13th Strategic Missile Division
|13th Strategic Missile Division|
564th Strategic Missile Squadron Convair SM-65D Atlas missile 58-220, pad 564-A2, Warren I site, F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, 1959
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Strategic Missile Command and Control|
|13th Strategic Missile Division emblem|
The 13th Strategic Missile Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Fifteenth Air Force, based at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It was inactivated on 2 July 1966.
Initially formed as an air defense organization in the Caribbean, the unit later became a B-17 Flying Fortress command and control organization of Eighth Air Force in England. Its units carried out strategic bombardment missions over Occupied Europe and Nazi Germany during World War II. During the Cold War, the unit was a command and control organization of Strategic Air Command, controlling early ICBM wings in the Midwest.
The unit was initially organized at Langley Field, Virginia, as the 13th Composite Wing in October 1940. It was assigned to the new Caribbean Air Force as a command and control organization for units in the Caribbean.
Assigned to Borinquen Field, Puerto Rico, its mission was to provide an air strike force for the defense of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the period 1940-1942, the Wing controlled 21 B-18 Bolo medium bombers and 92 assorted fighters in about a dozen Groups and Squadrons. On 17 April 1942, the Wing was inactivated in an organizational change; its mission being taken over by the VI Interceptor Command, Antilles Air Task Force.
The organization was re-activated as the 13th Bombardment Wing in October 1942 at MacDill Field, Florida under Third Air Force. It was one of three bombardment wings (12th, 13th, 14th) which was formed at MacDill for deployment to Eighth Air Force in England as command and control organizations. The 13th was deployed in June 1943. There, it controlled the 95th, the 100th and the 390th Groups under the 3d Bomb Division, flying B-17 Flying Fortresses. Controlling the combat operations of the groups, it carried out strategic bombing of enemy aircraft, petroleum, and ball bearing industries as well as German airfields. Later, organizational units took part in the famous raid against the ball bearing industry at Schweinfurt in October 1943 and followed with missions against shipyards and shipbuilding installations at Wilhelmshaven and Bremen. With the end of the war in Europe, it returned to the United States and was inactivated on 17 October 1945.
The 13th was again re-activated as the 13th Air Division under Strategic Air Command in July 1959. The 13th AD was one of SAC's first Strategic Missile command and control organizations, initially being assigned two Strategic Missile Wings (703d, 706th) at Lowry AFB, Colorado with the new HGM-25A Titan I ICBM. However, these wings were never activated, and the 13th became an SM-65 Atlas organization, controlling the 389th and 451st SMW. In 1963, it assumed command and control of the 90th SMW with the new LGM-30A Minuteman I.
In 1965, the first-generation Atlas ICBM was taken off alert and its subordinate wings were inactivated. It was briefly assigned some KC-135A Tankers and EC-135 ELINT aircraft after the 98th Bombardment Wing was inactivated at Lincoln AFB, Nebraska afterwards, however the 13th Strategic Missile Division was itself inactivated in July 1966, its mission being taken over by the 821st Strategic Aerospace Division in a SAC reorganization.
- Established as 13th Composite Wing on 2 October 1940
- Activated on 10 October 1940
- Inactivated on 17 April 1942
- Re-designated: 13th Bombardment Wing on 23 August 1942
- Activated on 1 October 1942
- Re-designated: 13th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 1 February 1943
- Re-designated: 13th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 30 August 1943
- Re-designated: 13th Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 24 August 1944
- Re-designated: 13th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 18 June 1945
- Re-designated: 13th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 17 August 1945
- Inactivated on 17 October 1945
- Re-designated: 13th Air Division on 20 May 1959
- Activated on 1 July 1959
- Re-designated: 13th Strategic Missile Division on 1 January 1963
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 2 July 1966.
Aircraft and missiles
Light blue, issuant from base a sphere light green with land areas vert, grid lined azure, the sinister quarter of the last with grid lines of the field, above the sphere in chief an olive branch arched fesswise or, overall an aircraft and a missile bendwise each trailing speedlines of the like and all within a diminished border of the last. (Approved 4 January 1961.)
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Hagedorn, Dan (1995). Alae Supra Canalem: Wings Over the Canal. New York, NY: Turner Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1563111532.
- Freeman, Roger A. The Mighty Eighth: Units, Men and Machines – A History of the US 8th Air Force. 1970. ISBN 0-87938-638-X.
- SAC.com 703d Missile Wing
- Walker, Chuck, & Powell, Joel (2005). Atlas The Ultimate Weapon. Burlington, Ontario, Canada: Apogee Books. ISBN 1-894959-18-3.
- 13th Strategic Missile Division Factsheet, AFRHA