509th Bomb
          Wing emblem

509th Bomb Wing
Walker AFB, New Mexico

    The 509th Composite Group was activated on December 17, 1944 at Wendover Army Air Field with B-29s.  While at Wendover the 509th trained for the delivery of Atomic Bombs.  During April of 1945 the unit moved to North Field on Tinian from where the two A-Bombs were dropped on Japan.  In October, the unit started leaving for Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico, where the unit was once again combat ready by November 17, 1945.     During 1946 the 509th participated in Operation Crossroads, a full scale test of nuclear weapons against a fleet of ships anchored at Bikini Atoll.  On November 3, 1947 the 509th's designation changed to the 509th Bombardment Wing (Very Heavy) and on 1 Aug 1948 changed to the 509th Bombardment Wing (Medium).   In 1948 RAAF was renamed Walker Air Force Base.

    When the 509th arrived at Roswell, it included the 393rd, 715th and 830th Bombardment Squadrons.  On July 19, 1948 the 509th Air Refueling Squadron was added and the 661st BS came along on March 1, 1959, but the 661st was deactivated on June 1, 1962.

    In a unique move on November 17, 1947, the 33rd Fighter Wing was placed under the control of the 509th.  While not unheard of, it is odd for one wing to be subordinate to another, but this was SAC and no resources were to great to accomplish the mission.  The 33rd only stayed until November 15, 1948, when the unit relocated to Otis AFB, Massachusetts.  While at Walker, the 33rd flew F-51Ds and F-84Cs.  After leaving and moves to various bases the unit transitioned to F-86s, F-94s, F-47s, F-89s, F-4s and the current F-15C at Eglin AFB, Florida.

    In June of 1950, the 509th re-equipped with B-50s and KB-29s.  1955 brought a change to B-47Es and KC-97s, but in 1958 the unit was transferred to Pease AFB, New Hampshire.  While the 509th's history at Walker came to an end the unit went on to fly B-52Ds, KC-135As and FB-111As.  Another move came along in 1990, this time to Whiteman AFB, Missouri, where the unit was designated the 509th Bomb Wing.  Along with that move came the Current B-2A and with that aircraft the 509th Bomb Wing continues its mission that started at Wendover.



    Probably the most famous bomber in the world is the Enola Gay, B-29-45-MO 44-86292. 

    The first photo shows her on Tinian either prior to the Hiroshima mission, or post mission.  For that mission the 509th's arrowhead was replaced with the 6th BG's "R" inside a circle. (Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico)

    Photo number 2 shows the Enola Gay on display at the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center in March , 2004.  (CB)

    Number 3 is during the time period of Operation Crossroads.  For that operation the tail markings denoted the aircraft's purpose during the test: Solid black squares with a "B" was for bombers (or more correctly drop-ships), "F" for photo-recon,  and "W" for weather.  The instrument carriers retained the arrowhead inside the circle marking.  This photo was probably taken at Roswell, the water tower in the background looks like the one still standing at Walker.  (Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico)


 (1)  While B-29 44-86401 is a Sliver Plate conversion, it was not one of the original fifteen aircraft specially built in 1944 for the 509th CG.  She was probably assigned after arrival at Roswell.

(2)  44-87353 appears to be parked on the ramp at Roswell.

(3)  44-87354, Dave's Dream,  was one of the bomber aircraft available for Crossroads.

(4)  F-13A (RB-29A) 44-61960 inflight over farmland.  The F-13 was a photo-recon version of the B-29 and would later be renamed RB-29.

     This photo appears to have been cut from a montage.  It is a shame it does not show the entire aircraft to include the tail markings, which by the arrival of the B-50 were changed to a "C" enclosed inside a hollow triangle. (Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico)

B-50D 49-261 of the 509th Bombardment wing B-50D 49-337 509th BW

B-50D 49-261, City of Elwood.

B-50D 49-337.

B-47E 509th Bomb Wing

    The B-47s were somewhat plain as can be seen here.  The only real identifying marking is the arrow head on the tail, which is a holdover from the arrowhead enclosed inside a circle from earlier days.  Some aircraft did have the Bomb Wing patch on the right side over the SAC "Milky Way" band.

    A couple of photos of 33rd FW F-84Cs.  I would like to know the origin of theses photos, with all of the other F-84s in the background they could very well have been taken at Walker. 
    F-84C 49-1479 (L) and  F-84C 49-1489 (R), both assigned to the 58th Fighter Squadron.

F-84C 47-1433
F-84C 47-1595

At least two preserved F-84Cs served with the 33rd FW and have been restored in those markings.

47-1433 is on display at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, AZ in the markings of the 58th FS.  This aircraft was delivered to the 33rd when the unit was based at Walker AFB in 1947.  (CB)

47-1595 served with the 59th FS and is preserved at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, CA.  (CB)


    The 509th's current mission aircraft, the B-2 Spirit.  (CB)

    The following list is an effort to briefly cover the various designations the 509th had over the years and to try and cover the units attached.  Red text indicates the time period at Walker and Dark Blue indicates the subsequent bases.  While primarily concerned with the history at Roswell AAF and Walker AFB, this history might be of help to others.

509th designations and components.

509th Composite Group 1944 - 1945
509th Bombardment Group, Very Heavy 1945 - 1947
509th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy 1947 - 1948
509th Bombardment Wing, Medium 1948 - 1958
509th Bombardment Wing, Medium 1958 - 1966
509th Bombardment Wing, Heavy 1966 - 1969
509th Bombardment Wing, Medium 1969 - 1990
509th Bomb Wing 1991 - Current

34th Air Refueling Squadron
June 25, 1966 - Mar 31, 1976
KC-135A   1966 - 1976

325 Bomb Squadron
January 6, 1998

B-2A     1998 - Current

393rd Bombardment Squadron
November 17, 1947 - June 30, 1958
July 1, 1958 - September 30, 1990
B-29            1947 - 1952
B-50D         1949 - 1955
B-47E         1955 - 1958
B-47E         1958 - 1966
B-52D/C     1966 - 1969
FB-111A     1970 - 1990


393rd Bomb Squadron
August 27, 1993 - Current

B-2A    1993 - Current

394th Combat Training Squadron
November 2, 1996 - Current

B-2A      1996 - Current
T-38       1996 - Current


509th Air Refueling Squadron
July 19, 1948 - June 30, 1958
July 1, 1958 - June 25, 1965
August 8, 1966 - July 1, 1990
 KB-29           1948 - 1954
KC-97          1954 - 1958
KC-97          1958 - 1965
KC-135A      1966 - 1991


661st Bombardment Squadron
March 1, 1959 - January 1, 1962

B-47E         1959 - 1962

715th Bombardment Squadron
June, 1955 - June 30, 1958
July 1, 1958 - June 25, 1966
January 1, 1970 - September 30, 1990

B-47E         1955 - 1958
B-47E         1958 - 1966
FB-111A      1966 - 1990

830th Bombardment Squadron
June, 1955 - June 30. 1958
July 1, 1958 - June 25, 1966

B-47E          1955 - 1958 
                                                                                 B-47E           1958 - 1966                                                                                 

900th Air Refueling Squadron
April 2, 1966 - June 25, 1966

KC-135A              1966

33rd Fighter Wing
November 17, 1947 - November 15, 1948

33rd FW

58th Fighter Squadron
59th Fighter Squadron
60th Fighter Squadron

F-51D       1947 - 1949
F-84C       1948 - 1950


    While the 33rd has continued a distinguished career, the subsequent history of the 33rd Fighter Wing is really outside the scope of that of the 509th and Walker AFB, so it will not be covered in detail.

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Created 09-13-05
Revised 12-22-12

Clifford Bossie