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23d Bomb Squadron Patch – Sew On


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4 inch 23d Bomb Squadron Patch – Sew On

World War I
Originally organized at Camp Kelly, Texas on 16 June 1917 as the 18th Aero Squadron but redesignated the 23rd Aero Squadron six days later. Arriving in late July, 1918, in Britain, it started training before going to France, where it arrived on Armistice day. It was stationed at the Air Service Replacement Concentration Barracks St. Maixent Replacement Barracks until c. 29 January 1919, then moved to Saint-Nazaire, from where it sailed back to US on 20 February. The squadron arrived at the port of embarkation in March and was demobilized there.

Inter-war years
The 23rd Bombardment Squadron was born in 1921 and in April 1924 was consolidated with the World War I 23rd Aero Squadron. It spent the decades of the 1920s and 1930s stationed in Hawaii. There, the squadron flew a number of bomber types, most notably the Keystone bomber series and later the Douglas B-18 Bolo. It was during the squadron’s stay in Hawaii that the event signified by the squadron emblem took place. On 27 December 1935, the Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii erupted, threatening the city of Hilo. Six Keystones of the 23rd used precision bombing tactics to drop twenty 600-pound bombs in the path of the volcano’s lava flow, thus saving the city of Hilo by diverting the lava away from the city.

World War II
Part of the 5th Bombardment Group, the 23rd fought its way across the Southwest Pacific during World War II. The 23rd initially flew Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses into combat, replacing those with Consolidated B-24 Liberators by early 1943. Long-range over-water missions were the squadron’s forte, and in April 1944 the squadron won its first of two Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC)s for flying the longest over-water bombing mission ever flown to date, some 1,300 miles each way, to bomb the Japanese base at Woleai Island. After winning a second DUC for another long range strike against oil refineries on Borneo on 30 September 1944, the 23rd found itself in the Philippines at the close of the war.

A Martin B-10 of the 23d Bombardment Squadron taken in 1941 over Oahu, Hawaii.
Cold War
After a brief period in the Far East after the war, the 23rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron relocated to Travis Air Force Base, Calif ornia, in 1949. There, the squadron flew global strategic reconnaissance missions with Boeing RB-29 Superfortresses from 1949–51, Convair RB-36F Peacemakers from 1951–53, and RB-36Hs from 1953–55. On 1 October 1955, the squadron was again redesignated the 23rd Bombardment Squadron and reverted to training for long range nuclear strike missions with the same RB-36Hs. On 13 February 1959, the 23rd entered the jet age when it received its first Boeing B-52G Stratofortress and also entered the missile age, as the B-52Gs were equipped with the AGM-28 Hound Dog standoff missile and the ADM-20 Quail decoy missile. The squadron flew the B-52G from Travis until July 1968.

A B-52H with a Navy EA-6B Prowler and Japanese F-2-fighters during exercise Cope North 09-1 in February 2009 over Andersen Air Force Base
On 25 July 1968, the 23rd moved, without personnel or equipment, to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, where it absorbed the personnel, equipment, and B-52H bombers of the inactivating 720th Bombardment Squadron. The 23rd has been combat ready in B-52Hs since that time, continuously adding improvements in avionics, weapons, and tactics to its arsenal. In 1973, the squadron was the first unit to receive the AGM-69 SRAM (Short Range Attack Missile). In 1980, the 23rd gained the offensive avionics system, and led Strategic Air Command’s venture into modern conventional war fighting as the lead unit for the Strategic Projection Force, in support of the U.S. Rapid Deployment Force. During the 1980s, the squadron pioneered night vision goggle tactics. The 23rd added the AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile in 1989 and the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile in 1994.

Post-Cold War
The squadron, along with other bomber units provide aircraft and personnel for regular rotational deployments to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam part of the U.S. Pacific Command’s continuous bomber presence since 2004. [3]

July 2012 see the 23rd Bomb Squadron deploy aircraft and personnel to Nellis AFB for Exercise Red Flag 12-4.[4]

June 2016 three of the unit’s B-52H bombers deployed to RAF Fairford for NATO Maritime exercise “BALTOPS” and for JTAC (Joint Terminal Attack Controller) exercise “Saber Strike”.[5]

26 March 2019 the 23rd BS assigned to the 23rd Expeditionary Bomber Squadron deployed two B-52 Stratofortresses from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Australia to participate in the biennial exercise Diamond Shield 2019.[6]