Mission: The 343d Bomb Squadron employs the B-52 Bomber in support of USAF worldwide commitment to nuclear deterrence and global conventional commitments. The squadron provides strategic attack operations in support of contingency operations as directed by the Secretary of Defense. The aircrew are trained to perform the full spectrum of bomber air operations--Emergency War Order, counterland/air/sea, psyop and electronic attack. This is achieved by maintaining the highest level of competency in core nuclear and conventional war fighting skills
Constituted on Jan. 28, 1942, the 343rd Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) was activated six days later on Feb. 3, 1942, as part of the 98th Bombardment Group at MacDill Field, Fla.
World War II saw B-24s from the 343rd BS assigned to numerous stations around the world, including Barksdale Field, La. The 343rd bombers arrived at Barksdale on Feb. 16, 1942. Ft. Myers and Drane Field, both located in Florida were also home to bombers of the 343rd BS in 1942.
There is no doubt that the 343rd BS landed its punches against the enemy during World War II. From August 1942, through April 15, 1945, the 343rd BS launched hundreds of combat missions against enemy forces in the European and Mediterranean Theatre of Operations from a number of locations in Europe and the Middle East. Jump off locations in the Middle East included Kabrit, Egypt, Gambut, Libya, Hergla, Tunisia, Lete, Libya, as well as Ramat David and St Jean, Palestine. The 343rd BS also based bombers at three locations in Italy during the war. Brindisi, Manduria and Lecce, Italy played home base to bombers and crews of the 343rd.
The 343rd BS saw combat action in campaigns all across the ETO and MTO in World War II: Egypt-Libya; Air Offensive, Europe; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy; Northern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Pro Valley and Air Combat, European-African-Middle-East (EAME) Theater.
For combat operations against the enemy, the 343rd BS earned the Distinguished Unit Citation for actions in North Africa and Sicily, August 1942 - August 1943, and was awarded another DUC for participation in the low-level assault on oil refineries at Ploesti, Rumania, Aug. 1, 1943.
Redesignated as the 343rd Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on May 23, 1945.
The 343rd BS was attached to the 40th Bombardment Group from Nov. 10, 1945 until it was inactivated on March 27, 1946.
Reactivated again on July 1, 1947, with the 98th Bombardment Group as part of the Strategic Air Command, 343rd BS crews started training on the B-29. The squadron was redesignated 343rd BS (Medium) on May 28, 1948.
During the Korean War, the 343rd Bomb Squadron took up the challenge and saw combat operations from Aug. 7, 1950 to July 25, 1953. The squadron participated in Korea campaigns including the UN Defensive; UN Offensive; CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korea Summer-Fall, 1953; Third Korean Winter and Korea Summer-Fall, 1953.
The 343rd BS earned the Distinguished Unit Citation for actions in Korea, Dec. 1, 1952 - April 30, 1953, and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: Aug. 7, 1950-July 27, 1953.
Part of the 98th Bombardment (later, 98 Strategic Aerospace) Wing, as of Jun 16, 1952, the 343rd BS returned to the U.S. in July of 1954, where it transitioned to the B-47 and trained for long-range bombardment missions. The squadron was stationed at Lincoln AFB, NE., from Jan. 29, 1956, until being discontinued and inactivated again on June 25 1966,
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.
On January 1, 2011, with the deactivation of the 917th Wing and reactivation of the 307th Bomb Wing the 343rd was realigned under Air Force Global Strike Command.
July 9, 2011 the 707th Maintenance Squadron was activated to support the 343rd Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB La. On June 4, 2012 they reached a milestone with the certification of their first nuclear and conventional load crew on the B-52H Stratofortress.
In November 2014, the 343 BS was awarded the Mitchell Trophy for most accurate bomb dropped of any bomber during the Air Force Global Strike Challenge.
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.
The 343rd 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)