4780th Air Defense Wing

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4780th Air Defense Wing Airdefensecommand-logo.jpg
4780th Air Defense Wing Convair F-102A-75-CO Delta Dagger 56-1411.jpg
Active 1962-1971
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Air Defense Fighter Training
Part of Air Defense Command
Decorations Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
4780th Air Defense Wing Patch 478thadw-patch.jpg

The 4780th Air Defense Wing is a discontinued United States Air Force (USAF) organization. Its last assignment was with the Air Defense Weapons Center, and it was stationed at Perrin Air Force Base, Texas, where it was discontinued in 1971. The wing was organized in 1962 when Air Defense Command (ADC) assumed the interceptor pilot training mission from Air Training Command (ATC).

The 4780th assumed the personnel, equipment, and mission of ATC's 3555th Flying Training Wing, which was simultaneously discontinued. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, the wing maintained aircraft in alert state in Texas and Florida. The wing was discontinued in 1971 when ADC concentrated all its fighter crew training at Tyndall AFB, Florida. Between 1965 and 1969, the wing was twice awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for its mission performance,


In 1958, Strategic Air Command and Tactical Air Command took responsibility from Air Training Command (ATC) for the conduct of their combat crew training,[citation needed] However, ATC's 3555th Flying Training Wing (Advanced Interceptor), which had trained all-weather interceptor pilots for all USAF commands, including Air Defense Command (ADC) since 1953, continued interceptor crew training.[1] Most interceptor pilots trained at Perrin, however, were later assigned to ADC.[2] In March 1962, ADC decided it wanted to merge Perrin AFB's interceptor school with other air defense resources.[citation needed] ADC acquired Perrin from ATC on 1 July 1962 and with it the 3555th Wing and its three Flying Training Squadrons.[3][4] On that date, ADC discontinued the 3555th Wing and formed the 4780th Air Defense Wing (Training) with the 3555th's personnel and equipment.[5] In addition to its operational squadrons, the wing was assigned a number of support and maintenance organizations to fulfill its role as USAF host organization for Perrin.

The 4780th trained qualified pilots to operate the Convair F-102 Delta Dagger and Convair F-106 Delta Dart interceptor aircraft as combat weapons. In addition, it conducted lead-in training with the F-102 for F-106 Delta Dart and Convair B-58 Hustler.[6][7] From 1962 to 1971 Perrin had the largest fleet of F-102 Delta Daggers in the US Air Force.[8] Perrin AFB was the only F-102 training base within ADC. The wing conducted a water survival skills school on nearby Lake Texoma, whose graduates included seventeen astronauts.[9]

In October 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis the wing suspended its training mission and placed all its interceptor aircraft on five minute alert, some flying missions to Florida.[10]

The wing was awarded two Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards for its performance from 1965 through 1969.[11][12] In addition, elements of the wing earned a third award for the period from January 1969 through May 1970,[12] In 1969 the 4780th won the United States Air Force Flying Safety Plaque for flying 38,551 hours without a major accident.[8] On March 3, 1971, it was announced that Perrin would close. On May 13, 1971, the last graduating class flew its F102s in formation over Sherman and Denison, Texas as a farewell to its two host cities. A few days later the last of the F-102 Delta Daggers left the base, and the 4780th Air Defense Wing was discontinued.[5]


  • Designated as the 4780th Air Defense Wing (Training) and organized on 1 July 1962
Discontinued on 30 June 1971



  • Perrin AFB, Texas, 1 July 1962-30 June 1971



  • 4780th Air Base Group, 1 July 1962 - 30 June 191[13]

Operational Squadrons

  • 4780th Flying Training Squadron (later 4780th Air Defense Squadron), 1 July 1962 - 30 June 1971[14]
  • 4781st Flying Training Squadron (later 4781st Combat Crew Training Squadron), 1 July 1962 - 31 Dec 1969[4]
  • 4782nd Combat Crew Training Squadron, 1 July 1962 - 30 June 1971[4]
The wing also had a USAF Hospital and several maintenance squadrons assigned.[15]


  • 4780th Physiological Training Flight, ca. 1 July 1962 - 1 Jan 1969[16]


  • F-102A, 1962-1971
  • TF-102A, 1962-1971
  • T-33A, 1962-1971


  • Col. Raymond K. Gallagher, 1 July 1962 - unknown[17]
  • Col. John R. Kullman, 7 August 1964 - unknown[7]
  • Col. R. H. Dettre, unknown - 30 June 1967[18]
  • Col. Walter R, Hardee, Jr., 30 June 1967 - 15 June 1969[18]
  • Col. Vermont Garrison, 16 June 1969 - 30 Jun 1971[9]


Award streamer Award Dates Notes
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1965 - 30 June 1967 [11]
AFOUA Streamer.JPG Air Force Outstanding Unit Award 1 July 1967 - 15 January 1969 [11]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Abstract, History of 3555th Fly Tng Wg, CY 1953 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  2. ^ Abstract, History of 3555th Fly Tng Wg, Jan 1958-Jun 1958 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  3. ^ Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946-1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 64. 
  4. ^ a b c Cornett & Johnson, p. 175
  5. ^ a b c Cornett & Johnson, p. 68
  6. ^ Abstract, History of 73rd Air Div, Jul 1962-Dec 1962 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  7. ^ a b Abstract, History of 4780th Air Def Wg, CY 1964 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  8. ^ a b Brief History of Perrin AFB, Perrin AFB Research Foundation (retrieved 15 Mar 2012)
  9. ^ a b Abstract, History of 4780th Air Def Wg, Apr 1969-Jun 1969 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  10. ^ Abstract, History of 4780th Air Def Wg, Oct 1962-Dec 1962 (retrieved March 15, 2012)
  11. ^ a b c AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits, Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 15 Jun 71, p.550
  12. ^ a b AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits, Vol II Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 30 Sep 76, p. 120
  13. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 90
  14. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 107
  15. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 144
  16. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 150
  17. ^ Abstract, Final Historical Report, 3555th Fly Tng Wg (retrieved Mar 15, 2012)
  18. ^ a b Abstract, History of 4780th Air Def Wg, Apr 1967-Jun 1967 (retrieved Mar 15, 2012)


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]