World War II
97th Bomb Group was a famous unit of World War II. It was involved in
anti-submarine war and the air offensive against Germany. It flew missions
in Egypt-Libya, Tunisia, Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Anzio; Rome-Arno; Normandy;
Northern France; Southern France; North Apennines; Rhineland; Central Europe; Po
Valley; Air Combat, EAME Theater.
It won Distinguished Unit
Citations: Steyr, Austria, 24 Feb 1944; Ploesti, Rumania, 18 Aug 1944.
Assigned to SAC
The 97th was assigned to SAC by November 30, 1946. From Kansas, it
deployed to Mile
26 Air Field (later Eielson AFB), Alaska. It's crews
flew their B-29s over the Arctic Ocean on Training Missions. In accordance
with the new Air Force Wing Organization Plan, it was established as the 97th
Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on December 1, 1947. It was then assigned to
15th Air Force, attached to the Yukon Sector of the Alaskan Air Command.
Assigned to 8th Air Force
On March of 1948, it joined the newly attached 8th Air
Force. The wing moved to Smoky Hill AFB, Kansas and was attached to the
301st Bomb Wing for three months additional training. On May 16th, it
moved to Biggs AFB, Texas. About this time, the B-36 entered the Air
Force inventory. It's giant size caused a redesignation of all bomber
unit. In July, it became the 97th Bombardment Wing, Medium.
In 1950, the wing began receiving the new B-50, a
greatly modified B-29. On July 12, the 97th Air Refueling Squadron was
attached and wing gained a KC-97 refueling mission. The 97th sent tactical
units to England between November 1948 and February 1949, and from July 1950
through February 1951. The entire wing deployed to England from March 15,
1952 until 1952. It's squadrons operated from Guam from December 1952
until March 1953 and from December 1953 to July 1954.
Added electronic reconnaissance in April 1954 using
ERB-29Aa and RB-50G/Es. It flew reconnaissance missions from both
England and Japan. It's reconnaissance mission was transferred in May of
1956, but the 97th continued it's bombardment and refueling training to meet
SAC's global commitments.
The Jet Age
The B-50s were replaced by new the Boeing B-47 Stratojet in
1955. the wing was deployed at RAF Upper Heyford, England from May to July of
1956. This was the last full wing deployment, but wing components
continued deploying overseas as needed. Phased down for inactivation at
Biggs AFB in December 1958 and become non-operational January 15, 1959.
The wing moved to Blytheville
(later, Eaker) AFB, Arkansas on July 1, 1959 and was remanned and was soon
re-equipped with B-52Gs. On
October 1, the unit was redesignated the 97th Bombardment Wing,
Heavy. In 1960, the wing lost two of it's bombardment squadrons to the
newly formed Strategic Wings. KC-135 were added in October 1961.
This left the 97th with one squadron containing fifteen B-52. It was in
effect, a strategic wing, but was not redesignated as such.
The 97th earned an AFOUA
for activates during the Cuban missile crises of 1962.
The 97th Bomb Wing supported SAC’s combat operations in Southeast Asia in the
mid- and late-1960s and early 1970s, furnishing aircraft and crews to other
organizations. By mid-1972, all of the 97th’s aircraft and more than
one-fourth of its people had been loaned to USAF organizations in the Far East,
Southeast Asia, and other overseas locations. A few of the wing’s KC–135s
began returning in Apr 1973, but its B–52s remained on loan until Oct 1973.
Thereafter, the wing resumed strategic bombardment training and worldwide air
refueling operations as required by SAC.
Grenada to Kuwait
The 97th provided air refueling for USAF units supporting the
rescue of American citizens in Grenada, October to Nov 1983. It soon
upgraded its B–52G force to carry the AGM–86B air-launched cruise missile
(ALCM) in 1984. The following year, it won SAC’s Fairchild Trophy for
excellence in bombing and navigation. In 1987, the 97th expanded its
mission to include conventional bombing, sea search/ surveillance, and aerial
mining. In 1988, it earned the Omaha Trophy as SAC’s outstanding wing.
After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in Aug 1990, the 97th deployed KC–135
aircraft and maintenance personnel overseas to support forces in transit to
Southwest Asia. During January and February 1991, it's B–52s flew from
overseas bases to drop conventional ordnance on Iraqi forces in the Kuwaiti
theater of operations.
In preparation for inactivation on 1 Apr 1992, the wing
relinquished its ALCMs in Mar–Apr 1991, flew its last B–52 sortie in Nov
1991, and its last tanker mission in Mar 1992.
Redesignated the 97th Air Mobility Wing and activated
at Altus AFB, OK, on October 1, 1992. It trains aircrews and support personnel in
strategic airlift using C–5 and C–141 transports, and in aerial refueling
using KC–135 tankers.
97 BG: Assigned Dec 1, 1947 - Jul 12 1948; July 12, 1948 - June 16, 1952
(Detached Nov 4, 1948 -
Feb. 15, 1949 and July 26, 1950 - Feb 9,
1951. Not operational Feb. 10, 1951 - June 6, 1952)
401 BG: Attached Feb 10 - June 25, 1951
All three bomb squadrons flew B-29s
from 1946 to 1949. In 1950, they began receiving B-50s.
In 1955, they converted to
B-47s. Two of the squadrons were inactivated in 1960. The
remaining squadron converted to
340 BS: Attached Feb 10, 1951 - June 15, 1952. Assigned June 16,
1952 - after 1992.
(Detached Dec. 16, 1953 - March
15,1954 and Sept 24 - Nov 2, 1945; Not operational
Jan 15 - Sept 30, 1959). Flew
B-52G from January 1960 until 1992. Later inactivated.
341 BS: Attached Feb 10, 1951 - June 15, 1952. Assigned June 16,
1952 - Feb. 15, 1960.
(Detached March 15 - July 12, 1954 and Aug
12-Sept 24, 1957. Not operational Jan 15, 1959 -
Feb. 15 1960 Assigned to the 4038th
Strategic Wing on Feb. 15, 1960
BS: Attached Feb 10, 1951 - June 15, 1952. Assigned June 16, 1952 -
May 1, 1960.
(Detached Dec 10, 1952 - March 19,
1953 and Aug 1 - Aug 12, 1957. Not operational Jan 15, 1959 -
May 1 1960. Assigned to the 4137th
Strategic Wing on April 1, 1960
Attached July 12, 1950 - June 15, 1952. Assigned June 16, 1952 - Sept 1,
(Detached Nov 21 - Dec 20, 1954; May 31 - July
10, 1955; May 1 - July 9, 1957; and Aug 25 -
Sept 1, 1957). Assigned Oct 23 1964-
914 AR: Attached Oct 1, 1961 - Oct 23, 1954 (Not operational Oct 1, 1961- Jan
4024 Attached April 1, 1955 - May 1, 1956