65th Bombardment Squadron

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65th Bombardment Squadron
Active1941-1946; 1946–1970
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part ofStrategic Air Command
65th Bombardment Squadron emblem (approved 9 September 1954)[1]65thbombsquadron.jpg

The 65th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 43d Bombardment Wing at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, where it was inactivated on 31 January 1970.


World War II[edit]

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 B-17C/D Flying Fortress heavy bombers and 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.

B-17F Fortress 41-24403 "Old Man", 65th Bomb Squadron, 43d Bomb Group[2]

Deployed to Australia in February 1942, being assigned to the new Fifth Air Force being formed after the withdraw 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 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 Le 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 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 B-50 Superfortress in 1948. Replaced the propeller-driven B-50s with new 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 Air Force Base, Texas in early 1960, in preparation for receiving the new B-58 Hustler supersonic medium bomber, sending the last of its B-47s to AMARC in early 1960.

The squadron moved to Carswell Air Force Base without personnel or equipment on 15 April 1960. At Carswell, it was manned and equipped from the 3958th Combat Crew Training Squadron and 6592d Test Squadron, which were discontinued.[3] The squadron immediately began training crews on the Convair B-58 Hustler and on 1 August began participating in Category III testing (operational testing) of the Hustler.[4] It continued to receive B-58s 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.

Provisional squadron[edit]

On 1 June 1972, the Bombardment Squadron, Provisional, 65th was organized at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, as a B-52G Stratofortress squadron and assigned to the Strategic Wing, Provisional, 72d. This was due to Andersen going back on alert due to the North Vietnamese Vietnam War 1972 Easter Offensive and the commencement of Operation Linebacker I and later Linebacker II strategic bombing missions in December 1972. The squadron's aircraft flew very long range combat missions over Indochina during 1972, ending combat operations on 15 August 1973. It flew the last B-52 raid over Cambodia. The squadron was discontinued on 15 November 1973 after combat operations ended over Indochina. Despite the similarity in designation, the provisional squadron is not related to the 65th Bombardment Squadron.


  • Constituted as the 65th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
  • Redesignated 65th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy in 1944
Inactivated on 29 April 1946
  • Redesignated 65th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy and activated on 1 October 1946
Redesignated 65th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 2 July 1948
Inactivated on 31 January 1970




See also[edit]



  1. ^ Maurer, pp. 245-246
  2. ^ Taken at Dobodura Airfield, Papua New Guinea following a fight with Zeros over Japanese-occupied Gasmata on the southern coast of New Britain on 8 March 1943. The aircraft was repaired and returned to operational status. It flew its last mission on 18 August 1943 after which it was stripped of armaments and converted into a VB-17F transport for the Fifth Air Force's General Enis Whitehead
  3. ^ Knaack, p. 384
  4. ^ Knaack, p. 383


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

  • Knaack, Marcelle Size (1988). Encyclopedia of US Air Force Aircraft and Missile Systems. Vol. 2, Post-World War II Bombers 1945-1973. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-59-5.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.

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