393d Bomb Squadron

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"393d Bombardment Squadron" redirects here. For the 393d Bombardment Squadron (Medium) of 1942, see 6th Tactical Missile Squadron.
393rd Bomb Squadron
393d Bomb Squadron.jpg
393d Bomb Squadron Patch
Active 11 March 1944–30 September 1990
27 August 1993–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Strategic Bombing
Part of Air Force Global Strike Command
8th Air Force
509th Bomb Wing
509th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Whiteman Air Force Base
Engagements World War II
Vietnam War
Operation Crossroads
Decorations Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm
Martin-Omaha B-29-40-MO Superfortress 44-27353 The Great Artiste assigned to Crew C-15, 393rd Bombardment Squadron of the 509th Bomb Group. This aircraft was converted to Silverplate Victor number 89. This aircraft flew on both Atomic Bomb missions (6 August, 9 August 1945) as an instrument aircraft monitoring the nuclear explosions.

The 393rd Bomb Squadron (393 BS) is part of the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

The 393rd Bombardment Squadron is the only squadron of the United States Air Force to have carried out nuclear attacks against the enemy in combat. During World War II, the 393rd attacked Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945 and Nagasaki, Japan, on 9 August 1945 with atomic bombs.

Mission[edit]

It operates B-2 Spirit aircraft providing strategic bombing capability.

History[edit]

Activated as a B-29 Superfortress squadron in early 1944; trained under Second Air Force. Due to a shortage of B-29s, the squadron was initially equipped with former II Bomber Command B-17 Flying Fortresses previously used for training heavy bomber replacement personnel as engineering flaws were being worked out of the B-29. The squadron was then reassigned for advanced training and received B-29s at Fairmont Army Airfield, Nebraska, during the late spring and summer of 1944.

509th Composite Group[edit]

In December 1944, reassigned as the only operational B-29 squadron to 509th Composite Group at Wendover Field, Utah in December. Aircraft were refitted to Silverplate configuration becoming atomic bomb capable under highly a classified program. Deployed to North Field, Tinian in late May 1945, flying non-combat missions practicing atomic bomb delivery techniques.

The squadron carried out two atomic bombing missions over Japan in August 1945, being the only squadron in the world to ever carry out and deliver nuclear weapons in combat. Its aircraft dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, on 6 August 1945, and the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, on 9 August 1945. These two bombings immediately killed an estimated 120,000 to 140,000 people (including military personnel and factory workers) and destroyed many cottage industries, arms industries, military installations, and others. The nuclear attacks also struck a psychological blow to Japanese morale as the Japanese now realized that they were bested by a technology they could not defeat: a single nuclear weapon by a single aircraft was much more deadlier and was capable of damage of what was previously accomplished by hundreds of aircraft carrying thousands of tons of conventional incendiary weapons. On 15 August, Emperor Hirohito announced the surrender of Japan, stating:

"Moreover, the enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should We continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliteration of the Japanese nation, but also it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization. Such being the case, how are We to save the millions of Our subjects; or to atone Ourselves before the hallowed spirits of Our Imperial Ancestors? This is the reason why We have ordered the acceptance of the provisions of the Joint Declaration of the Powers."

The 393rd Bombardment Squadron was reassigned to the United States in November 1945, becoming part of Continental Air Forces, later Strategic Air Command. The squadron was deployed to Kwajalein in 1946 to carry out Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests on Bikini Atoll in July.

Strategic Air Command[edit]

Began upgrading to the new B-50 Superfortress, an advanced version of the B-29 in 1949. The B-50 gave the unit the capability to carry heavy loads of conventional weapons faster and farther as well as being designed for atomic bomb missions if necessary. Squadron deployed to SAC airfields in England, and also to Andersen AFB, Guam on long-term deployments in the 1950s.

By 1951, the emergence of the Soviet Mig-15 interceptor in the skies of North Korea signaled the end of the propeller-driven B-50 as a first-line strategic bomber. Received new, swept wing B-47 Stratojets in 1955 which were designed to carry nuclear weapons and to penetrate Soviet air defenses with its high operational ceiling and near supersonic speed. The squadron flew the B-47 for about a decade when by the mid-1960s it had become obsolescent and vulnerable to new Soviet air defenses. The squadron began to send its stratojets to AMARC at Davis-Monthan AFB for retirement in 1965.

Was scheduled for inactivation however instead received B-52D Stratofortresses in 1965. It rotated aircraft and crews to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, in support of Southeast Asia Arc Light Operations between 1966 and 1969. Not operational, Nov 1969–Jun 1971. Re-equipped with FB-111A nuclear capable medium bomber in 1970; operated until retirement in 1990.

Modern era[edit]

Reactivated in 1993 as first operational B-2 Spirit stealth bomber squadron.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Combat Operations: Combat in Western Pacific, 1 Jul-14 Aug 1945. Only squadron trained for atomic warfare in World War II. Participated in atomic bomb tests on Bikini Atoll, Jul 1946, while deployed on Kwajalein. Rotated aircraft and crews to Andersen AFB, Guam, in support of Southeast Asia Operations, 1966-1969.
  • Campaigns: World War II: Air Offensive, Japan; Eastern Mandates; Western Pacific. Vietnam War; Global War on Terrorism.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 393d Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy, on 28 Feb 1944
Activated on 11 Mar 1944
Redesignated: 393d Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 2 Jul 1948
Redesignated: 393d Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, on 2 Apr 1966
Redesignated: 393d Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 1 Dec 1969
Inactivated on 30 Sept 1990
  • Redesignated 393d Bomb Squadron on 12 Mar 1993
Activated on 27 Aug 1993
  • Operates as provisional 393d Expeditionary Bomb Squadron when aircraft/personnel/equipment deployed to combat zones as part of the Global War on Terrorism

Assignments[edit]

Attached to 509th Bombardment Wing, 17 Nov 1947-14 Sept 1948 and 1 Feb 1951-15 Jun 1952
Probably attached to Twentieth Air Force, 18 Jun-c. 18 Sept 1953
Attached to: United States Air Forces Central when deployed to combat zones as part of the Global War on Terrorism after 11 September 2001.

Stations[edit]

Deployed at: Bucholz Army Airfield, Kwajalein, Marshall Islands, 1 May-Jul 1946
Deployed at: RAF Mildenhall, England, 4 Jun-2 Sept 1952
Deployed at: Andersen AFB, Guam, 18 Jun-c. 18 Sept 1953 and 10 Jul-8 Oct 1954
Deployed at: RAF Upper Heyford, England, 26 Jan-30 Apr 1956

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]