A brief look at the Mighty 97th

A Brief Look at the Mighty 97th
3 February 1942 - The War Department activated the 97th Bombardment Group at MacDill Field, Florida.

March - May 1942 - The Group trains with the B-17 Flying Fortress for combat operations, flying anti-submarine patrols of the Florida coast.

13 June 1942
- The Group arrives at Polebrook, England with the first American B-17s.

17 August 1942 - Twelve B-17s from the 97th fly the first high altitude daylight, heavy bomber mission on occupied Europe.
The lead pilot is Col Frank A. Armstrong, Jr; later portrayed by Gregory Peck in the movie Twelve O'clock High. The lead co-pilot is Major Paul Tibbets -- later the pilot of the Enola Gay dropping the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.

23 June 1944
- Lt David R. Kingsley, a bombardier assigned to the 97th, earns the Medal of Honor for sacrificing himself for a wounded crewmember following a raid on the oil fields near Ploesti, Romania. Lieutenant Kingsley is currently the only member of the 97th to earn the award.

1942 - 1945 - During World War II the 97th served as the lead group in several key campaigns. Besides being the first to bomb Europe from England, the group is also the group the first to bomb Germany from Africa, led the first raid on Rome, and the first to land in Russia. It is also the first group to fly 300 combat missions.

1945 - 1951
- Following the war, the Mighty 97th transfers to Kansas, then Alaska, before settling at Biggs AFB, Texas where it helps develop the American boom style of aerial refueling.

1 July 1959
- The wing transfers to Blytheville AFB [later Eaker AFB], Arkansas and deploys B-52 Stratofrotresses to Southwest Asia during the Vietnam War. The Wing participates in the Arc Light and Linebacker missions and serves as the lead formation during the first Linebacker missions into North Vietnam.

August 1990 - March 1991
- In support of Operation Desert Storm the wing operates from England flying bombing missions into Iraq and Kuwait.

April - September 1992
- The 97th Bombardment Wing inactivates at Eaker AFB and reactivates at Altus AFB as the 97th Air Mobility Wing, the first of its kind. First under Air Mobility Command and then Air Education and Training Command the wing operates the only heavy mobility and air refueling schoolhouse in the Air Force.