95th Air Base Wing
||This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (January 2013)|
|95th Air Base Wing|
|Active||1942-1945, 1947-1949, 1952-1966, 1966-1976, 1994-present|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Force Test Center|
|Garrison/HQ||Edwards Air Force Base|
|Nickname||"First B-17's over Berlin – 1944" (WW II)|
|Motto||Justice with Victory|
|Colonel Amy V. Arwood|
|John K. Gerhart|
The 95th Air Base Wing (95 ABW) is a United States Air Force formation assigned to the Air Force Test Center, Air Force Materiel Command . The unit is stationed at Edwards Air Force Base, California, and is the host unit at Edwards.
The 95 ABW is responsible for operating Edwards AFB, including the infrastructure, communication systems, security, fire protection, transportation, supply, finance, contracting, legal services, personnel and manpower support, housing, education, chapel and quality of life programs on a 301,000-acre (1,218 km2) base in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the second largest base in the USAF.
During World War II, its predecessor unit, the 95th Bombardment Group (Heavy) was an Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress unit in England, stationed primarily at RAF Horham. It was the only Eighth Air Force group awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations, with the highest total claims of enemy aircraft destroyed of all Eighth Air Force Bomb Groups − 425 aircraft. It was also the first Army Air Force group to bomb Berlin.
During the Cold War, the Strategic Air Command 95th Bombardment Wing performed strategic bombardment training with the B-36 Peacemaker and later B-52 Stratofortress strategic bomber. It operated in support SAC's global commitments from April 1954 until SAC's phaseout of operations at Biggs AFB, Texas in February 1966.
The 95th Air Base Wing is commanded by Colonel Gregory E. Schwab.
World War II
Activated 15 June 1942 at Barksdale Field in Louisiana. Formation did not commence until late August 1942 at Geiger Field in Washington. The unit moved to Ephrata Army Air Base, Washington on 31 October 1943 and back to Geiger Field on 24 November 1943. Final training was conducted at Rapid City AAB, South Dakota from 14 December 1942 to 11 March 1943. the air echelon moved to Kearney Field Neb for their final processing prior to overseas duty. Aircraft took the southern route via Florida, Trinidad, Brazil, Dakar, and Marrakesh to the United Kingdom, arriving early in April 1943. The ground elements arrived at Camp Kilmer on 21 April 1943 and sailed on the Queen Elizabeth on 5 May 1943, arriving in Greenock on 11 May 1943.
The group entered combat for Eighth Air Force on 13 May 1943. During the next two months, the group repeatedly attacked V-weapon sites and airfields in France. It began bombing strategic objectives in Germany in July 1943 and engaged primarily in such operations until V-E Day. Targets included harbors, industries, marshalling yards, and cities. The 95th received a Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for maintaining a tight defensive formation in spite of severe assault by enemy fighters and bombing the aircraft assembly plant at Regensburg, Germany, on 17 August 1943. Withstanding concentrated attacks by fighters during the approach to the target and intense antiaircraft fire directly over the objective, the group effectively bombarded marshalling yards at Münster on 10 October 1943, earning a second DUC.
The group participated in the intensive campaign of heavy bombers against the German aircraft industry during Big Week, 20–25 February 1944. The 95th received another DUC for action during an attack by Army Air Force bombers on Berlin on 4 March 1944; while many participating organizations, because of weather conditions, either abandoned the operation or struck other targets, the 95th proceeded to Berlin and successfully bombed a suburb of the German capital despite snowstorms, dense clouds, and severe enemy attack. The group interrupted its strategic operations to strike coastal defenses and communications during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944. It hit enemy troop concentrations and thus assist the Allied breakthrough at Saint-Lô in July 1944, dropped ammunition, food, and medical supplies to Polish resistance in Warsaw on 18 September 1944, attacked enemy transportation during the Battle of the Bulge, December 1944 – January 1945, and bombed airdromes in support of the Allied assault across the Rhine in March 1945. It flew its last combat mission, an attack on marshalling yards at Oranienburg, Germany, on 20 April 1945. The group dropped food to the Dutch during the first week in May. After V-E Day, it transported liberated prisoners and displaced persons from Austria to France and England.
Redeployed to the US June and August 1945. First of the air echelon departed the United Kingdom on 19 June 1945 and arrived at Bradley Field in Conn on 21 June 1945. Ground echelon sailed, out of Greenock on the Queen Elizabeth on 5 August 1945, and arriving on 11 August 1945 in Sioux Falls AAFd, South Dakota and inactivated there on the 28th.
The USAAF 95th Bombardment Group was reactivated and trained as a heavy bombardment group in the Air Force Reserve at Memphis International Airport, Tennessee, from May 1947 to June 1949, as a B-29 Superfortress unit before being jnactivated. It is not clear whether or not the wing was fully staffed or equipped.
Bombardment Operations at Biggs AFB
The 95th Bombardment Wing was established on 4 June 1952, and activated on 16 June 1952 at Biggs AFB, Texas. However it was not assigned to the Eighth Air Force's 810th Air Division until July 1953, and then minimally manned until September 1953, when it began strategic bombardment training with Convair B-36 Peacemakers. It operated in support of Strategic Air Command (SAC)'s global commitments from, April 1954– February 1966. The wing deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, and operated under control of 3d Air Division from, July–November 1955. It added an air refueling mission beginning in August 1959 through January 1965. From 1959 to 1960, the wing received Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotankers and phased out the B-36. In the late 1950s, SAC established Strategic Wings to disperse its B-52 Superfortress 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. As part of this program, the wing's 335th Bombardment Squadron moved to Bergstrom AFB. Texas on 15 January 1959, where it was assigned to the 4130th Strategic Wing. The 336th Bombardment Squadron moved to Turner AFB, Georgia in July and was assigned to the 4138th Strategic Wing there. The 334th Bombardment Squadron remained at Biggs with the 95th Bomb Wing until both were inactivated on 25 June 1966 with the closure of Biggs and its transfer to the United States Army.
Tanker Operations at Goose AB
In August 1966 the wing was redesignated as the 95th Strategic Wing and reassigned to Goose Air Base, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, where it replaced the SAC 4082d Strategic Wing (SW). The 4082d SW was organized on 1 April 1957 as a Major Command controlled (MAJCON) wing. Under the USAF organization and lineage system MAJCON units' lineages (histories, awards, and battle honors) ended with their discontinuance and could never be revived.
In order to retain the lineage of its MAJCOM 4-digit combat units and to perpetuate the lineage of many currently inactive bombardment units with illustrious World War II records, Headquarters SAC received authority from Headquarters USAF to discontinue its MAJCON strategic wings and to activate AFCON units, most of which were inactive at the time which could carry a lineage and history. The 95th SW supported SAC's KC-135 alert tanker forces in eastern Canada and the North Atlantic. It phased down for inactivation, closing most USAF operations at Goose Bay between January and September 1976.
The wing has managed Edwards Air Force Base, California, for the Air Force Flight Test Center since its reactivation as the 95th Air Base Wing on 1 October 1994. The wing oversees base day-to-day operations and provides support for over 10,000 military, federal civilian and contract personnel assigned to a 470-square-mile (1,200 km2) installation. Approximately 1500 Air Base Wing Desert Warriors directly support the flight test and evaluation mission of the Air Force Flight Test Center and the 412th Test Wing.
The 95th is host to over 100,000 visitors annually and supports over 25,000 dependents, retirees, and veterans. Major units within the wing include the 95th Mission Support and the 95th Medical Groups, as well the 95th Civil Engineer/Transportation Directorate, 95th Security Forces Squadron and the Services and Comptroller Divisions. Staff agencies include chaplain services, base comptroller, inspector general, manpower and organization, and military equal opportunity and public affairs.
Wing units include:
- Established as 95 Bombardment Group (Heavy) on 28 January 1942
- Activated on 15 June 1942
- Redesignated 95 Bombardment Group, Heavy, on 20 August 1943
- Inactivated on 28 August 1945
- Redesignated 95 Bombardment Group, Very Heavy, on 13 May 1947
- Activated in the Reserve on 29 May 1947
- Inactivated on 27 June 1949
- Consolidated (31 January 1984) with the 95 Bombardment Wing, Medium, which was established on 4 June 1952.
- Activated on 16 June 1952
- Redesignated 95 Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 8 November 1952
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 25 June 1966
- Redesignated 95 Strategic Wing on 8 August 1966
- Activated on 8 August 1966. Scheduled to replace the 4082d Strategic Wing on 2 August 1966
- Organized on 2 August 1966 assuming the resources of the 4082d Strategic Wing (inactivated)
- Inactivated on 30 September 1976
- Redesignated 95 Air Base Wing on 16 September 1994
- Activated on 1 October 1994.
- 334th Bombardment Squadron (BG): 15 June 1942 – 28 August 1945; 29 May 1947 – 27 June 1949; 16 June 1952 – 25 June 1966
- 335th Bombardment Squadron (OE): 15 June 1942 – 28 August 1945; 17 July 1947 – 27 June 1949; 16 June 1952 – 15 January 1959
- 336th Bombardment Squadron (ET): 15 June 1942 – 28 August 1945; 16 July 1947 – 27 June 1949; 16 June 1952 – 1 July 1959
- 412th Bombardment Squadron (QW): 15 June 1942 – 28 August 1945; 16 July 1947 – 27 June 1949
- 917th Air Refueling Squadron: 1 May 1959 – 15 January 1965
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1945
- Unknown, 1947–1949
- B-36 Peacemaker, 1953–1959
- B-52 Stratofortress, 1959–1966
- KC-135 Stratotanker, 1959–1965; 1966–1975
- Although the 95th Wing was newly activated, it continued, through temporary bestowal, the history, and honors of the World War II 95th Bombardment Group. This temporary bestowal ended in January 1984, when the wing and group were consolidated into a single unit.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 413–414. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 415
- Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 411-412
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). A Guide to Air Force Lineage and Honors (2d, Revised ed.). Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Historical Research Center. p. 12.
- The 95th Wing was entitled to retain the honors (but not the history or lineage) of the 4082d.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). A Guide to Air Force Lineage and Honors (2d, Revised ed.). Maxwell AFB, AL: USAF Historical Research Center.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Mixer, Ronald E., Genealogy of the STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, Battermix Publishing Company, 1999
- Mixer, Ronald E., STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, An Organizational History, Battermix Publishing Company, 2006
- USAFHRA 95th Air Base Wing Factsheet
- 95th Bomb Group (H) Memorials Foundation Website. Retrieved 26 October 2012
- 95th BG Heritage Association Website. Retrieved 26 October 2012
- Little Joe Noyes, Aviator: The Life Story of a Second World War B-17 Pilot from Seattle. Retrieved 26 October 2012