4th Air Division
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|4th Air Division|
|Active||1940–41, 1942–45, 1946–49, 1951–52, 1952–88|
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Command of strategic strike forces|
Frederick W. Castle
|4th Air Division emblem (approved 25 June 1974)|
The 4th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Fifteenth Air Force, stationed at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming. It was inactivated on 23 August 1988.
During the Cold War, the 4th Air Division' was an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command, controlling strategic bombardment and intercontinental strategic missile wings until inactivated in 1988.
The 4th Bombardment Wing moved to England in June 1943 and as a part of Eighth Air Force began bombing operations against German occupied Europe. Targets included shipyards, synthetic rubber plants, chemical plants, marshalling yards, and oil facilities. In July the wing grew to seven combat groups, which resulted in a reorganization of its groups on 13 September 1943 into the 3d Bombardment Division as a new higher echelon over the 4th and two wings which had groups assigned for the first time: the 13th and 45th Combat Bomb Wings. The 4th CBW administratively controlled only two groups until December 1943, when the newly arrived 447th BG was assigned to it.
In 1944, some subordinate units attacked coastline defenses and marshalling yards in preparation for the Allied invasion of France. Some units supported ground troops during the Battle of the Bulge (December 1944 – January 1945) and the assault across the Rhine (March 1945 – April 1945).
Rectivated in 1951 as an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command, the 4th Air Division was part of Second Air Force, controlling B-29, Boeing B-50 Superfortress and B-47 wings. In 1962, units controlled by the 4th Air Division supported 2d Air Force's post attack command and control system, and became responsible for the Advanced Airborne Command Post. It participated in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and trained in electronic countermeasures and conducted combat operations in Southeast Asia in the late 1960s.
Reassigned to SAC's Fifteenth Air Force in 1970, the 4th assured that assigned units were capable of conducting strategic aerospace warfare using intercontinental ballistic missiles, long-range bombardment, and air refueling resources, according to the Emergency War Order. In addition, the division assumed airborne command and control responsibilities that consisted of supporting auxiliary airborne command post aircraft.
Inactivated in 1988 as a result of budget reductions and a consolidation of SAC's command and control echelons.
- Established as the 4th Bombardment Wing on 19 October 1940
- Activated on 18 December 1940
- Inactivated on 1 October 1941
- Activated on 7 June 1942
- Redesignated 4th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 30 August 1943
- Redesignated 4th Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 24 August 1944
- Disestablished on 18 June 1945
- Reestablished and redesignated 4th Bombardment Wing, Light on 31 December 1946
- Activated in the Reserve on 20 December 1946
- Redesignated 4th Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
- Inactivated on 27 June 1949
- Redesignated 4th Air Division on 1 February 1951
- Organized on 10 February 1951
- Discontinued on 16 June 1952
- Activated on 16 June 1952
- Redesignated 4th Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 September 1964
- Redesignated 4th Strategic Missile Division on 30 June 1971
- Redesignated 4th Air Division on 1 March 1973
- Inactivated on 23 August 1988
- General Headquarters Air Force, 18 December 1940 – 1 October 1941
- Apparently further assigned to Northeast Air District (later, First Air Force) c. 16 January 1941
- VIII Bomber Command, 7 June 1942
- 3d Bombardment Division, 13 September 1943 – 18 June 1945
- First Air Force, 20 December 1946 – 27 June 1949
- Second Air Force, 16 June 1952
- Fifteenth Air Force, 31 March 1970 – 23 August 1988
Aircraft and missiles
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977 (PDF). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.