In the early morning of January 16, 1991, the 2nd Bomb Wing deployed seven B-52G Stratofortresses crews to Iraq in a single, secret mission that would mark the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. Strategic Air Command called the classified 35-hour mission Operation Senior Surprise, known as “Secret Squirrel” to the operators who would fly the mission. The bombers traveled more than 14,000 nautical miles non-stop and was the longest combat mission in history at the time.

In the early morning of January 16, 1991, the 2nd Bomb Wing deployed seven B-52G Stratofortresses crews to Iraq in a single, secret mission that would mark the beginning of Operation Desert Storm. Strategic Air Command called the classified 35-hour mission Operation Senior Surprise, known as “Secret Squirrel” to the operators who would fly the mission. The bombers traveled more than 14,000 nautical miles non-stop and was the longest combat mission in history at the time.

A B-17 bomber makes its way to England to aid the British in World War II circa 1941

WWII in color: Rare photos from 1942 show Flying Fortress bombers and their heroic crews in The Mighty 8th Command

A B-17 bomber makes its way to England to aid the British in World War II circa 1941

Today 10-1 in 1957 - U.S. B-52 bombers in the Strategic Air Command went on 24-hour alert status because of the perceived threat of an attack from the Soviet Union.

Today 10-1 in 1957 - U.S. B-52 bombers in the Strategic Air Command went on 24-hour alert status because of the perceived threat of an attack from the Soviet Union.

B-52: Guard and aircrew during a Cold War Strategic Air Command alert. www.lberger.ca

B-52: Guard and aircrew during a Cold War Strategic Air Command alert. www.lberger.ca

Strategic Air Command and United States Air Force B-36 Crew

USAF FLIGHT GEAR FROM 1950s – PART 2

B-36 Bomber of Strategic Air Command’s Carswell Air Force Base, 1951 » SAC’s B-36 bomber crew headed by aircraft commander Major Julian Upton (squatting-C) incl. his 13 crewmen consisting of 2 co-pilots, 2 navigators, engineer, 2 radio operators & a scanner, at Carswell Air Force Base

B-36 Bomber of Strategic Air Command’s Carswell Air Force Base, 1951 » SAC’s B-36 bomber crew headed by aircraft commander Major Julian Upton (squatting-C) incl. his 13 crewmen consisting of 2 co-pilots, 2 navigators, engineer, 2 radio operators & a scanner, at Carswell Air Force Base

Vulcan B1 XA896 seen at RAF Waddington in August 1957. This aircraft was piloted by WC AD Frank and his crew who were selected in participate in the 1957 Strategic Air Command bombing competition held in Pinecastle, Florida. Note the aircraft is not in the more familiar all-white gloss finish. XA 896 was one of the first Vulcans to be delivered to 230 OCU

Vulcan B1 XA896 seen at RAF Waddington in August 1957. This aircraft was piloted by WC AD Frank and his crew who were selected in participate in the 1957 Strategic Air Command bombing competition held in Pinecastle, Florida. Note the aircraft is not in the more familiar all-white gloss finish. XA 896 was one of the first Vulcans to be delivered to 230 OCU

Fail-Safe Type B-52 Alerts: "Operation Headstart" 1959 US Air Force Strategic Air Command 14min

Fail-Safe Type B-52 Alerts: "Operation Headstart" 1959 US Air Force Strategic Air Command 14min

Not published in LIFE. Jubilant B-17 crew members pose next to their plane upon returning to England unscathed after a bombing run, 1942.

Not published in LIFE. Jubilant B-17 crew members pose next to their plane upon returning to England unscathed after a bombing run, 1942.

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