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509th_Bomb_Wing

509th Bomb Wing

This article is about the U.S. Air Force B-2 Wing. For the article on the World War II B-29 unit see 509th Operations Group.

The 509th Bomb Wing (509 BW) operates and maintains the United States Air Force's premier weapon system, the B-2 Bomber, and is based at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. The 509 BW is part of the Air Combat Command, Eighth Air Force,

The current 509th Bomb Wing commander is Brigadier General Garrett Harencak. Colonel John W. Robinson, Jr. is Vice-Commander and Chief Master Sergeant Brian S. Hornback is Command Chief.

Lineage

Part of the 509 BW was previously designated as the 509th Composite Group during the Second World War, and was the group that dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Established as 509th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, on 3 Nov 1947 and organized on 17 Nov 1947. Maintained combat proficiency with B–29 bombers and F–51 and F-84 fighters, 1947–1948. Redesignated as the 509th Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 1 Aug 1948 and later as the 509th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 2 Apr 1966.

Added air refueling capability in Sep 1948, initially with B–29M hose-type tankers and later with B/KB–29P boom–type tankers. Charged with strategic bombardment training and air refueling, 1949–1958. Deployed as a wing several times in the early 1950s, three times to England and once to Guam, and also deployed individual squadrons at other times. Temporarily had no refueling unit during 1958.

Phased down for inactivation in late 1965, but was converted to a B-52/KC-135 wing in 1966. Supported SAC combat and contingency operations in Southeast Asia with KC–135 aircraft and crews, Nov 1966–Dec 1975, with B–52 aircraft and crews, Nov 1966–Sep 1969, and with B–52 crews, 1970. From 1 Apr to 1 Oct 1968 and 26 Mar to c. 20 Sep 1969, more than one-half of the wing was involved in SAC operations in Southeast Asia.

On 1 Dec 1969 was redesignated as the 509th Bombardment Wing, Medium and, just before Strategic Air Command was inactivated, as the 509th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 30 Sep 1990. From Nov 1969 to Dec 1970, the wing had no bombardment aircraft but continued refueling operations and performed FB-111 ground training. Resumed bombardment flying training in Dec 1970 and assumed FB–111 alert commitments from 1 Jul 1971 until Sep 1990. Won the SAC Bombing and Navigation competition and the Fairchild trophy in 1979, 1981, 1982, and 1983. Awarded the Sanders trophy for best air refueling unit in 1982.

Moved on paper to Whiteman on 30 Sep 1990, but not manned until Apr 1993. It was renamed the 509th Bomb Wing on 1 Sep 1991, and became part of the new Air Combat Command on 1 June 1992. In 1993 after two years of non-operational status the 509th became operational again as the 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. It received the first operational B-2 Spirit stealth bomber on December 17, 1993 (the date was the 49th anniversary of the activation of the 509th Composite Group and the 90th of the Wright brothers' flight). It currently has 19 of the operational B-2s under its command.

Projected Associate Unit

On March 16, 2006, the Air Force announced that elements of the 131st Fighter Wing, Missouri Air National Guard (MOANG), would become an associate unit assigned to the 509th BW. The 131st FW currently flies the F-15C/D out of Lambert International Airport, St. Louis, Missouri. The F-15 flying mission was scheduled to be phased out by the 2005 BRAC. The formation of the MOANG associate unit is a first of its kind. Many of the 131st FW pilots have extensive combat experience having flown combat sorties either while serving on active duty or as members of the 131st FW in military operations such as Operation Desert Storm, Operation Northern Watch and Operation Southern Watch.

509th Bomb Wing

  • Established on: 3 November 1947.
  • Organized on: 1 August 1948.
  • At: Roswell AAF, New Mexico
  • Assigned to: Strategic Air Command, Eighth Air Force, (Attached to 3rd Air Division from1 February 1951 to 10 February 1951).
  • Equipment: F-51s, B-29s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1948 to F-51s, F-84s, B-29s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1949 to B-29s, B-50s.
  • Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 47th Air Division on 10 February 1951. (Remained attached to 3rd Air Division until 14 May 1951).(Attached to 7th Aid Division from 4 June to 2 September 1952).(Attached to 3rd Air Division from 11 July to 15 October 1954).
  • Changed equipment in: 1951 to B-29s, KB-29s, B-50s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1952 to B-29s, KB-29s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1953 to KB-29s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1954 to KB-29s, KC-97s.
  • Reassigned to: Fifteenth Air Force, 47th Air Division on 1 April 1955. (Attached to 7th Air Division from 26 January to 30 April 1956)
  • Changed equipment in: 1955 to B-47s, KB-29s, KC-97s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1956 to B-47s, KC-97s.
  • Moved to: Pease AFB, NH in 1958.
  • Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 817th Air Division on 1 July 1958.
  • Changed equipment in: 1966 to B-52s, KC-135s.
  • Changed equipment in: 1970 to FB-111s, KC-135s.
  • Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 817th Air Division in 1970.
  • Reassigned to: Second Air Force, 45th Air Division on 30 June 1971.
  • Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force on 29 March 1989.
  • Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force, 100th Air Division on 30 September 1990.
  • Reassigned to: Eighth Air Force on 26 July 1991.
  • Reassigned to: Air Combat Command, Eighth Air Force on 31 May 1992.

Maintained combat proficiency with B-29 bombers and F-51 and F-84 fighters from the 33rd Fighter Wing from 17 November 1947 to 15 November 1948. Added Air Refueling capability in Sept. 1948, initially with B-29M hose-type tankers and later with B/KB-29P boom type tankers. Charged with strategic bombardment training and Air Refueling, 1949-1958. Deployed as a wing several times in the early 1950s, three times to England and once to Guam, and also deployed individual squadrons at other times. Temporarily had no refueling unit during 1968. Phased down for inactivation in late 1965, but was converted to a B-52/KC-135 wing in 1966. Supported SAC combat and contingency operations in Southeast Asia with KC-135 aircraft and crews, Nov. 1966-Dec. 1978, with B-52 aircraft and crews, Nov. 1966-Sept. 1969, and with B-52 crews, 1970. From 1 April. to 1 October. 1968 and 26 March. to c. 20 September. 1969, more than one-half of the wing was involved in SAC operations in Southeast Asia. From Nov. 1969 to Dec. 1970, the wing had no bombardment aircraft but continued refueling operations and performed FB-111 ground training. Resumed bombardment flying training in Dec. 1970 and assumed FB-111 alert commitments from 1 July. 1971 until Sept. 1990.

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