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92nd Bomb Wing

The 92d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, was organized on 17 November 1947 at Spokane AAFld (later, Spokane AFB; Fairchild AFB), WA. Three groups (30 aircraft, 4 squadrons each) of B-29 Superfortresses (92nd, 98th, and 111th), arrived at Spokane AFB in November 1947, the largest B-29 organization in Strategic Air Command. It served as a double-sized B-29 bombardment wing, November 1947-April 1950, and May 1950-April 1951, although one bomb group was generally deployed overseas for training or combat. The unit was redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 12 July 1948. The Wing supervised a Reserve corollary bomb group from June 1949 through February 1951.

In June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea, and the 92nd and 98th (B-29 groups) deployed. In early July 1950, B-29s of the 92nd Bombardment Group, Medium arrived from the United States at Yokota AB, Japan. By the time the entire group completed its deployment on the July 13, its aircraft had already flown a leaflet mission to Seoul and a combat mission against the Wonsan marshalling yards in North Korea. Under control of the FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional) until October 20, the 92nd bombed factories, refineries, iron works, hydroelectric plants, airfields, bridges, tunnels, troop concentrations, barracks, marshalling yards, road junctions, rail lines, supply dumps, docks, vehicles and other strategic and interdiction targets. The 92nd BG returned to Spokane AFB, Washington in late October and November 1950. While the 92nd later returned to Fairchild after the Korean War, the 98th subsequently relocated elsewhere. The 111th SRW (Strategic Reconnaissance Wing) became the 99th SRW at Fairchild, and flew B-29's until the RB-36's arrived on 30 November 1950.

The Wing was redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 16 June 1951 and equipped with the B-36 from 1951 through 1957. Fairchild Air Force Base was renamed in dedication ceremonies on 20 July, 1951, and B-36 intercontinental bombers arrived as part of the ceremony. The B-36 Peacemaker equipped the 92nd Bomb Wing and 111th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing [which was still flying RB-29's until 1953]. In January 1953 the first RB-36F reconnaissance plane arrived at Fairchild, and all RB-29 operations ended with its arrival. The 111th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing changed to the 99th SRW. The Wing pioneered mass B-36 deployments to the Far East, August-September 1953. In March 1954 the 92nd Bomb Wing participated in "Operation North Star" with B-36's temporarily assigned to Eielson AFB, Alaska. The 92nd Bomb Wing deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, 16 October 1954 through 12 January 1955 and 26 April-6 July 1956. The unit added air refueling operations to bombardment mission in September 1957.

In July 1961, the 92nd became the first aerospace wing in the nation with the acquisition of the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile. With the new role and the addition of missiles, the 92nd Bomb Wing was redesignated the 92nd Strategic Aerospace Wing on 15 February 1962. However, the designation remained longer than the missiles, as the Atlas missiles were removed in August 1965.

On 19 June 1953 the first YB-52 arrived at Fairchild for testing. On 26 Mar 1957 the first B-52, tail number 5673, flown by the wing commander (Col. Neely), arrived. The rest of the aircraft forming the 92nd Bomb Wing arrived shortly thereafter, with the last of the new B-52's arrived 27 September 1957. In 1958 92d Wing received the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its pioneer work in night heavy-weight air refueling on 24-hour missions under Project HEADSTART. On 01 July 1960 the Wing's 327th Bomb Squadron left Fairchild for Larson AFB, Moses Lake, WA. And on 23 November 1962 the B-52s at Fairchild received their first GAM-77 Hound Dog missiles.

The wing supported SAC activities in Southeast Asia from early 1965 to Dec 1975 through deployment of bomber and tanker aircraft and crews. From March to September 1968 and March to September 1969, all wing B-52s and half its KC-135 resources, plus support personnel, were involved in Southeast Asia operations with other SAC units.

Redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 31 Mar 1972, from June 1972 to October 1973, all wing B-52s and most wing KC-135s, plus aircrew and support personnel, again supported SAC operations in Southeast Asia.

After 1975, the Wing performed joint USAF/Navy sea reconnaissance and surveillance missions. It provided KC-135 aircraft to tanker task forces in the US, Europe, and the Pacific through 1992. In 1983, the Wing's B-52Gs were modified to carry AGM-86B Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM). During the Summer of 1983, under Operation Busy Moses, all aircraft were reassigned to Grant County Airport (the old site of Larson Air Force Base) for three months during runway repair efforts at Fairchild AFB. In 1985 the Wing upgraded to B-52H with improved strategic weapons carriage and offensive electronics capabilities. The unit won the Fairchild Trophy in 1953, 1986, and again in 1992 when it won SAC's last competition and retired the trophy. It also won the Saunders Trophy for best air refueling unit in SAC for 1992.

The 92nd deployed a total of 560 personnel to DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM from August 1990 to March 1991. The 43rd and 92nd Air Refueling Squadrons flew a combined total of 4,004 hours, 721 sorties, and off loaded a total of 22.5 million pounds of fuel to such receiver aircraft as the A-6, A-10, B-52, C-5, EA-6, EC-130, F-4, F-111, F-117A, KC-10, and Tornado in support of Operations DESERT EXPRESS, DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, DESERT CALM, and PROVIDE COMFORT. The two squadrons' crews and aircraft also flew 200 combat sorties.

On 01 September 1991, under Air Force reorganization the 92nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) was redesignated the 92nd Wing, emphasizing a dual bombing and refueling role.

On 01 June 1992 the wing became part of the newly formed Air Combat Command and was redesignated the 92nd Bomb Wing. As Strategic Air Command (SAC) finished up 46 years of service to the nation, Fairchild bomber and tanker crews took top honors at Proud Shield '92. This was SAC's final Bombing/Navigation Competition. The wing won the Fairchild Trophy for best bomber/tanker team as well as the Saunders Trophy for the tanker unit attaining the most points on all competition missions.

The unit ended B-52 alert duties in September 1992. In February 1993 it gained a new mission for the Department of Energy performing air sampling missions with modified B-52Hs.

December 7, 1993 marked the beginning of perhaps the largest change and transition in the history of Fairchild and the 92nd Bomb Wing when the first B-52 left Fairchild to be turned over to another unit. The 92nd Bomb Wing's B-52s had been assigned to ACC, while the KC-135s were assigned to AMC and designated the 453rd Operations Group. During the spring of 1994, B-52s were transferred to other units and flown to other bases with the last bomber leaving 25 May 1994. The bomber mission of the 92nd had ended after 52 years, giving over to the new refueling mission on 01 July 1994, at which time the unit was redesignated the 92d Air Refueling Wing.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:40:46 ZULU