96th Bomb Squadron
Operation Desert Strike, carried out by members of Barksdale's 96th Bomb Squadron in September 1996, earned the aircrew the 1996 Mackay Trophy. The Mackay Trophy is awarded annually for the most meritorious flight of the year, as determined by commanders of the major commands, a board of officers and the Air Force chief of staff. Desert Strike was the first combat employment of the B-52H. Crews deployed from Barksdale to Anderson Air Base, Guam. From there, they completed mission planning and crew rest before embarking on a 35-hour mission to conduct conventional air-launched cruise missile strikes against targets inside Iraq.
The 96th Bomb Squadron and 2nd Bomb Wing support personnel deployed to Diego Garcia in support of Desert Thunder 2. By December 1998 troops from the 96th Bomb Squadron and 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, LA, were living in the base gym at Naval Station Diego Garcia, British Indian Island Territory. Beginning 16 December 1998, United States Central Command forces launched cruise missile and air attacks against military targets in Iraq. The 20th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Squadron and support personnel from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale AFB are deployed to Naval Station Diego Garcia, British Indian Island Territory.
The B-52 Stratofortress and crews from the 96th Bomb Squadron deployed to RAF Fairford, England for Operation Allied Force.
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