77th Weapons Squadron

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77th Bombardment Squadron
A B-1 Lancer performs a fly-by during a firepower demonstration.jpg
B-1B Lancer from Dyess AFB, Texas performing a fly-by during a firepower demonstration
Active 1940 – present
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Squadron
Role Advanced B-1 Lancer Training
Part of USAF Weapons School
Garrison/HQ Dyess Air Force Base, Texas
Engagements

World War II

  • World War II - American Campaign Streamer (Plain).png Aleutian Campaign
  • Asiatic-Pacific Streamer.png Asia-Pacific Theater
Vietnam Service Streamer.jpg
Vietnam War
Decorations Streamer PUC Army.PNG
Distinguished Unit Citation
AFOUA with Valor.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat "V" Device
US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (12x)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross - Streamer.jpg
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Insignia
77th Weapons Squadron emblem (approved 17 May 1997)[1][note 1] 77th Weapons Squadron.jpg
77th Bomb Squadron emblem 77 Bomb Sq emblem.png

The 77th Weapons Squadron is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the USAF Weapons School, stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. The 77th is a Geographically Separated Unit of the 57th Wing, stationed at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The mission of the squadron is to provide B-1 Lancer instructional flying.

The unit activated on 15 January 1941 at Fort Douglas, Utah. After combat operations in the Pacific theater during World War II, the 77th contributed to America’s nuclear deterrent during the Cold War and formed the backbone of the Air Force’s B-52 force during the Vietnam War.

Overview[edit]

The 77th provides weapons training to B-1B Lancer squadrons at Dyess Air Force Base, TX and Ellsworth AFB, SD.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The squadron was activated in January 1941 as a Northwest Air District medium bomber squadron, equipped with a mixture of Douglas B-18 Bolos, PT-17 Stearman trainers and early model Martin B-26 Marauders. Upon completion of training, it was assigned to the new Elmendorf Field, near Anchorage, Alaska; being one of the first Air Corps units assigned to Alaska. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron flew antisubmarine patrols over the Gulf of Alaska.

When the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, the squadron was reassigned to Fort Glenn Army Airfield on Adak Island; and began combat missions over the captured islands of Kiska and Attu. Flew combat missions with B-26 Marauders and later B-25 Mitchell medium bombers during the Aleutian Campaign, remaining in Alaska until the end of World War II in 1945 when the squadron personnel were demobilized and the unit inactivated as a paper unit in early of November 1945. SSgt Charlton Heston served as a radio operator and gunner aboard a B-25 of the 77th from 1944-45.[2]

Cold War[edit]

Reactivated as a Strategic Air Command B-29 Superfortress squadron in 1946, being trained in the midwest then reassigned to Alaska 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 the phaseout of the B-36 from SAC in 1957.

Re-equipped with B-52D Stratofortresses and stood nuclear alert and conducted global strategic bombardment training missions until 1966. Began rotational deployments to Andersen AFB, Guam where squadron began flying conventional strategic bombardment Arc Light missions over Indochina (1966–1970). Converted to B-52G in 1971 and returned to nuclear alert status; upgrading to B-52H in 1977. Received first production B-1B Lancers in 1985 and maintained nuclear alert until taken off alert after the end of the Cold War in 1991. Performed strategic bombardment training until inactivated in 1997 as part of the drawdown of the USAF.

Modern era[edit]

Organization organized as the USAF Weapons School B-1 Division on 28 August 1992 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Replaced by the 77th Weapons Squadron in 2003. It provides training to B-1 aircrews at Dyess.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted as the 77th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 20 November 1940
Activated on 15 January 1941
  • Redesignated 77th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 9 October 1944
Inactivated on 5 November 1945
  • Redesignated 77th Bombardment Squadron, Very Heavy on 15 July 1946
Activated on 4 August 1946
Redesignated 77th Bombardment Squadron, Medium on 28 May 1948
Redesignated 77th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 16 May 1949
Redesignated 77th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic on 1 April 1950
Redesignated 77th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Heavy on 16 July 1950
Redesignated 77th Bombardment Squadron, Heavy on 1 October 1955
Redesignated 77th Bomb Squadron on 1 September 1991
Inactivated on 31 March 1995
  • Activated on 1 April 1997
Inactivated on 19 September 2002
  • Redesignated 77 Weapons Squadron on 24 January 2003
Activated on 3 February 2003[1]

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ This emblem is based on the unofficial emblem designed for the squadron c. December 1941 by the Disney Studions.
Citations
  1. ^ a b c d e Warnock, A. Timothy (December 20, 2007). "Factsheet 77 Weapons Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved September 9, 2016. 
  2. ^ Mecca, Pete (December 10, 2013). "During World War II, Hollywood got serious". The Covington News. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]