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28TH OPERATIONS GROUPThe mission of the 28th Operations Group, whose motto is
to find and kill the enemy, is to provide combat-ready B-1 bomber aircrews for
world-wide taskings, including conventional operations and power projection.
Airmen in the 28th OG fly the B-1, plan and support combat operations, and
develop deployment plans. Additionally, they manage the base airfield, radar
approach control facilities, and air traffic control tower. The group also
includes a weather section, a life support flight, and flight and tower
simulators. The 28th OG Intelligence Flight provides current intelligence
information and analysis ranging from strategic intelligence for the base's
senior leadership to the tactical level required by the group's combat
The 28th Operations Group commands three squadrons: the
28th Operations Support Squadron, the 34th Bomb Squadron, and the 37th Bomb
28TH OPERATIONS SUPPORT SQUADRONThe 28th Operations Support Squadron supports the 28th
Bomb Wing in all aspects of flying operations to effectively and efficiently
train and conduct combat operations.
A diverse squadron, the 28th OSS oversees airfield and
airspace management, weather support, intelligence analysis, combat crew
communications, B-1 simulator training, aircrew flight equipment, aircrew
flight records, the Belle Fourche Electronic Scoring Site (ESS), combat
survival training, and weapons and tactics training.
34TH BOMB SQUADRONKnown as the Thunderbirds, the 34th Bomb Squadron's
mission is to defeat America's enemies across the globe at a moment's notice.
The history of the 34th Bomb Squadron dates back to World
War I, when the U.S. Army organized the 34th Aero Squadron in June 11, 1917.
During assignment with the 17th Pursuit Group, the squadron became equipped
with the P-12 biplane fighter. In 1935 and 1936, the squadron gradually
transitioned from the P-12 and P-26 Peashooter to the A-17 and YA-19, which it
kept until 1940 when it began flying the B-18 and the B-23 bombers. On April
18, 1942, 34th crews famously flew the B-25 Mitchell from the deck of the
U.S.S. Hornet with crews from the 37th Bomb Squadron during the Doolittle Raid
Throughout the war, the 34th flew bombing missions in the
B-26 Invader overseas and then returned to the United States in November 1945.
The day after its arrival, the squadron was inactivated. The 34th BS went
through numerous activations and deactivations over its history. However, it
was able to fly interdiction and close air support missions in Korea, transitioning
to the B-57, the B-66, and then finally the B-52 Stratofortress aircraft.
When the unit moved to Ellsworth on April 1, 1994, it
began flying the B-1B Lancer. On April 1, 1997, the squadron moved again,
transferring to Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. After the Sept. 11, 2001
terrorist attacks on the United States, the 34th BS was one of the first units
to deploy overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. On Sept. 19, 2002,
the 34th BS moved back to Ellsworth from Mountain Home. As tensions rose in
Iraq, the 34th BS deployed from Jan. 5 to May 15, 2003 in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom, Operation Southern Watch and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Since 2003, the Thunderbirds have completed numerous
deployments in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. From
2006-2015, the 34th entered a regular deployment schedule with other B-1 units
with one year at home station followed by six months deployed. On average,
these deployments result in over 6,000 combat hours and more than 500 combat
sorties flown supporting overseas contingency operations. On March 27, 2011 the
34th BS flew the first ever B-1 combat mission launched from the United States
to strike overseas targets when it participated in Operation Odyssey Dawn,
flying non-stop from Ellsworth to strike targets in Libya. On April 14,
2018, for the first time in history, the 34th BS employed Joint Air to Surface
Standoff Missiles against components of the Syrian chemical weapons program.
37TH BOMB SQUADRONThe 37th Bomb Squadron Tigers are responsible for
employing the B-1B Lancer in support of Department of Defense missions.
The 37th BS consists of approximately 70 Airmen,
including aviators, intelligence, and aviation resource management Airmen.
These Airmen enable the Tigers to remain on the leading edge of B-1 employment
supporting precision engagement and global attack missions.
The 37th BS is among the Air Force's most senior units.
It began as the 37th Aero Squadron in June 1913, and served with the American
Expeditionary Force in France during World War I. During World War II, the 37th
served for a short time with the 28th Composite Group in 1940, and then was
assigned to the 17th Bomb Group. As part of the 17th BG, the 37th participated
in one of the most famous air raids of World War II. Three crews trained in
B-25 Mitchell bombers and flew with Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle on the
famous raid over Tokyo in April 1942. After the war ended the squadron was
deactivated. In 1950, the 37th reactivated as a night intruder squadron and
transferred to Pusan, Korea. The squadron flew the B-26 Invader on night
interdiction missions during the Korean Was. The squadron "hunted at
night, like tigers" and adopted its current patch: a Bengal Tiger.
The 37th Bomb Squadron joined the 28th Bomb Wing at
Ellsworth in 1977, flying the B-25H Stratofortress. On Jan. 1, 1987, the
squadron transitioned to its current aircraft, the B-1B Lancer.
In December 1998, the Tigers became the first unit to
employ the B-1 in combat in support of Operation Desert Fox in Iraq. One year
later, Tiger crews teamed with the 77th Bomb Squadron for Operation Allied
Force and flew combat operations in Kosovo and Serbia.
After Sept. 11, 2001, the 37th again roared into action
alongside the 34th and formed the 34th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron. Flying
missions to Afghanistan, the squadron contributed to the 34th EBS effort to
drive the Taliban from Afghanistan. During this time, the combined squadron
flew 5 percent of the strike missions but released nearly 40 percent of the
total bomb tonnage -- more than 1,730 tons.
In March 2003, crews from the 37th BS joined crews from
the 34th BS to employ the B-1 in action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tiger
crews flew numerous combat missions over Iraq, including a strike against high
priority leadership targets in Baghdad.
From 2003 to 2015, the Tigers accomplished numerous
deployments supporting Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. In 2007,
the 37th began regular deployments to the Middle East, rotating with other B-1
units, with one year at home station followed by six months deployed. On
average the squadron flies over 6,000 combat hours and more than 500 combat
sorties per deployment. Additionally, 37th BS personnel supported the 34th's
Libya strike missions from Ellsworth from a forward operating location during
Operation Odyssey Dawn, the first ever B-1 combat mission launched from the
United States to strike overseas targets.
Most recently in 2017, the Tigers deployed to Andersen
AFB, Guam in support of the Continuous Bomber Presence. The 37th flew numerous missions throughout
the region to assure U.S. allies and deter our adversaries in the Indo-Pacific
region. Throughout history the 37th Bomb
Squadron has been a steady contributor to America's airpower might and surely
will continue to contribute to securing America's safety for many more years.