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This week in history: First operational B-47 delivered

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On Oct. 23, 1951, the first operational B-47 was delivered. The B-47 arose from an informal 1943 Army Air Forces requirement for a jet-powered bomber. In April 1946, the service ordered two prototype XB-47s, with the first flight on Dec. 17, 1947. The B-47 never saw combat, but was a SAC mainstay until 1965. Col. Michael McCoy is considered the "dean" of Strategic Air Command's B-47 Stratojet commanders. McCoy commanded the first B-47 wing, the 306th Bombardment Wing at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. Within two years, he had formed, trained to combat readiness, and led the 306th on the first successful rotation of a SAC jet bomber force to Fairford, England. They broke all existing speed records on the trip over, and broke them again when they returned. On their initial rotation, McCoy solidified SAC's position as a global force using jet aircraft. McCoy was killed in a B-47 crash in 1957. Pinecastle AFB, near Orlando Fla., was renamed "McCoy AFB" in his honor.