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Founded by Doolittle, The 15th Air Force Was Fierce. It Still Answers The Call Today

Answering The Call For 74 Years, The 15th Air Force Has Done It All

Factory-fresh B-52Ds. Image via USAF

The 15th Air Force Heritage- High Strategy Bombers and Tankers traces the history of the United States Air Force (USAF) 15th Air Force from its origins under Major General James H Doolittle in North Africa during World War II to the Strategic Air Command (SAC) of the 1980s. The film features combat footage of various World War II bomber missions, cold war bombers, and KB-29, KB-50, KC-97, KC-135, and KC-10 aerial refueling tankers. The film also mentions the record-breaking flight of the B-50 Lucky Lady II and B-52 Lucky Lady III as part of Operation Power Flight in 1957.

Deactivated in September of 1945 after the conclusion of World War II, the 15th was reactivated as a SAC Bombardment outfit in March of 1946 flying war-weary Boeing B-29 Superfortresses at first. These Pacific War veteran bombers were replaced by B-50 Superfortresses, then by Consolidated B-36 Peacemakers, followed by B-47 Stratojets, and ultimately by B-52 Stratofortresses. The 15th also had McDonnell  F-101 Voodoo and Republic F-84 Thunderstreak-equipped fighter wings, Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird strategic reconnaissance aircraft, and strategic missile wings assigned to it at various times during the Cold War. When September 11th 2001 changed everything, the 15th became the Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force. Comprised of Air Refueling, Airlift, and Air Mobility Wings today, the 15th has been answering the call to defend the nation for 74 years. The video was uploaded to YouTube by AIRBOYD.

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Bill Walton

Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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