518th Air Defense Group


518th Air Defense Group
Air Transport Command Emblem.png Air Defense Command.png
47th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron Republic F-47D-40-RA Thunderbolt 45-49431 1952.jpg
F-47D of the group's 47th FIS
Active1945, 1953–1955
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
TypeFighter Interceptor
RoleAir Defense
Part ofAir Defense Command
Lt Gen Donavon F. Smith[1]

The 518th Air Defense Group is a disbanded United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with the 4707th Air Defense Wing, stationed at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport, New York, where it was inactivated in 1955.

The group was originally activated as a support unit for the 465th Bombardment Group at the end of World War II in Italy and then redeployed to the Caribbean, where it supported redeploying units until it was inactivated in 1945.

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 15th 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 shortly before the end of World War II as the 518th Air Service Group in Italy in early 1945[2] as part of 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.[3] Its 944th Air Engineering Squadron provided maintenance that was beyond the capability of the combat group, its 768th Air Materiel Squadron handled all supply matters, and its Headquarters & Base Services Squadron provided other support.[3] The unit supported the 465th Bombardment Group in Italy.[4] The group moved to the Caribbean and provided support for flying units redeploying from Europe to the United States. It was disbanded in 1948.[5]

Cold War

During the Cold War, the 518th group was reconstituted, redesignated as an air defense group, and activated at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport in 1953[6] with responsibility for air defense of Niagara Falls, Toronto, Western and upper New York area.[citation needed] It was assigned the 47th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS), which was already stationed at Niagara Falls, and flying World War II era Republic F-47 Thunderbolts[7] as its operational component.[8] The 47th FIS had been assigned to the 4708th Defense Wing.[8] It was assigned three squadrons to perform its support responsibilities.[9][10] It converted the same month to jet propelled North American F-86 Sabre aircraft.[7]

The 47th FIS upgraded to a later airborne intercept radar equipped and Mighty Mouse rocket armed version of the "Sabre" in September 1953,[7] but its replacement aircraft were not delivered until early 1954.[7] The group replaced 76th Air Base Squadron as the active duty USAF host unit at Niagara Falls Municipal Airport. The group was replaced by the 15th Fighter Group (Air Defense) in 1955[6][11][12] as part of Air Defense Command'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.[13] The 518th group was disbanded once again in 1984.[14]


  • Constituted as 518th Air Service Group
Activated on 25 January 1945[15]
Inactivated on 31 July 1945
Disbanded on 8 October 1948
  • Reconstituted and redesignated 518th Air Defense Group on 21 January 1953
Activated on 16 February 1953
Inactivated on 18 August 1955
Disbanded on 27 September 1984


  • XV Air Force Service Command 25 Jan 1945 – 1945
  • Caribbean Division, Air Transport Command 1945 – 31 July 1945
  • 4707th Defense Wing (later 4707th Air Defense Wing), 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955[6]


  • Pantanella Airfield, Italy, 25 January 1945 – 27 May 1945[15]
  • Bagnoli Staging Area, Italy, 27 May 1945 – 6 June 1945[15]
  • Waller Field, Trinidad 15 June 1945 – 31 July 1945[15]
  • Niagara Falls Municipal Airport, New York, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955


Operational Squadron

  • 47th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955[16]

Support Units

  • 518th Air Base Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955
  • 518th Materiel Squadron, 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955[9]
  • 518th Medical Squadron (later 518th USAF Infirmary),[10] 16 February 1953 – 18 August 1955
  • 768th Air Materiel Squadron, 25 January 1945 – 31 July 1945
  • 944th Air Engineering Squadron, 25 January 1945 – 31 July 1945


  • F-47D, 1953
  • F-86A, 1953-1954
  • F-86D, 1954-1955


  • Lt Col Lloyd L. Connell, 1 January 1945 – 1945[15]

See also



  1. ^ "USAF Biography, Lieutenant General Donavon Francis Smith". Archived from the original on 31 March 2013. (retrieved 17 January 2013)
  2. ^ see "Abstract, History 518 Air Service Group Jan-Jul 1945". Air Force History Index. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b Coleman, p. 208
  4. ^ "Abstract, History 323 Service Group and 517, 518, 519 Air Service Groups, Jan 1945". Air Force History Index. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  5. ^ Department of the Air Force Letter, 322 (AFOOR 887e), 8 October 1948, Subject: Disbandment of Certain Inactive Air Force Units
  6. ^ a b c Cornett & Johnson, p. 82
  7. ^ a b c d Cornett & Johnson, p. 115
  8. ^ a b Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 206
  9. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p.147
  10. ^ a b See "Abstract, History 518 Infirmary, Jan-Jun 1955". Air Force History Index. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  11. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 59
  12. ^ Robertson, Patsy (2 December 2010). "Factsheet 15 Wing (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 22 April 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  13. ^ Buss, Sturm, Volan & McMullen, p.6
  14. ^ Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 575q, 27 Sep 1984, Subject: Disbandment of Units
  15. ^ a b c d e "Abstract, History 518 Air Service Group, Jan-May 1945". Air Force History Index. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  16. ^ Endicott, Judy G. AFHRA Factsheet, 47th Fighter Squadron 12/18/2007 (retrieved 3 March 2012) Archived 13 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine


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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 November 2006.
  • 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.

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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 November 2013. |volume= has extra text (help)