718th Bombardment Squadron
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|718th Bombardment Squadron|
Emblem of the 718th Bombardment Squadron
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 718th Bombardment Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last was assigned to the 4128th Strategic Wing, stationed at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas. It was inactivated on 1 February 1963.
Established as at B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment group in mid-1943; assigned to Second Air Force for training. Deployed to Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in December 1943, squadron taking the South Atlantic Transport Route though the Caribbean and South America; transiting the Atlantic Ocean via Brazil and Dakar, French West Africa, being assigned to Fifteenth Air Force in January 1944 at Grottaglie Airfield in Southern Italy.
Engaged in long-range strategic bombardment of enemy military, industrial and transport targets, including oil refineries and production oilfields in Italy; France; Southern Germany; Austria and the Balkans. Continued strategic bombardment until German capitulation in May 1945. Most of the squadron was demobilized in Europe; small cadre reformed at Sioux Falls Army Airfield, South Dakota in late May, being redesignated as a B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bomber squadron. Equipped with B-17 Flying Fortresses and new personnel, began training for deployment to Central Pacific Area (CPA) to engaged in strategic bombardment missions over Japan. Japanese capitulation in August canceled plans for re-deployment, after training was reassigned to Grand Island Army Airfield, Nebraska as part of Continental Air Command (Later Strategic Air Command).
Reassigned to Alaska Territory in late 1946. Mission changed from strategic bombardment training to strategic reconnaissance and mapping; engaging in very long range reconnaissance missions in the Bering Strait; North Pacific coast and Arctic Ocean coastline of the Soviet Union. Squadron performed charting and other mapping missions, most likely including ferret and ELINT missions, possibly overflying Soviet airspace.
Squadron returned to the Continental United States in 1947, being equipped with B-36 Peacemaker strategic bombers, both in the bomber and strategic reconnaissance versions. Undertook strategic bombardment training missions on a global scale, including strategic reconnaissance missions with the RB-36s until 1955 when returned to strategic bombardment training.
In 1960 was reassigned to SAC provisional 4128th Strategic Wing, being re-equipped with B-52D Stratofortress intercontinental heavy bombers. Was reassigned to Amarillo AFB, Texas by SAC to disperse its heavy bomber force. Conducted worldwide strategic bombardment training missions and providing nuclear deterrent. Was inactivated in 1963 when SAC inactivated its provisional Strategic Wings, redesignating them permanent Air Force Wings. Squadron was inactivated with aircraft/personnel/equipment being redesignated 764th Bombardment Squadron in an in-place, name-only transfer.
- Constituted 718th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Activated on 1 May 1943
- Redesignated: 718th Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 23 May 1945
- Redesignated: 718th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 28 May 1948
- Redesignated: 718th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 16 May 1949
- Redesignated: 718th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Photographic) on 1 April 1950
- Redesignated: 718th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (Heavy) on 16 July 1950
- Redesignated: 718th Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 1 October 1955
- Discontinued, and inactivated on 1 February 1963
- Reconstituted and redesignated 718th Intelligence Squadron on 7 Jun 2011
- 449th Bombardment Group, 1 May 1943
- 28th Bombardment (later Strategic Reconnaissance) Group, 4 August 1946
- 28th Strategic Reconnaissance (later Bombardment) Wing, 16 June 1952
- 4128th Strategic Wing, 20 February 1960 – 1 February 1963.
- B-24 Liberator, 1943–1945
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1945
- B/RB-29 Superfortess, 1946–1950
- B/RB-36 Peacemaker, 1949–1950; 1950–1957
- B-52D Stratofortess, 1957–1963
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- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.