45th Air Division
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|45th Air Division|
45th Air Division emblem
|Active||15 February 1943 – 18 June 1945
24 September 1954 – 18 January 1958
20 November 1958 – 15 June 1989
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Garrison/HQ||see "Stations" section below|
|Equipment||see "Aircraft / Missiles / Space vehicles" section below|
|Decorations||see "Lineage and honors" section below|
As the 45th Bombardment Wing, the unit was one of the primary B-17 Flying Fortress heavy strategic bombardment wings of the Eighth Air Force 3d Bombardment Division in World War II. Groups from the wing began bombing operations against German occupied Europe on 14 September 1943. Its bombers attacked targets in such German cities as Bremen, Emden, Kiel, Ludwigshafen, Munster, Saarbrücken, Schweinfurt, and Wilhelmshaven. In June 1944 the 45th supported the Allied invasion of Normandy, France, with tactical missions, against enemy airdromes, airfields, bridges, coastal defenses, field batteries, gun positions, and railway junctions.
On 21 June 1944, Colonel Archie J. Old Jr., commanding officer of the 45th Combat Bombardment Wing, served as the task force commander of a shuttle bombing mission to the Soviet Union. The task force raided a synthetic oil plant just south of Berlin, and then proceeded to Poltava in the Soviet Union, where a large number of the 45th's bombers were destroyed on the ground during a raid by German bomber and fighter aircraft. The surviving bombers bombed an oil plant at Drohobycz, Poland, while returning from Poltava to Foggia, Italy. Shortly before the German surrender, in late April 1945, the wing flew five "Chow Hound" mercy missions, dropping food and other supplies to the people in the still occupied western part of the Netherlands. After the German surrender on 8 May 1945, it helped transport displaced Europeans back to their respective native countries.
Reactivated an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in October 1954, the 45th Air Division assumed responsibility for the training and combat readiness of its assigned units. It achieved this goal through staff assistance visits and supervising or participating in exercises such as Golden Hour Tango, Rubber Ball, and Sky Shield.
Inactivated in June 1989 due to budget constraints and the reduction of forces after the end of the Cold War.
- Established as 45th Bombardment Wing (Medium) on 15 February 1943
- Activated on 1 April 1943
- Redesignated: 45th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 6 April 1943
- Redesignated: 45th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 30 August 1943
- Redesignated: 45th Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 24 August 1944
- Disestablished on 18 June 1945
- Reestablished, and redesignated 45th Air Division, on 24 September 1954
- Activated on 8 October 1954
- Inactivated on 18 January 1958
- Activated on 20 November 1958
- Inactivated on 15 June 1989
- Third Air Force, 1 April 1943-c. 5 August 1943
- Eighth Air Force, c. 25 August 1943
- 3d Bombardment Division, (by 18 August 1944)-18 June 1945
- Eighth Air Force, 8 October 1954 – 18 January 1958; 20 November 1958
- Second Air Force, 31 March 1970
- Eighth Air Force, 1 January 1975 – 15 June 1989.
- MacDill Field, Florida, 1 April – 4 August 1943
- Brampton Grange (AAF-102), England, c. 25 August 1943
- RAF Snetterton Heath (AAF-138), England, 13 September 1943 – 18 June 1945
- Loring AFB, Maine, 8 October 1954 – 18 January 1958; 20 November 1958
- Pease AFB, New Hampshire, 30 June 1971 – 15 June 1989
Aircraft and Missiles
- B-17 Flying Fortress, 1943 – 1945.
- B-36 Peacemaker, 1954 – 1956;
- KC-97 Stratotanker, 1955 – 1957;
- B-52 Stratofortress, 1956 – 1989;
- KC-135 Stratotanker, 1957 – 1989.
- Snark (SM-62), 1959 – 1961;
- FB-111 Aardvark, 1971 – 1989.
- 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.
- Air Force Historical Research Agency: 45th Air Division