315th Air Division
|315th Air Division|
Emblem of the 315th Air Division
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
World War II
The 315th Bombardment Wing was activated in July 1944 at Peterson Field, Colorado as a command and control organization for four very heavy B-29 Superfortress bombardment groups. Organization trained in Colorado while subordinate groups were trained in Kansas by Second Air Force.
When training was completed moved to Guam in the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific Area in late March 1945 The 315th was the fifth and last B-29 Wing assigned to XXI Bomber Command. The Groups and Squadrons of the 315th Bomb Wing for the most part, flew the B-29B aircraft. The limited-production B-29B was designed to was to save weight by removing all of the guns and sighting equipment used on other B-29s, except the tail gun. The weight savings allowed the B-29B to fly a little higher and a little further. The B-29B aircraft also had two new radar units installed. One was the AN/APQ-7 Eagle Radar for bombing and navigation and the other was the AN/APG-15 used for aiming the tail gun. These two radar units gave the B-29B a distinctive shape as the APQ-7 antenna appeared as a small wing under the fuselage, between the two bomb bay doors and the APG-15 added a ball shaped antenna to the tail of the aircraft below the tail guns.
In the Marianas, the Wing provided command and control to the 16th, 331st, 501st 502d Bombardment Groups. The 16th and the 501st were the first to arrive in Mid April; the 331st and 502d arrived in mid-May 1945.
Its groups flew "shakedown" missions against Japanese targets on Moen Island, Truk, and other points in the Carolines and Marianas. The 16th and 501st began combat missions over Japan on 26 June with attacks on the Utsube Oil Refinery in Yokkaichi. The 315th and 502d did not engage in combat until 1 August with attacks on the Mitsubishi Havana Oil Refinery in Kawasaki. For all four groups, oil industry targets in Japan were its primary targets.
The wing flew its last combat missions on 14 August when hostilities ended. Afterwards, the wing's B 29s carried relief supplies to Allied prisoner of war camps in Japan and Manchuria. Due to their late arrival in the theater, the groups demobilized slowly, not returning to the United States until April/May 1946.
The Wing then moved to Ashiya Army Airbase, Japan at the end of May 1946 to become part of the Fifth Air Force Occupation forces. It was re-designated as the 315th Composite Wing in January 1946 and controlled a mixture of fighter and bomber units performing occupation duty and providing air defense over Japan during the occupation era (1945–1950).
With the outbreak of the Korean War, the division was relieved of occupation duty in January 1951 and reassigned to Far East Air Forces. It was re-designated as the 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo) on 10 January 1951, and took over the resources of the Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command (Provisional), which was set up in June 1950 in the immediate aftermath of the North Korean invasion of the south.
It assumed command and control of the following units:
- 437th Troop Carrier Wing (C-46 Commando)
- 374th Troop Carrier Wing (C-46 Commando, C-47 Skytrain, C-54 Skymaster)
- 61st Troop Carrier Group (C-54 Skymaster)
- 314th Troop Carrier Group (C-119 Flying Boxcar)
During the Korean War, its components evacuated wounded from Korea, airdropped supplies and personnel, hauled emergency supplies, materiel, replacement troops, mail, rations and ammunition, participated in joint training exercises in Japan, took part in numerous combat missions, and operated regular transport schedules within the Far East area.
Before combat operations ceased in Korea, the division began supporting French forces engaged in a war in Indochina. From May 1953 – July 1954, it provided C-119s to the French, trained French air crews and maintenance personnel, performed additional airlift missions in support of the French, and finally evacuated wounded French troops from Indochina during operation Wounded Warrior.
In July 1954, the 315th resumed normal airlift operations in the Western Pacific Area and participated in training exercises in Japan. It continued peacetime readiness operations throughout the 1950s and early 1960s from its base at Ashiya. In 1962, it established airlift support for the expanding conflict in Southeast Asia. Meantime, the division continued its routine airlift in the Far East, flew humanitarian missions, and participated in training exercises when possible.
The 315th AD was inactivated in April 1969 due to budget reductions. Its operational units (314th, 374th and 463d TAW) were reassigned.
- Established as 315th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 7 June 1944
- Activated on 17 July 1944
- Redesignated 315th Composite Wing on 8 January 1946
- Redesignated 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo) on 10 January 1951
- Organized on 25 January 1951, assuming assets of Far East Air Forces Combat Cargo Command (Provisional)
- Redesignated 315th Air Division on 1 August 1967
- Inactivated on 15 April 1969.
- Second Air Force, 17 July 1944
- Attached XXII Bomber Command, c. 14 August-c. 7 December 1944
- Twentieth Air Force, c. 25 March 1945
- XXI Bomber Command, 5 April 1945
- Twentieth Air Force, 16 July 1945
- Fifth Air Force, 30 May 1946
- V Fighter Command, 30 May 1946
- Fifth Air Force, 1 June 1946 – 1 March 1950
- Far East (later, Pacific) Air Forces, 25 January 1951 – 15 April 1969.
World War II
United States Air Force
- 8th Fighter Group: 31 May 1946 – 18 August 1948
- 38th Bombardment Group: 31 May 1946 – 18 August 1948
- 61st Troop Carrier Group: attached 25 January 1951 – 21 November 1952
- 314th Troop Carrier Group: attached 25 January 1951 – 15 November 1954
- 315th Troop Carrier (later, 315th Air Commando) Group: 8 December 1962 – 8 March 1966 (detached entire period)
- 316th Troop Carrier Group: attached 15 November 1954 – 18 March 1955, assigned 18 March 1955 – 18 January 1957 (detached entire period)
- 347th Fighter Group: 25 September 1947 – 18 August 1948
- 6315th Operations Group: 20 October 1964 – 8 August 1966
- Combat Cargo (Troop Carrier) Group Provisional 6492d: attached 21 September-8 Dec 1962
- 21st Troop Carrier Squadron: 25 June 1960 – 8 August 1966 (detached entire period)
- 24th Helicopter Squadron: 13 October 1956 – 8 March 1960
- 25th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron: 31 May 1946 – 28 February 1947, attached 28 February 1947 – 15 April 1948
- 29th Troop Carrier Squadron: 27 January-25 Mar 1966
- 35th Troop Carrier Squadron: 8 January 1963 – 8 August 1966 (detached entire period)
- 38th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 8 February-19 Jul 1968
- 41st Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron: 18 September 1945 – 4 January 1946
- 41st Troop Carrier Squadron: c. 21 November 1965 – 8 August 1966 (detached entire period)
- 50th Troop Carrier Squadron: attached 1 October 1951 – 15 November 1954; assigned 26 December 1965 – 23 February 1966
- 68th Fighter Squadron: attached 10 April-24 Nov 1947
- 345th Troop Carrier Squadron: 1 June 1962 – 8 January 1963; 27 November 1965 – 25 March 1966 (detached entire period)
- 346th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 7 January-25 Mar 1969
- 347th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 19 July-18 Oct 1968
- 348th Tactical Airlift Squadron: 18 October 1968 – 7 January 1969
- 421st Night Fighter Squadron: 31 May 1946 – 20 February 1947
- 433d Fighter Squadron: attached 15 October 1946 – 18 November 1947
- 776th Troop Carrier Squadron: 26 December 1965 – 25 March 1966
- 777th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 31 March-1 Aug 1968
- 778th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 1–23 August 1968
- 779th Tactical Airlift Squadron: attached 7 February-31 Mar 1968
- 815th Troop Carrier (later, 815th Tactical Airlift) Squadron: 25 June 1960 – 1 November 1968
- 817th Troop Carrier Squadron: 25 June 1960 – 8 August 1966 (detached entire period)
- 6461st Troop Carrier (later, 6461 Air Transport) Squadron: 1 December 1952 – 24 June 1955 (detached entire period)
- 6475th Flying Training Squadron: 25 November 1954 – 18 May 1955 (detached entire period)
- 6485th Operations Squadron: 17 September 1956 – 1 September 1968; attached 1 December 1968 – 8 April 1969.
- "Factsheet 315 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10/12/2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Marshall, Chester (1996), Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Motorbooks International, ISBN 0879387858
- Birdsall, Stephen (1980), Superfortress, the Boeing B-29 - Aircraft Specials series, Squadron/Signal Publications; 1st edition, ISBN 0897471040
- 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.