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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

2nd Bomb Wing
4238th Strategic Wing

The oldest bomb wing in the Air Force, the 2nd BW participated in Brig. Gen. Billy Mitchell's 1921 off-shore bombing test (as the 2nd Bomb Group) and helped keep the Soviet bear at bay during the Cold War.

The 2d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, was established on 15 October 1947. The 2d Bombardment Group, except for a short period it spent in England in 1948, was attached to the 43d Bombardment Group, 17 November 1947-31 December 1948. The entire wing moved from Arizona to Georgia on 01 January 1949 and manned from resources of other organizations. The wing converted from B-29 to B-50 bombers in 1949-1950 and trained in global bombardment operations from Jan 1949. With an air refueling mission added in December 1950, it 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.

The 2nd Wing converted to B-47 jet bombers in 1954, and service-tested a "super wing" concept with 70 B-47s from July 1959 through April 1961. During the 1950s the 2d Bombardment Wing was located at Hunter Air Force Base, GA equipped with B-47 bombers.

The 2nd Wing moved to Barksdale AFB, LA, on 01 Apr 1963, replacing 4238th Strategic Wing and absorbing that wing's B-52 and K-135 resources. Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, currently home of the 2d Bomb Wing, was the former home of the 4238th Strategic Wing. The 4238th Strategic Wing's 436th Bomb Squadron operated the B-52F from August 1958 to April 1963. On 01 August 1958 the 436th Bombardment Squadron was reassigned to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, under the "Satellite" concept of SAC. The move left the 9th and 492nd Bomb Squadrons the only two bomb squadrons assigned to the 7th Bomb Wing, along with the 7th Air Refueling Squadron. At Barksdale, the 436th came under control of the 4238th Strategic Wing. While at Barksdale, the 436th trained and flew in the B-52 until the unit inactivated on 01 April 1963. The 4238th Strategic Wing was subsequently redesignated the 2d Bombardment Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base.

The Wing supported Second Air Force's post-attack command and control system from April 1963 through March 1970. It conducted bombardment training and air refueling operations beginning in April 1963, except for periods when all aircraft and crews were on loan to SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia.

The Wing 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, the Wing 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, the wing loaned all wing B-52 resources to SAC organizations in the Far East and Southeast Asia; and from May 1972 to early November 1972 it 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.

The Wing gained KC-10 tankers in November 1981 to augment refueling operations for the USAF, AFRES, and ANG, and provided air refueling for rescue efforts in Grenada, October-November 1983, the attack on Libya, April 1986, and the invasion of Panama, December 1989-January 1990. The Wing was presented the Omaha Trophy for "the Outstanding Wing in the Strategic Air Command" for 1988 and 1992. It 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. On the opening day of the war, launched seven B-52s from Barksdale AFB against enemy targets in Iraq, resulting in the longest combat mission in aviation history and the first combat launching of conventional Air Launched Cruise Missiles (CALCM).

The Wing gave up the 2d and 32d Air Refueling Squadrons and all KC-10s to Air Mobility Command on 01 June 1992.

Eleven active-duty Air Force bases were affected by force structure, realignment and management actions during 1995, the Air Force announced 30 June 1995. The changes were required to execute the president's fiscal 1996-97 budget, achieve efficiencies or make organizational changes. The 2nd Bomb Wing retired four B-52H aircraft, resulting in a loss of 126 full-time military manpower authorizations.

In response to Saddam Hussein's attacks against Kurds in northern Iraq, the US military -- spearheaded by B-52Hs from the 2nd Bomb Wing -- conducted a missile attack against military targets in southern Iraq on 03 September 1996. Operation Desert Strike opened on 31 August as a quick response to Iraqi military activity against Kurdish safe havens as four B-52Hs from Barksdale's 2nd Bomb Wing deployed on a 16-hour mission bound for Guam, half-way across the Pacific. Less than a day after their arrival in Guam, two B-52s, loaded with CALCMs [Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile], launched for the Persian Gulf. The bombers from the 2nd Bomb Wing flew more than 14,300 miles across the United States and the Asia/Pacific region before launching 13 conventional air launched cruise missiles at Iraqi targets. The B-52s began their attack from Pacific Air Forces's Andersen AFB, Guam. The distance involved - more than 13,600 miles from Andersen to the launch point and back - made air refueling essential during the 34-hour operation. Air Mobility Command [AMC] KC-10s from Travis AFB, Calif., and McGuire AFB, N.J.; six AMC KC-135s from Fairchild AFB, Wash.; and eight PACAF KC-135s from Kadena Air Base, Japan, supported the aerial refueling.

Two B-52s that supported Operation Desert Strike returned home 15 September 1996 with their aircrew and support personnel after a two-week deployment to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The aircraft arrived after a 15 hour flight with 12 members of the 2nd Bomb Wing on board. Four of the Barksdale B-52s and their support personnel remained at Diego Garcia supporting US Central Command for Operation Desert Strike. In June 1998 eight B-52 bombers and 200 2nd Bomb Wing people returned from Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory. The B-52s were deployed to Diego Garcia in November 1997 to join other forces in response to provocative actions and threats made by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

On 16 April 1997 the 2nd Bomb Wing was awarded the Omaha Trophy as the best aircraft unit in the U.S. Strategic Command for 1996 -- the second time in the last three years the wing won this prestigious award. The wing was rated in exercises/deployments, inspections, and base accomplishments and awards against other aircraft units contributing to the USSTRATCOM mission. For the wing, 1996 was marked by sustained superior performance. It earned its second consecutive outstanding unit award, was Air Combat Command's Installation of Excellence and earned its seventh straight "Tree City USA" award.

B-52 bombers from Barksdale deployed 19 November 1997 for the Middle East as part of Secretary of Defense William Cohen's action to counter Iraq's defiance of U.N. resolutions and their expulsion of American inspectors. The six deployed Barksdale B-52 Stratofortresses were part of the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group in Diego Garcia. 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 deployed to Naval Station Diego Garcia, British Indian Island Territory.

In early 1999 elements of the 2nd Bomb Wing deployed to RAF Fairford in England as part of the 2nd Air Expeditionary Group supporting NATO operations in Kosovo. Ten B-52s led a contingent of 13 more aircraft bound for duty in Operation Allied Force under an order issued 29 April 1999 by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. The additional Air Force air assets included eight B-52H's from the 2nd Bomb Wing, Barksdale Air Force Base, La.; two B-52H's from the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot AFB, N.D.; two E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft from the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker AFB, Okla.; and one EC-130 Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center aircraft from the 355th Wing, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz.

During the 13 December 1999 Coronet White 00-ACC-07 conventional operational readiness inspection held at Barksdale, the 2nd Bomb Wing was tested on its ability to survive and operate in a nuclear, biological and chemical environment.

On 02 March 2000 Air Force officials announced proposed changes in force structure affecting the locations of people, aircraft and organizations across the United States. These changes result from mission changes, adjustments for efficiency, congressional directives and implementation of the expeditionary aerospace force concept. The 2nd Munitions Support Squadron gained 24 military positions associated with increased Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles requirements. The 2nd Bomb Wing gained 51 military positions with implementation of the EAF. Other base support actions result in an increase of one military authorization. Total impact was a gain of 76 military positions.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:40:21 ZULU