Past meets present: The 13th Bomb Squadron

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Keenan Berry
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Three U.S. Air Force veterans visited Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., to help solidify the bond shared between the brothers and sisters of their past unit, the 13th Bomb Squadron (BS). The veterans spoke with different Airmen in the 13th, learning about their current mission as well as sharing stories about their days assigned to the unit.

During the visit, Charlie Brown, the 13th BS Association president; Bob Parks, the 13th BS Association vice president; and Charlie Breitzke, a 13th BS Association volunteer; educated currents members of the 13th about the association to help carry on the heritage of the historic squadron.

"This association has been around for a long time and is dedicated to the history and traditions of the 13th BS," said Breitzke. "The squadron was inactive for a lengthy amount of time, making it difficult to further the heritage."

According to Breitzke, the squadron was inactive from 1973 to 2000 because many of the members passed away. He also noted that the squadron's heritage is a significant piece of the Air Force legacy and shouldn't be forgotten. The value of the visit was found in having the ability to inform Airmen of the unit's lineage and educate them on how the association upholds that very legacy.

Brown also shared some of his background and knowledge regarding the 509th Bomb Wing (BW) history.

"I was stationed at Pease Air Force Base, N.H., in the late 1950s and early 1960s," said Brown. "We had two wings and one of them was the 509th BW. The Enola Gay was a part of the 509th when it dropped the atomic bombs on Japan, so the wing has a tremendous legacy to be proud of."

The veterans were proud to share their piece of the 13th's legacy with the young Airmen, discussing the aircraft from their time in comparison to today's aircraft.
The Airmen of the 13th BS were enlightened with the importance of their heritage, learning the stories of the very men who helped write it.

"It was interesting learning about the 13th BS's lineage," said Senior Airman Richard Apodaca, a 13th BS aviation resource manager. "I am honored to be a part of a squadron that's has so much rich history to inherit."

The Airmen were motivated to continue to uphold the legacy for the ones so served before them. The veterans also expressed their fulfillment and joy regarding their visit.

"I always enjoy a visit to an Air Force organization no matter where it's located," said Brown. "Every one of these Airmen out here is important and significant to the mission and they all contribute to the history of the Air Force in a big way. I've enjoyed my visit very much."