311th Air Division

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311th Air Division
Active 1944–1949
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Command and Control
Part of Strategic Air Command
Garrison/HQ Forbes AFB, Kansas

The 311th Air Division (311th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command, stationed at Forbes Air Force Base, Kansas. It was inactivated on 1 November 1949.


The 311th came into existence in February 1944, at Bolling Field, DC, as the 311th Photographic Wing, and had its headquarters in the United States for its entire active period. Subordinate units, between February 1944 and August 1945, deployed to diverse areas of the world such as Africa, the Middle East, the China Burma India Theater, Mexico, Canada, Alaska, and the Caribbean. These units conducted mapping and charting operations, and in some instances flew reconnaissance missions.

After World War II, the 311th transferred to Continental Air Forces (later, Strategic Air Command) at Buckley Field, CO. In March 1946, it became the major reconnaissance organization of Strategic Air Command.

The 311th was SAC's first major reconnaissance organization.[1] Its components were scattered around the world and moved several times. It was initially moved to MacDill Field on 17 April 1946, but a month later it was transferred to Andrews AFB. On 20 July 1948 it moved to Topeka AFB Kansas and a month later to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The 311th had five squadrons: 1st, 12th, 16th, 91st, and 46th/72nd recon squadrons.

The unit was redesignated as the 311th Air Division Reconnaissance two years later, on 16 April 1948, and inactivated on 1 November 1949.


  • Established as 311th Photographic Wing, Mapping and Charting on 31 January 1944
Activated on 1 February 1944
Redesignated: 311th Reconnaissance Wing on 30 July 1945
Redesignated: 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance on 16 April 1948
Redesignated: 311th Air Division on 5 January 1949
Inactivated on 1 November 1949.




5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 16 Jul – 1 Nov 1949
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 19 Jul 1948 – 14 Oct 1949
91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 10 Nov 1948 – 1 Nov 1949





  • A-29, 1944
  • AT-11, 1944–1946
  • B-17, 1944–1945, 1947–1949
  • B-17/F 9, 1944–1945, 1946–1947.


  1. ^ Mixer, Ronald E., Genealogy of the STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, Battermix Publishing Company, 1999 and Mixer, Ronald E., STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, An Organizational History, Battermix Publishing Company, 2006.


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

  • 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.