The division was established as the 12th Pursuit Wing in the Panama Canal Zone on 20 November 1940. The organization commanded pursuit groups and squadrons for Sixth Air Force until 6 March 1942.
It was reassigned to Eighth Air Force in England during November 1942 as a bombardment wing, but never made operational . All personnel and equipment were withdrawn in January 1943, and the organization did not serve in combat.
Reactivated in 1951, the 12th Air Division was an intermediate command echelon of Strategic Air Command. It conducted training for worldwide bombardment operations. From 1963–1984 and 1988–1990. It maintained an intercontinental ballistic missile capability, conducted staff assistance visits, and monitored programs such as retention, domestic actions, and medical capabilities of its subordinate units.
Its mission was to assure unit Emergency War Order (EWO) capability and combat crew training conducted at Castle and Dyess Air Force Bases, continually evaluate qualification training, direct correction or improvement when appropriate, and represent training concerns to higher headquarters.
It was inactivated in 1990 as part of the military drawdown of the USAF after the end of the Cold War.
Established as the 12th Pursuit Wing on 19 October 1940
Activated on 20 November 1940
Inactivated on 6 March 1942
Redesignated: 12th Bombardment Wing on 23 August 1942
Activated on 8 September 1942
Disestablished on 9 October 1944
Reestablished and redesignated 12th Bombardment Wing, Light on 3 July 1947
Activated in the Reserve on 3 August 1947
Redesignated: 12th Air Division, Bombardment on 16 April 1948
Inactivated on 27 June 1949
Redesignated: 12th Air Division on 1 February 1951
Organized on 10 February 1951
Discontinued on 16 June 1952
Activated on 16 June 1952
Redesignated: 12th Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 June 1962
Redesignated: 12th Strategic Missile Division on 30 June 1971
22d Bombardment Wing (later 22d Air Refueling Wing): 10 February 1951 – 1 January 1962 (detached 5 September – 4 December 1951, 7 December 1953 – 5 March 1954, 1 April – 5 July 1957); 1 August 1972 – 1 October 1985
Or, a globe azure grid lined of the first between in dexter an airplane palewise ascending argent, exhaust gules and in sinister a missile palewise of the like, overall a gauntlet of the third, grasping an olive branch vert and a lightning flash of the fourth bend sinisterwise and two lightning flashes of the last bendwise, on a chief of the second per chevron inverted seme of mullets argent; all within a diminished bordure of argent (silver gray).