28th Bomb Wing B-1B Model
Fly with the 35th Bomb Squadron of 28th Bomb wing in this hand crafted B-1b model. Each piece is carefully carved from wood and hand painted to provide piece you’ll love.
Length – 18 inches
Established as the 28th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 28 July 1947. Maintained proficiency in heavy bombardment, 1947–1948. Maintained proficiency in global bombardment, deploying tactical components or segments thereof as needed, 1948–1950.
In March 1953 an RB-36 and its entire crew of 23 crashed in Newfoundland while returning from a routine exercise in Europe. On 13 June 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made a personal visit to dedicate the base in memory of Brig Gen Richard E. Ellsworth, commander of the 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, who lost his life in that accident.
Although the wing’s aerial reconnaissance capability lasted until September 1958, by April 1955 the Air Force had already changed the wing back to its former status as the 28th Bombardment Wing, Heavy, under the 15th Air Force (later attached to the 3rd Air Division), which specialized almost exclusively in ordnance delivery. Headquarters Strategic Air Command (SAC) reassigned the 28 Bomb wing from 8th Air Force back to 15th Air Force in October 1955.
Approximately one year later, SAC set plans in motion to replace the 28th’s B-36s with the new all-jet B-52 Stratofortress. The last B-36 left Ellsworth on 29 May 1957 and the first B-52 arrived sixteen days later. In 1958 all base units came under the command of the 821st Strategic Aerospace Division, headquartered at Ellsworth. On 26 September 1958, two 28th wing B-52Ds set world speed records. One flew a 5,000 km closed course at an average speed of 597.695 mph, while the other flew a 10,000 km closed course at a speed of 560.705 mph.:259
Added aerial refueling to mission in 1959 and began operating post-attack command and control system for Fifteenth Air Force in January 1965, maintaining this capability through a rear echelon during the absences of the remainder of the wing.
In April 1966, B-52Ds of the wing, together with D series bombers of the 484th Bombardment Wing deployed to Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, replacing the B-52Fs that SAC had been deploying to Andersen for the Vietnam War since the previous year. The 29th’s planes and other B-52Ds had been modified under a program called Big Belly, which increased the bombload of wing aircraft to 84 500 lb bombs or 42 750 lb bombs, from the 27 it could previously carry.:256 From this point, the Big Belly B-52D became the SAC workhorse in Southeast Asia.
Except for a small rear echelon left at Ellsworth, the wing’s headquarters staff, tactical aircraft and crews, and most support personnel were integrated into Arc Light forces for combat in Southeast Asia, c. 9 March – c. 21 September 1966, c. 15 January – c. 19 July 1968, and c. 9 September 1969 – c. 18 March 1970. From April 1972 to October 1973 the wing also had most of its tactical aircraft and crews on loan to SAC organizations involved in combat operations, and the wing continued supporting Pacific forces with planes and crews into 1975.
Converted from B-52G to B-52H models in 1977. Performed airborne launch control functions for USAF Minuteman missile wings with EC-135 aircraft and provided logistic support to the 44th Missile Wing. Expanded B-52H mission in 1984 to include sea reconnaissance, surveillance, and conventional operations from forward bases overseas. Upgraded tanker force to KC-135R in 1985–1986.
In 1986 the 28 Bomb Wing made extensive preparations to phase out the aging B-52 fleet and become the new home for the advanced B-1 Lancer. Contractors completed new unaccompanied enlisted dormitories in March, a new security police group headquarters in October, and gave Ellsworth’s 13,497 foot runway a much-needed facelift. In addition, they completed new aircraft maintenance facilities for the complex new B-1B. In January 1987, the wing received the first of 35 B-1B bombers.
The 37 BS returned to operational duty with the 28 BW in January 1987, just in time to join the 77 BS in training on the new bombers. The first B-1B arrived on 21 January 1987. In July 1988 the 57th Air Division became the wing’s new higher headquarters. In 1989 the wing’s B-1Bs earned the Fairchild Trophy, Crumm Linebacker Trophy, Eaker Trophy, and the Omaha Trophy for superior bomber operations and the most outstanding wing in SAC. The wing also provided tanker support for Operation Just Cause, December 1989 – January 1990.
In July 1990 the Strategic Warfare Center became the latest of the wing’s intermediate headquarters. Adding to its extensive combat experience, the wing deployed both tanker and airborne command post aircraft to Operation’s Desert Shield/Desert Stormfrom August 1990 – March 1991.
On 1 September 1991 SAC redesignated the 28 BW as the 28th Wing, and once again assigned it directly under Eighth Air Force, and as part of the new objective wing organization, reactivated the old 28 BG under the new name of the 28th Operations Group. The 28th Wing also regained host wing responsibilities for Ellsworth AFB from the 44th Missile Wing.
Post Cold War era
With the end of the Cold War, on 28 September 1991 the Secretary of Defense ordered B-1Bs and tankers off alert. The 4 ACCS continued to maintain an alert crew until May 1992. On 1 June 1992, simultaneously, SAC inactivated, Air Combat Command activated, the 28th Wing changed names to the 28th Bomb Wing, and the 28 AREFS became a geographically separated unit assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. In September 1992 the 4 ACCS also inactivated, having effectively worked themselves out of a job by providing airborne command and control so faithfully for so long.
In 1993 the wing’s B-1Bs were the first in ACC to transition from their former strategic role to an all-conventional mission. The 28th’s operational squadrons could conceivably touch anywhere in the world to meet national defense needs. Ellsworth tested this concept in 1993 and early 1994 during such events as: “Team Spirit” (the first B-1Bs ever to land in South Korea); “Global Power” (various long-duration, round trip sorties flown from Ellsworth to bomb training ranges in another continent.); and “Bright Star” (the wing’s second but the B-1Bs first visit to a major JCS exercise in Southwest Asia).
From June through December 1994, 28 BW B-1Bs participated in a Congressionally directed operational readiness assessment known locally as “Dakota Challenge.” Towards the end of the exercise the wing deployed a squadron to Roswell, NM, to simulate flying from an austere location at wartime sortie rates. This test proved the B-1B to be a versatile weapon system. Excellent results were obtained. However, World Airpower Journal argued that ‘[i]t could be argued that the excellent results were meaningless, because they were so unrepresentative. Spare parts, equipment and people were brought in from the 7th BW and the 384th BW, at last bringing up the 28th up to 100% in all three respects. This was done at the expense of degrading the other two wings. It did however show what was possible, given funding and commitment.’.The journal favorably quoted General John M. Loh in this regard.
On 31 March 1995, the 77 BS—a unit that had served under the wing since 1948—inactivated. Its B-1Bs became part of ACC’s reconstitution reserve. This action freed funds to allow the Air Force to develop new precision-guided munitions. The Air Force announced in early 1996 that the 77 BS would once again activate under the 28 BW on 1 April 1997. In November 1998, they received the first Block D upgraded B-1B in the USAF inventory. The Block D upgrade brings the capability for the B-1 to drop the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM), which is a global positioning system (GPS) guided munition. (These are the upgrades that were paid for with the funds that were freed during the 77 BS’s inactivation).
One B-1B from the 28th Bomb Wing departed for Southwest Asia 18 December 1997 to supply additional bomber forces in the Middle East. The 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base also launched a B-1B 18 December. This brings the total number of B-1Bs in theater to six—three from Ellsworth and three from Dyess. B-1Bs from both bases saw their first combat action in air raids over Iraq 17 December 1997. Details on the number of B-1Bs used and battle damage assessment information has not been released; however, the missions were characterized as “very successful.
In December 1998, 28 BW deployed aircraft, which flew under the flag of the 28th Air Expeditionary Group in Operation Desert Fox, were the first B-1s to drop bombs on an enemy target.
In late March 2011, B-1 bombers from the 28th Bomb Wing were deployed on a mission to Libya to attack military targets in support of Operation Odyssey Dawn.
The Department of the Air Force announced in the spring of 2015 that effective 1 October 2015 the 28th, along with the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess Air Force Base would be realigned under Air Force Global Strike Command, reuniting all the Air Force’s bomber and strategic missiles under a single command for the first time since Strategic Air Command was discontinued 23 years earlier.