7th Bomb Wing
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|7th Bomb Wing|
Official emblem of the 7th Bomb Wing
|Active||since 3 November 1947|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Combat Command
Twelfth Air Force
|Garrison/HQ||Dyess Air Force Base|
|Motto||"MORS AB ALTO"
Latin: Death From Above
|Brigadier General Glen D. VanHerck|
|Current vice-commander||Colonel Steven Beasley|
|Current command chief||Chief Master Sgt. Eddie Webb|
|George J. Eade
Joseph T. McNarney
Carl A. Spaatz
Its origins date to the 1918 establishment of the 7th Bombardment Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the United States Army before World War II.
The 7th Operations Group carries the lineage and history of its highly decorated World War II predecessor unit. It operated initially in the Philippines as a B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bomber unit assigned to Fifth Air Force but after the fall of the Philippines in early 1942, operated primarily with the Tenth Air Force in India as a B-24 Liberator unit. Active for over 60 years, the 7 BW was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's heavy bomber deterrent force throughout the Cold War.
7th Bomb Wing is responsible for providing combat-ready B-1B aircraft, crews and associate combat support for global engagement taskings, supervising 4,000 military and civilian personnel and managing the largest B-1B base and flying wing with 40 B-1 aircraft.
- 7th Mission Support Group
- 7th Civil Engineer Squadron
- 7th Contracting Squadron
- 7th Communications Squadron
- 7th Logistics Readiness Squadron
- 7th Force Support Squadron (formerly 7th Mission Support and 7th Services Squadrons)
- 7th Security Forces Squadron
- 7th Maintenance Group
- 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
- 7th Component Maintenance Squadron
- 7th Equipment Maintenance Squadron
- 7th Maintenance Operations Squadron
- 7th Medical Group
- 7th Medical Support Squadron
- 7th Aeromedical/Dental Squadron
- 7th Medical Operations Squadron
- For additional history and lineage information, see 7th Operations Group
Activated on 1 October 1946 as a B-29 bombardment group and trained with B-29s in global bombardment operations, November 1947 – December 1948. Personnel and aircraft of the new group, consisting of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress, were transferred to Fort Worth AAF from the 92nd Bombardment Group at Spokane AAFld, Washington.
With its B-29s, the 7th prepared its people for any combat eventuality that might arise, flying simulated bombing missions over various cities. On 5 July 1947, a flight of eight B-29s of the 492nd Bomb Squadron deployed from Fort Worth AAF to Yokota AB, Japan. Shortly after this the detachment received orders to redeploy to Fort Worth AAF via Washington, D.C. The aircraft left Yokota AB on 2 August, flew over the Aleutian Islands, then into Anchorage, Alaska. From Anchorage the flight flew over Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, turned south and flew over Minnesota and Wisconsin. The bombers flew a low-level flight between The Pentagon and Washington Monument in the Capitol on 3 August. Completing this aerial demonstration, they headed for Fort Worth, landing 31 hours after launch from Japan and covering 7,086 miles.
On 12 September, the group deployed 30 B-29s to Giebelstadt Army Airfield, near Würzburg, West Germany. This flight was the largest bomber formation flown from Fort Worth AAF overseas to date, landing in Germany on 13 September. During their ten-day stay, the group bombers participated in training operations over Europe, as well as a show-of-force display by the United States in the early part of the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The flight redeployed from Germany on 23 September.
On 17 November 1947, the 7th Bombardment Wing was established to organize and train a force capable of immediate and sustained long range offensive warfare and operations in any part of the world. The 7th Bombardment Group became its operational component. The wing's mission was to prepare for global strategic bombardment in the event of hostilities. Under various designations, the 7th Bomb Wing flew a wide variety of aircraft at the base until its inactivation in 1993.
In June 1948 the first Consolidated B-36A Peacekeeper was delivered. The first B-36 was designated the "City of Fort Worth" (AF Serial No. 44-92015), and was assigned to the 492d Bomb Squadron. With the arrival of the B-36s, the wing was redesignated as the 7th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 August. B-36s continued to arrive throughout 1948, with the last B-29 being transferred on 6 December to the 97th Bomb Group at Biggs AFB. For 10 years, the "Peacemaker" cast a large shadow on the Iron Curtain and served as our nations major deterrent weapons system.
As part of the 7th Bomb Wing, the 11th Bomb Group was activated on 1 December with the 26th, 42nd, and 98th Bomb Squadrons, Heavy, were activated and assigned. The 11th Bomb Group was equipped with B-36As for training purposes. A five ship B-36 formation was flown on 15 January 1949, in an air review over Washington, D.C., commemorating the inauguration of the President of the United States, Harry S. Truman.
In February 1949, a B-50 Superfortress (developed from the famed B-29) and named Lucky Lady II took off from Carswell for the first nonstop flight around the world. She returned to Carswell after mid-air refueling, flying 23,108 miles, and remaining aloft for ninety-four hours and one minute.
In January 1951, the 7th took part in a special training mission to the United Kingdom. The purpose of the mission was to evaluate the B-36D under simulated war plan conditions. Also, further evaluate the equivalent airspeed and compression tactics for heavy bombardment aircraft. The aircraft, staging through Limestone AFB, Maine, would land at RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom, following a night radar bombing attack on Helgoland, West Germany. From there the bombers would conduct a simulated bomb run on the Heston Bomb Plot, London, finally landing at RAF Lakenheath.
This was the first deployment of wing and SAC B-36 aircraft to England and Europe. For the next four days the flight flew sorties out of England. The aircraft redeployed to the states on 20 January arriving at Carswell on 21 January.
On 10 December 1957, the 98th Bomb Squadron was detached from the wing and assigned to the newly activated 4123rd Strategic Wing at Carswell. This would become the first Boeing B-52 Stratofortress unit at Carswell. During January 1958, the wing began transferring its B-36 bombers to various SAC wings. On 20 January, the wing transferred all B-52 equipment and property on hand to the 4123rd Strategic Wing in order to facilitate that organization's conversion, which was scheduled several months ahead of the 7th Bomb Wing at Carswell. The 7th Bomb Wing officially became a B-52 organization with the adoption of manning documents and equipping authorizations on 1 February 1958.
On 30 May, Memorial Day, the last of the B-36's in the wing were retired with appropriate ceremonies and "Open House". Air Force and civilian personnel of the base, and civilians from surrounding communities were on hand to bid the "Peacemaker" a fond farewell. This last flight of a B-36 phased out completely the B-36 program in the wing.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, the primary mission of the wing was training in global strategic bombardment and air refueling operations. On 13 April 1965, the 7 BW deployed its forces to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam to support SAC combat operations in Southeast Asia. Most of the wing's bombers and tankers, along with aircrews and some support personnel, were deployed. At Andersen AFB, the wing flew more than 1,300 missions over Vietnam, and returned to Carswell in December 1965.
B-52 crews were sent through an intensive two-week course on the B-52D, making them eligible for duty in Southeast Asia. B-52s assigned to combat duty in Vietnam were painted in a modified camouflage scheme with the undersides, lower fuselage, and both sides of the vertical fin being painted in a glossy black. The USAF serial number was painted in black on the fin over a horizontal red stripe across the length of the fin.
The B-52 effort was concentrated primarily against suspected Viet Cong targets in South Vietnam, but the Ho Chi Minh Trail and targets in Laos were also hit. During the relief of Khe Sanh, unbroken waves of six aircraft, attacking every three hours, dropped bombs as close as 900 feet from friendly lines. Cambodia was increasingly bombed by B-52s from March 1969 onward.
By mid-1973 most wing KC-135 resources had redeployed, and most B-52 resources returned by January 1974. The wing resumed nuclear alert status on 3 January 1974. From 4 December 1973 to May 1975, the wing conducted B-52D replacement training, and from January 1974 also conducted B-52D combat crew training, i.e., providing B-52 flight training to novice crews. Beginning in June 1974 the wing also conducted B-52 and KC-135 Central Flight Instructors' courses. Participated in numerous USAF and NATO exercises worldwide. Used B-52s for ocean surveillance and ship identification in joint naval operations.
Wing KC-135 aerial refuelers supported tanker task forces worldwide. In October – November 1983, the wing supported the invasion of Grenada with aerial refueling. In the 1980s the base received several new weapons systems, including modified B-52H aircraft. In 1983, B-52 crews began training with a new weapon system, the SRAM (Short Range Attack Missile) and later, in 1985, the ALCM (Air Launched Cruise Missile). Also, the wing flew numerous atmospheric sampling missions during 1986 and 1987 in response to the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident.
Deployed air refueling personnel and equipment to provisional wings in Southwest Asia, August 1990 – February 1992. The wing hosted the first Soviet START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) exhibition inspection team in September 1991.
Began preparations for base closure at Carswell AFB in January 1992. Released of all operational capabilities on 1 January 1993. Closed Carswell AFB on 30 September 1993 and moved to Dyess AFB, TX, without personnel or equipment, on 1 October 1993. Equipped with B-1B and C-130 aircraft, the 7 Wing regained its combat and worldwide tactical airlift missions. In 1997, assumed responsibility for all B-1B initial qualification and instructor upgrade training for Air Combat Command. Since 2000, provided bombing, airlift support, training and combat support to combatant commanders.
- Established as 7th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 3 November 1947
- Organized on 17 November 1947
- Redesignated: 7th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 August 1948
- Redesignated: 7th Wing on 1 September 1991
- Redesignated: 7th Bomb Wing on 1 June 1992
- Redesignated: 7th Wing on 1 October 1993
- Redesignated: 7th Bomb Wing on 1 April 1997
- Attached to 5th Air Division, 10 July-13 September 1955
- 7th Bombardment (later, 7th Operations) Group: 17 November 1947 – 16 June 1952; 1 September 1991 – 1 January 1993; 1 October 1993–present
- 11th Bombardment Group: attached 1 December 1948 – 16 February 1951
- 7th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 April 1958 – 15 April 1960; 1 March 1964 – 1 September 1991; 1 September 1991 – 1 June 1992
- 9th Bomb Squadron: attached 16 February 1951-15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952-25 June 1968; assigned 31 December 1971-1 September 1991
- 20th Bomb Squadron: 25 June 1965-1 September 1991
- 98th Bombardment Squadron: attached 1–10 December 1957
- 436th Bombardment Squadron: attached 16 February 1951-15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952-1 August 1958
- 492d Bombardment Squadron: attached 16 February 1951-15 June 1952, assigned 16 June 1952-15 June 1959
- 919th Air Refueling Squadron: 15 April-15 July 1960
- 920th Air Refueling Squadron: 15 April-15 July 1960
- 4018 Combat Crew Training Squadron: 1 April 1974-31 March 1983.
- Fort Worth AAFld (later, Griffiss AFB; Carswell AFB), Texas, 17 November 1947
- Dyess AFB, Texas, 1 October 1993–present
Major Aircraft Assigned
- B-29 Superfortress, 1947–1948
- Convair B-36, 1948–1958; RB-36, 1950
- Convair XC-99, 1949
- B-52 Stratofortress
- B-52F (1957–1969); B-52D (1969–1983); B-52H (1982–1992)
- KC-135 Stratotanker, 1958–1960, 1964–1965, 1965–1969, 1970–1991
- Ravenstein, Charles A. Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories, 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1984. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Rogers, Brian. United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, UK: Midland Publications, 2005. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
- Air Force Historical Research Agency: 7th Bomb Wing
- 7th Bomb Wing fact sheet