B-36 Service History with USAF

Last revised March 3, 2000


Nineeteen B-36As of them were delivered to the 7th Bombardment Group (Heavy) which was based at Carswell AFB, located just across the field from the Convair factory at Fort Worth. The first delivery was on June 26, 1948. The last B-36A was accepted in February 1949. They were used exclusively for training and crew conversion.

The B-36Bs were first assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group at Carswell AFB (which already had B-36As, the first planes arriving in November of 1948. By the end of 1948, there were 35 B-36s in service with SAC at Carswell AFB. The B-36B aircraft were in a constant state of flux, either being reconfigured or awaiting modification. In reality, full operational capability was not achieved until 1952.

The Air Force accepted a total of 383 B-36s, including prototypes, service test aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft, but not including the two B-36Gs delivered as YB-60.

The following is a listing of USAF B-36 squadrons, along with their base assignments.

In the mid-1950s, the B-36s began to be replaced by B-52 8-jet bombers. The scrapping of B-36s began in February of 1956. They were flown directly to Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona, where the Mar-Pak Corporation handled their reclamation and destruction. However, defense cutbacks in FY 1958 compelled the B-52 procurement process to be stretched out and the B-36 service life to be extended. The B-36s remaining in service were supported with components scavenged from planes sent to Davis-Monthan for scrapping. Further update work was undertaken by Convair at San Diego (Specialized Aircraft Maintenance, SAM-SAC) until 1957 to extend the life and capabilities of the B-36s. By December of 1958, only 22 B-36s (all of them B-36Js) were still operational. On February 12, 1959, the last B-36J (and the final J built by Convair--52-2827) left Biggs AFB, Texas, where it had been on duty with the 95th Heavy Bombardment Wing, and was flown to Amon Carter Field in Fort Worth, where it was put on permanent display. Within two years, all but three B-36s (which had been saved for museum display) had been scrapped at Davis-Monthan AFB. The Air Force accepted a total of 383 B-36s, including prototypes, service test aircraft, and reconnaissance aircraft, but not including the two B-36Gs delivered as YB-60.

Sources:


  1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  2. Post-World War II Bombers, Marcelle Size Knaack, Office of Air Force History, 1988.

  3. General Dynamics Aircraft and their Predecessors, John Wegg, Naval Institute Press, 1990.

  4. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  5. Convair B-36: A Comprehensive History of America's "Big Stick", Meyers K. Jacobsen, Schiffer Military History, 1997.