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13th Bomb Squadron

Exactly 83 years after its initial activation, the 13th Bomb Squadron was reactivated on 13 June 2000 as a B-1B Lancer unit at Dyess AFB. The original unit was last operational as a B-57 Intruder squadron in Thailand during the Vietnam War. The reactivated unit, when fully operational, will be home to 230 people and six bombers providing the 7th Bomb Wing combat ready aircrews and aircraft and maintenance workers. The 13th joined two other B-1 squadrons -- including the B-1 Formal Training Unit -- to support the 7th Bomb Wing in meeting Aerospace Expeditionary Force taskings. The squadron provides combat ready aircrews, aircraft and maintenance people for worldwide deployment.

In September 1998 Epic Construction Co., Abilene, Texas, was awarded a $8,283,800 (base year total of $7,892,700 plus options 1-9), as part of a $9,160,895 (total if all options are exercised) firm-fixed-price contract for construction of an Operations Facility for the B-1B 13th Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas, and was expected to be completed by Jan. 15, 2000.

The 13th Bomb Squadron has a long and distinguished history and has finally come home to Texas. It has been known as the 13th Aero Squadron, the 13th Bombardment Squadron, the 13th Attack Squadron, and held such sub-designations as Light, Dive, Tactical, and Night Intruder. The 13th BS of flies the B-1B Lancer and is be assigned to the Air Combat Command.

1917 - 1941

The 13th was originally activated at Camp Kelly, Texas, on June 14, 1917, as the 13th Aero Squadron. Flying the Spad XIII and the Salmson 2, the 13th fought and swept the skies clear of enemy planes and balloons, and earned campaign streamers in World War I at Saint Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Lorraine, France.

The 13th returned to the U.S. after the war and had a short period of inactivity. On March 14, 1921, the 13th was consolidated with the 104th Aero Squadron. The unit flew nearly every type of training mission during this period and on Oct. 16, 1936, the War Department ordered the consolidation of the 13th Aero Squadron and the 13th Attack Squadron. The 13th retained the designation attack squadron as they then flew the A-17 and their name reflected the units' mission. World War II was on the horizon.

1941 - 1950

The country was ill prepared when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The 13th had been assigned to Savannah, Ga, for gunnery and bombing training when the War Department ordered them to the Pacific Theater. Obtaining b-25s from the Dutch government, the 13th remained a thorn in the enemies side until the end of the war as they attacked bridges, transports, airfields, troop installations, seaplanes, docks, warehouses and struck enemy targets whenever called upon. Flying B-25s and later A-20s, the 13th led the campaign to rid the Philippines of the enemy.

During WWII, the 13th earned four Distinguished Unit Citations: Philippine Islands April 11-14, 1942, and Aril 12-14, 1942; Papua, July 23, 1942 - Jan. 23, 1943; and New Guinea Aug. 17, 1943. After WWII, the unit stayed in Japan to help rebuild their economy and to stabilize communication lines whereby they became part of the Army of Occupation. The relationship between the two Koreas became more strained.

1950 - 1964

From the end of WWII to 1950, the 13th trained and participated in several peacetime exercises. When North Korea invaded the south in 1950, the 13th again performed gallantly. Flying A and B-26s, the squadron conducted interdictor missions during daylight raids on enemy troops and supply lines. The 13th commenced its "Hoot Owl" night missions in late 1950 and on June 25, 1951, the squadron was redesignated the 13th Bombardment Squadron (Light-Night Intruder), to more reflect the unit's night mission. The squadron attacked the communist enemy until the end of the war in July 1953.

The 13th remained forward deployed to Kunsan Air Base, Korea. The 13th was ordered to Johnson Air Base, Japan, on Oct. 2, 1954, and began the conversion to the B-57. On Oct. 1, 1955, the unit was redesigned the 13th Bombardment Squadron Tactical. The unit moved to Clark Air Base, Philippines, on April 10, 1964. Once again, American policy dictated the mission.

1964 - 1973

The 13th and its B-57s deployed to Tan Son Nhut, South Vietnam, and by June 1964, had flown 119 combat support sorties. Following the Gulf of Tonkin incident on Aug. 2, 1964, the 13th alternated with its sister squadron, the 8th, to numerous locations in South Vietnam back to Clark. On Nov. 1, 1964, five B-57s were destroyed while deployed to Ben Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam. On Feb. 19, 1965, the 13th started flying strike missions against communist targets throughout Vietnam. An enemy attack destroyed six 13 BS B-57s and killed seven squadron members along with numerous other aircraft and personnel deployed at Ben Hoa. The attack rendered the base and airfield unusable. Flying from Danang and Phan Rang, Vietnam, the unit continued to fly combat sorties until Jan. 15, 1968, when it flew its 1000th. The 13th was then inactivated.

The squadron remained on the shelf until Feb. 8, 1969, when it was activated at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, where the mission was to provide replacement training for combat aircrews and maintenance personnel. The 13th remained responsible for training members on B-57G tactics, techniques, and state of the art computer systems. On Sept. 15, 1970, the 13th deployed to Ubon Royal Thailand Air Force Base, Thailand, and on Oct. 17, 1970, flew its first combat mission in the B-57G. The squadron flew combat missions until April 12, 1972, when personnel and equipment moved to Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas, as the squadron was reduced to paper status. The 13th was inactivated on Sept. 30, 1973.




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