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40th Air Division

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Country  United States
40th Air Division
Active  1943-1946; 1951–1957; 1959–1988; 1989–1991
Branch  United States Air Force
Role  Command of strategic strike forces
Decorations  Distinguished Unit Citation

The 40th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Fifteenth Air Force at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. It was inactivated on 14 June 1991.


As the 40th Bombardment Wing, the unit was one of the primary B-17 Flying Fortress heavy strategic bombardment wings of VIII Bomber Command and later, Eighth Air Force in World War II.


The 40th Bomb Wing was established on 15 January 1943 and officially activated on 21 January 1943. In May of that year, the Wing deployed to Brampton Grange, England. During the war, the wing went through a succession of name changes starting on 3 May 1943 when they were redesignated the 40 Bombardment Wing (Heavy). This was quickly followed by another change on 30 August 1943 when they were redesignated the 40 Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy). In September 1943, the wing received three bombardment groups and began combat operations against Nazi Germany, striking such targets as Nantes, Emden, Wilhelmshaven, and Bremen. Its units participated in a mission to Schweinfurt on 14 October 1943 that resulted in the loss of over half of the aircraft dispatched. The final name change came on 13 August 1943 when they became 40 Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy. For the remainder of World War II, the wing flew numerous missions against military targets throughout occupied Europe and Germany. Following the end of the war the Wing was inactivated on 25 December 1946.

"Redesignated the 40th Air Division in March 1951, it assumed a supervisory role over assigned units of the Strategic Air Command, ensuring that they were manned, trained, and equipped to conduct long range bombardment missions using either nuclear or conventional weapons. It also developed and maintained the capability for effective air refueling and Minuteman II (intercontinental ballistic missile) operations. In these roles the division conducted staff assistance visits and participated in numerous exercises such as Buy None, Buckskin Rider and Busy Player."

"After July 1989, the 40th Air Division established policies to ensure support for wartime execution of a strategic ICBM wing and a strategic air refueling wing in accordance with the Single Integrated Operational Plan and Joint Chiefs of Staff directed conventional war-fighting commitments."


  • Established as the 40th Bombardment Wing on 15 January 1943
  • Activated on 21 January 1943 Redesignated: 40th Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 3 May 1943 Redesignated: 40th Combat Bombardment Wing (Heavy) on 30 August 1943 Redesignated: 40th Combat Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 13 August 1944 Redesignated: 40th Bombardment Wing, Heavy on 9 June 1945 Inactivated on 25 December 1946
  • Redesignated 40th Air Division on 2 March 1951
  • Organized on 14 March 1951 Discontinued on 1 July 1952
  • Activated on 1 July 1952
  • Inactivated on 1 April 1957
  • Activated on 1 July 1959
  • Inactivated on 8 June 1988
  • Activated on 7 July 1989
  • Inactivated on 14 June 1991


  • Third Air Force, 21 January 1943
  • Eighth Air Force, 6 June 1943
  • VIII Bomber Command, 8 June 1943
  • 1st Bombardment Division (later 1 Air Division), 13 September 1943
  • United States Air Forces in Europe, c. 31 October 1945
  • European Air Materiel Command, 20 – 25 December 1946
  • Second Air Force, 14 March 1951 – 1 April 1957
  • Second Air Force, 1 July 1959
  • Eighth Air Force, 1 January 1975 – 8 June 1988
  • Fifteenth Air Force, 7 July 1989 – 14 June 1991
  • References

    40th Air Division Wikipedia

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