47th Air Division

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47th Air Division
47th Air Division crest.jpg
47th Air Division emblem
Active 19 October 1940 – 31 August 1941
30 May 1942 – 15 October 1945
1 February 1951 – 27 February 1987
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Engagements
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1942–1945)

The 47th Air Division (47th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command, based at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington. It was inactivated on 27 February 1987.

History[edit]

The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 47th Bombardment Wing (47th BW) was part of Fifteenth Air Force. Although earmarked for Eighth Air Force, it served instead with the Twelfth, and later, Fifteenth Air Forces, first as a fighter wing, then as a medium bomb wing, and finally as a heavy bomb wing. In the 1942 early 1943 period many of its assigned components did not actually operate under wing control, while other components were temporarily attached. Its components supported the bombing of Pantelleria Island and the invasions of Sicily, Italy, and southern France in 1943–1944. Wing aircraft also flew missions to the Balkans, Austria, France, and Germany, with the Rumanian oil fields as primary targets from April–August 1944. The final mission on 25 April 1945 struck marshalling yards at Linz, Austria. It returned to the United States in May 1945 to prepare for bombardment operations in the Pacific as a very heavy bombardment wing. On 7 September 1945, the wing became a paper unit and in mid Oct inactivated at Sioux City, Iowa.

Reactivated an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in June 1952, the 47th Air Division served as an intermediate echelon between Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force and operational units in the field. From April 1955 to March 1970, it filled the same role for the Fifteenth Air Force and from March 1970 to July 1971, for the Second Air Force. In July 1971 the 47th returned to Fifteenth Air Force control where it continued to supervise subordinate unit training and other activities.

The eruption of Mount St Helens in the state of Washington in May 1980 seriously affected division operations. Aircraft were dispersed to various bases while around the clock shifts removed the volcanic ash. The division as inactivated in February 1987 as a result of budget restraints.

World War II[edit]

Tail markings of the 47th Bomb Wing, 15th Air Force
450th BG B-24 in natural aluminum finish, probably in 1945
47th Bomb Wing B-24 over the Alps 1944

The organization traces its origins to the 7th Pursuit Wing which was activated on 19 October 1940 as part of the United States Army Air Corps. It was assigned to the Northeast Air District and its mission was air defense of the Northeastern United States, based at Mitchel Field on Long Island, New York. After a short period of inactivation, the unit was reactivated by the United States Army Air Forces in May 1942 as the 7th Fighter Wing as part of First Air Force, based at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as a command and control organization, preparing fighter groups to be deployed to the European Theater.

The Wing deployed to England in June 1942 while remaining attached to First Air Force, but instead of being assigned to VIII Fighter Command, it was, instead, assigned to the new Twelfth Air Force and was programmed as a combat fighter wing as part of "Task Force A", during Operation Torch, the invasion of North Africa in November 1942.

Shortly after the Allied landings, the Wing established its headquarters in Casablanca, French Morocco on 11 November 1942, and commenced combat operations, being attached to the Moroccan Composite Wing (Provisional). The 7th Fighter wing moved its headquarters and units to Algeria in January 1943 as the Allies moved eastward across North Africa, its units flying P-40 Warhawks, and long-range P-38 Lightnings, attacking German and Italian targets in advance of the ground forces. In the 1942 to early 1943 period, many of its assigned components did not actually operate under wing control, while other components were temporarily attached.

In January 1943, the wing was reassigned to XII Bomber Command and was redesignated as the 47th Bombardment Wing (Medium). (The reason for the designation change was that Seventh Air Force in Hawaii was reorganizing the air defense forces for the islands, and wanted to designate the wing there as the "seventh".) The wing was assigned B-26 Marauder and A-20 Havoc medium bomber groups, employing them in tactical roles across Algeria and Tunisia. Throughout 1943, the wing began to have heavy (B-24 Liberator) units attached, eventually becoming a heavy bomber organization. Its components supported the bombing of Pantelleria Island and the invasions of Sicily, Italy, moving to Manduria Italy in October 1943.

The wing was transferred to the new Fifteenth Air Force on 1 November 1943 along with four B-24 Bomb Groups (98th, 376th, 449th and 450th). The 47th Bomb Wing was named "The Pyramidiers", as the groups aircraft all carried a Pyramid symbol on their vertical stabilizers.

its groups flying missions to the Balkans, Austria, France, and Germany, with the Rumanian oil fields as primary targets from April through August 1944. The wings groups flew missions over Southern France in August 1944 in support of Operation Dragoon, the Invasion of Southern France. The final combat mission on 25 April 1945 struck marshalling yards at Linz, Austria.

With the war in Europe ended, the 47th Bomb Wing returned to the United States in May 1945 to prepare for bombardment operations in the Pacific as a very heavy bombardment wing. It was assigned to Continental Air Forces, Second Air Force and was redesignated as a "Very Heavy" wing. The 47th Bomb Wing was and assigned first to Sioux Falls AAF, South Dakota, then to Sioux City Army Air Base in Iowa to organize the B-29 Superfortress groups it would command under Eighth Air Force in the Pacific Theater.

The Atomic bombings and the end of World War II in August 1945. All personnel was transferred out of the wing on 17 September and the wing was inactivated on 15 October 1945.

Strategic Air Command[edit]

Redesignated as an Air Division, the 47th served as an intermediate echelon between Strategic Air Command's Eighth Air Force and operational units in the field. From April 1955 to March 1970, it filled the same role for the Fifteenth Air Force and from March 1970 to July 1971, for the Second Air Force. In July 1971 the 47th returned to Fifteenth Air Force control where it continued to supervise subordinate unit training and other activities. The May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington seriously affected division operations; aircraft were dispersed to various bases, while around-the-clock shifts removed the volcanic ash.

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as 7th Pursuit Wing on 19 October 1940.
Activated on 18 December 1940.
Inactivated on 31 August 1941.
  • Redesignated: 7th Fighter Wing on 30 May 1942.
Activated on 7 June 1942.
Redesignated: 47th Bombardment Wing (Medium) on 23 February 1943
Redesignated: 47th Bombardment Wing, Medium on 20 August 1943
Redesignated: 47th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 9 April 1945
Redesignated: 47th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 23 May 1945.
Inactivated on 15 October 1945.
  • Redesignated 47th Air Division on 1 February 1951.
Organized on 10 February 1951.
Discontinued on 16 June 1952.
Activated on 16 June 1952.
Redesignated: 47th Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 May 1962
Redesignated: 47th Air Division on 1 July 1963.
Inactivated on 27 February 1987.

Assignments[edit]

Components[edit]

Wings[edit]

Groups[edit]

Squadrons[edit]

Further attached to 6th Bombardment Wing, 1 August 1951 – 15 June 1952

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Stations[edit]

Aircraft and missiles[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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

External links[edit]