2d Bomb Wing: Wikis


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2d Bomb Wing
2d Bomb Wing.png
2d Bomb Wing emblem
Active October 15, 1947 –
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Bomber
Part of Air Force Global Strike Command
Eighth Air Force
Garrison/HQ Barksdale Air Force Base
Latin: Liberty We Defend
Aircraft B-52 Stratofortress
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1942–1945)
Decorations see "Lineage and Honors" section below
Colonel Steven Basham
George J. Eade
Eugene E. Habiger
Charles T. Robertson, Jr.
John Dale Ryan
B-52H bomber at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana

The 2d Bomb Wing (2 BW) is a United States Air Force unit assigned to the Air Combat Command Eighth Air Force. It is stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The wing is also the host unit at Barksdale. The 2 BW is programmed to be assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command in February 2010 as part of the reassignment of Eighth Air Force.

The 2 BW is one of only two B-52H Stratofortress wings in the United States Air Force, the other being the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base.

The wing has a long and distinguished history. Its 2d Operations Group is a successor organization to the 2nd Bombardment Group, which was one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.

It is the oldest bomb group of the Air Force, having fought on the Western Front during World War I, entering combat on 12 September 1918. After the war, it participated in Brigadier General Billy Mitchell's 1921 off-shore bombing test. Active for over 60 years, the 2 BW was a component wing of Strategic Air Command's heavy bomber deterrent force throughout the Cold War.

The 2d Bomb Wing is commanded by Colonel Steven L. Basham. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Joe Ann G. Pace.



Today, as the largest bomb wing in Air Force Global Strike Command and as a part of the historic "Mighty Eighth" Air Force, the wing continues to reflect the heritage of its motto Libertatem Defendimus: "Liberty We Defend."

  • 2d Maintenance Group
2d Maintenance Squadron
2d Maintenance Operations Squadron
2d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron
2d Munitions Squadron
  • 2d Medical Group
  • 2d Operations Group
2d Operations Support Squadron ("Posse")
11th Bomb Squadron
20th Bomb Squadron ("Buccaneers")
96th Bomb Squadron ("The Devil's Own")
  • 2d Mission Support Group
2d Contracting Squadron
2d Communications Squadron
2d Civil Engineer Squadron
2d Logistics Readiness Squadron
2d Mission Support Squadron
2d Security Forces Squadron
2d Services Squadron


See 2d Operations Group for additional history and lineage information prior to 1947


The group's emblem was approved in 1924. The bombs signify original squadrons, the stripes represent major World War I offensives, and the white fleur de lis symbolizes the French location of the battles.


  • Established as 2 Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 15 Oct 1947
Organized on 5 Nov 1947
Redesignated: 2 Bombardment Wing, Medium on 12 Jul 1948
Redesignated: 2 Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 1 Apr 1963
Redesignated: 2 Wing on 1 Sep 1991
Redesignated: 2 Bomb Wing on 1 Oct 1993.


Attached to 43d Bombardment Wing, 17 Nov 1947-31 Dec 1948
Attached to 7th Air Division, 4 May-31 Aug 1951
Attached to 7th Air Division, 10 Sep-4 Dec 1952
Attached to 5th Air Division, 4 Aug- 20 Sep 1954; 6 Jul-26 Aug 1956



  • 2d Bombardment (later, 2d Operations): November 5, 1947 – June 16, 1952 (detached November 17, 1947 – December 31, 1948 and February 18 – May 16, 1950); September 1, 1991 – Present


  • 2d Air Refueling: January 1, 1949 – April 1, 1963; January 9, 1989 – June 1, 1992
Attached February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952
Detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952
Attached February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952
Detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952
Attached February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952
  • 62d Bombardment: June 25, 1965 – January 18, 1993
  • 71st Air Refueling: April 15, 1968 – October 1, 1993
  • 96th Bomb Squadron: July 1, 1947 – April 1, 1963; October 1, 1993 – Present
Attached February 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952
Detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952
  • 49th Bombardment Squadron: July 1, 1947 – June 16, 1952
Detached February 10, 1951 – June 16, 1952
  • 308th Air Refueling: July 1, 1959 – March 1, 1960
  • 429th Bombardment: October 1, 1958 – January 1, 1962.
  • 596th Bombardment: April 15, 1968 – October 1, 1993.
  • 913th Air Refueling: April 1, 1963 – November 1, 1981

Stations Assigned

Deployed at: RAF Mildenhall, England, May–August 1951
Deployed at: RAF Upper Heyford, England, September–December 1952
Deployed at: Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, August–September 1954 and July–August 1956.

References for commands and major units assigned, components and stations:[1][2][3]


Operational History

Cold War

2nd BW 1950s insignia

The 2d Bomb Wing was activated as part of the United States Air Force on November 5, 1947, although the wing headquarters was not operational between that date and December 31, 1948. The 2d Bombardment Group (the flying operations part of the wing), except for a short period it spent in England in 1948, was attached to the 43rd Bombardment Group, during this period.

The entire wing moved from Arizona to Georgia on January 1, 1949 and manned from resources of other organizations. Converted from B-29 to B-50 bombers in 1949–1950 and trained in global bombardment operations from January 1949. Added air refueling mission in December 1950. Deployed at RAF Mildenhall, England, May–August 1951, RAF Upper Heyford, England, September–December 1952, and Sidi Slimane AB, French Morocco, August–September 1954 and July–August 1956.

Converted to B-47 jet bombers in 1954. Service-tested a "super wing" concept with 70 B-47s, July 1959 – April 1961. Moved to Barksdale AFB, LA, on April 1, 1963, replacing 4238th Strategic Wing and absorbing that wing's B-52 and KC-135 resources. Supported Second Air Force's post-attack command and control system, April 1963 – March 1970. Conducted bombardment training and air refueling operations from April 1963 except for periods when all aircraft and crews were on loan to SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia. Began supporting SAC operations in Southeast Asia with aircraft and personnel in 1965, and increasingly supported these operations in 1966 and 1967. On April 15, 1968, gained a second B-52 and a second KC-135 squadron, again becoming a SAC "super" wing. From late May 1972 until October 26, 1973, loaned all wing B-52 resources to SAC organizations in the Far East and Southeast Asia; from May 1972 to early November 1972, loaned all but four of the wing's KC-135s and a few aircrews to other SAC units. After the return of combat resources, the wing continued supporting SAC operations in Southeast Asia into 1975, on a reduced scale.

Gained KC-10 tankers in November 1981 to augment refueling operations for the USAF, AFRES, and ANG. Provided air refueling for rescue efforts in Grenada, October–November 1983, the attack on Libya, April 1986, and the invasion of Panama, December 1989 – January 1990. Presented the Omaha Trophy for "the Outstanding Wing in the Strategic Air Command" f2. Deployed B-52, KC-135, and KC-10 aircraft, aircrews, and support personnel to several locations in support of operations in Southwest Asia, August 7, 1990 – April 17, 1991.

Gulf War 1991

Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm brought Barksdale warriors into the spotlight again with their efforts to liberate Kuwait. The 2d Bomb Wing flew what was then the longest combat mission in the history of military aviation at the start of Desert Storm in 1991 when seven B-52s flew a 35-hour mission and, for the time in U.S. Air Force history, fired a devastating barrage of conventional air-launched cruise missiles. The 2d Bomb Wing delivered one-fourth of all U.S. Air Force bombs during Desert Storm. The 2d Bomb Wing KC-135s and KC-10s provided more than 1,000 of the 13,700 coalition refueling missions.

Senior Surprise - Strategic Air Commands' Longest Combat Mission

Secret Squirrel

On January 16–17, 1991 seven B-52Gs from the Eighth Air Force, 2d Bomb Wing, 596th Bomb Squadron, Barksdale AFB, LA. Flew the longest combat mission (35.4 hours) in aviation history, and the first Combat launch of conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) in Operation Desert Storm against Iraq. The official name of this mission was SENIOR Surprise, unofficially it was referred to as Secret Squirrel.

Modern era

Two 2d Bomb Wing B-52s conducted a missile strike against surface-to-air missile sites and air defense radars in Iraq in September 1996. Desert Strike was ordered in response to Iraqi attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq. The mission earned the wing the prestigious 1996 Mackay Trophy as the most meritorious flight of the year.

Recognizing the mighty B-52 as a weapon of choice, the National Command Authorities called upon the 2d Bomb Wing throughout the late 1990s to flex its muscles against rogue states in Southwest Asia and the Balkans: operations Southern Watch, Desert Fox and Allied Force.

On September 19, 2001, wing elements deployed to Diego Garcia and on October 7 flew early attacks on targets in Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom to rid that country of terrorist bases and its extremist Taliban rulers; later flew airborne alert missions and, in Operation Anaconda, flew bombing missions against targets in eastern Afghanistan, March 1–18, 2002. In the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, flew missions on March 21 in "shock and awe" strikes against command and control targets.

Campaign Streamers

  • Grenada, 1983
  • Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait



  • Mackay Trophy (for the "Most Meritorious Flight of the Year") 1996
  • Omaha Trophy (for the "Outstanding Wing in the Strategic Air Command") (2): 1988, 1992


Blazon: Or, in fess four aerial bombs descending bendwise sinister Azure garnished Argent on a chief engrailed Vert a fleur-de-lis White between two pallets Sable, all within a diminished bordure of the first.

Motto: LIBERTATEM DEFENDIMUS — Liberty We Defend.


PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  1. ^ Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129
  2. ^ Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  3. ^ Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
  4. ^ "2 Bomb Wing". 2006-09-29. http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/wings_groups_pages/0002bw.asp. Retrieved 2007-05-31.  

External links

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