws such as the Clear Air, Water Quality and Clean Water Restoration Acts and Amendments, the Wilderness Act of 1964, the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966, the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965, the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, the National Trail System Act of 1968, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968.
Soon after becoming the Secretary of Interior, Udall told the Washington Redskins owner, George Preston Marshall, that he had to integrate the football team as every other franchise in the NFL had, or risk being evicted from the Washington, D. C. stadium, federally owned. Marshall integrated the team in 1962. During Udall's tenure as Secretary of the Interior, in September 1962, he was summoned unexpectedly into a meeting with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev while on a tour of the Soviet Union, it was during this meeting that Khrushchev famously hinted at his secret deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba by telling Udall: "It's been a long time since you could spank us like a little boy. Now we can swat your ass." This was a prelude to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Udall supported a plan created by the US Army Corps of Engineers to construct the Tocks Island Dam for the purpose of creating a reservoir for the benefit of the New York City water supply. After forcing homeowners out of their homes through buyouts and condemnation, the plan was abandoned.
The homes that had not been bulldozed were left to deteriorate. Throughout the process, the federal government acted with impunity and a callous disregard for those who were displaced. With the election of President Reagan, the Tocks Island Dam project was shelved. Udall helped spark a cultural renaissance in America by setting in motion initiatives that led to the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the revived Ford's Theatre. Upon Udall's recommendation President Kennedy asked former U. S. Poet Laureate Robert Frost to read an original poem at his inauguration, establishing a tradition for that occasion. A pioneer of the environmental movement, Udall warned of a conservation crisis in the 1960s with his best-selling book on environmental attitudes in the United States, The Quiet Crisis. In the book, he wrote about the dangers of pollution, overuse of natural resources, dwindling open spaces.
Along with Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, The Quiet Crisis is credited with creating a consciousness in the country that led to the environmental movement. Udall was a staunch supporter of her work. Stewart Udall once stated, "Plans to protect air and water and wildlife are in fact, plans to protect Man." Udall also
Lockheed F-104 Starfighter
The Lockheed F-104 Starfighter is a single-engine, supersonic interceptor aircraft which became used as an attack aircraft. It was developed by Lockheed for the United States Air Force, but was produced by several other nations, seeing widespread service outside the United States. One of the Century Series of fighter aircraft, it was operated by the air forces of more than a dozen nations from 1958 to 2004, its design team was led by Kelly Johnson, who contributed to the development of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning, Lockheed U-2, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, other Lockheed aircraft. The F-104 set numerous world records, including altitude records, its success was marred by the Lockheed bribery scandals, in which Lockheed had given bribes to a considerable number of political and military figures in various nations to influence their judgment and secure several purchase contracts. The poor safety record of the Starfighter brought the aircraft into the public eye in German Air Force service. Fighter ace Erich Hartmann was forced to retire from the Luftwaffe due to his outspoken opposition to selection of the F-104.
The final production version of the fighter model was the F-104S, an all-weather interceptor designed by Aeritalia for the Italian Air Force, equipped with radar-guided AIM-7 Sparrow missiles. An advanced F-104 with a high-mounted wing, known as the CL-1200 Lancer, was considered, but did not proceed past the mock-up stage. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson, the chief engineer at Lockheed's Skunk Works, visited Korea in December 1951 and spoke with fighter pilots about what sort of aircraft they wanted. At the time, the U. S. pilots were confronting the MiG-15 with North American F-86 Sabres, many felt that the MiGs were superior to the larger and more complex American design. The pilots requested a simple aircraft with excellent performance. Armed with this information, Johnson started the design of such an aircraft on his return to the United States. In March, his team was assembled. To achieve the desired performance, Lockheed chose a minimalist approach - a design that would achieve high performance by wrapping the lightest, most aerodynamically efficient airframe possible around a single powerful engine.
The engine chosen was the new General Electric J79 turbojet, an engine of improved performance in comparison with contemporary designs. The small L-246 design powered by a single J79 remained identical to the L-083 Starfighter as delivered; the design was presented to the Air Force in November 1952, they were interested enough to create a General Operating Requirement for a lightweight fighter to replace the North American F-100. Three additional companies replied to the requirement: Republic Aviation with the AP-55, an improved version of its prototype XF-91 Thunderceptor. Although all were interesting, Lockheed had what proved to be an insurmountable lead, was granted a development contract in March 1953 for two prototypes. Work progressed with a mock-up ready for inspection at the end of April, work starting on two prototypes late in May. Meanwhile, the J79 engine was not ready; the first prototype was completed by early 1954 and first flew on 4 March at Edwards AFB. The total time from contract to first flight was less than a year.
When the USAF revealed the existence of the XF-104, they only gave a vague description of it. A drawing in the August 1954 edition of Popular Mechanics was close to the actual design; the prototype had hopped into the air on 18 February, but, not counted as a first flight. On the first official flight, it experienced landing gear retraction problems; the second prototype was destroyed a few weeks during gun-firing trials, but in November 1955, the XF-104 was accepted by the USAF. Based on the XF-104 testing and evaluations, the next variant, the YF-104A, was lengthened and fitted with a General Electric J79 engine, modified landing gear, modified air intakes; the first YF-104A flew on 17 February 1956, with the other 16 trial aircraft, were soon carrying out aircraft and equipment evaluation and tests. Modifications were made to the aircraft including airframe adding a ventral fin. Problems were encountered with the J79 afterburner. On 28 January 1958, the first F-104A to enter service was delivered to the 83rd Fighter Intercepter Wing.
A total of 2,578 F-104s was produced under license by various foreign manufacturers. The F-104 featured a radical wing design. Most jet fighters of the period used a swept-wing or delta-wing design, which provided a reasonable balance between aerodynamic performance and internal space for fuel and equipment; the Lockheed tests, determined that the most efficient shape for high-speed supersonic flight was a small, mid-mounted, trapezoidal wing. The new wing design was thin, with a thickness-to-chord ratio of only 3.36% and an aspect ratio of 2.45. The wing's leading edges were so thin that they presented a cut hazard to ground crews: protective guards had to be installed on the edges during ground operations maintenance; the thinness of the wings re