717th Bombardment Squadron
This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|717th Bombardment Squadron|
Emblem of the 717th Bombardment Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 717th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 4245th Strategic Wing, stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. It was inactivated on 1 February 1963.
Established in spring 1943 as a Second Air Force B-24 Liberator replacement training unit. Converted in September 1943 for operational training and deployed to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) as a B-24 strategic bombardment squadron, assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in southern Italy. Flew combat missions over enemy targets in southern Europe, Germany, Austria, France and in the Balkans.
Returned to the United States in May 1945, being converted to a Very Heavy B-29 Superfortress squadron; programmed for deployment to the Western Pacific to conduct strategic bombardment missions over Japan. Japanese capitulation in August 1945 canceled deployment orders, reassigned to Continental Air Command (Later Strategic Air Command).
Reassigned to Alaska Territory in late 1946. Mission changed from strategic bombardment training to strategic reconnaissance and mapping; engaging in very long range reconnaissance missions in the Bering Straits; North Pacific coast and Arctic Ocean coastline of the Soviet Union. Squadron performed charting and other mapping missions, most likely including ferret and ELINT missions, possibly overflying Soviet airspace.
Squadron returned to the Continental United States in 1947, being equipped with B-36 Peacemaker strategic bombers, both in the bomber and strategic reconnaissance versions. Undertook strategic bombardment training missions on a global scale, including strategic reconnaissance missions with the RB-36s until 1957 when returned to strategic bombardment training. Re-equipped in 1957 with B-52D Stratofortress.
In 1960 was reassigned to SAC provisional 4245th Strategic Wing, being re-equipped with B-52D Stratofortress intercontinental heavy bombers. Was reassigned to Sheppard AFB, Texas by SAC to disperse its heavy bomber force. Conducted worldwide strategic bombardment training missions and providing nuclear deterrent. Was inactivated in 1963 when SAC inactivated its provisional Strategic Wings, redesignating them permanent Air Force Wings. Squadron was inactivated with aircraft/personnel/equipment being redesignated 864th Bombardment Squadron in an in-place, name-only transfer.
- Constituted 717th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Activated on 1 May 1943
- Redesignated: 717th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 23 May 1945
- Redesignated: 717th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 28 May 1948
- Redesignated: 717th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 16 May 1949
- Redesignated: 717th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 1 April 1950
- Redesignated: 717th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 16 July 1950
- Redesignated: 717th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 October 1955
- Discontinued, and inactivated on 1 February 1963, personnel/aircraft/equipment redesignated as 864th Bombardment Squadron
- 449th Bombardment Group, 1 May 1943
- 28th Bombardment (later Strategic Reconnaissance) Group, 4 August 1946
- 28th Strategic Reconnaissance (later Bombardment) Wing, 16 June 1952
- 4245th Strategic Wing, 20 February 1960 – 1 February 1963.
- B-24 Liberator, 1943–1945
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1945
- B/RB-29 Superfortess, 1946–1950
- B/RB-36 Peacemaker, 1949–1950; 1950–1957
- B-52D Stratofortess, 1957–1963
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . 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.