Combat Legacy

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. George A. Holland, III
  • 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron
April 18, 1942 and Oct. 7, 2001 are two prominent dates I will never forget.

The first is the date of the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo during World War II.

The second is the date of the initial strikes of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Unique and special to these two events are the involvement of the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons. These two Ellsworth squadrons have a distinguished history of valor in combat. The most famous memories of these squadrons are in answering the call of a Nation in crisis when things were bleak. However, the true measure of strength of these combat units and those that support them is their combat legacy.

After the Doolittle Raid, the 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons stayed engaged in combat through 1945, putting bombs on target in both the Mediterranean and European theaters of operation. The pace of operations kept the Raiders scattered across the globe, and their first celebration with all the survivors did not occur until after the war ended. They were not able to celebrate their legacy until 3 and half years after the historic raid.

The 34th and 37th Bomb Squadrons have been putting bombs on target in both OEF and Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2001 to the present. Our two bomb squadrons have been deploying and operating in combat over the last eight and a half years. Although it's almost accepted as commonplace now, putting bombs on target for this period of time is not trivial--it involves every member of the 28th Bomb Wing and our Ellsworth team.

In January, I departed Ellsworth with approximately 300 Airmen from across the wing to deploy with the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. This is my third deployment with the wing going back to 2001.

Upon arriving and commencing combat operations, the 37th EBS departed and returned back to Ellsworth. Every member of the 28th Bomb Wing had a part in preparing, deploying and recovering our bomb squadrons, and do so each and every time there is a deployment. Countless Ellsworth Airmen from each group and squadron deployed and in garrison, contribute to putting bombs on target every day. I've been lucky to meet many of the Airmen who have been proudly supporting this fight since the beginning, and who have so on numerous deployments. The wing's ability to continuously deploy in combat is our strength and our legacy.

On April 18 the 34th EBS, from our deployed location, will gather to remember and celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, a celebration of their legacy. While we celebrate this memorable occasion, today's Raiders continue Doolittle's legacy of combat operations. In the future, our legacy will be our combat endurance--the ability to put bombs on target.

I hope you look forward to celebrating this legacy as much as I do.