69th Bomb Squadron

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69th Bomb Squadron
69thbombsquadron.jpg
Emblem of the 69th Bombardment Squadron
Active 1940–1991
2009-present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Bombardment
Part of 5th Bomb Wing
Eighth Air Force
Air Force Global Strike Command
Garrison/HQ Minot Air Force Base
Nickname Knighthawks
Colors Gray/yellow

The 69th Bomb Squadron is an active United States Air Force unit. After being inactivated on 1 September 1991, it was reactivated on 3 September 2009 at Minot Air Force Base, and assigned to the 5th Bomb Wing. The squadron operates B-52H aircraft.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

Established as a pre-World War II GHQAF bombardment squadron; equipped with B-18 Bolos and early-model B-26 Marauders. After the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, squadron was engaged in antisubmarine operations over the mid-Atlantic coast. Reassigned to Third Air Force and equipped with A-26 Invader light bombers; deployed to Fifth Air Force in Australia in 1942 as part of the re-equipping of that command after its withdraw to Australia after the 1941-1942 Battle of the Philippines.

Deployed to South Pacific Area (SPA); being assigned to Thirteenth Air Force and attacking enemy targets in the Solomon Islands; New Hebrides and other enemy locations north and east of Papua New Guinea. Became part of Mac Arthur's New Guinea campaign, supported Army ground forces with tactical bombing of enemy formations and targets along the northern coast of New Guinea and in the Dutch East Indies.

Attacked enemy forces in the Philippines during early 1945 as part of the liberation from Japanese control; continued combat missions until the Japanese capitulation in August 1945. Became part of the Fifth Air Force forces in Occupied Japan in 1946 before being demobilized and inactivated in May 1946.

The 69th was awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation for its pre-invasion bombing of Balikpapan between 23 and 30 June 1945. Balikpapan was a center for oil refining on Borneo held by the Japanese. These attacks included bombing and strafing enemy shore installations. The round trip to the target was over 1700 miles and was among the longest flown by medium bombers during the war. Pre mission experiments determined that the squadron's bombers could carry a bomb load over this distance with fuel tanks installed in their radio compartments despite having to take off from a runway damaged by enemy action. Four of the missions encountered severe tropical weather fronts. Despite intense and accurate flak, the squadron destroyed gun positions, warehouses, roadblocks, fuel and ammunition dumps, a radar station as well as huge stores of gasoline and oil which the enemy had placed in position to be released into shallow pits oil the beach and ignited when the Australian ground troops made their assaults. The group attacked the beach while naval underwater demolition teams operated offshore without losing a man. The attacks were so effective that the Australian Seventh Division was able to come ashore without enemy opposition.[1]

Cold War[edit]

Reactivated as a Strategic Air Command B-36 Peacemaker bombardment squadron in 1953. Engaged in worldwide training missions with the B-36 until 1956 when re-equipped with the jet B-52 Stratofortress. Deployed to Western Pacific during the Vietnam War and flew conventional Arc Light bombardment missions over enemy military and industrial targets in North Vietnam. Returned to the United States and maintained nuclear alert until the end of the Cold War; Inactivated in 1991 with the drawdown of US Strategic forces.

Reactivated in 2009 as part of Air Combat Command and transitioned to Air Force Global Strike Command in early 2010.[2]

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 69th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Inactivated on 10 May 1946
  • Redesignated 69th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 19 February 1953
Activated on 25 February 1953.
Inactivated on 1 September 1991
  • Redesignated 69th Bomb Squadron
Activated in 3 September 2009

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Cohn, Preface (quoting the citation for the award)
  2. ^ "AIR FORCE GLOBAL STRIKE COMMAND". USAF Fact Sheet. Retrieved 31 May 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

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