The 492d Bombardment Squadron had its origins in the 80th Aero Squadron which was organized at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, on 15 August 1917. Early the next month the service nature of the unit became clearly apparent when it was re-designated the 80th Aero Squadron (Construction).
The squadron left Kelly Field on 28 October 1917, arriving at the Aviation Concentration Center, Garden City, Long Island on 3 November. While at Garden City, the squadron was given intensive drill and training for service overseas. It departed for the Port of Hoboken, New Jersey on 22 November and boarded the RMS Carpathia. The ship left port later that day, arriving at Halifax, Nova Scotia on 25 November. It waited in Halifax for other ships to form a convoy for the Atlantic crossing, and arrived at Liverpool, England on 8 December. From there, the squadron took a troop train south to a rest camp at Winchester. With the exception of 30 men who were quarantined with sickness, the squadron left Winchester on 13 December and crossed the English Channel on the ship "Monas Queen", landing at Le Havre, France, on 14 December 1917.
Three after arriving in France the 80th Squadron took station at the 2d Instructional Center at Tours Aerodrome. There it performed construction tasks until the end of World War I. Meanwhile, on 1 February 1918, it had been re-designated the 492d Aero Squadron (Construction). The unit returned to the United States aboard the USS Frederick late in January 1919 and was disbanded at Garden City on 13 February.
The 492d Bombardment Squadron was constituted in the Organized Reserve on 31 March 1924, and assigned to the 349th Bombardment Group (GHQR), being and allotted to the IX Corps Area. Training initiated for reserve personnel in January 1925 at Sand Point Airport, Seattle, Washington.
The unit was consolidated on 5 December 1936 and consolidated with the 492d Aero Squadron, in order to perpetuate the history and traditions of the World War I organization. The consolidation of the two units under the bombardment designation thus served to extend the history of the reserve squadron back to 15 August 1917.
The unit conducted summer training at various locations to include Rockwell Field, California, and Pearson Field, Washington. Inactivated on 2 March 1937 at Seattle by relief of personnel. It was formally disbanded on 31 May 1942.
Reconstituted as the active duty 492d Bombardment Squadron in 1942. It was activated as a B-24 Liberator heavy bombardment squadron in the China-Burma-India Theater under Tenth Air Force at Karachi Air Base, India. The squadron immediately began preparations to enter combat. Personnel strength grew slowly at first. Yet by 1 February 1943, with 48 officers and 388 enlisted men, the squadron was considered a complete fighting unit. By that time it was equipped with eight B-24 Liberator aircraft, a number which ultimately grew to fourteen.
The squadron actually entered combat on 24 January 1943 when, operating from its base at Gaya, India, it bombed docks, shipping, and warehouses at Rangoon, Burma. That raid was followed early in February with an attack upon a railroad bridge at Myitnge. During the next five months the squadron participated in repeated attacks on enemy communications lines In central and southern Burma, particularly in the area around Rangoon. The monsoon season, commencing in May 1943, slowed down combat operations. In July 1943, however, the unit attacked enemy shipping in the far distant Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. During August it persistently harassed shipping lanes in the Gulf of Martaban from Rangoon down to the Andaman Islands. A significant mission for September was an attack upon the Syriam oil refineries on the river opposite Rangoon.
On 22 January 1944 the 492d Squadron took station at Madhaiganj Army Air Base, India. It began the second year of combat activities with continued efforts to destroy enemy-held communications into and within Burma by bombing bridges, docks and warehouses, locomotives and rolling stock, and railway marshalling yards on land, and cargo vessels and naval craft on the adjacent waters. In mid-June 1944, after the beginning of the monsoon period, the squadron moved to Tezganon-Kurmitola, India, and for the time being ceased combat operations. Instead it began transporting gasoline across the "Hump" to the Fourteenth Air Force in China. The first cargo was flown to Kunming on 20 June. These operations continued until after the first of October. For the greater part of December 1944, the squadron switched concentrated on destroying enemy stores. In December also a small component of the 492d Squadron left on six weeks of detached service in China. Based at Luliang, it engaged in hauling gasoline and other supplies to Sui-chuan and Liang-shan.
Early in 1945 ~he 492d Bombardment Squadron supported British ground forces in the region north of Mandalay and east of the Irrawaddy River. After the fall of Rangoon on 7 May 1945 the 492d Bombardment Squadron moved to Tezpur, India, and once again took on the mission of airlifting gasoline over the Hump into China. Some six weeks were required to refit the heavy bombers as substitute cargo carriers. The first mission was flown on 20 June. The aircrews completed the allotted task by 18 September.
Six weeks later the squadron moved to Dudhkundi, India, and thence to Kanchrapara on 19 November. It sailed from Calcutta aboard the USS General Black on 7 December 1945, and arrived at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey, on 5 January 1946. The unit was inactivated at Camp Kilmer the following day.
Effective 1 October 1946 the 492d was re-designated a very heavy bombardment unit; activated at Fort Worth Army Air Field, Texas; and assigned to the 7th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force, Strategic Air Command. It was not until the last week in October, however, that the squadron received its first contingent of troops, 59 officers and 328 enlisted men on assignment from the 327th Bombardment Squadron. It then began a training program which was designed primarily for overseas operations. The squadron was equipped with the B-29 Superfortress aircraft until late in the summer of 1948.
In April 1947 the 492d Squadron engaged in three long-range missions. The first was as part of a mass formation flight from its home base to Los Angeles. Next it participated in a simulated bombing attack on Kansas City. Lastly, the squadron helped to provide an escort for President Miguel Aleman of Mexico in a flight from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., in May 1947.
The squadron spent a part of June and July 1947 on maneuvers in Japan. During August most of its B-29's joined others of its companion units (9th and 436th Bombardment Squadrons) on a nonstop flight to Anchorage, Alaska, for the purpose of testing the immediate mobility of the 7th Bombardment Group. Before returning to Fort Worth they engaged in flights that provided training in local approach procedures and in navigation. The following month the three squadrons deployed to Giebelstadt, Germany. While in Europe they flew several training missions in the central and southern parts of the continent.
The squadron received its first B-36 aircraft in June 1948. A few weeks thereafter it was re-designated a heavy bombardment unit. By January 1949 the squadron had completed the transition to the new bomber and had closed out its B~29 program. In March 1949 an aircrew assigned to the unit flew nonstop a distance of 9,600 miles (from Fort Worth to Minneapolis, Great Falls, Key West, Denver, Great Falls, Spokane, Denver, and back to Fort Worth) in 44 hours. As reported, this was the longest recorded flight to that date in a B-36 bomber.
In August 1949 the 492d Squadron inaugurated for the 7th Bombardment Group a series of routine training missions to Alaska. During February 1950 the squadron participated with other bombardment units of the group in an operational readiness test which also involved flights to Alaska. For that purpose they deployed several aircraft to Eielson Air Force Base, Fairbanks. It served as a forward staging area from which simulated missions were directed against designated targets in the United States. In Hay 1950 the 492d Squadron provided one of two B-36'8 on a mobility mission to Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico.
On 17 July 1951 six aircraft and aircrews assigned to the squadron departed Fort Worth for Goose Air Base, Labrador, Canada. Thence they were dispatched on a navigation mission to Thule Air Base, Greenland. On the return flight from Goose Bay to Carswell, they made simulated attacks on Tampa, Florida; Birmingham, Alabama; and Fort Worth. Another deployment to Goose Bay on a unit simulated combat mission followed in March 1954. Meanwhile, in December 1951 the squadron provided one of two heavy bombers of the 7th Bombardment Wing on a special mission to Sculthorpe, England. The purpose of this deployment was to participate in a Royal Air Force navigation mission on a noncompetitive basis, to effect a mutual exchange of ideas with Royal Air Force personnel, and to compare techniques in target study and briefing.
In August 1954 the 492d Squadron participated in a 7th Bombardment Wing maneuver to North Africa on a simulated strike mission, flying non-stop the 4,600 miles to Nouasseur Air Base, French Horocco, which had been designated the post-strike headquarters.
In 1959 was reassigned to SAC provisional 4228th Strategic Wing, being re-equipped with B-52F Stratofortress intercontinental heavy bombers. Was reassigned to Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi by SAC to disperse its heavy bomber force. Conducted worldwide strategic bombardment training missions and providing nuclear deterrent. Was inactivated in 1963 when SAC inactivated its provisional Strategic Wings, redesignating them permanent Air Force Wings. Squadron was inactivated with aircraft/personnel/equipment being redesignated 736th Bombardment Squadron in an in-place, name-only transfer.
In December 1957 the entire 7th Bombardment wing began preparations for converting from the B-36 a:Lrcraft to the B~52 Stratofortress. Early in February, the wing officially became a B~52 organization. In January 1959 the wing attained a combat ready status in the B-52.
Effective 15 June 1959, less than six months after having completed the transition from the B~36 to the B-52 aircraft, the 492d Bombardment Squadron was reassigned to the 4228th Strategic Wing, and took station at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.
Was inactivated in 1963 when SAC inactivated its provisional Strategic Wings, redesignating them permanent Air Force Wings. Squadron was inactivated with aircraft/personnel/equipment being redesignated 736th Bombardment Squadron in an in-place, name-only transfer.Organized as 80th Aero Squadron on 15 August 1917
Re-designated 492d Aero Squadron
on 1 February 1918
Demobilized on 13 February 1919
Reconstituted and consolidated (1936) with 492d Bombardment Squadron which was constituted and allotted to the reserve on 31 March 1924
Inactivated on 2 March 1937
Disbanded on 31 May 1942
Consolidated (1960) with 492d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) which was constituted on 19 September 1942
Activated on 25 October 1942
Inactivated on 6 January 1946
Re-designated 492d Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy), and activated, on 1 October 1946
Re-designated 492d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy)
on 20 July 1948
Discontinued, and inactivated on 1 February 1963; personnel/aircraft/equipment re-designated as 736th Bombardment Squadron
Post Headquarters, Kelly Field, Texas, 15 August-28 October 1917
Aviation Concentration Center, 3–22 November 1917
2d Instructional Center, 15 January 1918 – 9 December 1918
Commanding General, Services of Supply, 9 December 1918 – 13 February 1919
7th Bombardment Group, 25 October 1942 – 6 January 1946; 1 October 1946
7th Bombardment Wing, 16 June 1952
4228th Strategic Wing, 15 June 1959 – 1 February 1963
B-24 Liberator, 1942–1945
B-29 Superfortress, 1946–1948
B-36 Peacemaker, 1948–1958
B-52F Stratofortress, 1958-1963.