3d Air Division (United States)


3d Air Division (United States)

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 3d Air Division


caption= 3d Air Division emblem
dates= 30 August 1943-21 November 1945
23 August 1948-1 May 1951
8 October 1953-1 March 1954
8 June 1954-1 April 1970
1 January 1975-1 April 1992
country= United States
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branch= United States Air Force
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garrison= see "Stations" section below
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equipment= see "Aircraft / Missiles / Space Vehicles" section below
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* World War II: European Campaign (1942-1945): Vietnam Service (1965-1993)
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The 3d Air Division (3d AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command, assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, being stationed at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. It was inactivated on 1 Apr 1992.

History

Lineage

* Established as 3 Bombardment Division on 30 Aug 1943: Activated on 13 Sep 1943: Redesignated 3 Air Division on 1 Jan 1945. : Inactivated on 21 Nov 1945. : Organized on 23 Aug 1948. : Discontinued on 1 May 1951.
* Redesignated 3 Air Division (Operational) on 8 Oct 1953. : Activated on 25 Oct 1953. : Inactivated on 1 Mar 1954.
* Redesignated 3 Air Division on 8 Jun 1954. : Activated on 18 Jun 1954. : Inactivated on 1 Apr 1970.
* Activated on 1 Jan 1975. : Inactivated on 1 Apr 1992.

Assignments

* Eighth Air Force: VIII Bomber Command (later, Eighth Air Force), 13 Sep 1943: VIII Fighter Command, 16 Jul-21 Nov 1945
* United States Air Forces in Europe, 23 Aug 1948
* United States Air Force, 3 Jan 1949: (3d Air Division in Major Command Status)
* United States Air Forces in Europe: Third Air Force, 21 Jan-1 May 1951
* United States Air Forces in Europe: (Not manned nor equipped), 25 Oct 1953-1 Mar 1954
* Strategic Air Command, : Fifteenth Air Force, 18 Jun 1954-1 Apr 1970
* Strategic Air Command, 1 Jan 1975: Eighth Air Force, 1 Jan 1975 - 31 Jan 1982.: Fifteenth Air Force, 31 Jan 1982-1 Apr 1992.

Components

Wings

* VIII Bomber Command: 4 Combat Bombardment: 13 Sep 1943-18 Jun 1945: 4 Bombardment (Provisional): 18 Nov 1944-10 Feb 1945. : 13 Combat Bombardment (later, 13th Bombardment): 13 Sep 1943-c. 6 Aug 1945: 45 Combat Bombardment: 13 Sep 1943-18 Jun 1945. : 92 Combat Bombardment: 31 Mar 1944-c. 13 Jun 1945 : 93 Combat Bombardment: 10 Jan 1944-c. 13 Jul 1945 : 401 Provisional Combat, Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 402 Provisional Combat, Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 403 Provisional Combat, Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943.

* VIII Fighter Command: 1 Bombardment: 12-c. 26 Aug 1945. : 2 Bombardment: 12-c. 25 Aug 1945. : 14 Bombardment: 16 Jun-26 Aug 1945. : 20 Bombardment: 16 Jun-c. 6 Aug 1945. : 65 Fighter: 1 Jun-l Nov 1945 : 66 Fighter: 15 Sep 1944-1 Nov 1945 : 67 Fighter: 12 Aug-l Nov 1945

* Eighth Air Force: 307 Strategic: 1 Jan-30 Sep 1975. : 376 Strategic: 1 Jan 1975-30 Oct 1991.

* Fifteenth Air Force: 6 Bombardment 9 Aug 1990-1 Apr 1992.

Temporary attached Air Mail/Reflex units not listed. Check AFHRA link for details.

Groups

* VIII Bomber command : 385 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 388 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 390 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 94 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943; 18 Jun-12 Aug 1945; 28 Sep-1 Nov 1945. : 95 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943. : 96 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943; 18-12 Aug 1945; 28 Sep-1 Nov 1945. : 100 Bombardment: 13-14 Sep 1943; 18 Jun-12 Aug 1945; 28 Sep-1 Nov 1945. : 493 Bombardment: 1-10 Jan 1944.

* VIII Fighter Command: 4 Fighter: 16 Oct-1 Nov 1945. : 339 Fighter: 14 Apr-c. 6 Aug 1944. : 355 Fighter: 16 Jul-Oct 1945: 479 Fighter: 16 Jul-Oct 1945

* United States Air Forces in Europe: 2 Bombardment: attached 23 Aug-17 Nov 1948; attached 21 Feb-c. 15 May 1950. : 22 Bombardment: attached 19 Nov 1948-14 Feb 1949; attached 17 Nov 1949-17 Feb 1950. 28 Bombardment: attached 23 Aug-18 Oct 1948. : 43 Bombardment: attached 20 Aug-18 Nov 1949. : 92 Bombardment: attached 6 Feb-6 May 1949.: 97 Bombardment: attached 4 Nov 1948-15 Feb 1949. : 98 Bombardment: attached 18 May-18 Aug 1949. : 301 Bombardment: attached 19 Oct 1948-17 Jan 1949; attached 19 May-c. 3 Jul 1950. : 307 Bombardment: attached 23 Aug-4 Nov 1948; attached 15 Feb-30 Apr 1949. : 509 Bombardment: attached 4 May-30 Aug 1949

: 20 Fighter Bomber: attached 20 Jul-10 Dec 1950.

quadrons

* VIII Fighter Command: 36 Bombardment: 12 Aug-l Sep 1945: 652 Bombardment (Weather Reconnaissance): 25 Aug-1 Sep 1945; 12 Oct-1 Nov 1945. : 653 Bombardment (Weather Reconnaissance): 12 Oct-1 Nov 1945.: 862 Bombardment: attached 17 Feb-7 May 1945.

* United States Air Forces in Europe : 2 Air Refueling: attached 6 Apr-c. 15 May 1950: 23 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 22 Dec 1949-6 Mar 1950: 72 Strategic Reconnaissance: attached 1 Jun-15 Nov 1950: 301 Air Refueling: attached 19 May-c. 3 Jul 1950.

* Fifteenth Air Force: 82 Strategic Reconnaissance: 25 Aug 1967-2 Jan 1968

tations

* Camp Blainey, England, 13 Sep 1943
* RAF Honington, England, c. 27 Oct-21 Nov 1945
* RAF Marham, England, 23 Aug 1948
* Bushy Park, England, 8 Sep 1948
* Victoria Park Estate (later, USAF Station), South Ruislip, England, 15 Apr 1949-1 May 1951
* Wiesbaden AB, West Germany, 25 Oct 1953-1 Mar 1954
* Andersen AFB, Guam, 18 Jun 1954-1 Apr 1970; 1 Jan 1975 - 12 Sep 1988
* Hickam AFB, Hawaii, 12 Sep 1988-1 Apr 1992.

Aircraft / Missiles / Space Vehicles

World War II

* B-17 Flying Fortress, 1943-1945;
* B-24 Liberator, 1944;
* P-47 Thunderbolt, 1944-1945;
* P-51 Mustang, 1944-1945.

Strategic Air Command

* B-50 Superfortress, 1954;
* B-36 Peacemaker, 1954-1955, 1955-1956;
* RB-36 {reconnaissance}, 1955;
* B-47 Stratojet, 1955, 1956-1964;
* B-52 Stratofortress, 1964-1970;
* KC-97 Stratotanker, 1957-c. 1965;
* KC-135 Stratotanker, 1965-1970.
* B-52 Stratofortress, 1975-1992;
* KC-10 Extender (tankers in TDY status), 1986-1988;
* KC-135 Stratotanker, 1975-1992;
* RC-135 Rivet Joint, 1975-1992.

Operational History

World War II

The 3d Air Division was activated in September 1943 as an intermediate level command and control organization. It was assigned to VIII Bomber Command, Eighth Air Force. The Division commanded three bombardment wings (4th, 13th and 45th), consisting of eight B-17 Flying Fortress bomb groups. The addition of the 93d Bomb Wing in 1944 and additional bomb groups to the other three wings increased the number of combat groups to thirteen.

The bomb groups were engaged in strategic bombardment combat operations against Axis targets in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). During the weeks immediately preceding D-Day (6 June 1944), division aircraft bombed tactical targets such as German communications centers and lines of support, and on D-Day hit targets on the Cherbourg Peninsula immediately behind the landing beaches.

After V-E Day, the 3d Air Division briefly became part of the United States Air Forces in Europe. As former Eighth Air Force units were withdrawn from Europe and returned to the United States during the summer and fall of 1945, the Division was assigned to VIII Fighter Command and controlled a mixture of bombardment and fighter groups before itself being inactivated on 21 Nov 1945.

Postwar Era

In August 1948, in response to the Berlin blockade, the U.S. deployed long-range B-29 Superfortress strategic bombers to four English East Anglian bases. The 3d Air Division was activated as part of United States Air Forces in Europe to receive, support and operationally control the B-29 units deployed for training. It also provided aircraft maintenance support at RAF Burtonwood for C-54 Skymaster aircraft used in the Berlin Airlift.

Briefly elevated to the Major Command level from 3 Jan 1949 - 21 Jan 1951. When the Berlin Airlift ended in 1949, the division participated in the Military Assistance Program in England and began an extensive air base construction program through May 1951 and a large number of USAF organizations based in the United Kingdom.

However With the advent of the Korean War and the growing Cold War threat of the Soviet Union, the U.S. and UK agreed to an even greater U.S. military presence in the United Kingdom. The resulting growing size and complexity of the American military presence required a larger command and organizational structure that could meet the needs of the increased operations.

The 3d Air Division was discontinued on 1 May 1951, and in its place the USAFE Third Air Force was activated.

Fifteenth Air Force

3d Air Division was reassigned to Andersen AFB, Guam and gained most of the resources of the former Far East Air Forces Bomber Command (Provisional) in June 1954 which had carried out B-29 Superfortress bombing missions during the Korean War. In addition to the strategic bomber force, the division exercised operational control over numerous deployed tactical components, and all Strategic Air Command (SAC) operations in the region came under its jurisdiction. It also supported air refueling needs of all United States military agencies operating in or transiting the region.

In mid 1958, the deployment of entire SAC wings to Guam was replaced by an "Air Mail" alert program, whereby several B-47 Stratojet wings in the U.S. maintained a specific number of B-47s and KC-97s at Andersen AFB to meet both routine and alert requirements.

In April 1964, the division switched from "Air Mail" B-47 / KC-97 to "Reflex" B-52 / KC-135 alert forces, again with aircraft and crews furnished in deployed status from U.S. based SAC wings. In 1965, it became heavily involved in Arc Light and Young Tiger operations in the Far East and SE Asia (SEA). Strategic Air Command wings in the U.S. furnished the aircrews and aircraft for these operations. The first elements of the 3d Air Division to enter combat in SEA were the tanker forces under Young Tiger. In June 1965, Arc Light B-52s struck suspected Viet Cong targets in South Vietnam, commencing the first SAC combat missions. B-52s began striking targets in North Vietnam on 11 April 1966; the initial attack against the Mu Gia Pass marked the largest single bomber raid since World War II. By late 1969, most Arc Light operations staged from U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand, while others were mounted from Kadena AB, Okinawa and Andersen. Andersen AFB remained the primary base for SAC deployed forces from the U.S., however, and aircraft and crews were sent from Guam to Kadena and U Tapao for combat missions.

Eighth Air Force

On 1 April 1970 the 3d Air Division's resources passed to the Eighth Air Force. Effective 1 January 1975, 3d Air Division again controlled all SAC operations in the Western Pacific, Far East, and Southeast Asia. Additionally, it assumed responsibility for air refueling support of all U.S. military forces in these areas. During Persian Gulf operations in late 1990 through early 1991, it tasked and supported numerous sorties supporting the deployment in the Pacific Area of Responsibility (AOR).

ee also

* First Air Force

References

* Maurer Maurer, Air Force Combat Units Of World War II, Office of Air Force History, 1983
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.

External links

* [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/airdivision_pages/0003ad.asp USAF Historic Research Agency: 3d Air Division]


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