315th Air Division

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315th Air Division
Emblem of the USAF 315th Air Division (1950s).jpg
Emblem of the 315th Air Division
Active 1944–1969
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 Korean Service Medal - Ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1945)
  • Army of Occupation (Japan) (1945–1948)
  • Korean Service (1951–1953)
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

The 315th Air Division (315th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Pacific Air Forces, based at Tachikawa Air Base, Japan. It was inactivated in April 1969.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

World War II 315th Bombardment Wing emblem
Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress "Pacusan Dreamboat" (44-84061)

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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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).[1]

Korean War[edit]

314th Troop Carrier Group C-119B Flying Boxcar operating from a base in South Korea, 1953.

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.[1]

It assumed command and control of the following units:[1]

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.[1]

Cold War[edit]

374th Troop Carrier Wing C-124A Globemaster II

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.[1]

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.[1]

The crisis prompted by the North Korean seizure of the USS Pueblo in January 1968, found the 315th supporting an emergency airlift to the Republic of Korea.[1]

The 315th AD was inactivated in April 1969 due to budget reductions. Its operational units (314th, 374th and 463d TAW) were reassigned.[1]

Lineage[edit]

  • 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.

Assignments[edit]

Attached XXII Bomber Command, c. 14 August-c. 7 December 1944

Components[edit]

World War II[edit]

United States Air Force[edit]

Wings

Groups

Squadrons

Stations[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Factsheet 315 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 10/12/2007. Archived from the original on October 30, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Marshall, Chester (1996), Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Motorbooks International, ISBN 0879387858
  3. ^ a b c Birdsall, Stephen (1980), Superfortress, the Boeing B-29 - Aircraft Specials series, Squadron/Signal Publications; 1st edition, ISBN 0897471040

Bibliography[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]