7217th Air Division
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|7217th Air Division|
Emblem of the 7217th Air Division (HQ TUSLOG)
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Command and Control|
|Part of||United States Air Forces in Europe|
The 7217th Air Division (7217th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, being stationed at Ankara Air Station, Turkey. It was inactivated on 9 September 1970.
- Established as 7217 Air Division (Command), and organized, on 7 August 1959
- Reduced in organization level to Detachment 1, HQ Sixteenth Air Force, 9 September 1970
- Seventeenth Air Force, 7 August 1959
- United States Air Forces in Europe, 15 November 1959-9 September 1970.
- 39th Tactical Group, Incirlik Air Base, 1 May 1958
- Redesignated 39th Wing, 1 October 1993
- 7217th Air Base Group, Ankara Air Station, 7 August 1959-9 September 1970
- 724lst Air Base Squadron, Izmir, 15 November 1955-30 September 1990
- 7022d Air Base Squadron, Pirinclik, 5 August 1966-31 December 1994
- 7391st Munitions Support Squadron, Balikesir, 1 October 1966-31 December 1994
- 7392d Munitions Support Squadron, Eskisehir, 20 March 1962-30 September 1990
- 7393d Munitions Support Squadron, Murted, 1 July 1965-31 December 1994
- 7394th Munitions Support Squadron, Erhac, 1 June 1963
- Re-designated as Detachment 1 of the 39th Tactical Group on 1 February 1972-31 December 1989
The division provided logistical support for all American armed forces, and military activities in Turkey, Greece, and Crete. Its area of responsibility extended from the Black Sea to Ethiopia and from Greece to Pakistan.
The 7217th Air Division was established as a result of the "Lebanese Crisis" of 1958 during which the US sent aircraft and troops to Incirlik Air Base, Turkey in support of the Marines dispatched to Lebanon. At the same time the United States Ambassador to Turkey (the US Embassy) and its agencies were demanding more and more services. As a result, on 7 August 1959, USAFE reversed its position and elevated HQ TUSLOG to be the 7217th Air Division. The rank of the commander of HQ TUSLOG was then raised from colonel to brigadier general.
Meanwhile, a number of studies were conducted in order to find ways of reducing and streamlining the US command structure in Turkey, especially after the Secretary of the Air Force visited that country in 1963 and concluded that the separate NATO-CENTO-European Command-USAFE command structure was too cumbersome. One result of these studies was that in July 1964, TUSLOG took over full responsibility for several functions previously shared with JUSMMAT and other organizations: air transportation, motor pools, public information, supply logistical support, legal counsel, and signals communications. This led to a decrease in the number of personnel at JUSMMAT, an increase for TUSLOG, and a net decrease in the number of Americans in Ankara.
The 7217th provided facilities and training for rotational tactical fighter squadrons, maintenance for aircraft assigned to Military Aid and Assistance Groups (MAAGs) in the Middle East, and logistical support for occasional unscheduled aerial operations.
By the mid-1960s, demands on the defense budget and manpower by the war in Southeast Asia forced the US to reconsider its military priorities in other parts of the world. In 1966, Senate majority leader Mike Mansfield began a campaign to reduce unilaterally US troop levels in Europe. Following this, Secretary of Defense Clark Clifford initiated a program for the Reduction of Costs and Forces in Europe (REDCOSTE) in 1968. Although a change in administrations occurred in the same year, this program conformed to the Nixon policy of lowering the profile of American forces abroad.
Consequently, the US began to eliminate or consolidate many of its operations in Turkey. Between 1969 and 1973, for instance, sites at Samsun and Trabzon were turned over to the Turkish government. In addition, Cigli Air Base, which since 1963 had been used by USAF rotational squadrons, was turned over to the Turkish Air Force in 1970. The US continued, however, to fund the maintenance of numerous facilities at that base. Altogether, between 1967 and 1970, the number of Americans in Turkey dropped from 24,000 to 15,000.
The cutbacks in forces in Turkey naturally had a major effect on TUSLOG. The headquarters in Ankara shrank to a fraction of its former size. On 9 September, it was inactivated as the 7217th Air Division and the next day reestablished as Detachment 1 of Headquarters Sixteen Air Force.