BAFB holds 50th anniversary remembrance ceremony of bombing campaign during Vietnam War
BOSSIER CITY, La. (KSLA) - A special remembrance ceremony was held Monday, Dec. 19 at the Barksdale Global Power Museum on Barksdale Air Force Base.
During the ceremony, the Eighth Air Force commemorated the 50th anniversary of Operation Linebacker II. Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Gebara served as the keynote speaker for the event, which ended with a wreath laying at the Operation Linebacker II memorial on the base.
Operation Linebacker II was an aerial bombing campaign aimed at targets in North Vietnam during the final period of the Vietnam War. As peace talks between North Vietnam and the U.S. were failing, President Richard Nixon ordered the bombing in order to bring the North Vietnamese government back to the negotiating table.
“Operation Linebacker II is an important part of Eighth Air Force and our nation’s history,” said Maj. Gen. Gebara. “The magnitude and selflessness of airmen who served on those missions 50 years ago is a testament to the will of each warrior that fought for freedom, and they deserve to be honored and remembered. We will continue to carry on their legacy and continue to defend our country in their name. Their commitment and sacrifice helped pave the way for the world’s greatest Air Force in the world.”
The campaign involved 700 nighttime sorties flown by B-52 aircraft. The bombing ultimately persuaded the North Vietnamese government to resume peace talks with the U.S. During the campaign, 75 American airmen were killed, including 35 from 15 downed B-52 Stratofortress bombers. The bombing lasted from Dec. 18, 1971, to Dec. 29, 1972.
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