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Remembering Wurtsmith Air Force Base

524th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)

524th Bombardment Squadron Insignia

 

 

Station

Geiger Field, Washington

3 Nov 1942

Wendover Field, Utah

2 Dec 1942

Sioux City AAB, Iowa

2 Feb - 9 Apr 1943

Kimbolton, England

20 May 1943 - 16 Jun 1945

Casablanca, French Morocco

17 Jun - 25 Jul 1945

Homestead AFB, Florida

1 Nov 1955 - Dec 1960

Wurtsmith Air Force Base

9 January 1961

Deactivated

2 December 1992


Assignment

379th Bombardment Group

3 Nov 1942 - 25 Jul 1945

379th Bombardment Wing

1 Nov 1955 - Sep 1992


Aircraft

B-17

1942 - 1945

B-47

1956 - 1960

Boeing B-52H Stratofortress

9 May 1961 - July 1977

Boeing B-52G Stratofortress

2 May 1977 - 2 December 1992



The 524th BMS has an impressive heritage that tracks back to World War II when the squadron was first activated as part of the 379th Bombardment Group in 1942. Flying B-17s, squadron crews spent 23 months in combat over Europe. They earned the group two Distinguished Unit Citations before inactivation in 1945. The 524th BMS was reactivated as a medium bombardment squadron flying B-47s under SAC expansion in the 1950s. In 1961, the squadron converted to a heavy bomb squadron flying B-52s. Through its history, the 524th has earned distinguished honors in combat and peacetime operations that set a winning pace for other bomb squadrons to follow.

A 379th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) Boeing B-47 Stratojet sets down after a mission. - photo contributed by Maj Andy Bloom

The mission of the 524th Bombardment Squadron did not changed substantially from the time the squadron became part of the Strategic Air Command's 379th Bombardment Wing in 1955 until its deactivation in December of 1992. That mission was to maintain full readiness to conduct worldwide strategic bombing operations given a Presidential order.

The commander of the 524th BMS was responsible to the 379th Bombardment Wing deputy commander for operations. B-52 crews assigned to the squadron alternate between training flights, squadron responsibilities and alert duties to maintain combat-readiness.

The squadron prepares for an Operational Readiness Inspection (ORI) - Photo by Maj Andy Bloom

The 524th BMS became the first SAC unit to operate the B-52H model Stratofortress taking delivery of aircraft 60-001 on 9 May 1961. The was christened the "State of Michigan" in a ceremony on the flightline on May 11th by Miss Donna Jean Shepperd, Miss Michigan 1961. Five months later, the unit would begin receiving the AGM-28B "Hound Dog" Air-to-Ground missile.

"Old Crow Express" with her crew following 53 missions in Operation Desert Storm.

On 2 May 1977 the 524th BMS began a conversion to the B-52G model. It has a wing span of 185 feet and a fuselage length of 160 feet, and is powered by eight turbojet engines capable of delivering 13,750 pounds of thrust each. As a high-speed weapons system, the B-52 has both a conventional and nuclear capability. It can be armed with gravity weapons, as well as a combination of short range attack missiles (SRAMs), and air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs).

"Old Crow Express" retired to AMARC in 1992. It appears that her nose artwork was preserved - photo by Maj Andy Bloom

The 524th's insignia consists of a red disc bordered black, two green olive branches arched bendwise throughout, surmounted by two white lightning flashes throughout, issuing from dexter and sinister chief respectively and covering in center base, each charged with two Air Force blue stars in chief, one above the other. Motto: On a white, edged black, VIGILANCE FOR PEACE, inscribed red which reflects the unit's dedication and commitments to maintaining peace and freedom as part of our country's armed forces.

Although she will never be seen again in the skies, "Old Crow Express" lives on in the 1985 artwork entitled "Soldiering On" by Ronald Wong