86th Air Division

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86th Air Division
526th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron - Convair F-102A-65-CO Delta Dagge - 56-1211.jpg
86th Air Division, 526th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-102A Delta Dagger - 56-1211 about 1965
Active 1960-1968
Country  United States
Branch  Air Force
Type Air Division
Role Air Defense
Part of United States Air Forces in Europe
Garrison/HQ Ramstein Air Base
86th Air Division Emblem USAF - 86th Air Division.png

The 86th Air Division (86 AD) is a former designation of the 86th Airlift Wing, a United States Air Force organization. It was assigned to United States Air Forces in Europe at Ramstein Air Base, West Germany. It was inactivated on 14 November 1968.


For additional history see 86th Airlift Wing

514th FIS F-86D 52-4133 of the 86th Air Division, about 1960
431st FIS F-102A Delta Dagger 55-3431, Zaragoza AB, Spain
Lockheed F-104B-10-LO Starfighters of the TN Air National Guard 151st FIS at Ramstein during the 1961 Berlin Crisis. In front is serial 57-1306

In January 1959 the 525th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Bitburg Air Base received its first Convair F-102 Delta Dagger, designed to upgrade the air defense capabilities of Western Europe. HQ USAFE decided to upgrade the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing to Air Division status and centralize the command of all the European Air Defense squadrons in USAFE to it. With this change, the 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing was redesignated the 86th Air Division (Defense) on 18 November 1960.

At Ramstein, the 526th FIS was equipped with F-102s in 1960, while the 440th, 512th, 513th and 514th FIS began to retire their F-86s during November and December, and were inactivated on Jan. 8, 1961.

However at the time of their arrival in Europe, the F-102 was already being replaced by the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo and the Convair F-106 Delta Dart in the Air Defense Command as an interceptor, and by much more versatile McDonnell F-4 Phantom II. In USAFE, the 497th FIS transitioned to F-4Cs in 1963 and was redesignated 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron and transferred to George AFB, California.

The 86th AD continued to fly an air defense mission using its separate fighter-interceptor squadrons while simultaneously providing control of the airways through efforts of the various aircraft control and warning units. In recognition of how well it accomplished its myriad missions and for implementing the single 412L Air Weapons Control System, the 86th received a second Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period from July 1964 to June 1965.

By 1968, the F-102s were phased out of the interceptor role in Europe, and replaced by the F-4C/E. On 14 November 1968 the 86th Air Division was inactivated.


  • 86th Fighter-Interceptor Wing re-designated as 86 Air Division (Defense). 18 November 1960
Inactivated on 14 November 1968 and re-designated 86th Tactical Fighter Wing


Seventeenth Air Force, 18 November 1960
Seventeenth Air Force, 1 September 1963


Major components[edit]

Soesterberg AB, Netherlands
Zaragoza AB, Spain
Hahn AB, West Germany
Torrejon AB, Spain
Phalsbourg-Bourscheid AB, France
Ramstein AB, West Germany
Bitburg AB, West Germany
Ramstein AB, West Germany

Attached units

Tennessee Air National Guard TDY to Ramstein AB, West Germany
Arizona Air National Guard TDY to Ramstein AB, West Germany


See also[edit]


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