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49th Air Division
49th Air Division crest.jpg
49th Air Division emblem
Active 17 March 1943 – 16 October 1945
20 December 1946 – 27 June 1949
25 October 1951 – 1 July 1956
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Garrison/HQ see "Stations" section below
Equipment see "Aircraft / Missiles / Space vehicles" section below
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
  • World War II
European Campaign (1944–1945)
Decorations see "Lineage and honors" section below

The 49th Air Division (49th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the United States Air Forces in Europe, based at RAF Sculthorpe, England. It was inactivated on 1 July 1956.


The unit's origins begin with its predecessor, the World War II 49th Bombardment Wing (49th BW) was part of Fifteenth Air Force. The 47th BW engaged in heavy bombardment B-24 Liberator operations against Germany.

World War II

451st Bomb Group Consolidated B-24H-30-CF Liberator 44-50443 displaying 304th Wing markings c. 1945. The upper tail surface and circle were red in color.

The 49th Air Division was established and activated at Columbia Army Airbase, South Carolina in March 1943 as a medium bomber (B-25 Mitchell) operational training wing (OTW). It was reassigned to Greenville Army Airbase, South Carolina in April where it commanded training of B-25 bomb groups in the southeast prior to their overseas deployment.

It was decided to redesignate the wing as the 49th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) and prepare it to command B-24 Liberator heavy bomb groups as part of Fifteenth Air Force in late 1943. Groups assigned to the wing were the 461st and 484th, training at Hammer Field, California and Harvard AAF, Nebraska. After the wing deployed to Bari, Italy in March 1944, a third group, the 451st was transferred to the wing from the 47th Bomb Wing.

As part of Fifteenth Air Force the groups of the 49th BW attacked such targets as oil refineries, marshalling yards, aircraft factories, bridges, and airfields in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Bulgaria. Subordinate units inflicted heavy damage on the oil refineries at Ploesti, participated in the invasion of southern France in August 1944, and supported the final advances of Allied armies in northern Italy in April 1945.

The wing was inactivated in Italy onn 16 October 1945.

Cold War

Republic F-84F-50-RE Thunderstreak, Serial 52-6852 of the 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing, 91st Fighter-Bomber Squadron, about 1955

Beginning in 1947, the 49th served in the Reserve for two years as a B-29 Superfortress organization, during which time it was redesignated as an Air Division and controlled the 100th Bomb Group (later Wing) at Miami AAF and the 380th Bomb Group (later Wing) at MacDill AFB in Florida

As a result of the expansion of the United States Air Forces in Europe, the division moved to England and served as a command and control organization. No combat elements were assigned, but the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing (RAF Wethersfield); the 47th Bombardment Wing (RAF Sculthorpe) and the 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing at RAF Bentwaters were attached for operations.

The division supervised and participated in numerous training missions such as Quick Shot, Kingpin, and Bear Claw before it was inactivated on 1 July 1956 as a result of a budgetary reduction.


  • Established as 49th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Medium) on 17 March 1943
Activated on 31 March 1943
Redesignated: 49th Bombardment Wing (Medium) on 18 October 1943
Redesignated: 49th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 4 December 1943
Redesignated: 49th Bombardment Wing, Heavy c. August 1944
Inactivated on 16 October 1945
  • Activated in the Reserve as 49th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 20 December 1946
Redesignated: 49th Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 31 December 1946
Redesignated: 49th Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
  • Redesignated 49th Air Division on 25 October 1951
Activated on 7 November 1951
Redesignated: 49th Air Division, Operational on 1 April 1952
Redesignated: 49th Air Division (Operational) on 15 November 1954
Inactivated on 1 July 1956.


Army Service Forces, c. 3 February 1944;
Fourteenth Air Force, 20 December 1946
Ninth Air Force, 22 December 1948
Fourteenth Air Force, 1 February – 27 June 1949
Third Air Force, 5 June 1952 – 1 July 1956.




  • Columbia AAB, South Carolina, 31 March 1943
  • Greenville AAB, South Carolina, c. 28 April 1943 – 2 February 1944
  • Bari, Italy
Remained in Italy, possibly at other stations, c. 11 March 1944 – 16 October 1945
  • Miami AAF, Florida, 20 December 1946 – 27 June 1949
  • Langley AFB, Virginia, 7 November 1951 – 21 May 1952
  • RAF Sculthorpe, England, 1 June 1952 – 1 July 1956.



 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947 – 1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External links

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