313th Air Division

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313th Air Division
USAF - 313th Air Division.png
Emblem of the 313th Air Division
Active 1944–1991
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Engagements
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign ribbon.svg Army of Occupation ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign
(1944–1945)
  • Army of Occupation (Japan) (1945–1948)
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
5 Oak Leaf Clusters

The 313th Air Division (313th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Pacific Air Forces, based at Kadena AB, Okinawa. It was inactivated on 1 October 1991.

History[edit]

The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 313th Bombardment Wing (313th BW) was part of Twentieth Air Force. The 313th BW engaged in very heavy bombardment B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan.

World War II[edit]

Tinian, Mariana Islands, 1945 after airfield construction, looking north to south. The massive North Field was home of the 313th Bombardment Wing is in foreground. The 313th BW consisted of 4 B-29 Superfortress Bombardment Groups, later adding the 509th Composite Group, which conducted the Atomic Bomb Attacks against Japan in August 1945.
313th Bombardment Wing HQ Tinian, Mariana Islands, 1945

The 313th Bombardment Wing was organized at Peterson Field, Colorado in the spring of 1944 as a Very Heavy (VH) bombardment wing, to be equipped with the Boeing B-29 Superfortresses. Operational groups assigned to the wing were the 6th and 9th Bombardment Groups, both were existing units with the 6th being reassigned from the Sixth Air Force in the Caribbean, where it was performing antisubmarine missions and protecting the Panama Canal from airfields in Panama. The 9th was assigned to Army Air Force Training Command in South Florida as part of its school of applied tactics. Both groups were reassigned to bases in Nebraska – to (Grand Island AAF and McCook AAF) respectively, where they trained initially on B-17 Flying Fortresses until their B-29 aircraft could be manufactured and made available to them. Two other groups, the 504th and 505th were formed as new units (504th at Fairmont AAF, the 505th at Harvard AAF), also being assigned to bases in Nebraska for training. After dealing with various training issues and also problems with the B-29s they received, the combat groups were ready to deploy to the Pacific Theater and departed for North Field, Tinian, in the Northern Mariana Islands arriving during late December 1944.

On Tinian, the wing was assigned to the XXIst Bomber Command of Twentieth Air Force. Once in place, the groups of the 313th began flying missions, initially against Iwo Jima, the Truk Islands, and other Japanese held areas. Later, they flew low-level night incendiary raids on area targets in Japan; participated in mining operations in the Shimonoseki Strait, and contributed to the blockade of the Japanese Empire by mining harbors in Japan and Korea. In April 1945 the 313th assisted the invasion of Okinawa by bombing Japanese airfields used by kamikaze pilots.

A fifth group, the 509th Composite Group, was assigned to the wing in May 1945 from Wendover AAF, Utah. The 509th, although assigned to the 313th Bomb Wing, was operationally controlled by Headquarters, Twentieth Air Force. The 509th was given a base area near the airfield on the north tip of Tinian, several miles from the main installations in the center part of the island where the other groups were assigned. Also unlike the other groups in the wing, the 509th used a wide variety of tail codes from various XXI Air Force groups, instead of using its own, so that the group's planes could not be identified by the Japanese. The 509th was also self-contained, and drew little in resources from the 313th Wing or its other groups.

In early August, the mission of the 509th was revealed when the group flew the Atomic Bomb missions to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In November, the 509th was relieved from assignment to the 313th Bomb Wing and was reassigned to Roswell AAF, New Mexico.

After the Japanese surrender in August, 313th Bomb Wing units dropped food and supplies to Allied prisoners and participated in show-of-force flights over Japan. As part of the postwar drawdown of forces, two of the Wing's groups, the 504h and 505th were inactivated in late 1945 and early 1946.

Another group, the 383d, was reassigned to the 313th Bomb Wing from Eighth Air Force in September 1945 after the Eighth was drawn down on Okinawa. The Eighth Air Force was planned to be a second strategic Air Force to be used during the Invasion of Japan which never materialized. The 383d was inactivated in December with its aircraft and personnel returning to the United States.

Pacific Air Forces[edit]

374th Tactical Airlift Wing C-130, 1970
18th Tactical Fighter Wing F-15C, 1984

In March 1946, the 313th was reassigned to Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines. In the Philippines, the wing was assigned the 5th Bomb Group from Seventh Air Force where it conducted Bombardment training, aerial reconnaissance and mapping and construction projects. The 5th Reconnaissance Group conducted many clandestine mapping missions over non-friendly areas of Asia during the postwar era. The wing itself began phasing down for inactivation in late 1947, with the 6th and 9th bomb groups being inactivated in June 1947, and finally the 5th bomb group in January 1948. The 313th Bombardment Wing was itself inactivated in June 1948.

In March 1955, the organization was redesignated as the United States Air Force 313th Air Division (313th AD) as part of Far East Air Forces Fifth Air Force, being assigned to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. The mission of the 313th AD was the command and control of USAF units assigned to Okinawa.

Throughout the years of the Cold War, the 313th AD assumed responsibility for air defense of the Ryukyu Islands and tactical operations in the Far East, maintaining assigned forces at the highest possible degree of combat readiness. In addition, it supported Fifth Air Force in the development, planning, and coordination of requirements for future Air Force operations in the Ryukyu Islands. The division also supported numerous PACAF exercises such as Cope Thunder, Cope Diamond, Team Spirit, and Cope North.

The 313th was inactivated on 1 October 1991 as part of a general drawdown of USAF forces in the Pacific after the end of the Cold War.

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as 313th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 15 April 1944
Activated on 23 April 1944
Inactivated on 15 June 1948
  • Redesignated 313th Air Division on 3 January 1955
Activated on 1 March 1955
Inactivated on 1 October 1991

Assignments[edit]

Units assigned[edit]

World War II[edit]

Eighth Air Force
876th Bombardment Squadron
880th Bombardment Squadron
884th Bombardment Squadron

United States Air Force[edit]

Wings

Attached 1 March 1955 – 1 February 1957
Assigned 10 November 1958 – 1 October 1991

Group

Squadrons

  • 5th Reconnaissance Squadron: 15 June 1946 – 3 February 1947
  • 24th Combat Mapping Squadron: 1 April – 15 June 1946.
  • 38th Reconnaissance Squadron: 15 March – 20 April 1947
  • 322d Troop Carrier Squadron: 18 September 1956 – 12 February 1957

Stations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 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.
  • Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.

External links[edit]