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19th Air Division: Wikis


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19th Air Division
19th Air Division crest.jpg
19th Air Division emblem
Active 8 May 1929–25 October 1941
24 July 1942–20 November 1945
20 December 1946–27 June 1949
1 February 1951–30 September 1988
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ see "Stations" section below
Equipment see "Aircraft / Missiles / Space vehicles" section below
Decorations see "Lineage and honors" section below

The 19th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Eighth Air Force, based at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas. It was inactivated on 30 Sept 1988.

During World War II, the unit was designated as IX Bomber Command and was the command and control organization for Ninth Air Force in the Western Desert Campaign. Using predominantly B-24 Liberator heavy and B-25 Mitchell medium bombers, it supported the British Eighth Army against the German Afrika Korps from airfields ranging from Palestine in 1942 across North Africa to the final defeat of German forces in the Tunisia Campaign in May 1943.

Later, during the 1944 Battle of Normandy and the 1945 Western Allied invasion of Germany, as the 9th Bombardment Division, the unit directed B-26 Marauder medium bombers in tactical roles supporting Allied ground forces from D-Day to V-E Day.





Azure, surmounting a lightning flash gules, a globe argent with latitude and longitude lines dark blue and encircled with a planetary ring of the last strewn with stars of the third and fimbriated of the like all bandwise, in chief an olive branch fesswise or, all within a diminished border of the third. (Approved 11 Mar 1959.)


  • Established as 19 Composite Wing on 8 May 1929
Activated on 1 Apr 1931
Redesignated: 19 Wing on 14 Jul 1937
Redesignated: 19 Bombardment Wing on 19 Oct 1940
Inactivated on 25 Oct 1941
  • Activated on 24 Jul 1942
Redesignated: IX Bomber Command on 17 Nov 1942
Redesignated: 9 Bombardment Division, Medium on 30 Aug 1944
Redesignated: 9 Air Division on 10 May 1945
Inactivated on 20 Nov 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve on 20 Dec 1946
Redesignated: 19 Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 31 Dec 1946
Redesignated: 19 Air Division, Bombardment on 16 Apr 1948
Inactivated on 27 Jun 1949
  • Redesignated 19 Air Division on 1 Feb 1951
Organized on 16 Feb 1951
Discontinued on 16 Jun 1952
  • Activated on 16 Jun 1952
Inactivated on 30 Sep 1988.


Attached III Fighter Command, 24 Jul-c. 28 Sep 1942


See also: Operations - Canal Zone; North Africa; Normandy Campaign


  • Strategic Air Command
2 Bombardment: 1 Sept 1964-1 Jul 1965; 2 Jul 1969-1 Dec 1982
7 Bombardment: 16 Feb 1951-16 Jun 1952. 16 Jun 1952-13 Jun 1988 (detached 10 Jul-13 Sept 1955)
11 Bombardment (later, 11 Strategic Aerospace; 11 Air Refueling): 16 Feb 1951-16 Jun 1952. 16 Jun 1952-13 Dec 1957 (detached 4 May-2 Jul 1955); 2 Jul 1966-25 Mar 1969
43 Bombardment: 15 Mar 1960-1 Sept 1964 (detached 19-31 Aug 1964)
96 Strategic Aerospace (later, 96 Bombardment): 2 Jul 1966-1 Jul 1973
305 Bombardment: 1 Jan 1961-1 Sept 1964
308 Strategic Missile: 1 Dec 1982-18 Aug 1987
340 Bombardment: attached c. 1-31 Aug 1964, assigned 1 Sept 1964-2 Oct 1966
351 Strategic Missile: 1 Dec 1982-13 Jun 1988
381 Strategic Missile: 1 Jul 1973-8 Aug 1986
384 Air Refueling (later, 384 Bombardment): 1 Jul 1973-13 Jun 1988
461 Bombardment: 2 Jul 1966-25 Mar 1968
494 Bombardment: 1 Oct 1965-2 Apr 1966
4123 Strategic: 10 Dec 1957-1 Mar 1959
4130 Strategic: 1 Oct 1958-1 Jul 1963


  • Strategic Air Command
340 Air Refueling: 2 Jul 1968-16 Jun 1988
3958 Operational Evaluation and Training (B-58): 1 Sept 1959-15 Mar 1960


  • 11 Air Refueling: 25 Mar-2 Jul 1969; 30 Jun 1971-1 Jul 1977
  • 3958 Operational Evaluation and Training (B-58): 11 Aug 1958-1 Sept 1959
  • 4007 Combat Crew Training: 2 Jun-2 Jul 1968
  • 4017 Training (B-36 Transition): 17 Dec 1951-1 Jan 1954.



Canal Zone

The 19th Air Division was first organized on 30 June 1929 as the 19th Composite Wing at France Field, Canal Zone. It was a consolidation of Air Corps units in the Canal Zone, and was activated on 1 Apr 1931. It consisted of the following units:

During the 1930s the 19th Wing participated in maneuvers, flew patrol missions, made good will flights to Central American and South American countries, and flew mercy missions in South America. In January 1939, it flew missions to aid earthquake victims in Santiago, Chile.

It was redesignated as the 19th Bombardment Wing on 19 October 1940 as the United States prepared for a possible war. By late August 1941, a total of 71 aircraft, consisting of B-18 Bolos; B-17B Flying Fortresses; A-20 Havocs, and A-17A Nomads were assigned to various groups under its control.

It was replaced by the 13th Bombardment Wing in an administrative reorganization of the Panama Canal Air Force on 25 October 1941.

World War II

North Africa

Reactivated as IX Bomber Command, the unit was assigned to Ninth Air Force in Egypt on 17 Nov 1942. It's component groups were:

* Formed from HALPRO components along with personnel and equipment sent from Tenth Air Force. B-17s which were assigned were determined to be non-operational and never used in combat.

IX Bomber Command was quickly put together in late 1942 to aid the British Eighth Army's drive west from Egypt into Libya against Rommel's Afrika Corps during the Western Desert Campaign. It consisted of units and aircraft put together for an attack on Japan which was canceled after the Burma Road was captured by Japanese forces, making its planned base in China unable to support the attack (HALPRO Mission); by Pearl Harbor Attack and Philippines survivor early model B-17 Flying Fortresses that had been sent from Australia, and by some early B-24 Liberator and B-25 Mitchells which were sent across the South Atlantic Transport route from Morrison Field, Florida via Brazil and across Central Africa via Sudan.

Reinforced during early 1943, its subordinate units attacked enemy storage areas, motor transports, troop concentrations, airdromes, bridges, shipping, and other targets in Libya, Tunisia, and other areas. In May 1943 after the Tunisian Campaign ended, Tunisia became available for launching attacks on Pantelleria (Operation Corkscrew), Sicily (Operation Husky), and mainland Italy.

IX Bomber groups attacked airfields and rail facilities in Sicily and took part in Operation Husky, carried paratroopers, and flew reinforcements to ground units on the island. Heavy bomb units of the Ninth also participated in the famed low-level assault on oil refineries at Ploesti (Operation Tidal Wave) Romania on August 1, 1943.

Later in August 1943, it was decided to reassign Ninth Air Force to England to be the tactical air force in the planned invasion of France scheduled for May 1944. The IX Bomber Command reassigned it's groups to Twelfth Air Force, and eventually its heavy bombardment groups became the core of the newly activated Fifteenth Air Force, while it's B-25 Mitchell medium bomber groups remained with Twelfth Air Force.

The command's headquarters at Soluch Airfield, Libya, was inactivated on 1 Oct 1943.

Normandy Campaign

The IX Bomber Command was reassigned to Marks Hall, England on 16 October 1943. It took over the 3rd Bombardment Wing of the Eighth Air Force VIII Air Support Command. It was expanded and consisted of three Wings of medium bomber groups:

409th Bombardment Group: 7 Mar 1944-Jun 1945 (A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader)
410th Bombardment Group: 4 Apr 1944-Jun 1945 (A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader)
416th Bombardment Group: Feb 1944- Jul 1945 (A-20 Havoc, A-26 Invader)
323d Bombardment Group: 16 Oct 1943-16 Jul 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
387th Bombardment Group: 16 Oct 1943-Nov 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
394th Bombardment Group: 11 Mar 1944-Sept 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
397th Bombardment Group: 15 Apr 1944-Nov 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
322d Bombardment Group: 16 Oct 1943-15 Sept 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
344th Bombardment Group: 16 Oct 1943-15 Sept 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
386th Bombardment Group: 16 Oct 1943-27 Jul 1945 (B-26 Marauder)
391st Bombardment Group: 25 Jan 1944-27 Jul 1945 (B-26 Marauder)

In England, and later on the continent after D-Day, IX Bomber Command became the medium bomber component of Ninth Air Force. Its initial mission was attack to German Atlantic Wall defenses along the English Channel coast of France. After D-Day, its primary mission was changed to fly tactical bombardment missions supporting Allied ground forces as they advanced from the Normandy Beaches across France into Germany.

In addition, it attacked enemy airfields in Nazi-occupied areas in support of Eighth Air Force strategic bombing missions as well as operations against German V-weapon sites. Additional missions involved attacks on rail marshaling yards, railroads, airfields, industrial plants, military installations, and other enemy targets in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

It was redesignated as the 9th Bombardment Division, Medium on 30 Aug 1944. The last combat missions was flown on 3 May 1945 by the 386th, 391st, 409th & 410th Bomb Groups.

Strategic Air Command

Redesignated as the 19th Bombardment Wing, it served another brief period with the Reserve from 1946–1949, carrying out routine training activities.

It was redesignated again in February 1951, as the 19th Air Division as part of Strategic Air Command, and some of its subordinate units trained in, and flew B-36 Peacemaker aircraft. These same units were later equipped with B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft and trained in global strategic bombardment and air refueling operations. In early 1960, several of its assigned units evaluated various models of the B-58 Hustler aircraft, while at the same time operating a combat crew training school to train Strategic Air Command aircrews in the B-58 weapons system. Following evaluation of the B-58, these units utilized the aircraft in the strategic bombardment role.

In January 1967, the division began deploying B-52 aircraft and aircrews to Southeast Asia for combat operations, continuing until 1973. In 1975, the 19th provided air refueling support for the evacuation of Vietnamese and Americans from South Vietnam. After 1975, the division insured its subordinate units were manned, trained, equipped, and operationally ready to conduct bombing and air refueling missions, and if necessary, to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Aircraft / Missiles / Space vehicles


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

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
  • Johnson, David C. (1988), U.S. Army Air Forces Continental Airfields (ETO), D-Day to V-E Day; Research Division, USAF Historical Research Center, Maxwell AFB, Alabama.
  • Air Force Historical Research Agency: 19th Air Division

External links


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