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Dyess squadrons celebrate 100 years of service

DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The 9th Bomb Squadron, 28th Bomb Squadron and 436th Training Squadron held a 100-year celebration at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, Sept. 8, 2017.

All three squadrons turned 100-years-old recently, with the 9th BS being the oldest bomb squadron in the U.S. Air Force followed by the 28th BS and 436th TS.

The 9th BS’s role is to maintain combat readiness to deliver rapid, decisive airpower on a large scale in support of conventional warfare commanders with the best in maintenance support of conventional warfare taskings. The squadron repairs, services, launches, recovers and inspects B-1B Lancers capable of sustained intercontinental missions.

Being a 9th BS Bat is more than just completing the mission day in and day out, it’s the heritage and history that builds the foundation of the Air Force core values.

“Heritage is one of the most important things in the Air Force,” said Capt. Clicks Thompson, 9th BS weapons systems officer. “You cannot forget where you come from and the warrior culture that embodies you. It gives you a sense of unity and belonging, it makes you a part of the family.”

History and heritage played a large part in the 100-year celebration, with open houses and speaking events on the history of each squadron.

The 9th BS continues to break barriers with historic events such as deploying the first complete Block 16 B-1s to the Pacific.

“The 9th is already the most lethal and capable bomb squadron in the world,” said Thompson. “I cannot fathom what another 100 years of technology and improvement will do to ensure our superiority. Look how far we have come from World War I, from being the first squadron to employ at night to deploying Block 16 jets.”

While the 9th BS may be the oldest and rich in history, the 28th BS holds the title as the largest bomb squadron in the Air Force and the largest flying squadron in the Air Force Global Strike Command.

The 28th BS’s primary mission is to provide all B-1B Lancer initial qualifications, re-qualifications and instructor upgrade training for the Air Force. The 28th BS determines, evaluates and implements formal training requirements to qualify crewmembers in long-range day and night, all-weather and air-to-ground attack.

All pilots trained through the 28th BS will be assigned to bomb squadrons located at Dyess and Ellsworth AFB, S.D., and with each year, the squadron trains more than 200 B-1 crewmembers from active-duty and Air National Guard B-1 units.

The 28th BS has fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the most current conflicts including Desert Storm, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve making the squadron one of the oldest and most decorated units.

Some of the 28th BS’s prior operations include combat training with units of the Royal Air Force while serving on the frontlines with British Second and Fifth Armies, and developed and maintained operational capabilities to perform long-range strategic bombardment during 1974-1983.

The 7th Bomb Wing hosts both the 9th BS and 28th BS, with the 436th TS as a tenant unit on base.

The 436th TS is a unit assigned to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. with an original establishment as the 88th Aero Squadron at Kelly Field, Texas, where they served in France as a corps observation squadron until Nov. 10, 1918 and then as part of the occupation force until their return to the U.S. in May 1919.

While serving overseas, the 88th AS flew 1,028 observation and reconnaissance missions, and completed 557 combat missions resulting in the downing of four enemy aircraft. After hostilities had ended, the experience and skills of the men of the 88th AS were tapped into continuing training for Airmen.

“World War I was a defining moment in history for the 436th Training Squadron,” said Lt. Col. Brian Servant, 436th TS commander. “The 88th AS was initially established as an aero squadron, but very soon after WWI ended, they began teaching at the Seventh Corps Liaison School and the 88th commander was also the schools commandant and senior instructor. The school was taught by the same pilots that supported ground forces during the war.”

After several redesignations, the 88th AS was designated as the 436th Bomb Squadron on April 22, 1942. The 436th BS was inactivated in 1963 and after 23 years was reactivated in 1986 as the 436th Strategic Training Squadron at Carswell AFB, Texas to support training and creating multimedia training productions for Strategic Air Command.

In 1992, the 436th STS moved under Air Combat Command as the 436th TS and a year later was moved to Dyess. Following the move to ACC, the 436th TS looked to take advantage of new technologies to better support training in the classroom.

“Technology has made some changes as to how we conduct instruction in the defense collaboration services,” said Johnny Lott, 436th TS, director of education and training. “What was once traditionally instructor led instruction is now an online iteration available with access through Advanced Distributed Learning Service. There are many applications and advantages to this design because the learner can progress independently of everyone else and at their convenience. Also, the cost saving in the form of temporary duty dollars expended to send someone to training is virtually reduced or eliminated altogether.”

The 436th TS’s 100 years of history and heritage shows the sacrifices and accomplishments of those that have come before them which has been key to the longevity of the squadron and is critical to understanding what shapes the future of the organization.

“What we have been doing post 9/11 is incredibly important, but only a small portion of the hundred year history,” said Thompson. “We stand on the backs of giants. I am incredibly humbled by those who came before and excited for those who will come after us who get to continue our legacy.”