92nd Bomb Wing H

Left: 1946-1957 Right: 1957-1994

The 92d Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy, was organized on 17 November 1947 at Spokane AAFld (later, Spokane AFB; Fairchild AFB), WA. Two groups (30 aircraft, 3 squadrons each) of B-29 Superfortresses (92nd, 98th), activated at Spokane AFB on 15 November 1947, the largest B-29 organization in Strategic Air Command. It served as a double-sized B–29 bombardment wing, November 1947–April 1950, and May 1950–April 1951, although one bomb group was generally deployed overseas for training or combat. The unit was redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Medium, on 12 July 1948. The Wing supervised a Reserve corollary 111th Bomb Group from June 1949 through February 1951.

In June 1950 North Korea invaded South Korea, and the 92nd and 98th (B-29 groups) deployed. In early July 1950, B-29s of the 92nd Bombardment Group, Medium arrived from the United States at Yokota AB, Japan. By the time the entire group completed its deployment on the July 13, its aircraft had already flown a leaflet mission to Seoul and a combat mission against the Wonsan marshalling yards in North Korea. The 98th departed 4 August and joined the 92nd at Yokota AB. Under control of the FEAF Bomber Command (Provisional) until October 20, the 92nd bombed factories, refineries, iron works, hydroelectric plants, airfields, bridges, tunnels, troop concentrations, barracks, marshalling yards, road junctions, rail lines, supply dumps, docks, vehicles and other strategic and interdiction targets. The 92nd BG returned to Spokane AFB, Washington in late October and November 1950. The 98th did not return to Fairchild after the Korean War, and was assigned to Lincoln AFB NE and begin to convert to B-47 Aircraft. The 111th SRW (Strategic Reconnaissance Wing) became the 99th SRW at Fairchild, and flew B-29's until the RB-36's arrived on 1 January 1953.

The Wing was redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 16 June 1951 and equipped with the B–36 from 1951 to 1957. Fairchild Air Force Base was renamed in dedication ceremonies on 20 July, 1951, and B-36 intercontinental bombers arrived as part of the ceremony. The B-36 Peacemaker equipped the 92nd Bomb Wing and the 99th SRW. The 92BW pioneered mass B-36 deployments to the Far East, August-September 1953 for Operation "BIG STICK". In March 1954 the 92nd Bomb Wing participated in "Operation North Star" with B-36's temporarily assigned to Eielson AFB, Alaska. The 92nd Bomb Wing deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam, 16 October 1954 through 12 January 1955 and 26 April-6 July 1956. In addition, 4 B-36J aircraft of the 327th Bomb Squadron were deployed to Hickam AFB HI, April-July 56, to support the 1956 Eniwetok Tests.


The photo was taken by the right scanner of B-36J 52-2824; 2827 is next, then 2825; 2826 is off the left wing. Think fingers four formation.

In May 1955, the 92nd Bomb Wing received its first Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, for Operation BIG STICK.

On 19 June 1953 the YB-52 arrived at Fairchild for testing.

The 92nd B-36 aircraft remained on ground alert through the first two weeks of December 1956 due to the crisis in Egypt and Eastern Europe. During January 1957, Crew S-50, Lt Col Harvey R Downs completed the longest unrefueled mission ever flown from Fairchild AFB, when his B-36 aircraft circled the nation in 42 hours and 10 minutes, covering 7,200 miles of the United States. On 26 Mar 1957 the first B-52D, tail number 5673, flown by the wing commander, Col. Neely, arrived. On 31 March 1957, the last B-36J, 52-2827, departed Fairchild for its new assignment and continued service with the 95BW at Biggs AFB TX. The rest of the B-52 aircraft forming the 92nd Bomb Wing arrived shortly thereafter, and the last of the new B-52D's arrived 27 September 1957. The unit added air refueling operations to bombardment mission beginning in September 1957.

In 1959 92d Bomb Wing earned the second Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its pioneer work in night heavy-weight air refueling on 24-hour missions under Project HEADSTART II which began 3 March 1959 and ended with Operation STEELTRAP I on 6 October 1959. In July 1960 the Wing's 327th Bomb Squadron left Fairchild for Larson AFB, Moses Lake, WA. In February 1961, the 326th Bomb Squadron departed Fairchild of duty at Glasgow AFB MT. The 92nd now had the 325th BS and 92nd ARS. On 23 November 1962 the B-52s at Fairchild received their first GAM-77 Hound Dog missiles.

In July 1961, the 92nd became the first aerospace wing in the nation with the acquisition of the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile. With the new role and the addition of missiles, the 92nd Bomb Wing was redesignated the 92nd Strategic Aerospace Wing on 15 February 1962. However, the designation remained longer than the missiles, as the Atlas missiles were removed in August 1965.

The wing supported SAC activities in Southeast Asia from early 1965 to Dec 1975 through deployment of bomber and tanker aircraft and crews. With the closure of Larson AFB in 1966, the 43rd ARS was transferred to Fairchild. The 92ndBW then had the 325thBS, the 92ndARS and the 43rdARS. From March to September 1968 and March to September 1969, all wing B–52s and half its KC–135 resources, plus support personnel, were involved in Southeast Asia operations with other SAC units.

Redesignated the 92d Bombardment Wing, Heavy, on 31 Mar 1972, from June 1972 to October 1973, all wing B–52s and most wing KC–135s, plus aircrew and support personnel, again supported SAC operations in Southeast Asia.

After 1975, the Wing performed joint USAF/Navy sea reconnaissance and surveillance missions. It provided KC–135 aircraft to tanker task forces in the US, Europe, and the Pacific through 1992. In 1983, the Wing’s B–52Gs were modified to carry AGM–86B Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCM). During the Summer of 1983, under Operation Busy Moses, all aircraft were reassigned to Grant County Airport (the old site of Larson Air Force Base) for three months during runway repair efforts at Fairchild AFB. In 1985 the Wing upgraded to B–52H with improved strategic weapons carriage and offensive electronics capabilities. The unit won the Fairchild Trophy in 1953, 1986, and again in 1992 when it won SAC’s last competition and retired the trophy. It also won the Saunders Trophy for best air refueling unit in SAC for 1992.

The 92nd deployed a total of 560 personnel to DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM from August 1990 to March 1991. The 43rd and 92nd Air Refueling Squadrons flew a combined total of 4,004 hours, 721 sorties, and off loaded a total of 22.5 million pounds of fuel to such receiver aircraft as the A-6, A-10, B-52, C-5, EA-6, EC-130, F-4, F-111, F-117A, KC-10, and Tornado in support of Operations DESERT EXPRESS, DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM, DESERT CALM, and PROVIDE COMFORT. The two squadrons' crews and aircraft also flew 200 combat sorties.

On 01 September 1991, under Air Force reorganization the 92nd Bombardment Wing (Heavy) was redesignated the 92nd Wing, emphasizing a dual bombing and refueling role.

On 01 June 1992 the wing became part of the newly formed Air Combat Command and was redesignated the 92nd Bomb Wing. As Strategic Air Command (SAC) finished up 46 years of service to the nation, Fairchild bomber and tanker crews took top honors at Proud Shield '92. This was SAC's final Bombing/Navigation Competition. The wing won the Fairchild Trophy for best bomber/tanker team as well as the Saunders Trophy for the tanker unit attaining the most points on all competition missions.

The unit ended B–52 alert duties in September 1992. In February 1993 it gained a new mission for the Department of Energy performing air sampling missions with modified B–52Hs.

December 7, 1993 marked the beginning of perhaps the largest change and transition in the history of Fairchild and the 92nd Bomb Wing when the first B-52 left Fairchild to be turned over to another unit. The 92nd Bomb Wing's B-52s had been assigned to ACC, while the KC-135s were assigned to AMC and designated the 453rd Operations Group. During the spring of 1994, B-52s were transferred to other units and flown to other bases with the last bomber leaving 25 May 1994. The bomber mission of the 92nd had ended after 52 years, giving over to the new refueling mission on 01 July 1994, at which time the unit was redesignated the 92d Air Refueling Wing.

B-36: Six Churning and Four Burning
by Lt. Gen. James V. Edmundson
as originally published in the "92nd USAAF/USAF Memorial Association News"

Part 1 (Sept. 1998)
Part 2 (Dec. 1998)
Part 3 (Mar. 1999)