BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - Aviators past and present descended on Bossier City last weekend to celebrate the 93rd Bomb Squadron's 100th anniversary.
"History is important, it's where we learn. It's where we learn from the folks that came before us in the air campaigns in the past. It's where we create tactics and, eventually, doctrine," Lt. Col. Bryan Bailey said.
He took command of the squadron from Lt. Col. Brent Weisner during a ceremony the morning of Oct. 13 at Barksdale Air Force Base.
"Our heritage comes from the stories of the people that have served before us and are serving now," Bailey continued.
"It is our identity; it represents who we are."
Among those witnessing the ceremony was Frank "Bud" Farrell.
"We had reunions. When I first started going to them, we had a lot of guys from World War II era still coming. They were then my age now," the Korean War veteran recalled about those who came before him.
"They are a group of great guys. Many of them had been POWs, taken to Japan as prisoners of war. So I really had the benefit of meeting a lot of really historical people."
The former left gunner flew 25 combat missions and dozens of other training missions in the B-29 in 1952.
"We didn't get off the ground like these guys do," Farrell explained as he eyed B-52s on the flight line at Barksdale Air Force Base.
"The B-29 took every inch of that runway. And they barely lifted off over the beach in Okinawa.
"And our tail gunner would always come on the phone in the middle of the roll and say 'everybody stand up and jump'," Farrell said, laughing. "The idea was, we all thought about it in an elevator, I'm going to jump if it ever goes down. So that was it. (laughing) We had a great time."
As more stories and fond memories were shared throughout the weekend, Farrell could not help but think about his crew.
"It's wonderful, I wish my crew could be here with me. There were 11 of us and I'm it, I'm what's left."
Farrell lost his best friend and command pilot five years ago.
"In his hospital bed, his last words were 'The crew is waiting for me.'
"I'll never get over that. And now they're waiting for me."