2d Bomb Wing

2d Bomb Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 2d Bomb Wing

caption= 2d Bomb Wing emblem
dates= October 15, 1947 -
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
role= Bomber
command_structure= Air Combat Command
Eighth Air Force
garrison= Barksdale Air Force Base
equipment= B-52 Stratofortress
equipment_label= Aircraft
motto= LIBERTATEM DEFENDIMUS Latin: "Liberty We Defend"

* World War II: European Campaign (1942-1945)
decorations= see "Lineage and Honors" section below
current_commander= Colonel Robert Wheeler
notable_commanders= George J. Eade
Eugene E. Habiger
Charles T. Robertson, Jr.
John Dale Ryan

The 2d Bomb Wing (2 BW) is a B-52 Stratofortress unit based at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. Part of the Eighth Air Force, it is one of only two B-52 wings in the United States Air Force, the other being the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base.

The current Commander is Colonel Robert Wheeler, with Colonel E. West Anderson as Vice-Commander, and Chief Master Sergeant Tim Cooley as Command Chief Master Sergeant.


"Note: The history of the 2d Bombardment Group prior to 5 November 1947 was bestowed on the 2d Bomb Wing in 1952"

Air Service and Air Corps

The history of the 2d Bomb Wing is nearly as old as that of American air power itself. As the "1st Day Bombardment Group" during World War I, it participated in one of the largest bombing raids of the war October 9, 1918, when 353 Allied planes commanded by Gen. Billy Mitchell struck German troop concentrations in the Meuse-Argonne area. In more than two months of combat, the group delivered more than 111 tons of bombs on German targets. On September 18, 1919, at Kelly Field, Texas, the group was re-organized and formally established as part of the Air Service. On March 31, 1921, the 1st Day Bombardment Group was re-designated the "2d Group (Bombardment)", and on January 25, 1923, as the 2d Bombardment Group.

From July 13 to July 21, 1921, the 2d Group’s four bombardment squadrons were detached to General Mitchell’s 1st Provisional Air Brigade to conduct controversial tests to determine the efficiency of aircraft against naval warships. The aircraft successfully bombed and sank three ex-German warships, including the formidable 22,437-ton battleship Ostfriesland, off the coast of Virginia. From 23 September to 26 September, 1921, the group’s bombardment squadrons, again under the direction of General Mitchell, bombed and sank the ex-Navy battleship USS Alabama in yet another test of aircraft bombardment efficiency.

On July 1, 1922, the 2d Bomb Group relocated to Langley Field, Virginia, where it would remain for the next twenty years. On September 5, 1923, the group, operating from an improvised aerodrome on the sands near Cape Hatteras, N.C., bombed and sank the ex-Navy battleships USS Virginia and USS New Jersey.

To further attest the group’s capabilities, three 97th Bombardment Squadron Martin B-10B aircraft commanded by Capt. Richard E. Nugent departed Langley Field, Va., and successfully bombed a target 600 miles away in Michigan during the Second Army Maneuvers. This mission, flown almost entirely in inclement weather, garnered the squadron the 1936 Mackay Trophy.

On March 1, 1937, the group received the first B-17 Flying Fortress delivered to the U.S. Army Air Corps. A goodwill tour to Argentina by six B-17s in February 1938 and a flight to Colombia by three B-17s in August of the same year highlighted the late 1930s. The trip to Buenos Aires represented the longest distance performance of its kind on record and won the group the Mackay Trophy in 1938. On December 6, 1939, the group was redesignated the 2d Bombardment Group (Heavy).

U.S. Army Air Forces

Early in World War II the group was assigned anti-submarine patrol duty and in October 1942 was earmarked for combat. The group was transferred on paper to Geiger Field, Washington, where it was re-organized and trained with new personnel. The 2d BG entered combat operations in North Africa in March 1943, flying the B-17 bomber against Axis targets in the Mediterranean area. and operating from several bases in Algeria and Tunisia. On December 9, 1943, assigned to the newly-created Fifteenth Air Force, the group moved to Amendola, Italy, from which it conducted strategic bombing missions against German targets until the end of the war. From April 23, 1943, to May 1, 1945, aircrews flew a total of 412 combat missions, dropping 25,797 tons of bombs on targets in Africa, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Hungary. Group gunners claimed 279 victories of German and Italian aircraft.

Returning to the United States, the group was inactivated on February 28, 1946. On July 1, 1947, the group was redesignated the 2nd Bomb Group (Very Heavy) and activated at Davis Monthan Field, Arizona. Equipped with B-29 Superfortress bombers, the 2nd BG became part of the Strategic Air Command.

2nd Bomb Wing

1947 - 1991

The 2d Bomb Wing was activated as part of the United States Air Force on November 5, 1947, although the wing headquarters was not operational between that date and December 31, 1948. The 2d Bombardment Group (the flying operations part of the wing), except for a short period it spent in England in 1948, was attached to the 43rd Bombardment Group, during this period.

The entire wing moved from Arizona to Georgia on 1 January 1949 and manned from resources of other organizations. Converted from B-29 to B-50 bombers in 1949-1950 and trained in global bombardment operations from Jan 1949. Added air refueling mission in December 1950. Deployed at RAF Mildenhall, England, May-August 1951, RAF Upper Heyford, England, September-December 1952, and Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, August-September 1954 and July-August 1956.

Converted to B-47 jet bombers in 1954. Service-tested a "super wing" concept with 70 B-47s, July 1959-April 1961. Moved to Barksdale AFB, LA, on 1 April 1963, replacing 4238th Strategic Wing and absorbing that wing's B-52 and KC-135 resources. Supported Second Air Force's post-attack command and control system, April 1963-Mar 1970. Conducted bombardment training and air refueling operations from April 1963 except for periods when all aircraft and crews were on loan to SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia. Began supporting SAC operations in Southeast Asia with aircraft and personnel in 1965, and increasingly supported these operations in 1966 and 1967. On 15 April 1968, gained a second B-52 and a second KC-135 squadron, again becoming a SAC "super" wing. From late May 1972 until 26 October 1973, loaned all wing B-52 resources to SAC organizations in the Far East and Southeast Asia; from May 1972 to early November 1972, loaned all but four of the wing's KC-135s and a few aircrews to other SAC units. After the return of combat resources, the wing continued supporting SAC operations in Southeast Asia into 1975, on a reduced scale.

Gained KC-10 tankers in November 1981 to augment refueling operations for the USAF, AFRES, and ANG. Provided air refueling for rescue efforts in Grenada, Oct-November 1983, the attack on Libya, April 1986, and the invasion of Panama, December 1989-Jan 1990. Presented the Omaha Trophy for "the Outstanding Wing in the Strategic Air Command" f2. Deployed B-52, KC-135, and KC-10 aircraft, aircrews, and support personnel to several locations in support of operations in Southwest Asia, 7 August 1990-17 April 1991.

Gulf War 1991

Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm brought Barksdale warriors into the spotlight again with their efforts to liberate Kuwait. The 2d Bomb Wing flew what was then the longest combat mission in the history of military aviation at the start of Desert Storm in 1991 when seven B-52s flew a 35-hour mission and, for the time in U.S. Air Force history, fired a devastating barrage of conventional air-launched cruise missiles. The 2d Bomb Wing delivered one-fourth of all U.S. Air Force bombs during Desert Storm. The 2d Bomb Wing KC-135s and KC-10s provided more than 1,000 of the 13,700 coalition refueling missions.

enior Surprise - Strategic Air Commands' Longest Combat Mission

On 16 Jan to 17 Jan 1991 seven B-52Gs from the Eighth Air Force, 2d Bomb Wing, 596th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale AFB, LA. Flew the longest combat mission (35.4 hours) in aviation history,Fact|date=October 2007 and the first Combat launch of conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile (ALCM) in Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. The official name of this mission was SENIOR Surprise, unofficially it was referred to as Secret Squirrel.

Recent operations

Two 2d Bomb Wing B-52s conducted a missile strike against surface-to-air missile sites and air defense radars in Iraq in September 1996. Desert Strike was ordered in response to Iraqi attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq. The mission earned the wing the prestigious 1996 Mackay Trophy as the most meritorious flight of the year.

Recognizing the mighty B-52 as a weapon of choice, the National Command Authorities called upon the 2d Bomb Wing throughout the late 1990s to flex its muscles against rogue states in Southwest Asia and the Balkans: operations Southern Watch, Desert Fox and Allied Force.

On 19 September 2001, wing elements deployed to Diego Garcia and on 7 October flew early attacks on targets in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom to rid that country of terrorist bases and its extremist Taliban rulers; later flew airborne alert missions and, in Operation Anaconda, flew bombing missions against targets in eastern Afghanistan, 1-18 March 2002. In the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, flew missions on 21 March in "shock and awe" strikes against command and control targets.

Lineage and honors

* Established as 2d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on 15 October 1947. Organized on 5 November 1947.
* Redesignated: 2d Bombardment Wing, Medium on 12 July 1948;
** 2d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 1 April 1963;
** 2d Wing on 1 September 1991;
** 2d Bomb Wing on 1 October 1993.

Bestowed Honors: Authorized to display honors earned by the 2d Operations Group prior to 5 November 1947 ("italicized").

= Campaign Streamers =

* "World War I: St. Mihiel; Lorraine; Meuse-Argonne"
* "World War II: Antisubmarine, American Theater; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po Valley; Air Combat, EAME Theater"
* Grenada, 1983
* Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait


* 2 Distinguished Unit Citations: Steyr, Austria, 24 February 1944; Germany, 25 February 1944"
* 3 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards


* Mackay Trophy (for the "Most Meritorious Flight of the Year") (3): 1936, 1938, 1996
* Omaha Trophy (for the "Outstanding Wing in the Strategic Air Command") (2): 1988, 1992


Blazon: Or, in fess four aerial bombs descending bendwise sinister Azure garnished Argent on a chief engrailed Vert a fleur-de-lis White between two pallets Sable, all within a diminished bordure of the first.

Motto: LIBERTATEM DEFENDIMUS — Liberty We Defend.

Subordinate units

* 2d Maintenance Group
** 2d Maintenance Squadron
** 2d Maintenance Operations Squadron
** 2d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
** 2d Munitions Squadron
* 2d Medical Group
* 2d Operations Group
** 2d Operations Support Squadron ("Posse")
** 11th Bomb Squadron
** 20th Bomb Squadron ("Buccaneers")
** 96th Bomb Squadron ("The Devil's Own")
* 2d Mission Support Group
** 2d Contracting Squadron
** 2d Communications Squadron
** 2d Civil Engineer Squadron
** 2d Logistics Readiness Squadron
** 2d Mission Support Squadron
** 2d Security Forces Squadron
** 2d Services Squadron

Tenant Units

* 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron
* Det 13 ACC TRSS
* Headquarters Eighth Air Force
* 917th Wing
* 8th Information Warfare Flight


*Davis-Monthan Field (later, AFB), Arizona, 5 November 1947
*Chatham Air Force Base, Georgia, 1 April 1949
*Hunter Air Force Base, Georgia, 22 September 1950
*Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, 1 April 1963–present

Aircraft / Missiles / Space Vehicles

*B-29 Superfortress, 5 November 194710 October 1951
*B-50 Superfortress, 5 November 1947-4 August 1954
*KB-29 Superfortress, 1 April 1950-4 August 1954
*KC-97 Stratotanker, 4 August 1954-1 April 1963
*B-47 Stratojet, 4 August 1954-1 April 1963
*B-52 Stratofortress, 1 April 1963-
*KC-135 Stratotanker, 1 April 1963-
*EC–135, 1966–1971
*RC-135, 1977–1980
*KC-10 Extender, November 1981–1 Jun 1992cite web |url=http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/wings_groups_pages/0002bw.asp |title=2 Bomb Wing |date=2006-09-29 |accessdate=2007-05-31]

ee also

* 5th Air Division


* [http://www.barksdale.af.mil/library/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=4553 Barksdale AFB 2nd Bomb Wing Factsheet]
* [http://www.barksdale.af.mil/ Barksdale Air Force Base official web site]

External links

* [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/wings_groups_pages/0002bw.asp Air Force Historical Research Agency: 2 Bomb Wing]

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