500th Air Defense Group


500th Air Defense Group
TAC-1946-shoulder-patch.png Air Defense Command.png
71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron North American F-86A-5-NA Sabre 1950.jpg
71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-86A Sabre[a 1]
Active1945–1947, 1953–1955
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
TypeFighter Interceptor
RoleAir Defense
Part ofAir Defense Command
EquipmentF-86 Sabre

The 500th Air Defense Group is a disbanded United States Air Force (USAF) organization. Its last assignment was with the 4708th Air Defense Wing at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, Pennsylvania. It was last active on 18 August 1955.

The group was originally activated as a support group at the end of World War II and provided logistics and administrative support for the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Germany and the United States until 1946, when the two groups were inactivated. The groups were activated again in 1947, but the 500th was soon discontinued when the USAF reorganized its combat and support units in the wing base reorganization in which a single wing was responsible for a base.

The group was activated once again in 1953, when ADC established it as the headquarters for a dispersed fighter-interceptor squadron and the medical, maintenance, and administrative squadrons supporting it. It was replaced in 1955 when ADC transferred its mission, equipment, and personnel to the 54th Fighter Group in a project that replaced air defense groups commanding fighter squadrons with fighter groups with distinguished records during World War II.


World War II

The group was activated as the 500th Air Service Group shortly after V-E Day in a reorganization of Army Air Forces (AAF) support groups in which the AAF replaced Service Groups that included personnel from other branches of the Army and supported two combat groups with Air Service Groups including only Air Corps units. It was designed to support a single combat group.[1] Its 918th Air Engineering Squadron provided maintenance that was beyond the capability of the combat group, its 742nd Air Materiel Squadron handled all supply matters, and its Headquarters & Base Services Squadron provided other support.[1] It supported 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Germany and then returned to the US, where both groups were inactivated.[2]

Cold War

When the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Group was reactivated in 1947, the 500th Air Service Group once again activated to support it.[3] The 500th was inactivated and replaced by 67th Airdrome Group, 67th Station Medical Group, and 67th Maintenance & Supply Group in the experimental Wing Base reorganization of 1947 (Hobson Plan),[3][4] which was designed to unify control at air bases[5] The group was disbanded in 1948.[6]

The group was reconstituted, redesignated as the 500th Air Defense Group, and activated at Greater Pittsburgh Airport 18 February 1953[7] with responsibility for air defense of Western Pennsylvania.[citation needed] It was assigned the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was already stationed at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, and flying F-86 Sabres,[8] as its operational component.[9] The 71st had been assigned directly to the 4708th Defense Wing.[9] The group also replaced the 81st Air Base Squadron as host organization for USAF portion of Greater Pittsburgh Airport. The group was assigned three squadrons to perform its support responsibilities.[10] The group was inactivated[7] and replaced by 54th Fighter-Interceptor Group in 1955[11] as part of ADC's Project Arrow, which was designed to bring back on the active list the fighter units which had compiled memorable records in the two world wars.[12] The group was disbanded once again in 1984.[13]


  • Constituted as the 500th Air Service Group on 16 December 1944
Activated on 1 June 1945
Inactivated on 31 March 1946
Activated on 25 July 1947
Inactivated on 25 November 1947
Disbanded on 8 October 1948
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 500th Air Defense Group on 21 January 1953
Activated on 16 February 1953
Inactivated on 18 August 1955
Disbanded on 27 September 1984




  • 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955[16]
  • 500th Air Base Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955
  • 500th Materiel Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955
  • 500th Medical Squadron (later 500th USAF Infirmary, 500th USAF Dispensary),[17] 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955
  • 742nd Air Materiel Squadron 1 June 1945 – 31 March 1946, 25 July 1947 – 15 November 1947
  • 918th Air Engineering Squadron 1 June 1945 – 31 March 1946, 25 July 1947 – 15 November 1957


  • F-86A, 1953–1955

See also



  1. ^ At the time the picture was taken, the 71st was still assigned to another group


  1. ^ a b Coleman, p. 208
  2. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 133
  3. ^ a b c See Mueller, p. 371
  4. ^ See Ravenstein, p. 10
  5. ^ Goss, in Craven & Cate, p. 75
  6. ^ Department of the Air Force Letter, 322 (AFOOR 887e), 8 October 1948, Subject: Disbandment of Certain Inactive Air Force Units
  7. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 81
  8. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p.118
  9. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 99
  10. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p.147
  11. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p.116
  12. ^ Buss, Sturm, Volan, & McMullen, p.6
  13. ^ Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 575q, 27 September 1984, Subject: Disbandment of Units
  14. ^ "Abstract, History 500th Air Service Group, Mar–Apr 1946". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 8 February 2014. lists stations in 1945–1946
  15. ^ Mueller, p.531
  16. ^ Dollman, TSG David (17 October 2016). "Fact Sheet, 71 Fighter Training Squadron (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 21 November 2016.
  17. ^ Department of the Air Force Letter, 322 (AFOMO 882h), 14 January 1954 Subject: Redesignation of Certain USAF Medical Units


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

  • Buss, Lydus H.(ed), Sturm, Thomas A., Volan, Denys, and McMullen, Richard F., History of Continental Air Defense Command and Air Defense Command July to December 1955, Directorate of Historical Services, Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, (1956)
  • Coleman, John M (1950). The Development of Tactical Services in the Army Air Forces. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.
  • Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980 (PDF). Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center.
  • 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.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.
  • 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.

Further reading

  • Grant, C.L., (1961) The Development of Continental Air Defense to 1 September 1954, USAF Historical Study No. 126
  • Leonard, Barry (2009). History of Strategic Air and Ballistic Missile Defense (PDF). Vol I. 1945–1955. Fort McNair, DC: Center for Military History. ISBN 978-1-4379-2131-1. |volume= has extra text (help)

External links