Service of Boeing B-52C Stratofortress

Last revised September 5, 2002

The first B-52C flew on March 9, 1956. The last 5 B-52Cs reached the Air Force in December of 1956. All of them went to the 42nd Bombardment Wing based at Loring AFB in Maine and to the 99th Bombardment Wing at Westover AFB in Massachusetts.

The following organizations flew the B-52C:

After several years of service with two squadrons of the 99th Bombardment Wing, in the latter half of the 1960s their B-52Cs were redistributed among a number of different B-52D units and operated primarily as crew trainers until 1971. Units known to have operated the B-52C in this fashion included the 7th BW, 22nd BW, 28th BW, 70th BW, 91st BW, 92nd SAW, 96th SAW, 99th BW, 306th BW, 454th BW, 461st BW, and 509th BW.

In December 1965, a few months after the first B-52Bs had started to leave the operational inventory, Defense Secretary Robert S. MacNamara announced another phaseout program that would further reduce SAC's bomber force. Included in the program was a plan to retire all B-58 Hustlers. In addition, it was decided to put the B-52C in storage, along with several subsequent B-52 models. The phased-out bombers were to be replaced by the General Dynamics FB-111, a derivative of the controversial F-111 swing-wing fighter-bomber. By this time, the B-52Cs were operating primarily as trainers rather than as operational strategic bombers. The phaseout of the B-52Cs actually took several more years, and most of them remained flying until they were finally consigned to storage at Davis-Monthan AFB in 1971. A few B-52Cs remained flying for a few years longer--the last aircraft to be withdrawn ended its flying career with the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in July of 1975.


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

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

  3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

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

  5. Boeing B-52--A Documentary History, Walter Boyne, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1981.

  6. Boeing's Cold War Warrior--B-52 Stratofortress, Robert F. Dorr and Lindsay Peacock, Osprey Aerospace, 1995.

  7. E-mail from Steve Tobey. The B-52C also served with the 7th BW during the late 1960s.