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WWII Patch, AAF, AAF Bombardier School, Big Spring, TX Bugs Bunny

WWII Patch, AAF, AAF Bombardier School, Big Spring, TX  Bugs Bunny

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WWII US Army Air Force Squadron Patch
  USAAF  AAF Bombardier School, Big Spring, TX
Looney Tunes Design - Bugs Bunny throwing a bomb
5.5 inches

Training future pilots / Bombardiers for Bomb Bombing Bomber Bombardment squadrons.
Webb Air Force Base, previously named Big Spring Air Force Base, was a United States Air Force facility of the Air Training Command (ATC) that operated from 1951 to 1977 in west Texas within the current city limits of Big Spring. It was a major training facility, and by 1969 almost 9,000 pilots had been trained at Webb. The last wing was the 78th Flying Training Wing (78 FTW).
Big Spring McMahon-Wrinkle Airport is a city-owned, public-use airport located two nautical miles (3.7 km) southwest of the central business district of Big Spring, a city in Howard County, Texas, United States.  Hangars 25 & 44 served the Big Spring Army Air Forces Bombardier School, and later, Webb Air Force Base.

History - World War II
The facility first was used by the United States Army Air Force as Big Spring Army Air Field, opening on 28 April 1942 as part of the Central Flying Training Command.

The mission of Big Spring AAF was to train aviation cadets in high altitude precision bombing as bombardiers. The airfield had received its first class of cadets in September 1942. The AT-11 (Beechcraft Model 18 and the B-18 Bolo were the primary aircraft flown for training. The 79th Bombardier Training Group continued operations until the surrender of Japan, when the cadets who agreed to remain in postwar service were transferred to Midland AAF, Texas. Also trained Free French cadets. The last class graduated on 26 September 1945. The base was declared surplus and reverted to city control in November 1945, and it served as the Big Spring Municipal Airport for six years. After completing bombardier training here, a newly minted bombardier who was going to be assigned to Twentieth AF for example, would report to one of Second AF's operational training units, replacement training units, or the cadre for a Bombardment Squadron destined for the Pacific.

AAF School
Construction of the Army Air Forces Bombardier School on a plateau approximately two miles southwest of Big Spring, Texas began on May 15, 1942. The purpose of the installation was to train aviation cadets in high altitude precision bombing. Training consisted primarily of ground school courses and practice missions over a target area larger than some of the nation's smaller states. The post proper covered an area of 1,280 acres. The first class of cadets (118 men) arrived Sept. 16, 1942, to begin bombardier training in the B-18 and the AT-11 training aircraft. After an intense three month course, the class graduated, exactly one year and ten days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Units at Big Spring Army Air Field on 1 Jul 1943:
AAF Bombardier School
78th Bombardier Training Group - Hq & Hq Sq
    812nd Bombardier Training Squadron
    815th Bombardier Training Squadron
    816th Bombardier Training Squadron
    817th Bombardier Training Squadron
365th Base Hq and Air Base Squadron
359th Aviation Squadron
1047th Guard Squadron
386th Sub Depot
315th AAF Band
3rd Airways Communications Squadron - Det
3rd Weather Squadron - Det
Finance Detachment
Medical Detachment *
Veterinary Detachment
857th Signal Service Company, Aviation - Det
908th Quartermaster Service Company, Aviation - Det
983rd Quartermaster Platoon, Transportation Air Base
2052nd Ordnance Company, Aviation (Service) - Det #08

on 1 May 1944, the 2509th AAF Base Unit (Bombardier School) came to the base and managed the base until after the end of the war.

Norden Bombsight
Perhaps the most zealously guarded secret at the Big Spring Bombardier School was the Norden bombsight (shown at left). At the outset of the United States involvement in the war, the Norden sight was rated as far superior to any previously developed instrument for computing a bomb trajectory. The instruments were so highly classified that they were stored in a heavily guarded vault such as banks have. When students prepared for practice flights, they had to get clearance to the vault area, and when issued their bombsights, they exited in pairs accompanied by armed security. Part of the bombardier's oath required that he defend the sight secrets to the death.

The forty-second class of cadets to finish the school completed the course of training and received the silver wings of bombardiers on Sept 26, 1945. At that time, nearly 6,000 students had graduated and the field's training aircraft had flown approximately 400,000 hours and more than 60 million miles. Over 1,200,000 practice bombs had been released on nearby bombing ranges. While engaged in this huge training program and under wartime conditions, only four fatal accidents occurred. Many of the young men who trained at the school went on to fly combat missions in such planes as the B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, B-26 Marauder, and B-29 Superfortress, in both theaters of World War II.

Webb Air Force Base
As a result of the Korean War, and the need for trained pilots, the airfield was reopened on October 1, 1951. The base was renamed Webb Air Force Base in 1952 to memorialize Lt. James L. Webb, a Big Spring native and World War II combat pilot, who was killed off the Japanese coast in 1949.  Base-Community relations were generally excellent, despite a persistent housing shortage and recurring rumors of closure. To demonstrate its cooperation, the City of Big Spring deeded the original base site to the Air Force, and when additional acreage was required for the 331st needs, did not hesitate to obtain more land. Auxiliary landing fields were established at Colorado City and Lamesa, while Howard College which had originally been housed in World War II buildings on former BSAAF land, offered on-base classes for Webb personnel. The community continually pressed to have Webb designated a permanent base. Chief handicap to its continuation was Webb's location athwart major civilian flyways. Largely because of that location, Webb was the only undergraduate pilot training base of eight (at times 9) in all of Air Training Command which had to maintain base operations (a control tower) facilities 24 hours a day. Although there were occasional crashes (some fatal), Webb's safety record compared very favorably with other ATC bases, despite air traffic restrictions.

Price: $150.00

Product Code: PatchAAF.0000.AAFBombardierSchool.BigSpringTX
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