64th Bombardment Squadron

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64th Bombardment Squadron
Shield Strategic Air Command.png
Convair B-58A Hustler in flight (SN 59-2442). Photo taken on June 29, 1967 061101-F-1234P-019.jpg
B-58 Hustler in flight
Active 1941–1946; 1946–1970
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Bombardment
Part of Strategic Air Command
Engagements Southwest Pacific Theater
Decorations Distinguished Unit Citation
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Philippine Presidential Unit Citation[1]
Insignia
Patch with 64th Bombardment Squadron emblem[2][note 1] 64thbombsquadron.jpg

The 64th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 43d Bombardment Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, where it was inactivated on 31 January 1970.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

B-17F Flying Fortress with the 64th Bombardment Squadron[note 2]

Established in 1940 and activated in 1941 as a bomber squadron, assigned to the GHQ Air Force Northeast Air District. Trained and was equipped with both early model Boeing B-17C Flying Fortress heavy bombers and Douglas B-18 Bolo medium bombers at Langley Field, and flew training missions over the Mid-Atlantic States. After the Pearl Harbor Attack, was deployed to New England and began flying antisubmarine missions from Bangor Airport over the Newfoundland Straits and performing aerial convoy patrols over the North Atlantic shipping lanes.

Deployed to Australia in February 1942, being assigned to the new Fifth Air Force being formed after the withdrawal from the Philippines of remaining heavy bombers. The squadron reached Australia in March 1942, but did not enter combat until September, when it finally had a reasonable complement of aircraft. From then until November 1944, the squadron operated in support of the campaign in Papua New Guinea, first from Australia, then from New Guinea and Owi Island, concentrated in particular in attacks on shipping. The unit experimented with low level skip bombing, using this tactic at the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, 2–4 March 1943 with some success.

Between May and September 1943, the squadron's B-17s were replaced with Consolidated B-24 Liberators, believed to be more suited to the long ranges of many Pacific missions. In November 1944 the squadron moved to the Philippines, helping the ground campaign on Luzon as well as conducting long range strategic bombing missions against targets in China and Formosa. Finally in July 1945 it moved to Ie Shima, from where it flew missions over Japan, still attacking shipping, as well as airfields and railways until the Japanese Capitulation in August. Squadron demobilized on Okinawa, aircraft being sent to the Philippines for reclamation. Inactivated as a paper unit in April 1946.

Strategic Air Command[edit]

Reactivated under Strategic Air Command in late 1946 and equipped with Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. One of the first operational B-29 squadrons of SAC, the squadron was not fully manned or equipped until 1948. Trained for strategic bombardment missions during the postwar years, being upgraded to the new atomic bomb-capable Boeing B-50 Superfortress in 1948. Replaced the propeller-driven B-50s with new Boeing B-47E Stratojet swept-wing medium bombers in 1954, capable of flying at high subsonic speeds and primarily designed for penetrating the airspace of the Soviet Union. In the late 1950s, the B-47 was considered to be reaching obsolescence, and was being phased out of SAC's strategic arsenal. Began sending aircraft to other B-47 wings as replacements in late 1959. Moved to Carswell AFB, Texas in early 1960, in preparation for receiving the new Convair B-58 Hustler supersonic medium bomber, sending the last of its B-47s to AMARC in early 1960.

Received the first B-58s in March, receiving new aircraft throughout 1960. Performed training and became proficient with the new bomber, reaching Operational Ready state in 1962. Trained and participated in many SAC exercises and deployment throughout the 1960s. Phaseout of the B-58 fleet was ordered by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in December 1965, since it was felt that the high-altitude performance of the B-58 could no longer guarantee success against increasingly sophisticated Soviet air defenses. Began sending aircraft to AMARC in November 1969, the squadron inactivated in January 1970.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 64th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
Redesignated 64th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy c. 1944
Inactivated on 29 April 1946
  • Redesignated 64th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy and activated on 1 October 1946
Redesignated 64th Bombardment Squadron, (Medium) on 2 July 1948[3]
Inactivated on 31 January 1970[4][note 3]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

  • Douglas B-18 Bolo, 1941–1942
  • Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, 1942–1943
  • Consolidated B-24 Liberator, 1943–1945
  • Boeing B-29 Superfortress, 1946–1950
  • Boeing B-50 Superfortress, 1948–1954
  • Boeing B-47 Stratojet, 1954–1960
  • Convair B-58 Hustler, 1960–1970[1][5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Maurer indicates this emblem was never officially approved. Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 244.
  2. ^ This aircraft, serial 41-24353, named "Cap'N & The Kids" flew 80 combat missions. It was taken out of combat service at Dobodura Airfield, New Guinea in late 1943 and turned into a transport with the 69th Troop Carrier Squadron. It was modified to carry essential supplies, weapons and ammunition to Momote in the Admiralty Islands between 14 February and 4 March 1944. It also dropped supplies during the Invasion of Hollandia in April 1944.
  3. ^ The squadron is not related to the Bombardment Squadron, Provisional, 64th, which was designated by SAC and organized at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam on 1 June 1972 and attached to the Strategic Wing, Provisional, 72d. This squadron was organized to control Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers conducting Operation Arc Light and Operation Linebacker missions. It ended combat operations on 15 August 1973, flying the last B-52 raid over Cambodia[citation needed] and was inactivated on 15 November 1973.
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 243-244
  2. ^ Watkins, p. 84
  3. ^ Lineage through 1963 in Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 243-244
  4. ^ See Ravenstein, p. 71 (inactivation of 43d Bombardment Wing)
  5. ^ a b c Ravenstein, pp. 70-73

Bibliography[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

External links[edit]