Dyess ARC will hold a special event station from 10 - 30 Nov 99 in commemoration of the 7th Bomb Wing's 52'nd Anniversary. All ham bands. Information for QSL is to a SASE to:
KD5FJM, P.O. Box 9897, Dyess AFB, TX 79607-9897
Organized as the 1st Army Observation Group on Oct. 1, 1919, the beginning of the 7th Bomb Wing included three highly decorated and honored squadrons from the first World War.
The 9th, 11th, and 31st squadrons lent their lineage to the group's emblem as indicated by the three crosses on the shield. In March 1921, the group was redesignated the 7th Group (Observation) and assigned to Langley Field, Va., until inactivated on Aug. 30, 1921.
The U.S. Army Air Service redesignated the 7th Group as the 7th Bombardment Group in 1923, however the 7th was not activated until June 1, 1928 at Rockwell Field, Calif.
While the group was assigned at Rockwell Field, the fledgling Air Force was testing new theories and ideas. In early 1931, the 7th began training aircrews in radio-controlled interception. A bomber, acting as a target, reported by radio to a ground station, giving location, altitude and course. Armed with this information, ground controllers guided pursuit aircraft to the objective.
The 7th trained and participated in aerial reviews, dropped food and medical supplies to persons marooned or lost, and took part in massive Army maneuvers during the 1930s.
The group flew Martin B-12s, Douglas B-18s, and the new Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress during this period. It was the B-17 that carried the men of the 7th to war Dec. 7, 1941. The group was on its way to the Philippines when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
The ground echelon, on board ship, was diverted to Australia and later sent to Java. Six of the group's B-17s, which left the continental United States Dec. 6, reached Hawaii during the enemy attack and were able to land safely. Later in December, the remainder of the air echelon flew B-17s from the United States to Java.
From Jan. 14 to March 1, 1942, during the Japanese drive through the Philippines and Netherlands East Indies, the group operated from Java, earning a Distinguished Unit Citation for its action against enemy aircraft, ground installations, warships and transports.
By the end of March 1942, the 7th moved to India and was assigned to the 10th Air Force. The group resumed combat operations from Karachi, India, flying B-17s and Consolidated LB-30 bombers. By the end of 1942, the group had converted to the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.
Combat operations were directed primarily against the Japanese in Burma, with attacks on airfields, fuel and supply dumps, locomotive works, railways, bridges, docks, warehouses, shipping and other targets. The 7th also bombed oil refineries and railways in Thailand, hit power plants in China, attacked enemy shipping in the Andaman Sea and ferried gasoline over the Hump into China.
The 7th received its second Distinguished Unit Citation for damaging the enemy's line of supply in Southeast Asia with an attack against rail lines and bridges in Thailand March 19, 1945.
After the war, the group returned to the United States in December 1945 and was inactivated Jan. 6, 1946.
On Oct. 1, 1946, the 7th was reactivated as a bombardment group (very heavy) and assigned to Strategic Air Command. The group flew the Boeing B-29 Superfortress from Fort Worth Army Airfield, Texas.
On Nov. 3, 1947, the 7th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy) was established and then activated Nov. 17, 1947. After a period of discontinuance and redesignation, the 7th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) was activated at Carswell AFB Aug. 1, 1948. During 1948, the wing began receiving the Consolidated B-36 Peacemaker intercontinental bombers.
Trained in global bombardment operations, the wing controlled two B-36 groups, and three B-36 squadrons. The wing also flight tested the giant Consolidated XC-99 transport, a derivative of the B-36 using the wings, tail structure and other components of its bomber relative. The wing also evaluated the RB-36 during 1950. The 7th began converting to the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress in 1957, along with the Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker. With these new aircraft, the wing trained in global strategic bombardment and air refueling operations.
Beginning on April 13, 1965, the 7th deployed its forces to the Pacific area in support of combat operations in Southeast Asia. All wing bombers and tankers, along with aircrews and some support personnel, deployed by the end of May. A B-52 squadron from a different wing was temporarily assigned to Carswell to maintain a bomber capability.
However, by August 1965, the remaining aircraft and personnel were deployed to Southeast Asia, leaving only a support cadre to operate Carswell AFB. The wing's headquarters was non-operational until the bombers, aircrews and support personnel began returning in December. The 7th continued to support combat operations in Southeast Asia during the remainder of the conflict and into 1975, but on a reduced scale, except for the period Sept. 1, 1969 to March 28, 1970 when most wing resources were required overseas and only a small cadre remained at home.
In 1972, the wing conducted B-52D consolidated training for the Strategic Air Command as well as replacement training, combat crew training and flight training to novice crews. Beginning in June 1974, the wing also conducted B-52 and KC-135 Central Flight Instructor Courses.
During the Vietnam conflict, the wing was awarded two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
On Oct. 1, 1982, the wing's new mission included strategic deterrence and support of combat theater commanders with conventional bombing capability and theater airlift support.
On Oct. 1, 1993, the 7th Wing moved to Dyess AFB, Texas, flying both the B-1B Lancer and the C-130 Hercules. This unique structure of bombing and airlift under one wing remained intact until April 1, 1997, when the Air Force transferred all C-130s to Air Mobility Command. That same day, the 317th Airlift Group stood up at Dyess, encompassing all Dyess C-130 assets and the 7th Wing became the 7th Bomb Wing. Dyess has the only B-1B schoolhouse in the Air Force, in addition to operational missions.
Although two commands are now found at Dyess, each brings a unique and special contribution to the Air Force's mission of Global Engagement.