9th Bomb Squadron
The 9th Bomb Squadron maintains combat readiness to deliver rapid, decisive airpower on a large scale in support of conventional warfare taskings as directed by command authority; anytime, anywhere. The unit has roughly 400 men and women dedicated to providing warfighting commanders with the best in maintenance support, operational aircrews, and B-1B aircraft. The squadron repairs, services, launches, recovers, and inspects 15 B-1 aircraft capable of sustained intercontinental missions and world-wide deployment/employment from forward operating locations. The squadron also maintains and loads conventional munitions such as the Mk-82 general-purpose bomb as well as a variety of cluster bombs and their associated release systems.
The 9th Bomb Squadron is the oldest active bomb squadron in the Air Force today. The 9th Bomb Squadron organized June 14, 1917, as the 9th Aero Squadron at Camp Kelly, Texas. The squadron was stationed at Amanty, France, during World War I and primarily flew night reconnaissance missions. The squadron saw its first combat during the Saint Mihiel Offensive in September 1918. The squadron participated in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive and protected the Lorraine sector of the allied front during the war. The squadron received campaign credit for these three actions.
After the war, the squadron was part of the allied occupation forces station near Trier, Germany. From August 1919 to April 1920, the 9th conducted patrols of the U.S.-Mexico border while stationed at Rockwell Field, Calif. In 1920, the squadron participated in forest fire patrols in California. The 9th was inactivated June 29, 1922.
The squadron was reactivated and assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group on April 1, 1931. In 1936, the squadron experimented with bomb patterns, dropping bombs from different altitudes while flying various formations. By altering distances between intervals and planes, the squadron determined proper formations required for each bombing mission.
After the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, the squadron conducted antisubmarine patrols off the California coast Dec. 8-12, 1941. The 9th deployed to the Southwest Pacific to stop the Japanese advance. From Jan. 1-March 1, 1942, during the Japanese drive through the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies, the squadron participated in actions against enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships and transports, earning its first Distinguished Unit Citation. By the end of March 1942, the squadron was assigned to the newly created 10th Air Force and moved to India where they resumed combat with B-17s and LB-30s.
In June 1942, the squadron went to Cairo, Egypt, to defend that country from Rommel's Africa Corps. They flew missions against the German troop concentrations at Toburk and convoys attempting to resupply the German forces. They also supported the British 8th Army at El Alamein. By November 1942, the squadron had returned to India, converted to the B-24 "Liberator," and resumed operations directed against the Japanese in Burma.
During attacks in Thailand, the squadron received its second DUC for devastating the enemy's supply line in Southeast Asia. The 9th ended its wartime operations by flying fuel and supplies over "The Hump" into China to support the 14th Air Force. After the war, the squadron inactivated at Camp Lilmer, N.J., on Jan. 6, 1946.
The 9th reactivated later in 1946. Aircrews flew the Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" and participated in several deployments. Beginning in June 1948, the 9th flew the Convair B-36 "Peacemaker." The squadron supported deployments to North Africa and Europe. During the 1950s the 9th participated in U.S. Air Force exercises and taskings and supported worldwide nuclear deterrence. In June 1958, the 9th received its first Boeing B-52F "Stratofortress" and concentrated on global nuclear strike missions. They performed full time ground and airborne alert with AFM-28 "hound Dog" nuclear attack missile armed B-52s.
In 1965, events unfolded in Southeast Asia. Pylons were adapted for conventional bomb racks and bomb bays were fitted with cluster racks to carry conventional munitions. The 9th flew the first B-52 strike mission over Vietnam on June 18, 1965. After flying more than 100 combat missions such as Arc Light, Lom Som 719, Commando Hunt V, and Bullet Shot, the 9th returned to Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, in late 1965. The reason for unit's hiatus from Vietnam was its transition in 1968, to a new weapon system, the FB-111.
The squadron once again became "heavy" with its transition to the B-52D on Jan. 1, 1972. During most of 1972 and 1973, the 9th participated in hundreds of combat sorties, including the Linebacker campaigns over North Vietnam and the city of Hanoi. By the fall of 1973, with the signing of the Paris Peace Treaty, the 9th returned to Carswell.
In the fall of 1983, the 9th transitioned to the B-52H, which employed the AGM-69A short-range, attack missile and its rotary launcher. In 1984, the bombing and navigation capabilities were upgraded and a year later, the squadron incorporated the external air launched cruise missile. In 1988, crewmembers of the 9th were first in the Air Force to take the Stratofortress airborne with a full load of ALCMs. The unit's alert commitment ended Sept. 28, 1991.
On July 15, 1992, in preparation for base closure at Carswell, the 9th inactivated. The squadron reactivated Oct. 1, 1993, at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. Crews would now fly the Rockwell B-1B "Lancer." The squadron's new mission contains provisions for both strategic deterrence and conventional bombing to forward theaters of operations.
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