The 72d Test and Evaluation Squadron is part of the 53d Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida. The squadron is geographically separated but operated from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri. It conducts testing and evaluation of the B-2 Spirit aircraft.
The squadron is the focal point for executing operational test and evaluation of the $44.6 billion B-2 weapon system. The squadron evaluates the ability of the B-2 weapons system to support all major requirements and reports weapon system capabilities.
The unit provides experienced operations, maintenance, engineering, and analysis personnel who plan and conduct ground and flight tests, and analyze, evaluate, and report on the effectiveness and suitability of B-2 logistics support, tactics and survivability, foreign military exploitation, weapons and mission planning. The squadron reports results and conclusions to support DoD acquisition, deployment and employment decisions.
The squadron was formed in Texas in early 1918. After a period of training and organization, it departed from New York in the late summer of 1918, arriving in France on 4 September. It stayed two weeks at the Air Service Replacement Concentration Barracks, St. Maixent, then transited through Delouze Aerodrome before reaching Colombey-les-Belles Airdrome where it worked for the 1st Air Depot as “Advance Section, Serv. of Supply Air Park Squadron”. It remained in France after the armistice until June 1919, arriving back in New York and subsequently demobilized in July.
Reorganized in 1923 as a reconnaissance squadron, assigned to 5th Composite Group in Hawaii as part of the islands air defense organization. Assigned to Luke Field on Ford Island. Activities included training, participating in Army-Navy maneuvers, staging aerial reviews and sowing seeds from the air for the Territorial Forestry Division. In 1935, the squadron helped save the city of Hilo, Hawaii, during the eruption of the Mauna Loavolcano. Ten Keystone B-3 and Keystone B-4 bombers from the group’s 23d and 72d Bombardment Squadrons dropped twenty 600-pound bombs around the volcano to divert molten lava away from the town.