325th Bomb Squadron
The 325th Bomb Squadron (BS) has a long and colorful history that dates back to the earliest days of World War II. Constituted (created) as the 325th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 28 January 1942, the squadron was activated on 1 March 1942 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana, equipped with the venerable B-17, and assigned to the 92d Bombardment Group (BG). Less than a month later, on 25 March 1942, the squadron transferred to MacDill Field, Florida, and then to Sarasota, Florida. During its stay in the Florida pen-insula, the squadron participated in anti-submarine patrols while undergoing training.
On 18 July 1942, the 325th BS was transferred to Royal Air Force (RAF) Bovington, England, where it arrived on 18 August 1942. The squadron, still part of the 92 BG, initially trained replacement crews for combat in the European theater. During the period from 18 August 1942 through 6 January 43, the squadron flew four combat missions while conducting replacement crew training. Upon completion of its training mission, the 325th moved to RAF Alconbury on 6 January 1943 where it and the 92 BG underwent reorganization. When they emerged in May 1943, the 92 BG and 325 BS were ready for combat. The group's B-17s, armed and ready for battle, flew their first post-reorganization combat mission on 15 May 1943. However, on August 20, 1943, the personnel and aircraft, led by the commander, Capt William C Anderson, were assumed by the 813 BS (Pathfinder). In September 1943, the re-equipping 325th once again moved, this time to RAF Podington, England, where it would remain until the end of the war.
The 92d flew its last combat mission on 25 April 1945 when it had the distinction of leading the Eighth Air Force's final sortie of the conflict. During its World War II years, the 92 BG flew a total of 308 combat missions. Unlike other units, the 92d and the 325th did not immediately vanish upon the end of the conflict in Europe. On 12 June 1945, the squadron transferred to Istres, France, where it remained until 28 February 1946. While in France, the squadron used its B-17s to ferry personnel from the European Theater to North Africa for deployment back to the United States. From 15 June to 9 September 1945, the 325th's aircraft helped move 19,935 troops while also helping to return 5,672 Frenchmen to France. After completion of this important mission, nicknamed Operation Green Project, the 325th was inactivated on 28 February 1946.
It was not long, however, before the squadron returned to active duty. On 15 July 1946, the unit was redesignated as the 325th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy). On 4 August 1946, the unit was activated and rejoined the 92 BG at Fort Worth Army Air Field (AAFld), Texas, complete with B-29s, as part of the Strategic Air Command (SAC). The squadron was moved to Smoky Hill AAFld, Kansas, (on paper) 26 October 1947, and less than a year later transferred to Spokane AAFld (later, Fairchild AFB), Washington with the 92 BG.
On 28 May 1948, the squadron became known as the 325th Bombardment Squadron (Medium). When the Korean War began on 25 June 1950, the squadron and its B-29 aircraft were rushed to Yokota AB, Japan, and, by 13 July 1950, had entered the fray, dropping bombs on enemy targets. The 325th continued striking at North Korean targets until 29 October 1950, when the squadron returned to Spokane AAFld.
On 28 May 1951, the squadron received yet another name (the 325th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) and, in June, a new aircraft: the massive B-36. For the next six years, the Cavemen became experts in the mammoth B-36, which, with its propellers mounted on the rear of its wings, was one of the more unusual looking aircraft ever assigned to the USAF.
In the mid-1950s, the USAF began phasing the B-36 out of service as the more advanced B-52 began entering the Air Force's inventory. Thus, in March 1957, the now called 92d Bombardment Wing and the 325th were among the first units to receive the famed B-52D. For the next 10 years, the 325th Cavemen became masters of the legendary B-52D. In 1968, the squadron returned to combat as it began a long involvement in Southeast Asia (SEA). From 6 March-23 September 1968 and 15 March-14 September 1969, the squadron flew to SEA to participate in ARC LIGHT operations. For service during the latter deployment, the squadron was awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with the Combat "V" device and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
In the fall of 1971, the squadron, along with the 92 BMW, began the transition from the B-52D to the B-52G. Duty called again in 1972-1973 when the crews and aircraft of the 325th participated in BULLET SHOT operations. Over the next twenty years, the 325th continued to operate the B-52G. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, changes on the world scene had major implications for the squadron. As a prelude to these alterations, the 325th Bombardment Squadron became known as the 325th Bomb Squadron on 1 September 1991. On the same date, the 325th became a member of the 92d Operations Group as the 92d Bomb Wing transformed to the objective wing structure. In spite of the inactivation of the 325th BS on 1 July 1994, the Air Force had plans for the squadron and announced that the squadron would join the 509th Bomb Wing, Whiteman AFB, Missouri, to become the second operational B-2 squadron. Thus, on 6 January 1998, the 325th returned to life amid ceremonies attended by General Eugene Habiger, U.S. Strategic Air Command commander-in-chief (and a former 325th commander) and Lieutenant General Phillip Ford, Eighth Air Force commander. At the same time, Lieutenant Colonel Will Gildner, Jr., became the commander of the 325th Bomb Squadron.
Among the initial assignments for the members of the 325th BS was the first-ever live release of a Joint Standoff Weapon (JSOW), or AGM-154, the most recent near-precision munition to be included in the B-2 arsenal. On 11 January 2000, crewmembers released the JSO from the Spirit of Kansas over the Utah Test and Training Range.
The following year, the 325th BS was called upon to take the B-2 bomber into combat for the first time during Operation ALLIED FORCE. From 24 March through 21 May 1999, the squadron sent its aircrews and aircraft almost nightly into harm’s way attempting to end the strife in the Kosovo region. After the terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, the 325th was called into combat again as a part of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. The Cavemen were again tested on 21 March 2003, during the opening days of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Throughout the duration of the air campaign 325th BS crews flew sustained B-2 operations from Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory and Whiteman AFB, Missouri. This marked the first combat deployment of the B-2, a historic event which accelerated the decision to declare the weapon system Fully Operational Capable in December 2003.
Following the incorporation of the B-2 into Air and Space Expeditionary Force (AEF) normal bomber rotation, the 325th BS was deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam several times. From 30 April-30 June 2005 the Cavemen made Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, the B-2’s temporary home, as part of an Air Expeditionary Force operations. This 120-day tour marked the longest in the bomber’s 13-year history.
The 325th BS was also deployed with B-2s to Nellis AFB, Nevada to participate in Red Flag exercises designed to increase combat readiness, capability and survivability of participating units by providing realistic training in a combined air ground and electronic threat environment.
Effective 9 September 2005 the 325th Bomb Squadron was re-designated the 325th Weapons Squadron and replaced the 715 Weapons Squadron at Whiteman AFB. Although geographically located at Whiteman, the 325th WPS is officially assigned to the US Air Force Weapons School, 57th Wing, Nellis AFB, Nevada.