20th Bomb Squadron
|20th Bomb Squadron|
20th Bomb Squadron - B-52H Stratofortress
|Active||26 June 1917 - Present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Global Strike Command|
|Garrison/HQ||Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
Operation Desert Strike
Operation Desert Fox
Operation Allied Force
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
RVGC w/ Palm
|20th Bomb Squadron emblem|
Formed in June 1917, the 20 BS saw combat on the World War I Western Front, in France. It took part in the St. Mihiel offensive and Meuse-Argonne offensive. Later, it served with the Army Air Service and Army Air Corps in the Inter-War period. During the 1920s and 1930s, the squadron was involved in flight field service testing of new bomber aircraft, notably the Y1B-17 Flying Fortress. During World War II fought in the North African and Italian Campaigns. It was a part of Strategic Air Command during the Cold War, deploying frequently to perform Arc Light bombing missions in Indochina. Since 1993, the 20th Bomb Squadron has flown the B-52H Stratofortress long-range heavy bomber, which can perform a variety of missions. Today the squadron is engaged in the Global War on Terrorism.
||This section may contain wording that promotes the subject in a subjective manner without imparting real information. (March 2013)|
The 20th Bomb Squadron flies the B-52H Stratofortress. Its mission is to protect the nation and its global interests by providing devastating B-52 combat capability and unmatched expeditionary combat Airmen.
World War I 
- see: 20th Aero Squadron
Organized at Kelly Field, Texas on 26 June 1917. Moved to the Wilbur Wright Aviation Field, Dayton, Ohio, where it received its first training in the handling of Curtiss JN-4 and Standard J-1. Deployed to France and assigned to the 1st Day Bombardment Group. Assigned British Airco DH.4 aircraft with American Liberty engines, and was engaged in combat during the St. Mihiel offensive and Meuse-Argonne offensive during 1918. After the 1918 Armistice with Germany, returned to the United States and arrived at Mitchel Field, New York on 2 May 1919. There most of the men returned to civilian life, being discharged from Army service.
Inter-War period 
Returned to the United States and re-formed with new personnel at Ellington Field, Houston Texas in June 1919. Equipped with some de Havilland DH-4 bombers and moved to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. Assigned to the new 1st Day Bombardment (later, 2d Bombardment) Group. With the establishment of the permanent United States Army Air Service in 1921, was re-designated as the 20th Squadron (Bombardment). Also operated some Martin NBS-1s and British Handley Page 0/400s.
In May 1920 was temporarily assigned to Langley Field, Virginia and became part of the First Provisional Air Brigade under General Billy Mitchell. Trained with the Handley Page O/400 and Martin MB-2 bombers. It's mission would be to attack captured German ships along the Atlantic coast off Virginia in a service demonstration to determine whether a battleship could be sunk by bombing. The targets were an aged and surplus US battleship and four former German Navy vessels, including the battleship SMS Ostfriesland, obtained in the peace settlement after World War I and scheduled for scuttling.
With the completion of the demonstration, was moved to Langley Field, Virginia on 30 June 1922. During the 1920s and 1930s was used for service testing of multiple new bombardment aircraft as they were developed and improved, primarily Keystone Light Biplane Bombers in the 1920s, that became the backbone of the Army Air Corps bomber fleet in the latter part of the decade. In 1932, received and began service testing the Boeing Y1B-9, the first all-metal monoplane bomber aircraft design. The high speed of the Y1B-9A indicated that open cockpits were now impractical, and that enclosed cockpits for the crew would be needed in the future. The Boeing B-9 made obsolete the Keystone Biplane bombers then in service. The Martin B-10 replaced the B-9 in 1936 which the squadron operated for only a brief time.
In 1937, received the new Boeing Y1B-17 four-engine heavy bomber. Twelve of the Y1B-17s were delivered to the 2d Bombardment Group based at Langley Field, Virginia for evaluation. At this time, the dozen Y1B-17s comprised the entire heavy bombardment strength of the United States. The 20th Bomb Squadron spent its time working out the defects in the prototype aircraft, working with Boeing engineers to make corrections for the final production model B-17B. One of the recommendations that they came up with at an early stage was the use of a check list that the pilot and copilot would go through together before takeoff, hopefully preventing accidents such as the one which resulted in the loss of the original Boeing Model 299.
In early 1938, Colonel Robert Olds, commander of the 2d Bombardment Group flew a Y1B-17 to set a new east-to-west transcontinental record of 12 hours 50 minutes. He immediately turned around and broke the west-to-east record, averaging 245 mph in 10 hours 46 minutes. Six planes of the squadron took part in a good will flight from Langley to Buenos Aires, Argentina, taking off from Langley on 15 February 1938 and returning on 27 February. They covered a total of 12,000 miles without serious incident.
In May 1938, planes of the Langley-based 20th Bombardment Squadron took part in a demonstration in which they "intercepted" the Italian ocean liner "SS Rex" while it was still 700 miles out in the Atlantic Ocean. This was meant not only as a demonstration of the Y1B-17's superior range and navigational capabilities, but was also meant to show how useful the plane could be in attacking an enemy invasion force before it came close enough to American shores to do any damage. The Navy was not at all amused by this particular demonstration, and was furious about what it perceived to be an Army intrusion into the Navy's particular mission. Shortly thereafter, a War Department order came down restricting the activities of the Army Air Corps to within a 100-mile range of the US shoreline.
The Y1B-17s flew for three years without a serious accident, and were transferred to the 19th Bomb Group at March Field in October 1940, receiving new production Boeing B-17D Fortresses.
World War II 
After the Attack on Pearl Harbor, served on antisubmarine duty along the mid-Atlantic coastline as part of I Bomber Command for several months until AAF Antisubmarine Command was formed and took over that duty.
Re-equipped with more modern B-17F Flying Fortresses and assigned to II Bomber Command in Pacific Northwest for transition and combat training in late 1942 and early 1943. Moved to North Africa in April 1943, carrying out bombing missions in Algeria and Tunisia as part of Twelfth Air Force during the North African Campaign. Flew many support and interdictory missions, bombing such targets as marshalling yards, airdromes, troop concentrations, bridges, docks, and shipping. Participated in the defeat of Axis forces in Tunisia, Apr-May 1943; the reduction of Pantelleria and the preparations for the invasion of Sicily, May-Jul 1943; the invasion of Italy, Sep 1943.
Transferred to Fifteenth Air Force in December 1943 and engaged in bombing operations primarily in Italy in support of the Allied drive north toward Rome, Jan-Jun 1944; the Invasion of southern France, Aug 1944; and the campaigns against German forces in northern Italy, Jun 1944-May 1945. Engaged primarily in long-range bombardment of strategic targets after Oct 1943, attacking oil refineries, aircraft factories, steel plants, and other objectives in Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Greece. 
En route to bomb a vital aircraft factory at Steyr on 24 Feb 1944, the group was greatly outnumbered by enemy interceptors, but it maintained its formation and bombed the target, receiving a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for the performance. On the following day, while on a mission to attack aircraft factories at Regensburg, it met similar opposition equally well and was awarded a second DUC. Served as part of the occupation force in Italy after V-E Day. Inactivated in Italy on 28 Feb 1946.
Strategic Air Command 
Reactivated as a B-29 Superfortress very heavy bomber squadron under Strategic Air Command in 1947; assigned to Chatam, and later Hunter AFB near Savannah. Flew B-29 and later B-50 Superfortresses during the postwar era. The 20th participated in electronic countermeasures testing and evaluation from, May 1950 – May 1952. Equipped with B-47 Stratojet medium bombers in 1947, flying training missions and standing nuclear alert until the phaseout of the B-47 in 1963.
Re-equipped with the B-52F Stratofortresses in 1963 and moved to Barksdale AFB as the runways at Hunter were too short to accommodate the B-52. Reassigned to Carswell AFB on 25 June 1965, joining the 9th Bombardment Squadron as the 2d B-52F squadron at Carswell. During the Vietnam War, would switch rotations to Andersen AFB, Guam with the 9th, one squadron remaining on nuclear alert at Carswell, the other being forward deployed for Operation Arc Light missions over Southeast Asia.
Continued rotational Arc Light deployments, switching to the more capable B-52D Stratofortress in 1969 for Arc Light missions until March 1970 when the draw down of the Vietnam War ended the forward deployments. Continued nuclear alert with the B-52D until 1983, when re-equipped with B-52H Stratofortresses, acquiring the aircraft of the 46th Bombardment Squadron, 319th BW, Grand Forks AFB, North Dakota. During the 1980s it conducted B-52 training missions over bombing range sites and supported wing primary mission of aerial bombardment.
Current era 
Returned to Barksdale in 1992 with the closure of Carswell and the inactivation of SAC, being reassigned to the new Air Combat Command. Continued training for global conventional bombardment missions and maintained nuclear operational readiness.
After the September 11 attacks the 20th deployed to the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and on 7 October 2001 flew attacks on targets in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom. In February 2003 it deployed to Guam to deter North Korean aggression.
On 21 July 2008, a squadron B-52 aircraft crashed near Guam during a training mission in support of Guam's Liberation Day festivities. All six crewmembers, three of whom were from the 20th, perished.
- Organized as 20th Aero Squadron on 26 June 1917
- Re-designated: 20th Squadron (Bombardment) on 14 March 1921
- Re-designated: 20th Bombardment Squadron on 25 January 1923
- Re-designated: 20th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 December 1939
- Re-designated: 20th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 26 March 1943
- Inactivated on 28 February 1946
- Re-designated 20th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 5 April 1946
- Activated on 1 July 1947
- Re-designated: 20th Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 28 May 1948
- Re-designated: 20th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 1 April 1963
- Re-designated: 20th Bomb Squadron on 1 September 1991
- Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, 26 June 1917
- Post Headquarters, Wilbur Wright Field, 29 July 1917
- Aviation Concentration Center, 1 November-17 December 1917
- Headquarters, Chief of Air Service, AEF, 31 December 1917-23 August 1918
- Attached to: Royal Flying Corps for training, 7 January-20 August 1918
- Replacement Concentration Center, AEF, 23-26 August 1918
- 1st Day Bombardment Group, 10 September 1918
- Unknown, November 1918-17 January 1919
- 1st Air Depot, AEF, 17-19 January 1919
- Unknown, 19 January-18 September 1919
- 1st Day Bombardment (later, 2d Bombardment) Group, 18 September 1919-28 February 1946
- 2d Bombardment Group, 1 July 1947
- Attached to: 3d Air Division, 6 August-16 November 1948
- Attached to: 2d Bombardment Wing, 10 February 1951-15 June 1952
- 2d Bombardment Wing, 16 June 1952
- 7th Bombardment Wing, 25 June 1965
- 7th Operations Group, 1 September 1991
- 2d Operations Group, 18 December 1992-Present 
- World War I
- Inter-War period
- Mitchel Field, New York, 2 May 1919
- Ellington Field, Texas, Jun 1919
- Kelly Field, Texas, 24 Sep 1919
- Langley Field, Virginia, 30 Jun 1922
- Operated from Mitchel Field, New York, 8 Dec 1941-24 Jan 1942
- World War II
- Ephrata Army Air Base, Washington, 29 Oct 1942
- Great Falls Army Air Base, Montana, 28 Nov 1942-13 Mar 1943
- Navarin Airfield, Algeria, 25 Apr 1943
- Chateau-dun-du-Rhumel Airfield, Algeria, 27 Apr 1943
- Ain M'lila Airfield, Algeria, 17 Jun 1943
- Massicault Airfield, Tunisia, 31 Jul 1943
- Amendola Airfield, Italy, 8 Dec 1943
- Foggia Airfield, Italy, 10 Oct 1945-28 Feb 1946
- United States Air Force
- World War I
- Inter-War period
- World War II
- United States Air Force
See also 
- List of American Aero Squadrons
- List of B-29 Superfortress operators
- List of B-47 units of the United States Air Force
- List of B-52 Units of the United States Air Force
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Barksdale AFB Units article
- United States War Department (1920), Battle Participation of Organizations of the American Expeditionary Forces in France, Belgium and Italy, 1917-1919, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1920
- Series "E", Volume 4, History of the 16th, 17th, and 19th-21st Aero Squadrons. Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917–1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
- 2d Bomb Wing History
- Billy Mitchell and the Battleships, Air Force magazine, June, 2008
- Boeing B-9
- Boeing Y1B-17
- Service of Boeing B-52F Stratofortress
- AFHRA 20th Bomb Squadron