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23rd BS celebrates centennial

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Weissman
  • Minot Air Force Base Public Affairs

Since June 16, 1917, the 23rd Bomb Squadron has been on the frontline of our nation’s wars.

Originally organized at Kelly Field, Texas, the 23rd BS began as the 23rd Aero Squadron during World War I and transitioned to the squadron it is today during World War II.

From Hawaii to Japan, the 23rd BS continues the legacy of deter and assure.

“We have conducted operations during both world wars, OPERATION ALLIED FORCE and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM,” said Capt. Zachary Grove, 23rd BS B-52H Stratofortress navigator. “We have flown countless aircraft over the years, to include Boeing B-17E Flying Fortresses, B-24 Liberators and our current aircraft, the B-52H Stratofortress, since 1959.”

Most recently, the 23rd BS deployed to the Middle East to support OPERATIONS INHERENT RESOLVE and FREEDOM SENTINEL.

“During our most recent OIR deployment, we flew over 500 sorties with an average of approximately 10 hours per flight, all with no maintenance cancels,” said Grove. “We dropped over 5-million pounds of ordnances and participated in the liberation of Mosul, which included some of the worst street fighting since WWII.”

The 23rd BS conducts nuclear-capable and conventional missions every day to deter potential adversaries and counter insurgency.

“Our nuclear-capable mission is considered no fail and is vital to national security. It deters potential adversaries and ensures our allies that we can defend and support them,” said Grove. “Our conventional operations are conducted in regular warfare to counter terrorism operations. The dual role means that while we train nuclear-capable operations, we stay ready to strike potential enemies anywhere on the globe, whether it is a planned six-month deployment to the middle east, or a sudden crisis that requires immediate response.”

On Nov. 10, 2017, active-duty members of the 23rd BS invited alumni to Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

“We brought out some alumni and took them through the [B-52H Stratofortress] and showed them the most recent connect upgrade,” said Capt. Keene Nettles, 23rd BS weapons system officer. “We did a retreat ceremony and conducted a flyover with the B-52.”

Since July 25, 1968, the 23rd BS has been maintaining operations here.

“It’s amazing to know I’ve been a part of a group that has been flying the Air Force mission for so many years,” Nettles said.