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21st Air Division
USAF 21st Air Division Crest.jpg
Emblem of the 21st Air Division
Active 1942–1983
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Command and Control
Part of Tactical Air Command (ADTAC)

The 21st Air Division (21st AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command, being stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base, New York. It was inactivated on 23 September 1983.

Established in 1942 as the 21st Bombardment Wing, the organization functioned as a staging wing for Second Air Force, and later as a command, processing heavy bombardment crews and aircraft for overseas movement, and then processing men returning from overseas, from 1942–1946.

From December 1946, it performed routine training duties in the Reserve as part of Fourth Air Force through 27 June 1949.

Reactivated as a intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in February 1951, the 21st Air Division trained aircrews for B-47 Stratojet medium bombardment wings, bomber replacement crews, and replacements for strategic reconnaissance slots until September 1964 when the B-47 was phased out of the inventory.

It took on an air defense role in January 1966 as part of Air Defense Command, assuming responsibility for defense of parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. During this time, it participated in air defense training exercises, accomplished live and simulated intercepts, and directed numerous flying sorties until inactivation in December 1967. Upon reactivation in 1969, it carried out the same duties but changed geographic locations and covered most of New England except for the upper half of Maine.

Inactivated in 1983 when the air defense mission of CONUS was being reassigned to Air National Guard units.





  • Established as 21 Bombardment Wing on 16 December 1942
Activated on 22 December 1942
Redesignated I Staging Command on 27 September 1945
Inactivated on 3 April 1946
  • Activated in the Reserve on 20 December 1946
Redesignated: 21 Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 31 December 1946
Redesignated: 21 Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 21 Air Division on 5 February 1951
Activated on 16 February 1951
Inactivated on 8 April 1952
Organized on 8 April 1952
Discontinued on 16 October 1952
  • Activated on 16 October 1952
Redesignated 21 Strategic Aerospace Division on 15 February 1962
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 September 1964
  • Redesignated 21 Air Division, and activated, on 20 January 1966
Organized on 1 April 1966
Discontinued, and inactivated, on 31 December 1967
  • Activated on 19 November 1969
Inactivated on 23 September 1983


Fourth Air Force, c. 23 November 1945 – 3 April 1946
Fourteenth Air Force, 20 December 1946
Ninth Air Force, 22 December 1948
Fourteenth Air Force, 1 February – 27 June 1949
Fifteenth Air Force, 16 July – 1 July 1955
Eighth Air Force, 1 July 1955
Second Air Force, 1 January 1959 – 1 September 1964
First Air Force, 1 April 1966 – 31 December 1967



Air Forces


52 Fighter Group: 19 November – 31 December 1969
373 Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952 (B-29)
374 Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952 (B-29)
375 Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952 (B-29)



  • 26 Air Defense Missile (BOMARC): 19 November 1969 – 30 April 1972
Otis AFB, Massachusetts
  • 35 Air Defense Missile (BOMARC): 19 November – 31 December 1969
Niagara Falls APT, New York
  • 46 Air Defense Missile (BOMARC): April 1966 – 1 December 1967; 19 November 1969 – 31 October 1972
McGuire AFB, New York
Loring AFB, Maine (F-106A)
Griffiss AFB, New York (F-106A)
Otis AFB, Massachusetts (F-101B)
Loring AFB, Maine, (F-106A)
K.I. Sawyer AFB, Michigan (F-106A)
Dover AFS, Delaware (F-106A)
McGuire AFB, New Jersey (F-106A)


The Division's emblem consists of a Shield divided by a diagonal line from the upper right to middle left, light blue and white, a sword slanting from upper left to lower right, the point to lower right base, the hilt and pommel yellow encircled with five stars, yellow, the lower blade of the sword over a branch of olive in base green. (Approved 17 July 1952)


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.
  • Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
  • Air Force Historical Research Agency: 21st Air Division

External links


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