After a period of discord, Iraq lead by the despot Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. The US launched Operation Desert Shield August 1990 and began the build-up of US troops in the region. The multinational invasion of Iraq, know as Operation Desert Storm, started January 17th, 1991. Victory was declared February 28th, 1991.
This conflict brought the word "stealth" into the world's vocabulary, and featured impossible looking aircraft such as the F-117 and the B-2..
Ellison Onizuka, Christa Mcauliffe, Judith Resnik, Greg Jarvis, Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair
Iran was embroiled in a revolution, which resulted in the take-over of the US Embassy and seizure of fifty-two American hostages. They were held for 444 days.
This marked a new type of conflict for the US - one we are still facing: government instability leading to chaos which results in terrorism directed at the US or anything representing the US. Another type of conflict was created by dictatorships or coups who slaughtered their own citizens during civil war, and/or invaded nearby countries. The US engaged in police action conflicts for the next thirty years.
Cadets who joined the military would face this type of conflict for their entire careers.
On October 19th, 1983 the tiny island of Grenada was involved in a violent pro-Communist coup. The island was placed under martial law by the new government, and the former leader was executed. The US invaded October 25th, 1983, and restored the moderate government to power.
During the Lebanese civil war, terrorists truck bombed US barracks in Lebanon on October 23rd, 1983. 241 American servicemen died.
Space travel had become a routine event due to the flexibility of the Space Shuttle fleet. This illusion of routine was shattered when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into liftoff on January 28, 1986. All seven astronauts were killed. Christa McAuliffe was a teacher who was going to give lessons from orbit.
Terror came to the US when members of Al-Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center in NY with a truck bomb on February 26th, 1993. It did not achieve the destruction they desired, but opened Americans eyes to foreign terrorism in our country.
CAP restructured, added/removed grades, and achievements to the cadet program for the first time since 1975. The cadet grade structure and insignia reflected the modern Air Force grades.
Al-Qaeda returned to the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. Terrorists flew one civilian jet into each tower. They also flew one jet into the Pentagon, and one jet flew into the ground in Shanksville, PA when the passengers attempted to take over the flight. These attacks resulted in 2,977 deaths.
Americans were incensed. This motivated many to join the military and public service.
The US launched attacks in Afghanistan October 12th, 2001 in retaliation for the September 11th terror attacks. The US is still involved in the Afghan conflict.
CAP made further changes to the cadet program, including restructuring the achievements and phases.
The Space Shuttle Columbia, STS-107, disintegrated upon re-entry, February 1st, 2003. All seven astronauts were killed. It was later found that during launch a piece of foam damaged the insulating layer on the orbiter. The Space Shuttle only flew four more times between 2005 and retirement in 2011.
A US lead coalition invaded Iraq March 19th, 2003 through May 1st, 2003. This invasion toppled the Saddam Hussein regime.
The F-22 Raptor entered service in the USAF. It was first developed in 1997 and billed as a super-maneuverable stealth fighter. The last one was manufactured in 2011.
David Brown, Rick Husband, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, William McCool, Ilan Ramon