Golden: 2nd Bomb Wing celebrates 50 years

Historical photo(Barksdale newspaper "The Observer")

Historical photo(Barksdale newspaper "The Observer")

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. -- Many know April 1, brings jokes aplenty to many family, friends and co-workers but for the 2nd Bomb Wing, April 1, 1963 began a 50-year strong partnership with Barksdale.

The wing transferred from Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. where it was flying B-47s and began integrating personnel and equipment of the deactivated 4238th Strategic Wing's B-52 fleet. This move initiated the 2nd BW's mission to provide the nation with strategic deterrence and global combat air power anytime and anywhere with the B-52.

After almost two years of preparation and training, bombers from the 2nd BW began providing support to operations Arc Light and Young Tiger during the Vietnam War.

Nearly three decades later the 2nd BW showed the world its might once again by firing the opening shots of Operation Desert Storm. The wing also set the record for the longest combat mission in aviation history during that operation.

March 1992 marked yet another historic event. The 2nd BW became the first American unit to land in Russia since World War II. Throughout the late 1990s, the wing participated in Operations Desert Strike, Desert Fox and Allied Force.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the 2nd BW has continued to provide support to fight the Global War on Terrorism. Two years after the initial terrorist attacks, the 2nd BW again showed its strength in the unleashing of the "shock and awe" air strike of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This operation allowed 10 of the wing's B-52s to participate in the largest single conventional air-launched cruise missiles strike in history.

For the past 50 years, the 2nd BW has continued to live up to its motto of Libertatem Defendimus: "Liberty We Defend."

Some information and photos for this article courtesy David Pinner, 2nd Bomb Wing historian.