May 21, 2024

Project Timeline

  • August 4, 1957: A CIA U-2, on a mission to photograph Soviet missile and nuclear facilities during Operation SOFT TOUCH, ventured into the airspace over Xinjian provice of China, marking the first instance of the overflight of Chinese territory.
  • June 19, 1958: A Detachment C U-2 took off from Naha, Japan and later entered Chinese airspace from Fuzhou. This particular flight marked the first time the U-2 flew over densely populated areas of China.
  • August 23, 1958: The second Taiwan Straits crisis broke out as the People’s Liberation Army artillery across from Kinmen Island began a frenzied bombardment.
  • December 12, 1958: Strategic Air Command (SAC) proposed to train Nationalist Chinese (or Republic of China on Taiwan) Air Force pilots in the U-2 aircraft.
  • March 1959: Six Nationalist Chinese pilots arrived at Laughlin AFB, TX, to receive the U-2 training.
  • May 1, 1960: The U-2 piloted by Francis Gary Powers, Detachment B was shot down near Sverdlovsk, USSR.
  • August 26, 1960: Proposal in principle for a Taiwan-based U-2 detachment was approved by President Eisenhower.
  • October 24, 1960: The cryptonym TACKLE was assigned to the joint US-GRC (Government of the Republic of China) U-2 project.
  • December 14, 1960: Detachment H was established on Taiwan at Taoyuan Air Base of the Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF).
  • March 19, 1961: Detachment H suffered its first aircraft loss during a night training mission, with the ROCAF pilot onboard killed.
  • January 13, 1962: First U-2 flight (GRC 100) over China Mainland by a ROCAF pilot.
  • September 9, 1962: A U-2 piloted by a ROCAF pilot was lost over Nanchang, China, the first operational loss suffered by Detachment H.
  • March 16, 1968: Last U-2 overflight of China Mainland was flown by a ROCAF pilot. Subsequent flights were restricted to peripheral offshore missions.
  • May 24, 1974: Last opeartional mission of Project TACKLE was flown.
  • July 29, 1974: The two U-2R assigned to Project TACKLE were ferried back to CONUS by CIA pilots.
  • September 1974: Detachment H at Taoyuan was disbanded.