The 471st Bombardment Squadron was activated in the summer of 1942 as one of the four original squadrons of the 334th Bombardment Group at Greenville AAB, South Carolina. It operated as a North American B-25 Mitchell replacement training unit. Replacement training units were oversized units which trained aircrews prior to their deployment to combat theaters. However, Army Air Forces found that standard military units, based on relatively inflexible tables of organization were proving less well adapted to the training mission. Accordingly a more functional system was adopted in which each base was organized into a separate numbered unit. This resulted in the 471st, along with other units at Greenville, being disbanded in the spring of 1944 and being replaced by the 330th AAF Base Unit (Replacement Training Unit, Medium, Bombardment).
In February 1960 the 4038th Strategic Wing was activated at Dow as part of SAC's plan to disperse its Boeing B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers over a larger number of bases, thus making it more difficult for the Soviet Union to knock out the entire fleet with a surprise first strike and the squadron was reassigned to it. The squadron continued to fly KC-97s, however, until 1964 when it reequipped with Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers. The squadron provided long range air refueling support and participated in military exercises and special operations. It deployed aircraft and aircrews to Europe, the Middle East, and Alaska supporting the European, Alaskan, and Pacific Tanker Task Forces while maintaining a high state of combat readiness. The 71st also supported USAF operations in Southeast Asia.
Dow closed as an active USAF base in the spring of 1968 and most units there inactivated. The 71st, however relocated to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, where it was assigned to the 2d Bombardment Wing. in 1968 remaining there until inactivation. While at Barksdale, the 471st Bombardment Squadron was consolidated with the 71st. When SAC implemented the Objective Wing organization in the fall of 1991, the squadron was reassigned to the newly activated 2d Operations Group, but this assignment lasted only until 1993 when Air Combat Command transferred its air refueling units to Air Mobility Command (AMC) in 1993. As AMC reorganized its tanker fleet, it removed its tankers from Barksdale and the 71st was inactivated on 1 April 1994.
^The emblems of the four squadrons of the 334th Bombardment Group, featuring "Bomby-the-Bear" were featured in Hubbard, Gerard. "Aircraft Insigia, Spirit of Youth," National Geographic Magazine Vol. LXXXIII, No. 6, June 1943, p. 714
^Craven, Wesley F & Cate, James L, ed. (1955). "Introduction". The Army Air Forces in World War II. Vol. VI, Men & Planes. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. p. xxxvi. LCCN48-3657Check |lccn= value (help).