As part of a USAF directed manpower reduction program (Project 703), announced in August 1969, SAC reduced it's numbered air forces in the CONUS from 3 to 2 and effected a major realignment of combat forces. HQ 8th AF ceased operations at Westover AFB, Mass., on 31 March. At that time, all 8th AF bases and units were transferred to SAC's two other numbered Air Forces, the 2nd and 15th.
Under the realignment, 2nd AF became all manned aircraft command, consisting of B-52, FB-111, and KC-135 units; while the 15th AF took responsibility for all combat ICBM units, the entire strategic recon force, and a few B-52 and KC-235 units.
The 8th AF was not inactivated as originally announced; instead it was preserved by transferring the numerical designation to Guam, effective 1 April. Concurrently, 3rd Air Division, which had been at Anderson since 1954, was inactivated and it's personnel and functions absorbed into 8th AF.
Arc Light B-52 bombing operations in SEA declined during the year. From Nov 69 to April 1970, B-52's flew interdiction missions against targets in Laos in support of Commando Hunt III.
On 16 January, the B-58 retirement program was completed when the last two Hustlers (55-662 and 61-0278) were flown to the storage facility at Davis-Monthan AZ.
B-58 SN 55-0662, one of the last two B-58's to retire.
On 5 June, Sec AF Robert C. Seamans Jr, announced the two winners in the competition to receive the B-1 development contracts: North American Rockwell for the airframe and General Electric for the engines.
B-1A prototype aircraft.
On 18 Jun, SAC B-52's began their seventh year of conventional bombing in the SEA conflict. KC-135s played an important airlift role by carrying men and equipment to and from SEA.
On 30 June, SAC received its last FB-111 (SN 68-291) which was assigned to the 340t Bomb Group, Carswell AFB, TX. By early September, the 340th had transferred its FB-111s to the two operational wings (509th at Pease AFB, NH, and 380th at Plattsburgh AFB, NY).
In 1971, SAC retired all "C" and several "F" model B052s to the storage facility at Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ. SAC's last B-52C, SN 53-402, was retired 29 September. (note: All B-52 "C" models were originally assigned to Loring. See this article)
See "Attachments" below for additional information about Loring AFB during this era. (Adobe Acrobat may be required)