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307th Bomb Wing

307th Bomb Wing

307th Bomb Wing

MISSION

The 307th Bomb Wing is a diverse wing, flying and maintaining 20 B-52H Stratofortress aircraft.  The 307th Operations Group oversees three squadrons: the 93rd Bomb Squadron, which operates the B-52 Formal Training Unit and qualifies aircrew to operate the B-52 in active association with the 11th Bomb Squadron, 2nd Operations Group, the 343rd Bomb Squadron, which performs the nuclear enterprise and global strike missions in classic association with the 2nd Operations Group, and the 307th Operations Support Squadron, which provides intelligence, aircrew life support and range operations services to the wing's full range of B-52 missions.  The 489th Bomb Group, a geographically separated unit, operates in classic association with the 7th Operations Group at Dyess AFB, flying the B-1 Lancer.  In addition, the wing produces sorties for the 340th Weapons Squadron and the 49th Test and Evaluation Squadron to accomplish their missions.


HISTORY
The 307th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was activated in 1942 by the Army Air Corps Combat Command after an attack on Pearl Harbor thrust the United States into war with Japan. In succeeding years, the 307th's participation in World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Cold War, and the Vietnam Conflict proved it to be one of the most renowned bombing units in military annals.

On April 15, 1942, the 307th began operations as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber unit at Geiger Field, Washington. Its first mission--to guard the northwestern United States and Alaskan coasts against armed invasion this prepared the group for its later role in the Pacific Theater of World War II.

After patrolling the coastline of America for five months, the 307th's B-17s were replaced with the famous B-24 "Liberators." Subsequently, the entire unit was transferred to Sioux City, Iowa, for a brief training period.
After completing a three-week B-24 familiarization program, the 307th relocated its entire cadre and 35 bombers to Hamilton Field, California. Three days later the B-24s deployed to Oahu in the Hawaiian Islands.

An old Norwegian freighter slowly transported the remainder of the group to its "Pacific Paradise".
Upon arrival at Oahu, each of the group's four squadrons was assigned to a different Hawaiian location--the 370th to Kipapa, the 371st to Wheeler Field, the 372nd to Kabuka and the 424th to Mokaleia. Headquarters for the 307th was at Hickam Field.

Finally settled at Oahu, 307th bombers began search and patrol missions over the surrounding Pacific area. Maintaining a 24-hour vigil, the bombers were to avert any naval attack against the Hawaiian Islands.

Group bombers received their first taste of combat December 27, 1942. Twenty-seven of the group's aircraft were deployed from Oahu to Midway Island. From here, the B-24s staged their first attack against an enemy fortress on Wake Island. The enemy was taken by surprise during the predawn raid. Before Japanese units responded with a barrage of anti-aircraft fire, 307th bombers had blasted 90 percent of the Wake stronghold. All aircraft returned safely from what was considered the longest mass-raid of that time. It was from this mission that the 307th Bomb Group became known as "The Long Rangers".

The 307th moved to Guadalcanal in February 1943. From their new location on the largest of the Solomon Islands, group bombers attacked fortified Japanese airfields and shipping installations within the Southwest Pacific.

At Guadalcanal, ground support troops were subject to massive air attacks by enemy bomber and fighter aircraft. On a warm day in March 1943, three waves of Japanese planes blasted the airfield, causing the greatest number of 307th casualties during the war.

On November 11, 1943, the 307th participated in the larges aerial strike of the South Pacific War. In conjunction with United States naval elements, group bombers pounded enemy war and merchant ships at Rabaul, New Guinea. Amidst swarms of Japanese "Zeros" and heavy anti-aircraft fire, 307th aircraft released their bombs, leaving the port of Rabaul in complete ruin.

Throughout the remainder of the war, 307th aircraft continued to cripple the debilitated enemy. Group elements neutralized Japanese forces at Yap, Truk, and Palau islands. Bombing strikes against Japanese shipping centers in the Philippines inhibited the enemy from gaining a further strong hold in the area. An unescorted attack by group aircraft against oil refineries at Balikapan, Borneo, October 3, 1944 helped assure an allied victory in the South Pacific.

Following V-J Day in August of 1945, 307th aircraft ferried former American war prisoners from Okinawa to Manila.

No longer needed, the group returned to the states in December 1945 and was subsequently deactivated.
While in the Pacific, the 307th was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations--one for an air strike against Truk on March 29, 1944 and another for a strike against the refineries at Borneo on October 3, 1944. The group was also awarded the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation for its active role in the Philippines campaign.

With barely time to form cobwebs, the 307th Bombardment Group was reactivated August 4, 1946. Located at MacDill Field, Florida, the group was equipped with huge B-29 Superfortresses and the wing was appropriately designated "Very Heavy."

Strategic Air Command (SAC) then selected the 307th as its first anti-submarine unit in December 1946. Precursor to similar SAC units, the group acted as a "guinea pig" in the development of new anti-sub tactics and operational procedures.

During its training years, the 307th was continually called upon to demonstrate bomber effectiveness. At the 1949 inaugural ceremonies, group bombers led an aerial display honoring incumbent President Harry S. Truman.

The 307th continued to train as an anti-sub unit until war erupted in Korea. In 1950, the group was temporarily assigned to Kadena Airfield on Okinawa. From the Okinawa airfield, group bombers staged attacks against the rapidly advancing communist forces in South Korea.

Word filters through the grapevine that a truce will be signed to end the "Korean Conflict" within twenty-four hours. The B-29's of the 307th are serviced; bombs and ammo loaded, preflighted, and take off for their last bomb run of the conflict. This is the 573rd mission of the conflict for the 307th. Colonel Austin J. Russell of Monett, Missouri led the raid. There will be a full eclipse of the moon before they reach the target. There are thunderstorms over the Yalu River so there will be no fighter opposition this night. The bombs are dropped and the wing returns to Kadena AFB, Okinawa. With this mission the 307th has flown 5,810 sorties and dropped 58,100 tons of high explosives in Korea during the conflict. By mid-1953, United Nations forces had contained the enemy north of the 38th parallel and the war was more or less over.

While in Okinawa, the 307th was awarded the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for its air strikes against enemy forces in Korea. It was also awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation and several campaign streamers.

Finished with its task in Korea, the 307th returned to the United States in 1954. Assigned to Lincoln AFB, Nebraska, the group's B-29s were replaced with swept-winged B-47 Stratojets. The sleek new bombers were the first jet-propelled aircraft assigned the wing. The wing was then designated as the 307th Bombardment Wing (Medium).

On July 1, 1955 the 307th Bomb Wing was placed under the command of the Eight Air Force. There were 43 B-47s and 21 KC-97 type aircraft assigned to the Wing.

The wing suffered its first casualties, when a B-47 went down near Ceresco, Nebraska. Capt. James W. Sullivan, Lt. Anthony C. Marcanti, Lt. Lawrence A. Schmidt, and Airman 1st Class James J. Berry lost their lives. The crash occurred 15 minutes after takeoff.

June 19, 1956, the 307th Bomb Wing made its last ferry flight in connection with the replacement of its older aircraft. The Wing is preparing for deployment to Lakenheath, United Kingdom. 15 B-47 aircraft departed Lincoln AFB on July 3 and arrived at Lakenheath. Due to a weather delay, the second and third waves of B-47's departed Lincoln two days later than the planned deployment date. The KC-97's deploying to Greenham-Common, were not so fortunate. Due to propeller difficulties they were delayed indefinitely.

The 307th Bomb Wing participates in operation "Pink Lady." Target "Bravo" was the top of the Bell Tower of the Tower of London. Target "Golf" was the center of the bridge at Windsor Castle.

During the first leg of their redeployment back to Lincoln, fifty wing personnel are lost aboard a Navy MATS C-118 enroute from Lakenheath to the Azores. An air/sea search was held for a week, with the only trace being two empty life rafts found off the northwest coast of Spain. Nine Navy crewmembers were also lost. A stunned base attended a Memorial Service at Lincoln on October 29, 1956.

In 1957, the 307th Bomb Wing was involved in Reflex at Greenham-Common RAFB. They maintained five aircraft on alert at this station on a rotational basis. The B-47 aircraft were to rotate approximately every 8 days.

In February 1958, at Lincoln AFB, the 307th crews participated in operation "Noon Day." This operation supplied training for crews from the 307th and helped evaluate the defense capability of the 37th Air Division. Various radars were encountered and fighter opposition was F-84, F-89, F-94, F-100, and F-102's. Sweep jamming and burst chaff tactics were used.

During April of 1958 a near miss with a tower that was not on the sectional maps was a hair-raiser for a "Pop-Up" crew. It was near Wessington, Minnesota. The two towers were approximately 600 feet tall. By May the crews began to send aircraft to depots for operation "Milk Bottle" for a wing strengthening modification so they would be safe for "Pop-Up" missions.

By September, the Wing, having been directed to maintain one-third of its force on alert, found that more crews were needed. To alleviate this, a fourth bomb squadron, the 424th, was activated. The one-third alert posture also dictated a change in the maintenance concept. Until this time, all flight line crew chiefs and assistants were organic to the various bomb squadrons, which also had their own supply support. Crew chiefs were then consolidated into a newly created squadron, the 307th Organizational Maintenance Squadron, and squadron supply personnel were integrated into base supply. Lincoln and Little Rock were test wings for this concept, which was later implemented by all SAC wings.

The 307th Bombardment Wing along with other units at Lincoln AFB, was realigned under the Strategic Air Command's Second Air Force (2AF) headquartered at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana on January 1, 1959.

That same month they were directed to fly four aircraft in support of an Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) project (Swordfish), four flights on each day. Swordfish flights were to assist radar calibration of the new SAGE air defense network.

During this period, the wing fulfilled a commitment of having one third of the force on alert. An overseas Reflex commitment was added in July of 1959. These commitments, combined with normal training requirements presented a heavy load, which many times resulted in crews being denied crew rest and time off. To try to make things better, SAC started experimenting with variations of the alert schedule, SAC took an integrated approach to the problem of Alert - Reflex- training, and came up with the six week cycle as a guideline for crew scheduling.

During its tenure at Lincoln AFB, the wing set records that may never be equaled again. It won a SAC Bomb Competition and participated in the Cuban Missile crisis. On October 1, 1959 the wing established a never broken SAC record for 2,327 consecutive sorties without deviation from the flying schedule and they also won the SACs coveted "Fairchild Trophy." Five maintenance personnel received spot promotions for their outstanding job in the competition: Foster, Hall, Hoffman, Myatt, and Wise.

For the month of December the 307th Bomb Wing was able to record the first 100 % reliable high altitude synchronous bombing since conversion to B-47's.

May 1960 witnessed the transfer of the 307th ARS to Selfridge AFB in Michigan. This was done as part of SAC's plan for aircraft dispersal and to position the tankers farther along the EWO routes of the egressing bombers. The ARS remained at Selfridge until deactivated in 1964. The unit was later reactivated in KC-135 tankers and served through the Persian Gulf War.

In 1961, the new Kennedy administration directed that half of the force be on 15 minute ground alert. This level was attained by the 307th in July. An accelerated B-47 phase out was also ordered to provide more trained crews for B-52s for the expanded ground alert.

In 1962, six of the Wing's B-47s were modified into EB-47s. They were dubbed "Pipe Cleaner" aircraft and their mission was to act as an airborne UHF radio relay platform for promulgation of the emergency action (Noah's Arc) messages.

In response to President Kennedy's missile crisis declaration to the nation, orders directed the initial dispersal of some 307th Bomb Wing personnel and aircraft to civilian airfields. Four aircraft were directed to General Mitchell Field, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and eight aircraft were ordered to Duluth Municipal Airport, Duluth, Minnesota. All Reflex deployments and redeployments were canceled during the "Cuban Crisis." Crews were sent to the UK to man several B-47s, which had been reconfigured from training aircraft to EWO status.

The remaining aircraft at Lincoln were generated to EWO configuration and were placed on alert. Base support personnel were used as augmentees with the security forces and in other direct support roles. Every aircraft had a guard assigned around the clock.

Those crews who dispersed to civilian fields found that initially, once in place, they were on their own, and had to rely on good old Yankee resourcefulness. To have their aircraft refueled, several aircraft commanders had to pull out their personal gasoline company charge cards to pay for the 10,000 gallons or so that their bird devoured. Following conclusion of the missile crisis, the aircrews were ordered to return from their dispersal bases to Lincoln.

While at Lincoln, the 307th functioned as a Combat Ready Unit, conducting combat training missions and maintaining an alert force commitment, both at Lincoln and overseas bases, until its deactivation on March 25, 1965.

While at Lincoln AFB, some of the wing's temporary duties locations and overseas Reflex stations were located in the UK at Lakenheath, Upper Hayford, Fairford and Greenham-Common, and in Spain at Moron, Torrejon and Zaragoza.

The 307th was formed again as a tanker wing for the "Vietnam Conflict," and later in the "Conflict" served as a "B-52 Wing" flying "Arc Light" missions. In spring 1967, the wing added strategic bombing to its mission. Equipped with B-52D Stratofortresses and crews loaned from other wings, it began high altitude bombing of enemy targets in South Vietnam on April 11, 1967. Under the operational nickname "Arc Light," wing bombers flew over 35,000 strikes against the communist enemy from 1967 to mid-1970.

Their mission became more varied and complex as adversary capabilities matured. They began their mission training to penetrate enemy air space at or above 35,000 feet. Later missions would see these brave crews flying at tree top level, popping up to obtain their target, making their bomb releases, executing high jink breakaways and dropping back down on the deck to dodge missiles and triple A. These men did not have the benefit of terrain following radar when these missions were flown. The B-52's got the headlines, but B-47's were the backbone of SAC.

After another brief retirement period, the 307th was reorganized from the 4258th Strategic Wing at U-Tapao Airfield, Thailand, to support the air war in the Republic of Vietnam. Designated the 307th Strategic Wing on 1 April 1970, the two-war veteran unit began operations as an aerial refueling wing. Equipped with KC-135 Stratotankers, the wing refueled Vietnam-bound fighters under the nickname "Young Tiger." From 1967 to mid-1970, wing tankers flew over 50,000 sorties and were credited with 80 aircraft "saves."

The 307th Strategic Wing was selected as SAC's outstanding wing for 1972, and received the Omaha Award for its support of SEA operations. It was deactivated on 30 September 1975. The wing was awarded four Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards with Combat "V" Device, and twice was awarded the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.

During its brief history in Southeast Asia, the 307th received three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards--two of which were with other Eighth Air Force Units--for their role in the Vietnam Conflict.

The 343th Bomb Squadron was officially reactivated on April 1, 2010 under the 917th Wing, at Barksdale Air Force Base, La. The squadron's role is a classic associate unit with the 2nd Bomb Wing, at Barksdale. They provide a venue for Reserve aircrew to season, upgrade and fill B-52 FTU flight instructor positions. Their association is to maintain and/or increase CAF support for Air Expeditionary Force and Global Deterrence Force rotations through Nuclear and Conventional Methods.

The 307th Bomb Wing was reactivated at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana on 1 Jan 2011 with the 93rd and 343rd Bomb Squadrons. The Wing is assigned 18 B-52H Stratofortress aircraft.

On July 9, 2011 the 707th Maintenance Squadron was activated to support the 343rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB La.

During the Air Force Global Strike Challenge in November 2011, the 307th Bomb Wing was awarded the General Curtis LeMay Trophy for best bomber operations Wing in the Air Force.

On June 4, 2012 the 707th Maintenance Squadron reached a milestone with the certification of their first nuclear and conventional load crew on the B-52H Stratofortress. This certification made the 343rd Bomb Squadron and the 707th Maintenance Squadron the first Air Force Reserve Nuclear Squadron. 

 

The 489th Bombardment Group was reactivated and redesignated the 489th Bomb Group at Dyess AFB, Texas on 17 October 2015 with the 345th Bomb Squadron, 489th Maintenance Squadron and the 489th Aerospace Medicine Flight under the 307th Bomb Wing flying the B-1 Lancer as a classic association with the 7th Bomb Wing.

 

In April 2016, the 343rd Bomb Squadron deployed personnel to Al Udeid Air Base in support of Operation Inherent Resolve in support of the war on ISIS.

 

In August and September 2016, the 307th Bomb Wing supported and participated in Exercise AMPLE STRIKE, which was a NATO lead exercise that included multiple European countries.  The exercise was under the auspices of Operation ATLANTIC RESOLVE which is the United States’ assurance and deterrence operation in the European Command.

 

In September 2016 the 307th Bomb Wing also participated in a multi-national community event called NATO Days.  This event provided a forum for outreach with civilian and military leadership from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and populations from surrounding nations.

 

The 307th continued to support the war against terrorism in 2017 with aircrew and maintainer deployed supporting the B-52 mission in Al Udeid Air Base for Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.




(Current as of March 2017)