28th Air Division

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28th Air Division
USAF 28th Air Division Crest.jpg
Emblem of the 28th Air Division
Active 1949–1992
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Command and Control
Part of Tactical Air Command (ADTAC)
28th Air Division ADC AOR 1949-1960
83d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron Lockheed F-104A-15-LO Starfighter 56-780 based at Hamilton AFB, California; shown at Toa Yuan AB, Taiwan TDY to 13th Air Task Force, after 1958 Taiwan Straits Crisis.
28th Air Division ADC AOR 1960-1969

The 28th Air Division (28th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command, being stationed at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. It was inactivated on 29 May 1992.


Established in December 1949, the Air Defense Command 28th Air Division assumed responsibility for conducting the air defense of an area that embraced California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona. It became part of the Western Air Defense Force in 1950. With no fighter interceptor squadrons directly assigned, the division used interceptors of the 78th Fighter Wing, based at Hamilton Air Force Base, California, as well as Air National Guard interceptors based within its geographical area.

By November 1954 its geographical boundaries included northern California, southern Oregon, and parts of Nevada and Utah. The division participated frequently in air defense exercises with U.S. Army artillery, U.S. Navy interceptors, and Strategic Air Command bombers.

On 15 February 1959, it added the San Francisco Air Defense Sector to its components, and the geographical area expanded to include California and Arizona, and parts of Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The division gained the Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Reno Air Defense Sectors and also the 552d Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing, whose RC-121 Constellation AWACS aircraft augmented naval picket ships in providing radar coverage seaward from the west coast of the United States. During 1961, it transitioned to a SAGE system in all four of its sectors. Reorganization in 1963 altered the 28th's boundaries to include the states of Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and parts of California, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

On 1 April 1966, the 28th was reassigned, in name only, to Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, and replaced the Great Falls Air Defense Sector. The division's area included Montana and part of North Dakota, and later, parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming. Assumed additional designation of 28th NORAD Region after activation of the NORAD Combat Operations Center at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado and reporting was transferred to NORAD from ADC at Ent AFB in April 1966.

The division in the 1960s and 1970s deployed aircraft and personnel from subordinate units in support of the Vietnam War. Became part of ADTAC on 1 October 1979 with the inactivation of ADC and the incorporation of the CONUS air defense mission into Tactical Air Command. Beginning in April 1985, the 28th provided theater and Air Force commands with airborne forces for surveillance, warning, command and control, communications, and electronic combat operations. It was the Tactical Air Command single manager for the E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), EC-130H Compass Call, EC-130E Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (ABCCC), and EC-135K Tactical Deployment Control Squadron (TDCS) in support of unified and specified commands.

Inactivated on 29 May 1992 as part of the inactivation of ADTAC, its mission being incorporated into the Air Combat Command Western Air Defense Sector.


  • Established as 28 Air Division (Defense) on 8 November 1949
Activated on 8 December 1949
Inactivated on 1 February 1952
  • Organized on 1 February 1952
Redesignated: 28 Air Division (SAGE) on 1 July 1960
Redesignated: 28 Air Division on 1 April 1966
Additional designation 28th NORAD Region, effective 1 April 1966
Absorbed personnel, units and equipment of the Great Falls Air Defense Sector
Inactivated on 19 November 1969
  • Activated on 1 April 1985
Inactivated on 29 May 1992






Hamilton AFB, California, 18 October 1956 – 1 July 1960; 1 August 1963 – 1 April 1966
McClellan AFB, California, 1 July 1960 – 1 April 1966; 1 April 1985 – 29 May 1992


Interceptor squadrons[edit]

Radar squadrons[edit]

Radar Evaluation Squadron[edit]

Hill AFB, Utah, 1 July 1961 – 1 April 1966

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.
  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 - 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
  • Air Force Historical Research Agency: 28th Air Division