||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (December 2012)|
|21st Air Division|
Emblem of the 21st Air Division
|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.
World War II 
Initially 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 Air Force Reserve through 27 June 1949 when it was inactivated due to budget reductions.
Strategic Air Command 
Reactivated as an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command in February 1951 at Forbes AFB, Kansas. The 21st Air Division controlled B-47 Stratojet medium bombardment wings at Forbes AFB, Kansas and Lake Charles AFB, Louisiana. It was responsible for aircrew training, bomber replacement crews, and replacements for strategic reconnaissance slots until September 1964 when the B-47 was phased out of the inventory.
Air Defense Command 
The command was reactivated by Air Defense Command (ADC) in January 1966 at McGuire AFB, New Jersey as one of ten new Air Divisions organized by the command to replace inactivating Air Defense Sectors in an organizational realignment. Assumed additional designation of 21st NORAD Region after activation of the NORAD Combat Operations Center at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado and reporting was transferred to NORAD from ADC at Ent AFB in April 1966.
Under ADC the 21st AD was placed under First Air Force and assumed the jurisdiction of the former New York Air Defense Sector, controlling interceptor and radar units over eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the New York City/Long Island area and the coast of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including Cape Cod. This included operations of the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) blockhouse DC-01.
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 as part of an ADC consolidation of intermediate level command and control organizations, driven by budget reductions required to fund USAF operations in Southeast Asia.
The 21st AD was re-activated in November 1969 under Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM) at Hancock Field, New York. The command provided air defense over most of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and the New England area, commanding interceptor and radar stations. Also included were ADCOM radar stations located in Newfoundland, Canada. In addition command of the SAGE DC-03/CC-01 blockhouse was assumed by the 21st AD, as well as CIM-10 Bomarc surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile squadrons near Otis AFB, Massachusetts, Niagara Falls, New York and McGuire AFB, New Jersey.
In 1975, a new JCS Unified Command Plan designated Air Defense Command as a specified command and changed its name to the Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM) on 1 July 1975. Air Defense ADCOM was reorganized on 1 October 1979. The atmospheric defense resources (interceptors and warning radars) of ADCOM. including the 21st AD were reassigned to Tactical Air Command (ADTAC). It moved to Griffiss AFB, New York in 1983 when Hancock Field was closed.
In 1983, when the air defense mission of CONUS was reassigned to the Air National Guard, the 21st Air Division (ADTAC) was inactivated.
- Established as 21st 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: 21st Bombardment Wing, Very Heavy on 31 December 1946
- Redesignated: 21st Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
- Inactivated on 27 June 1949
- Redesignated 21st 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 21st Strategic Aerospace Division on 15 February 1962
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 September 1964
- Reactivated on 20 January 1966
- Organized on 1 April 1966, replacing New York Air Defense Sector
- Assumed additional designations 21st NORAD/CONRAD Region, 1 April 1966
- Discontinued, and inactivated, on 31 December 1967
- Re-established and activated on 19 November 1969
- Assumed additional designation 21st ADCOM Region, 8 December 1978
- Inactivated on 23 September 1983, assets transferred to Northeast Air Defense Sector
- Smoky Hill AAF, Kansas, 22 December 1942
- Topeka AAF, Kansas, 31 May 1943
- Merced AAFld (later, Castle Field), California, 7 October 1945 – 3 April 1946
- Memphis Municipal Airport, Tennessee, 20 December 1946 – 27 June 1949
- Forbes AFB, Kansas, 16 February 1951 – 1 September 1964
- McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 April 1966 – 31 December 1967
- Hancock Field, New York 19 November 1969
- Griffiss AFB, New York, 31 August – 23 September 1983.
World War II 
- 48th Staging Wing: 18 July 1945-c. 21 March 1946
- 95th Bombardment Group: 29 May 1947 – 27 June 1949
- 333d Bombardment Group: attached 15 July 1942 – 21 February 1943
- 346th Bombardment Group: attached 7 September 1942 – 25 February 1943
- 384th Bombardment Group: 16 July 1947 – 27 June 1949
Strategic Air Command 
- 373d Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952
- 374th Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952
- 375th Bombardment Squadron: attached 10 October 1951 – 8 April 1952; 8–17 April 1952
Air Defense Command 
- Air Forces Iceland: 31 December 1969 – 1 October 1975
Fighter-Interceptor units 
- Suffolk County AFB, New York, 1 April 1966 – 1 December 1967
- Otis AFB, Massachusetts, 4–31 December 1969
Missile units 
- 26th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC)
- Otis AFB, Massachusetts, 19 November 1969 – 30 April 1972
- 35th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC)
- Niagara Falls Air Force Missile Site, New York, 19 November – 31 December 1969
- 46th Air Defense Missile Squadron (BOMARC)
- McGuire AFB, New Jersey, 1 April 1966 – 1 December 1967; 19 November 1969 – 31 October 1972
Radar units 
- Thule AB, Greenland, 1 October 1976 – 1 October 1979
- North Truro AFS, Massachusetts, 1 March 1970 – 1 January 1974
- Charleston AFS, Maine, 1 March 19790-1 January 1974
Air Base units 
- 4683d Air Base Group
- Thule AB, Greenland, 31 December 1969 – 31 March 1977
- 4684th Air Base Group
- Sondrestrom AB, Greenland, 31 December 1969 – 1 December 1979
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)
See also 
- List of United States Air Force air divisions
- List of USAF Aerospace Defense Command General Surveillance Radar Stations
- Aerospace Defense Command Fighter Squadrons
- Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) . Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1.
- Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) . Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6.
- Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
- Winkler, David F.; Webster, Julie L (1997). Searching the skies: The legacy of the United States Cold War Defense Radar Program. Champaign, IL: US Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories. LCCN 9720912.
- Aerospace Defense Command publication, The Interceptor, January 1979 (Volume 21, Number 1).
- AFHRA Factsheet, 21st Air Division