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13th_Bomb_Squadron

13th Bomb Squadron

On 14 June 1917, By order of the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, at Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, Major Maxwell Kirby formed the 13th Aero Squadron. The squadron saw its first action in the skies over France in World War I where it produced its first ace, Capt. Charles Biddle of Philadelphia. The squadron's insignia, "Oscar, the Devel's Own Grim Reaper", was painted on Capt Biddle's French SPAD XIII. The squadron would go on to produce five aces. The 13th departed France in February 1919 and was demobilized in March.

In October 1936, the 13th Aero Squadron was reconstituted and consolidated with the 13th Attack Squadron. They were renamed the 13th Bombardment Squadron in September 1939. During these years they flew B-12's and B-18's. In October 1940, they were assigned a new plane, the Douglas A-20 Havoc.

The Squadron was next to see action in World War II with the 3d Bombardment Group, fighting in the Pacific. The 13th arrived in Australia without aircraft, but was able to "borrow" some B-25's from the Dutch who had no pilots to fly them. After a Japanese attack on Port Moresby, New Guinea destroyed all their planes, the 13th received the Douglas A-20 Havoc which they flew into 1945. In late 1944, they received six Douglas A-26 Invader light bombers for combat evaluation. The A-26 received mixed reviews including bad marks for in-flight visibility, and insufficient firepower for effective strafing. When they moved to Okinawa in 1945, they got the new and improved A-26B model, which they flew for the remainder of the war.

Stationed in Japan after World War II the squadron was one of the first to see action in the Korean War where the squadron flew mostly night time intruder missions. After Korea they were stationed in Japan where they converted to the B-57 Canberra in 1956.

When the war in Vietnam broke out the 13th was again called into action, flying night missions with the B-57. The squadron was noted for their DOOM Pussy patches given to crews who "Flew into the Jaws of the Cat of Death". They started flying in Vietnam in May 1964. The squadron flew 1,000 sorties in Vietnam before they were deactivated in 1968.

Less than one year later the 13th was reactivated using B-57G aircraft. Deployed to Thailand the 13th again flew night intruder missions. The squadron performed so well it was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. In the huge force draw down after Vietnam, the 13th was again deactivated.

After many years of inactivity, the 13th was reactivated at Dyess AFB in Texas flying the "Bone", the Rockwell B-1B Lancer. The squadron played flew Operation Enduring Freedom missions until June 2005 when it was deactivated.

In September 2005 the squadron was again reformed flying the B-2 Spirit Stealth bomber with the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman AFB.

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