The 40th Bomb Wing was established on 15 January 1943 and officially activated on 21 January 1943. In May of that year, the Wing deployed to Brampton Grange, England. During the war, the wing went through a succession of name changes starting on 3 May 1943 when they were redesignated the 40 Bombardment Wing (Heavy). This was quickly followed by another change on 30 August 1943 when they were redesignated the 40 Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy). In September 1943, the wing received three bombardment groups and began combat operations against Nazi Germany, striking such targets as Nantes, Emden, Wilhelmshaven, and Bremen. Its units participated in a mission to Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943 that resulted in the loss of over half of the aircraft dispatched. The final name change came on 13 August 1943 when they became 40 Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy. For the remainder of World War II, the wing flew numerous missions against military targets throughout occupied Europe and Germany. Following the end of the war the Wing was inactivated on 25 December 1946.
"Redesignated the 40th Air Division in March 1951, it assumed a supervisory role over assigned units of the Strategic Air Command, ensuring that they were manned, trained, and equipped to conduct long range bombardment missions using either nuclear or conventional weapons. It also developed and maintained the capability for effective air refueling and Minuteman II (intercontinental ballistic missile) operations. In these roles the division conducted staff assistance visits and participated in numerous exercises such as Buy None, Buckskin Rider and Busy Player."
"After July 1989, the 40th Air Division established policies to ensure support for wartime execution of a strategic ICBM wing and a strategic air refueling wing in accordance with the Single Integrated Operational Plan and Joint Chiefs of Staff directed conventional war-fighting commitments."