17th Air Division
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|17th Air Division|
17th Air Division emblem
|Active||3 October 1940–1 September 1941
23 June 1942–15 November 1943
28 February 1944–8 October 1948
1 July 1959–30 June 1971
24 January 1975 – 1 January 1976
|Branch||United States Air Force|
The 17th Air Division (17th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Pacific Air Forces, stationed at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand. It was inactivated on 1 January 1986.
Activated as the 17th Bombardment Wing on 18 December 1940 and assigned to Southeast Air District as a bombardment training organization. Apparently never had sufficient personnel to carry out effectively its mission. Inactivated on 3 September 1941.
Reactivated as part of Second Air Force in June 1942 as the 17th Bombardment Training Wing. Was the primary training command organization for USAAF heavy bombardment (B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator) heavy groups during World War II from June 1942 until May 1944. Initially, it controlled the third phase of training, in which each bombardment group split into tactical components and operated from squadron sized airfields under simulated combat conditions. Later, the 17th supervised the first and second phases of heavy bombardment group and crew training.
In 1943 assumed mission for training B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment groups prior to their deployment to Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater until April 1946 when it ceased all activity. It also exercised limited supervision over the training of the XXI and XXII Bomber Commands during 1944.
Reactivated an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in 1959, it gained control of the 340th and the 305th Bombardment Wings at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana, and the 4040th Air Base Squadron at Richard I. Bong AFB, Wisconsin in 1959. The two bombardment wings flew normal SAC alert patrols and participated in special exercises as required. However, the division lost its bombardment wings and gained missile wings in 1963 and assumed responsibility for Titan and Minuteman missiles in Missouri, Kansas, and later Arkansas. When joined by the 70th Bombardment Wing, on 1 July 1965 with B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, the division reverted to an earlier designation – 17th Strategic Aerospace Division. From 1965 to 1971, the division's subordinate units frequently deployed bomber and tanker resources. Arc Light operations in Southeast Asia, consisting of military operations against enemy forces in Vietnam, drew most of the deployments.
From 1 July 1975 to 1 January 1976 as part of Pacific Air Forces, it maintained an effective training program for United States Air Force tactical units in Thailand. Inactivated as part of the USAF phaseout of activities in Thailand after the end of the Vietnam War.
- Constituted as 17th Bombardment Wing on 3 October 1940
- Activated on 18 December 1940
- Inactivated on 1 September 1941.
- Activated on 23 June 1942
- Redesignated as: 17th Bombardment Training Wing in January 1943
- Redesignated as: 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing in April 1943.
- Inactivated on 15 November 1943.
- Redesignated as: 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy)
- Activated on 11 March 1944.
- Inactivated on 9 April 1946
- Disbanded on 8 October 1948.
- Reconstituted, and redesignated 17th Air Division, on 1 July 1959
- Activated on 15 July 1959
- Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Aerospace Division on 15 February 1962
- Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Missile Division on 1 September 1963
- Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 July 1965
- Inactivated on 30 June 1971
- Redesignated as: 17th Air Division on 24 January 1975
- Activated on 1 July 1975
- Inactivated on 1 January 1976.
- XXI Bomber Command: attached c. 15 April – 20 October 1944
- XXII Bomber Command: attached 14 August 1944 – 13 February 1945.
- Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Air Force Historical Research Agency:17th Air Division