17th Air Division


The 17th Air Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with Pacific Air Forces, stationed at U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield, Thailand, where it was inactivated on 1 January 1976.

17th Air Division
Active1940–1941; 1942–1943; 1944–1946; 1959–1971; 1975 – 1976
Country United States
Branch United States Army
 United States Air Force
17th Air Division emblem (approved 28 April 1964)[1]17th Air Division crest.jpg
Flag of the 17th Air Division


The air division was first activated as the 17th Bombardment Wing on 18 December 1940, and assigned to the Southeast Air District. It was assigned the 3d and 27th Bombardment Groups as its operational units, and the 22d Pursuit Wing was attached from January to June 1942.[1] In September 1941, the wing was inactivated and its personnel used to form the 3d Air Support Command.[2]

Reactivated as part of Second Air Force in June 1942 as the 17th Bombardment Training Wing. Was the primary training command organization for USAAF heavy bombardment (B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator) heavy groups during World War II from June 1942 until May 1944. Initially, it controlled the third phase of training, in which each bombardment group split into tactical components and operated from squadron sized airfields under simulated combat conditions. Later, the 17th supervised the first and second phases of heavy bombardment group and crew training.[1]

In 1943 assumed mission for training B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy bombardment groups prior to their deployment to Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater until April 1946 when it ceased all activity. It also exercised limited supervision over the training of the XXI and XXII Bomber Commands during 1944.[1]

Strategic Air CommandEdit

The disbanded wing was reconstituted and redesignated as the 17th Air Division, and activated on 15 July 1959. It gained control of the 340th and the 305th Bombardment Wings at Bunker Hill AFB, Indiana, and the 4040th Air Base Squadron at Richard I. Bong AFB, Wisconsin in 1959. The two bombardment wings flew normal SAC alert patrols and participated in special exercises as required. The division lost its bombardment wings and gained missile wings in 1963, assuming responsibility for Titan and Minuteman missiles in Missouri, Kansas, and later Arkansas. When joined by the 70th Bombardment Wing, on 1 July 1965 with B-52 and KC-135 aircraft, the division reverted to an earlier designation – 17th Strategic Aerospace Division. From 1965 to 1971, the division's units frequently deployed bomber and tanker resources. Arc Light operations in Southeast Asia, consisting of military operations against enemy forces in Vietnam, drew most of the deployments.[1]

Pacific Air ForcesEdit

From 1 July 1975 to 1 January 1976 as part of Pacific Air Forces, it maintained an effective training program for United States Air Force tactical units in Thailand. Inactivated as part of the USAF phaseout of activities in Thailand after the end of the Vietnam War.


  • Constituted as the 17th Bombardment Wing on 3 October 1940
Activated on 18 December 1940
Inactivated on 1 September 1941
  • Activated on 23 June 1942
Redesignated 17th Bombardment Training Wing in January 1943
Redesignated 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing in April 1943
Inactivated on 15 November 1943
  • Redesignated 17th Bombardment Operational Training Wing (Very Heavy)
Activated on 11 March 1944
Inactivated on 9 April 1946
Disbanded on 8 October 1948
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 17th Air Division, on 1 July 1959
Activated on 15 July 1959
Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Aerospace Division on 15 February 1962
Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Missile Division on 1 September 1963
Redesignated as: 17th Strategic Aerospace Division on 1 July 1965
Inactivated on 30 June 1971
  • Redesignated as: 17th Air Division on 24 January 1975
Activated on 1 July 1975
Inactivated on 1 January 1976[1]


Attached to III Bomber Command, 23 April – 1 September 1941






See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Factsheet 17 Air Division". Air Force Historical Research Agency. 4 October 2007. Archived from the original on 30 October 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2014.
  2. ^ Futrell, p. 13


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website https://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Futrell, Robert F. (September 1956). "Command of Observation Aviation: A Study in Control of Tactical Airpower, USAF Historical Study No. 24" (PDF). Research Studies Institute, USAF Historical Division, Air University. Retrieved 23 January 2022.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
  • 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.