678th Air Defense Group

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678th Air Defense Group
Patch (Subdued) of the 678th Air Defense Group
Active 1970–1983
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Air Defense
Part of Aerospace Defense Command (1970–1979)
Tactical Air Command (ADTAC) (1979–1983)

The 678th Air Defense Group is a disbanded United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the 20th Air Division of Air Defense Command (ADC) at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida. The group was formed in 1970 when ADC expanded its radar units that operated Backup Interceptor Control sites from squadron sized units. From 1977 until it was inactivated in 1983 the 678th was responsible for operating the Southern Air Defense System.


Emblem of the 678th Aircraft Control and Warning (later Radar) Squadron

The group replaced the 678th Radar Squadron (SAGE) (formerly the 678th Aircraft Warning & Control Squadron) at Tyndall AFB in 1970.[1] The group operated a Backup Interceptor Control (BUIC) site with the mission to back up the centralized and vulnerable Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) operations center at Gunter AFB.[2] The group provided air defense mission command and control from 1970 to 1983. It was a component of Aerospace Defense Command (ADC)'s (later transferred to Tactical Air Command (TAC)) Air Defense Weapons Center from 1974 to 1981. The group earned an Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for exceptionally meritorious service for the period 1 June 1970 through 1 June 1972.[3]

In 1969, the inadequacy of the radar coverage to the south of the United States had been dramatically illustrated whan a Cuban MiG-17 went undetected before it landed at Homestead AFB,[4] and two years later, an An-24 similarly arrived unanounced at New Orleans International Airport.[4] As a result, ADC established The Southern Air Defense System (SADS). Initially, the 630th Radar Squadron operated a manual control center at the Houston Air Route Traffic Control Center and the USAF added radars to supplement the existing Federal Aviation Administration coverage in the area.[4] In 1977, responsibility for operating the SADS control center was transferred to the group, which was operating the last BUIC III site in ADC.


  • Constituted as 678th Air Defense Group on 13 February 1970
Activated on 1 March 1970
Inactivated on 1 March 1983[1]
Disbanded on 27 September 1984[5]






Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Streamer.jpg

  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, 1 June 1970 - 1 June 1972



  1. ^ a b c d 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. 85. 
  2. ^ Radomes.com Articles for 678th Radar Squadron (reproducing article from Communications & Electronics Digest, Aug 1968)
  3. ^ AF Pamphlet 900-2, Unit Decorations, Awards and Campaign Participation Credits, Vol II Department of the Air Force, Washington, DC, 30 Sep 76 , p. 87
  4. ^ a b c Leonard, Barry (2009). History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense. Vol I. 1945-1955. Fort McNair, DC: Center for Military History. p. 172. ISBN 978-1-4379-2131-1. 
  5. ^ Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 575q, 27 Sep 1984, Subject: Disbandment of Units


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

Further Reading

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