22nd Bomb Wing B-52H March AFB 1964
Fly with the 22nd Bomb Wing March AFB 1964 in this hand crafted B-52H model. Each model is carved from wood and hand painted to provide a unique piece you’ll treasure. 18 inches
22nd Bombardment Wing
22nd Air Refueling Wing
Motto: “We Lead”
Based at: March AFB, McConnell AFB
Aircraft: B-29, B-47, B-52, KC-97, KC-135, KC-10A
Status: Active as 22nd Air Refueling Wing
Squadrons: 2 BS, 6 BS, 9 BS, 19 BS, 33 BS, 352 BS, 408 BS, 486 BS, 22 AR, 320 AR, 909 AR
Links: McConnell AFB History Office
World War II
The 22nd Bombardment Wing traces it’s roots back to December 22, 1939, when it was formed as the 22nd Bombardment Group (Medium). It became active on February 1, 1940, at Mitchell Field, NY. In November 1940 the group moved to Langley Field, VA. On December 7, 1941 a Japanese aircraft carrier task force attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The unit began deploying to Muroc Bombing Range, California, within 18 hours after the attack. Seventy-two hours after Pearl Harbor, the 22nd began flying anti-submarine operations over the Pacific Ocean. It has a distinguished service record in the Pacific Theater flying B-24s, B-25, and B-26s. It became the 22nd Bombardment Group (Heavy) and it the only known Army Air Forces/Air Force unit to engage the enemy with distinction in three different types of aircraft. The group also gained the nickname “Red Raiders” named after the group commander s, Col. Richard “Red” W. Robertson.
Post War B-29s
After the war, the 22nd remained in the theater under Far East Air Forces, Pacific Air Forces’ predecessor. In November 1945, the 22nd moved without personnel and equipment to Clark Field, Philippines. In April 1946, the group became the 22nd Bombardment Group (Very Heavy), and returned to Okinawa — this time, to Kadena Air Base. The following month, the unit replaced their older planes for B-29 Superfortresses and remained in June 1946.
The group remained at Kadena until it moved to Smoky Hills AFB, near Salina, Kan. in May 1948. Like other combat groups during the now independent Air Force’s first reorganization, the 22nd became subordinate to a newly created wing with the same number designation. On 1 August 1948, the Group joined the newly created the 22nd Maintenance and Supply Group and the 22nd Air Base Group that made up the newly established the 22nd Bombardment Wing. The 22nd Wing’s headquarters was non-operational and its components. detached.
It moved to March AFB, California on May 10, 1949. It was not operational, so it shared a commander with the First Fighter Wing. The 22nd Bomb became operational on July 1, 1949. The First Fighter Wing was attached to it and both wings shared the same commanding officer.
The 22nd Bomb Group’s B-29s were detached from Nov. 14, 1949 to Feb. 20, 1950. during this time, the wing controlled only the attached F-86 fighters of the First Fighter Wing. The bomb group was detached again for combat in Korea, July 4 to Oct. 31 Oct 1950, and during this period the wing controlled no aircraft. [See Korean War]. The wing deployed to Mildenhall RAF Station, England, from September to December 1951
B-47s and KC-97s
In 1952, the took delivery on KC-97 tankers, adding aerial refueling to it’s mission. The following year, the wing retired its B-29 fleet and replaced them with the jet powered B-47 “Stratojet.” It was the second wing to receive them. (The first was the 303rd Bomb at Davis-Monthan). In 1954, wing aircrews flew the longest non-stop mass flight in history: 5,840 miles from England to California. The wing deployed to Upper Heyford RAF Station, England from December 1953 to Mar 1954. It deployed at Andersen AFB, Guam from April to July 1957.
The 22nd received the new B-52B and was redesignated as the 22d Bomb Wing (Heavy) on March 15, 1963. It was then stationed at March AFB, California. The first planes were assigned to the 2nd Bombardment Squadron. The wing was not tactically operational 11 March 11, to September 15,1963, while converting to B 52 bombers and KC 135 tankers. It supported Fifteenth Air Force s post-attack command and control system with EC 135s from September1964 to March 1970.. The 22d was a “super” wing, 1966 1971, with two bombardment and two tanker squadrons.
During the war in Vietnam, the 22nd Bombardment Wing deployed aircraft and crews several times, participating in operations such as Young Tiger, Rolling Thunder, Arc Light, and Linebacker II. In March 1973, the wing received an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its operations in Southeast Asia–the fourth in its history before returned to nuclear deterrence alert at the war’s end.
From March 10 to October 1, 1967 the wing was reduced to a small “rear-echelon” non-tactical organization with all tactical resources and most support resources loaned to SAC organizations involved in combat operations in Southeast Asia. The wing continued to support SAC operations in the Far East and Southeast Asia through 1975, and from April 10, 1972 to October 29, 1973 again had all of its bomber resources loaned to other organizations for combat and contingency operations. KC 135 resources were also on loan from April 10 to September 1972. Afterwards a few tankers returned to wing control. The wing maintained a strategic bombardment alert posture.
In 1978, the 22nd bomb Wing assumed additional conventional warfare missions, including mine-laying and sea reconnaissance/surveillance. It lost it’s bombardment mission in 1982, but retained it’s KC 135 and KC 10 aircraft and provided strategic air refueling and airlift in support of worldwide USAF and other DOD operations and training exercises. It moved personnel and cargo in support of Chadian resistance to Libyan incursions in 1983 and conducted airlift and refueling missions during rescue of US nationals in Grenada, 1983.
The 22nd provided specialized refueling support to SR 71 aircraft reconnaissance operations worldwide, 1985 1990, and to the F 117 stealth aircraft program, beginning in 1987. It supported F 117 deployments to Saudi Arabia and contributed aircraft and personnel to logistics efforts in support of the liberation of Kuwait, 1990 1991. At the end of 1992, the 22d began flying humanitarian airlift missions to Somalia.
New Mission and Base
The 22nd lost its 486th Bomb Squadron in 1971 and it’s 2nd Bomb Squadron. With it’s B-52s long gone, the days of the Red Raiders were history. The 22nd was redesignated the 22d Air Refueling Wing on September 1, 1991. In January 1994, it moved without personnel and equipment from March AFB to McConnell AFB, assuming the role of host wing. Prior to that McConnell was home of the 384th Bomb Wing, which then became the 384 bomb group until it transferred it’s Lancers the air reserve before inactivating on September 30, 1994.
On January 1, 1995, the 931st Air Refueling Group joined activated at McConnell. The Air Force Reserve associate unit provides aircrews while the 22nd provides the maintenance crews and aircraft.
Now the 22nd Aerial Refueling Wing, stationed at McConnell AFB.
1st Fighter: Attached Jul 1, 1949 Apr 1,1950.
330 BW: Attached Jun 27, 1949 Apr 30, 1951.
22 BG (later, 22d Operations): Assigned Aug 1,1948 Jun 16, 1952 (Detached Aug 1, 1948
Jun 30, 1949, Nov 14, 1949 Feb 20, 1950, Jul 4, Oct 31, 1950); Sep 1,1991
485th Operations: June 1, 1992 Jul 1, 1993.
2 BS Attached Feb 10, 1951 Jun 15, 1952. Assigned Jun 16, 1952 15 Mar 1963;
Assigned Sep 15, 1963 Oct 1, 1982. Flew B-52B from Sept 1963 until 1966 when it converted
to B-52D, which it retained until 1982. Flew B-52C (1957-1971) and B-52E (1968-1970.)
Inactivated Oct 1, 1982
6 BS: Assigned Jan 3, 1989 Sep 1, 1991
9 BS: Assigned Aug 1, 1982 Sep 1, 1991
19 BS Attached Feb 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952, Assigned Jun 16, 1952 Mar 15, 1963
33 BS Attached Feb 10, 1951 – June 15, 1952, Assigned Jun 16, 1952 Mar 15, 1963
352 BS Attached Sep 20 c. Nov, 1951
408 BS: Assigned Jan 1, 1959 Jan 1, 1962
486 BS: Assigned Oct 2, 1966 Jul 1, 1971 Flew B-52D which it received fro the 340th Bomb Wing
on Oct 10, 1966. Flew them until 1971. Also flew B-52C (1967-71) and B-52E (1968-1970)
Inactivated July 1, 1971.
22 AR: Attached Feb 10, 1951 Jun 15, 1952, Assigned June 16, 1952 Jun 15, 1960;
Assigned Jul 1, 1963 Dec 1, 1989.
320 AR: Assigned June 16, 1960 Sep 15, 1962
909 AR: Assigned June 15, 1966 Jul 1, 1971.