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The Era

"Under Construction"


Closure of Headquarters 8th Air Force.  


   As part of a USAF directed manpower reduction program (Project 703), announced in August 1969, SAC reduced it's numbered air forces in the CONUS from 3 to 2 and effected a major realignment of combat forces.  HQ 8th AF ceased operations at Westover AFB, Mass., on 31 March.  At that time, all 8th AF bases and units were transferred to SAC's two other numbered Air Forces, the 2nd and 15th.

Numbered AF realignment.

Under the realignment, 2nd AF became all manned aircraft command, consisting of B-52, FB-111, and KC-135 units; while the 15th AF took responsibility for all combat ICBM units, the entire strategic recon force, and a few B-52 and KC-235 units.

Movement of 8th AF.

The 8th AF was not inactivated as originally announced; instead it was preserved by transferring the numerical designation to Guam, effective 1 April.  Concurrently, 3rd Air Division, which had been at Anderson since 1954, was inactivated and it's personnel and functions absorbed into 8th AF.

Southeast Asia Operations.

Arc Light B-52 bombing operations in SEA declined during the year.  From Nov 69 to April 1970, B-52's flew interdiction missions against targets in Laos in support of Commando Hunt III.

Retirement of last B-58.  

On 16 January, the B-58 retirement program was completed when the last two Hustlers (55-662 and 61-0278) were flown to the storage facility at Davis-Monthan AZ.

B-58 SN 55-0662, one of the last two B-58's to retire.

B-1 development contract.

On 5 June, Sec AF Robert C. Seamans Jr, announced the two winners in the competition to receive the B-1 development contracts:  North American Rockwell for the airframe and General Electric for the engines.

B-1A prototype aircraft.


SEA Operations  

On 18 Jun, SAC B-52's began their seventh year of conventional bombing in the SEA conflict.  KC-135s played an important airlift role by carrying  men and equipment to and from SEA.

Delivery of last FB-111

On 30 June, SAC received its last FB-111 (SN 68-291) which was assigned to the 340t Bomb Group, Carswell AFB, TX.  By early September, the 340th had transferred its FB-111s to the two operational wings (509th at Pease AFB, NH,  and 380th at Plattsburgh AFB, NY).

B-52 Phase-out

In 1971, SAC retired all "C" and several "F" model B052s to the storage facility at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.  SAC's last B-52C, SN 53-402, was retired 29 September. (note:  All B-52 "C" models were originally assigned to Loring.  See this article)
Fact Sheet on the B-52 "C"

See "Attachments" below for additional information about Loring AFB during this era. (Adobe Acrobat may be required)
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