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Unit honors heritage during reactivation ceremony
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Master Sgt. Melanie Sekerak passes the 380th Space Control Squadron, formerly the 380th Bombardment Squadron, guidon to retired Col. Bill Bower, former commander of the 310th Bomb Group during World War II, during the 380th SPCS reactivation ceremony. Col. Jeffrey Ansted, 310th Space Wing commander, waits to receive the guidon. (courtesy photo)
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380th BS re-activated for space duty

Posted 9/22/2008   Updated 9/22/2008 Email story   Print story


by 1st Lt Joseph Fixemer
380th Space Control Squadron

9/22/2008 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  -- Peterson welcomed its newest unit Sept. 6 as the 380th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) unfurled its colors as the 380th Space Control Squadron at WestPac Restorations in Colorado Springs.

At the ceremony, Col. (ret.) William Bower, a Doolittle Raider and the last commander of the 310th Bomb Group in World War II, passed the 380th colors to Col. Jeffrey Ansted, 310th Space Wing commander, in a gesture that symbolically passed on the heritage of the 380th and marked the day's ceremony as not just the activation of a squadron, but the continuation of a great legacy.

Colonel Bower was joined in the audience by fellow WWII veterans of the 57th Bomb Wing and their families, including original members of the 380th and her sister squadrons. Including these veterans as well as family and friends, more than 300 people watched from under the wings of an operational B-25 as Lt. Col. Michael Assid accepted the unit colors to become the squadron's 27th commander and her first commander in more than four decades.

With its activation, the 380th SPCS becomes the only squadron from the World War II-era 310th Bomb Group performing an activated mission within the 310th SW. The squadron is assigned to the 310th Operations Group. The group and headquarters are based at Schriever AFB, Colo., while the squadron is based here.

The event also included a live video feed to Southwest Asia, allowing the squadrons's already-deployed five members to witness the activation and assumption of command. The event later concluded with the distinct roar of the world's only airworthy B-25H, named "Barbie III." The B-25.took on passengers for two separate flights around the city and over the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The 380th SPCS is based at Peterson with its Regular Air Force associate unit, the 16th SPCS. These units conduct a hybrid electronic warfare and space control mission, monitoring critical satellite communications links for signs of jamming and other interference. Once a jammer is detected, 380th and 16th SPCS Airmen geo-locate the source of interference for prosecution as a target or other higher command authority action. A new mission for the 380th's lineage, yes, but merely the latest chapter in this unit's proud history.

The 380th BS was originally activated on March 15, 1942, shortly after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Like her sister squadrons in the 310th Bomb Group, she was founded by a cadre of the famous Doolittle Raiders that led them first to North Africa. Flying the B-25 Mitchell, the 380th BS fought its way from North Africa to southern Europe, eventually basing on the island of Corsica, and, later, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The squadron was inactivated on Sept. 12 1945, just 10 days after the Japanese signed the instrument of surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

The squadron was reactivated on two other occasions. The first, in 1947, flying the AT-6 Texan and AT-11 Kansan to train bomber crews. The second, in 1952, flying the B-29 Superfortress before transitioning to the B-47 Stratojet.

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