Since the Mighty 97th began operations just a month after WWII, the flaming spear has been recognized as a symbol of strength and global reach.
Within months of formation, the flaming spear was on board the first American heavy bombers, raining destruction on the Nazi forces of occupied Europe. During the war, leaders of the free world, presidents and prime ministers, sat in briefing rooms and wore the spear on their uniforms. Some of the Army Air Forces founding fathers ... Eaker, Doolittle, and Spaatz, flew on the missions where the flaming spear came to life in bombs dropped on the enemies of freedom. Even the men who dropped the first atomic bomb once proudly wore the Mighty 97th signature spear.
Following the victory over evil, the flaming spear became a fixture over the American skies, developing a quicker way to refuel aircraft in flight and later the flaming spear maintained a constant presence in the air on the side of nuclear armed bombers, serving as a deterrent to another global conflict. During many missions the sight of the flaming spear on a fuselage of a refueler was a welcome sight to the bomber crew exercising its global strike capabilities.
During the Vietnam conflict, the spear of the 97th came to life again, leading missions over hostile jungles, protecting the lives of those fighting for freedom on the ground and destroying the depots and dens of those attempting to curtail the unalienable rights of life and liberty. As the world evolved, so did the mission of the Mighty 97th.
With the Cold War won, and the need for mass bombing over, the flaming spear remained a worldwide image. Every student pilot, boom operator, and loadmaster who needed to deliver troops, supplies, and humanitarian aid, wherever and whenever the need arose, passed through the gate where the image proudly shines.
Yet our heritage is not forgotten or unlearned ... When our nation calls, the men and women of the Mighty 97th carry the image of the flaming spear to deployed locations around the world protecting those freedoms Americans hold most dear.
U.S. Air Force video by Airman 1st Class James Johnson - January 2017 Video edited by USA Patriotism!