Remembering a Christmas Bombing

Andersen AFB, Guam, held a memorial ceremony Friday in honor of Operation Linebacker II, the 1972 bombing campaign which lasted 11 days at the end of the Vietnam War. The ceremony concluded with a flyover by two B-1B Lancer bombers. A total of 15 B-52 Stratofortresses were shot down and 75 airmen died over the course of the campaign, which lasted from Dec. 18-29 and has also been called 11 Days of Christmas. The operation saw 15,000 airmen supporting operations at Andersen to launch more than 700 long-distance missions in what became the largest US bombing campaign since the conclusion of World War II. “The operation proved successful,” according to Jeffrey Meyer, 36th Wing historian at Andersen. “North Vietnam was brought back to the negotiation table, officially ending direct US involvement in the Vietnam War and obtained the release of 591 prisoners of war in February 1973.” The B1-B aircraft is currently deployed to Andersen as part of the USAF continuous bomber presence to promote security in the Pacific region.