97th Bombardment Wing
97th Air Mobility Wing

Motto: "The Hour Has Come"
PRIMARY WINGS

 

Based at: Eielson AFBSmoky Hill / Schilling AFBBiggs AFBEaker AFB
Aircraft: B-29, B-50, B-47, B-52, KC-97, KC-135, C-5, C-141
Status: Now the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus AFB
Squadrons: 340BS, 341BS, 342BS, 97ARS, 914ARS, 4024ARS 
Links:

World War II
    
The 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. 
Vietnam
     The 97th Bomb Wing supported SACs 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 97ths 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 wings KC135s began returning in Apr 1973, but its B52s 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 B52G force to carry the AGM86B air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) in 1984.  The following year, it won SACs 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 SACs outstanding wing. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in Aug 1990, the 97th deployed KC135 aircraft and maintenance personnel overseas to support forces in transit to Southwest Asia.  During January and February 1991, it's B52s 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 MarApr 1991, flew its last B52 sortie in Nov 1991, and its last tanker mission in Mar 1992.
Status.
     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 C5 and C141 transports, and in aerial refueling using KC135 tankers.
Components
Groups: 
 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
Squadrons
        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 B-52s.
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
342 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
97 AR: Attached July 12, 1950 - June 15, 1952.  Assigned June 16, 1952 - Sept 1, 1957
      (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 11, 1962)
4024 Attached April 1, 1955 - May 1, 1956