34th Bomb Squadron
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|34th Bomb Squadron|
34th Bomb Squadron Patch
|Active||11 June 1917 – 10 June 1919
15 July 1931 – 26 November 1945
19 March 1947 – 10 September 1948
10 May 1952 – 25 June 1958
15 November 1962 – 30 September 1976
1 July 1992 – present
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Combat Command
12th Air Force
28th Bomb Wing
28th Operations Group
|Garrison/HQ||Ellsworth Air Force Base|
|Nickname||Original Thunderbirds (Doolittle's Raiders)|
|Engagements||World War I
World War II
Operation Enduring Freedom
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Provide combat-ready aircrews to project global power anytime in support of the Combatant Commander's objectives.
The 34 BS is one of the oldest squadrons in the United States Air Force, activated 11 June 1917. Deployed to France during World War II, the 34th Aero Squadron was a ground training unit. The unit remained in France as part of the Army of Occupation after the 1918 Armistice with Germany, and returned to the United States in May 1919 and was demobilized.
Reactivated by the Army Air Corps in 1931 as a Pursuit Squadron, being assigned to the 17th Pursuit Group at March Field, California and equipped with the Boeing P-12 Peashooter. Converted to an attack squadron on 1 March 1935, and a medium bomb group in November 1939. Received B-25 Mitchell bombers in the spring of 1941 and was assigned to the GHQ Air Force Northwest Air District; operated from airfields in Oregon performing patrols over the Pacific Northwest.
In the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor Attack, the 34th flew Anti-submarine warfare patrols in the Pacific Northwest from 22 December 1941–c. March 1942. It was reassigned officially to Lexington County Airport, South Carolina ostensibly to fly antisubmarine patrols over the Southeast Atlantic Coast, however the real mission of the squadron was to train aircrews to participate in the planned Doolittle Raid over the Japanese Home Islands. The squadron contributed aircrews with its sister squadrons, the 37th and 95th Bomb Squadrons, for the Doolittle raid on 18 April 1942.
The squadron was deployed to North Africa in December 1942 as part of Operation Torch, and was assigned to the new Twelfth Air Force in Algeria. Equipped with B-26 Marauder medium bombers, the squadron flew tactical bombing raids on enemy targets in Algeria and later Tunisia as the American forces moved east and participated in the Tunisian Campaign. Remaining assigned to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations, the squadron flew combat missions in the Invasion of Sicily; Invasion of Southern Italy; Corsican Campaign; and the Invasion of southern France during the summer of 1944. Moving into Southern France, the squadron supported American ground forces moving north through Lyon and eventually joining American forces in Eastern France which had participated in the Northern France Campaign after the Normandy D-Day landings in June. The 39th participated in the Western Allied invasion of Germany in the spring of 1945, carrying out tactical bombing missions from Lyon Airfield, primarily hitting enemy targets in Central and Southern Germany until the German Capitulation in May.
After the end of hostilities, the 34th became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe occupation forces, being assigned to the American Zone of Occupation in Austria; performing occupation duty at Linz Airport and other cities. It remained in Austria until November 1945, its personnel being demobilized in France and returning to the United States. The squadron was inactivated as a paper unit in late November.
The squadron was reactivated as a light bomb squadron as part of the Tactical Air Command Ninth Air Force in 1947, but never manned or equipped due to budget shortages and inactivated in 1948. As a result of the Korean War, the squadron was reactivated again at Pusan West (K-1) Air Base on 10 May 1952, with the squadron newly renamed the 34th Bombardment Squadron (Light, Night Intruder) as part of Far East Air Force and equipped with B-26 Invader bombers equipped for night attacks. Carried out attacks on Communist forces primarily over South Korea until the Korean War armistice in July 1953, then withdrawn to Miho, Japan, where it remained until it was demobilized and administratively reassigned to Eglin No. 9 Field (Hurlburt Field) on 1 April 1955.
While there, the squadron transitioned into the B-57A Canberra and conducted evaluation testing of the aircraft. The receipt for the B-57 caused another redesignation to the 34th Bombardment Squadron (Tactical) on 1 October 1955. In 1956 the unit transitioned to the B-66B Destroyer, the first squadron to equip with the new tactical bomber. Deployed to RAF Sculthorpe, England, briefly in 1958 before returning to Eglin and performing more testing on B-66s with Jet Assisted Take Off (JATO). Following three years of peacetime operations at Eglin, the unit was again inactivated on 25 June 1958, due to budget cuts later in the year.
Reactivated in 1963 at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio as a Strategic Air Command B-52E Stratofortress squadron as part of a SAC program to provide a combat lineage to provisional squadrons at dispersed locations. Stood nuclear alert at Wright-Patterson, and also provided crews to other Strategic Air Command units conducting combat operations over Southeast Asia ss part of Operation Arc Light, however the squadron's B-52Es were never deployed and remained on nuclear alert. Upgraded to the B-52H in 1968 when the E-models were retired and sent to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB. Reassigned to Beale AFB, California when SAC pulled out of Wright-Patterson in 1975, flying training missions until 1976 when it was inactivated along with the 17th Bombardment Wing.
Reactivated in 1992 at Castle AFB, California as part of the 366th Operations Group, a composite organization which operated B-52Gs. The 366th was headquartered at Mountain Home AFB, Idaho but operated its B-52 squadron at Castle which had the facilities to support the Stratofortress. In early 1994 the B-52Gs were retired with the closing of Castle and the squadron was reassigned to Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota where it transitioned to the B-1B Lancer, remaining part of the 366th Operations Group at Mountain Home. In 1997 the squadron moved to Mountain Home, taking its B-1s with it. In 2001, the squadron assigned conducted devastating attacks versus the Taliban and Al Queda after the 9/11 attacks.
Reassigned to the 28th Bomb Wing in 2002 when the 366th ended its composite organization and moved back to Ellsworth AFB. Deployed again to South Asia and in 2003, the squadron kicked off Operation Iraqi Freedom with the largest Precision Guided Bomb strike in history, when a 4-ship of B-1s delivered 96 GBU-31 2,000 lb JDAMs.
- Organized as 34 Aero Squadron on 11 June 1917
- Demobilized on 10 June 1919
- Reconstituted, and redesignated 34 Pursuit Squadron, on 24 March 1923
- Activated on 15 July 1931
- Redesignated: 34 Attack Squadron on 1 March 1935
- Redesignated: 34 Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 17 October 1939
- Redesignated: 34 Bombardment Squadron, Medium, on 9 October 1944
- Inactivated on 26 November 1945
- Redesignated 34 Bombardment Squadron, Light, on 29 April 1947
- Activated on 19 May 1947
- Inactivated on 10 September 1948
- Redesignated: 34 Bombardment Squadron, Light, Night Intruder, on 8 May 1952
- Activated on 10 May 1952
- Redesignated: 34 Bombardment Squadron, Tactical, on 1 October 1955
- Inactivated on 25 June 1958
- Redesignated 34 Bombardment Squadron, Heavy, and activated, on 15 November 1962
- Organized on 1 February 1963; receiving personnel/aircraft/equipment from 42d Bombardment Squadron (Inactivated)
- Organized on 30 September 1975; receiving personnel/aircraft/equipment from 744th Bombardment Squadron (Inactivated)
- Inactivated on 30 September 1976
- Redesignated 34 Bomb Squadron, and activated, on 1 July 1992
- Designated as: 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and placed in provisional status when squadron elements deployed to combat areas after 11 September 2001.
- Unkn, 11 Jun–December 1917
- Second Aviation Instruction Center, December 1917–1919
- Unkn, 1919-10 June 1919
- 17th Pursuit (later, 17th Attack; 17th Bombardment) Group, 15 July 1931 – 26 November 1945
- 17th Bombardment Group, 19 May 1947 – 10 September 1948; 10 May 1952 – 25 June 1958
- Strategic Air Command, 15 November 1962
- 17th Bombardment Wing, 1 February 1963 – 30 September 1976
- 366th Operations Group, 1 July 1992
- 28th Operations Group, 19 September 2002 – present
- Air Combat Command when elements of squadron are deployed to combat areas after 11 September 2001.
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