Military News

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Lasting Legacy: The 92nd Bomb Wing and the Strategic Air Command emblem

by Mr. Jim O'Connell
92nd Air Refueling Wing historian

11/6/2013 - FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Throughout its history, Fairchild Air Force Base has been assigned to a variety of commands. These include Air Services Command, Army Air Force Material Services Command, Air Technical Services Command, Air Materiel Command, Strategic Air Command, Air Combat Command and Air Mobility Command.

Of all these, Fairchild spent the majority of its time under the SAC emblem. The base was transferred to SAC on Sept. 1, 1947, and remained a SAC base for 46 years until June 1, 1992. On that date, Fairchild was reassigned to ACC. The final move transferred the base to AMC on July 1, 1994.

During it tenure in SAC, the wing's B-29 Superfortress, B-36 Peacemaker, B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker played integral roles in the nation's nuclear deterrence mission. The base's B-52s went on 24-hour alert beginning on Jan. 7, 1958, and remained on continuous nuclear alert until Sept. 28, 1991. The KC-135s joined the alert force in early 1958.

While the aircraft and their mission played an integral role, an Airman from the 92nd Bomb Wing also made a lasting contribution to SAC's legacy. In late 1951, SAC held a command-wide contest to design its emblem. The winner was a 92nd Bomb Wing Airman, Staff Sgt. R.T. Barnes. He was a senior operations intelligence specialist who worked in the wing intelligence office. One of his responsibilities was to design posters and displays seen throughout the briefing room area. A recalled reservist, Barnes formerly attended the California College of Arts and Crafts. He planned to return to the college after his release from service to complete his art education and obtain a teaching certificate.

His iconic design won in the SAC-wide contest from a field of 65 entries. Designs were judged on artistic conception of SAC's mission. The judges were: General Curtis E. LeMay, SAC Commander-In-Chief, Gen. Thomas S. Power, SAC Vice Commander-In-Chief and Brig. Gen. A. W. Kissner, SAC Chief of Staff. Barnes' winning design netted him a $100 United States Savings Bond.

Like Barnes, our Airmen continue to make a difference through their deeds. Whether great or small, these actions all contribute to Fairchild's legacy of excellence and continue to make an impact refueling freedom around our world. It is upon their shoulders that the following generations of Airmen will stand as the long, blue line continues.

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