64th Air Division

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64th Air Division
USAF 64th Air Division Crest.jpg
Emblem of the 64th Air Division
Active 1942–1963
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Command and Control
Part of Air Defense Command
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Carroll W. McColpin
Emblem of the 64th Fighter Wing (World War II)

The 64th Air Division (64th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Air Defense Command, being stationed at Stewart Air Force Base, New York. It was inactivated on 1 July 1963.

History[edit]

World War II[edit]

The organization was established during the early days of World War II as an air defense command and control wing assigned to First Air Force at Mitchel Field, New York.

By February 1943, it was clear that no German planes were heading to attack the East Coast, and the organization was realigned to become a command and control organization for Twelfth Air Force, engaged in combat as part of the North African Campaign. The wing moved to North Africa in February 1943 and supported combat operations with a warning and control system, and, occasionally, augmenting the operations section of the XII Air Support Command in the Tunisian campaign.

During the Sicilian and Italian campaigns (1943–1944), it administered fighter and fighter-bomber support to ground forces in a wide range of operations that included cover patrols, battle-area patrols, invasion coverage, escort missions, dive bombing missions, and reconnaissance. In Italy, the 64th directed close air support operations against enemy objectives in advance of Allied troops. Its primary targets included enemy gun positions, road junctions, traffic concentrations, assembly areas, bridges, and targets of opportunity.

In August 1944 during the invasion of southern France, wing personnel, applying techniques developed in the invasion of Sicily and Italy, controlled air operations while aboard ships patrolling the assault beaches. With the landing of troops, a beachhead control unit directed aircraft to hit enemy strong points, ammunition dumps, troop concentrations, road intersections, supply lines, and communications. As Allied forces advanced northward along the Rhone valley, the wing implemented a plan to give more rapid support to the ground troops. Forward control units, equipped with the latest in air ground communications, directed sector air ground support. During the operations in France and Germany (1944–1945), the 64th continued to coordinate the close air-ground support of its fighter aircraft.

After the end of hostilities in May 1945, the wing served in the occupation of Germany as part of the XII Tactical Air Command, United States Air Forces in Europe. In Occupied Germany the wing performed many occupation duties such as destroying captured enemy aircraft, repairing roads, bridges and processing Prisoners of War. It also commanded combat units which were inactivating and sending their aircraft to storage, disposal or return to the United States. It was inactivated in Germany on 5 June 1947.

Cold War[edit]

64th Air Division Area of Responsibility
327th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 64th Air Division, Thule AB, Greenland, flying over the party-frozen Wolstenholm Fjord, August 1958. Convair F-102A-75-CO Delta Dagger 56-1368, 56-1360, 56-1361. 1361 retired and sent to MASDC as FJ0219 Jun 2, 1971; 1368 now on static display at Evergreen Aviation Educational Institute, McMinnville, OR

Reactivated as an Air Division under Northeast Air Command (NEAC), being stationed at Pepperrell AFB, Newfoundland in December 1952. NEAC had taken over the former Newfoundland Base Command atmospheric forces and ground air and radar stations in Newfoundland, Northeastern Canada and Greenland upon the former commands inactivation. The 64th Air Division was NEAC's command and control echelon of command over these assets.

Its mission was the administration, training and providing air defense combat ready forces within its designated geographic area of responsibility, exercising command jurisdiction over its assigned units, installations, and facilities. In addition, the division and its subordinate units under its control participated in numerous exercises. NEAC was inactivated in April 1957, and its mission was reassigned to Air Defense Command (ADC).

The 64th AD continued its operations under ADC at Pepperrell AFB including the operational control of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line) and Air Forces Iceland. In January 1960, it activated the Goose Air Defense Sector (Manual) at Goose AFB. On 26 May 1960, the division headquarters moved from Newfoundland to Stewart AFB, New York, when part of its mission was taken over by the 26th Air Division (SAGE) in a realignment of forces.

The Division was reassigned to Stewart AFB, New York, where it assumed the mission of training and providing air defense combat ready forces for the aerospace defense of a 6,000,000 square miles (16,000,000 km2) region of North America, including New Jersey, New York, New England north of Massachusetts, Eastern Canada, and atmospheric forces in Greenland.

The Division was inactivated in July 1963 with the phasedown of ADC at Stewart AFB, its mission being taken over by First Air Force.

Lineage[edit]

  • Established as 3d Air Defense Wing on 12 December 1942
Activated on 12 December 1942
Redesignated 64th Fighter Wing on 24 July 1943
Inactivated on 5 June 1947
  • Redesignated 64th Air Division (Defense) on 17 March 1952
Activated on 8 April 1952
Inactivated on 20 December 1952
  • Organized on 20 December 1952
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 July 1963

Assignments[edit]

Attached First Tactical Air Force [Provisional], 27 November 1944 – May 1945), 9 March 1943 – 5 June 1947

Stations[edit]

Components[edit]

World War II[edit]

Groups[edit]
Squadrons[edit]
Attached c. 3 September – 5 December 1943
Assigned 5 December 1943 – 15 February 1946

Air Defense Command[edit]

Force[edit]
Keflavik Airport, Iceland, 1 July 1962 – 1 July 1963
Sector[edit]
Goose AFB, Newfoundland, 1 April 1960 – 1 July 1963
Wings[edit]
Groups[edit]
Squadrons[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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

  • A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization 1946 – 1980, by Lloyd H. Cornett and Mildred W. Johnson, Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado
  • Winkler, David F. (1997), Searching the skies: the legacy of the United States Cold War defense radar program. Prepared for United States Air Force Headquarters Air Combat Command.
  • Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
  • Air Force Historical Research Agency: 64th Air Division (Defense)