Every year WWII veterans, spouses, and family members of the 6th Bomb Group gather for a reunion to remember their fallen comrades and pay tribute to their important contributions in history. The Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and The Center for Cyberspace Research (CCR) were honored to host The 6th Bomb Group members for an exclusive AFIT visit on September 10, 2010. Guests arrived to a warm AFIT welcome by Commandant, Brig. Gen. Walter D. Givhan and CCR Director, Dr. Richard Raines. The agenda included an overview of AFIT by Gen Givhan and presentations along with technology demonstrations by the Center for Cyberspace Research (CCR), Advanced Navigation Technology Center (ANT), Combustion Optimization and Analysis Laser Laboratory (COAL), and AFIT CubeSat (miniaturized satellite) for space research. Dr. Raines was the keynote speaker at the 6th Bomb Group’s banquet speaking on the rapid advancements of technologies and the challenges the nation faces in cyberspace security. “It was a great honor to be able to speak and interact with these heroes. These veterans stepped up when America needed them most. The liberties we enjoy today are a result of their sacrifices and efforts. These folks truly exemplify ‘America’s Greatest Generation’,” Raines said.
The 6th Bomb Group was based on the island of Tinian during WWII and played a significant role in winning the war against Japan during 1944-45. The Group was part of the 313th Bomb Wing, 20th Air Force based on Tinian, Saipan and Guam and led the Wing in hours flown and tonnage dropped. The mission of the 20th was to engage in the strategic destruction of Japan by air. The 6th Bomb Group participated in 75 missions plus 7 or more post-war missions flying B-29 bombers. The 6th Bomb Group’s pilots and ground crew flew missions that included low altitude night area bombing and low altitude aerial mining operations. The aerial mining operations proved to be among the most effective missions during the war, which resulted in the closing of most of the sea lanes around Japan and accounted for 63% of all merchant shipping losses during the final 6 months of the war. Although many lives were lost, on both sides, these efforts saved millions of lives that would have been lost in an invasion of the mainland.