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Posted 10/5/2015 Printable Fact Sheet

2BW EmblemMission
Team Barksdale provides decisive nuclear deterrence and conventional firepower to Combatant Commanders...for global strike operations... Anytime, Anywhere!

Innovative warriors shaping the future by upholding the highest standards of discipline and who are uncompromising toward the pursuit of excellence in nuclear, conventional and expeditionary operations

1. Lead people...take care of families
2. Execute the mission
3. Pride, ownership and heritage

The 2nd Bomb Wing conducts the primary mission of Barksdale Air Force Base, La., with three squadrons of B-52H Stratofortress bombers - the 11th Bomb Squadron, which is the training squadron, the 20th Bomb Squadron and the 96th Bomb Squadron.

Together they ensure the 2nd Bomb Wing provides flexible, responsive, global combat capability, autonomously or in concert with other forces, and trains all Air Force Global Strike Command and Air Force Reserve B-52 crews.

Personnel and Resources
The 2nd Bomb Wing is the largest bomb wing in Air Force Global Strike Command and part of the historic 8th Air Force. More than 10,000 active-duty, Reserve, and civilian members make up Barksdale's workforce. There are 27 B-52 Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the wing.

The history of the 2nd Bomb Wing is nearly as old as American air power itself. Beginning in World War I, the unit was established by the American Expeditionary Forces as the first effort in aerial bombardment.

Organized on Sept. 10, 1918, as the 1st Day Bombardment Group at Amanty Airdome, France, the group flew the French-built Berguet 14 and the DeHavilland DH-4 aircraft in the St. Mihiel Offensive. The group was deactivated after the war, and then reorganized Sept. 18, 1919, at Ellington Field, Texas. The group stayed in Texas until July 1922 when it was redesignated the 2nd Bombardment Group, and subsequently, moved to Langley Field, Va.

Remaining at Langley Field for more than 20 years, the 2nd Bomb Group underwent several name changes and operated a series of different aircraft, until it was thrust into action once again. Early in World War II, the 2nd Bomb Group was assigned anti-submarine patrol duty, and in October 1942 was earmarked for combat. The unit started with fresh personnel at Ephrata, Wash., and entered combat operations in North Africa in March 1943. It subsequently became the 2nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) in July 1943, while flying the B-17 bomber against Axis targets in the Mediterranean. From April 28, 1943, until May 1, 1945, the unit flew a total of 412 combat missions, bombing targets in Africa, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, Greece and Poland.

The phase-down of the vast American military following World War II was reflected in the activities of the 2nd Bombardment Group. In May 1949, the wing transferred to Chatham Air Force Base, near Savannah, Ga.

The wing left Georgia April 1, 1963, and moved to Barksdale Air Force Base, La., taking control of the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 4238th Strategic Wing.

To more adequately address its mixture of tankers and bombers, the wing was redesignated the 2nd Wing Sept. 1, 1991.

In December 1992, the last B-52G left Barksdale for long-term storage in Arizona. The 2nd Wing's fleet of bombers was replaced with a newer B-52H fleet. Also in December, the wing reclaimed the name of one of its original World War I bomb squadrons: the 20th Bomb Squadron. The wing was redesignated as the 2nd Bomb Wing on Oct. 1, 1993, and transferred its KC-135A Stratotankers and KC-10 Extenders to Air Mobility Command's 458th Operations Group at Barksdale. The base's fleet of KC-135s and KC-10s remained familiar sights in the skies over northern Louisiana through 1994, when Air Mobility Command consolidated its tanker fleet. Barksdale's last KC-135 was placed in the Eighth Air Force Museum after its final flight in March, and the last KC-10 departed in October.

Two 2nd Bomb Wing B-52Hs flew the first-ever around-the-world bombing mission on Aug. 1, 1994. The trip took 47.2 hours, the longest jet flight ever - one more demonstration of the wing's ability to extend American military muscle anywhere in the world.

Barksdale became the focus of attention once again in September 1996 as two of its B-52s fired 13 conventional air-launched cruise missiles on surface-to-air missile sites and air defense radars in Iraq. Dubbed Operation Desert Strike, the mission came in response to Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein's attacks on Kurds in northern Iraq and was the first combat employment of the B-52H in history. In only a span of 80 hours, Barksdale B-52s and support personnel deployed forward to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, carried out the strike against Iraqi targets and returned to Guam.

Fourteen months later, in November 1997, personnel and aircraft deployed from Barksdale to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean by order of the President. They joined forces already in the region in response to a renewed bout of provocations and threats made by Saddam Hussein. Remaining at Diego Garcia until June 1998, Barksdale's forces bolstered the ability to defend the security of the region against possible aggression by Iraq and to accomplish specific military objectives if a diplomatic solution to the confrontation could not be achieved.

B-52s and personnel from Barksdale were again deployed to Diego Garcia in November 1998. Seven bombers and about 180 people deployed in response to Iraq's refusal to cooperate with U.N. weapons inspectors. Despite President Clinton calling off strikes after Hussein's last minute concessions to meet U.N. demands, Iraq's cooperation continued to deteriorate. U.S. military forces, including Barksdale's B-52s, launched a sustained series of air strikes against Iraq shortly after midnight Dec. 17, 1998. The three-day-long campaign, dubbed Operation Desert Fox, followed the latest in a series of roadblocks by the Iraqi government against weapons inspections conducted by the U.N. Special Commission.

From March to June 1999, Barksdale played a prominent role in halting the brutal Serb expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo. Operating from RAF Fairford in the United Kingdom, Barksdale B-52s flew over 180 combat sorties and released over 6,600 weapons against military targets throughout the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force. Immediately following the devastating terrorist attacks launched by the al-Qaeda terrorist network against the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, Barksdale provided a safe haven for President George Bush on his return flight to the nation's capital. Shortly thereafter, the National Command Authority called upon the base to provide substantial forces to spearhead the Global War on Terrorism. Operating from multiple overseas locations, Barksdale warriors and B-52s, both active and reserve alike played a key role in Operation Enduring Freedom, which saw the elimination of the repressive Taliban regime of Afghanistan. The operation also resulted in the destruction of the al-Qaeda leadership and training infrastructure that had 50 previously resided with impunity in that country.

In March 2003, time finally ran out for Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein whose regime had continually defied the U.N. for almost 13 years. Returning yet again to the deadly skies of Iraq, Barksdale B-52s flew over 150 combat sorties against military targets throughout the southern half of the country. In a lightning campaign dubbed Operation Iraqi Freedom, U.S. and Coalition military forces ousted Saddam Hussein paving the way for democracy in Iraq.

Today, the men and women of Barksdale continue to serve at both home and abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism.

Today, as the largest bomb wing in the U.S. Air Force and part of the historic 8th Air Force, the wing continues to reflect the heritage of its motto, Libertatem Defendimus: "Liberty We Defend."

Wing Emblem
The emblem of the 2nd Bomb Wing reflects a proud heritage almost as old as American air power. In the shape of an Air Force shield, the emblem is divided at the top into five perpendicular stripes. The colors of the stripes -- black and primitive green -- are those that the wing bore as part of the Army Air Service during World War I. The three primitive green stripes represent the three major offensives in which the wing participated during that war: St. Mihiel, Lorraine and Meuse-Argonne. The white fleur de lis at the top symbolizes France, the theater of operations for the wing's World War I achievements. The lower portion of the shield is in Air Force golden yellow, charged with four aerial bombs in ultramarine blue, not only representing the original four combatant squadrons assigned during World War I, but also suggesting the unit's present mission as a heavy bombardment wing of Air Force Global Strike Command.

(Current as of October 2015)

Point of Contact

2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs Office
(318)-456-3066 or DSN 781-3066
Barksdale AFB, LA 71110-2270.

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