Strategic Air Command

3rd Air Division

     The 3rd Air Division was activated at Andersen AFB, Guam on 18 Jun 1954, gaining most of its resources from the former Far East Air Forces (FEAF) Bomber Command (Provisional). Andersen AFB passed from FEAF to SAC control on 1 Apr 1955. In its first decade at Guam, the 3rd Air Division had few permanent components, but exercised operational control over numerous deployed tactical components since all SAC operations in the region came under its jurisdiction. The division also supported the air refueling needs of all United States (U.S.) military agencies operating in or transiting the region. In mid-1958 the deployment of entire SAC wings to Guam was replaced by an "Air Mail" alert program, whereby several B-47 wings in the U.S. maintained a specific number of B-47s and KC-97s at Andersen AFB to meet both routine and alert requirements. In Apr 1964 the division switched from "Air Mail" B-47/KC-97 to "Reflex" B-52/KC-135 alert forces at Andersen AFB, again with aircraft and crews furnished in deployed status from U.S. based SAC wings.
     Beginning in 1965 the 3rd Air Division became heavily involved in Arc Light and Young Tiger operations, the former involving B-52s equipped for conventional iron bomb operations and the latter involving KC-135 air refueling operations in the Far East and SEA. Strategic Air Command wings in the U.S. furnished the aircrews and aircraft for these operations. During 1965 the Arc Light task force at Andersen AFB operated unofficially as the "4133rd Bombardment Wing, Provisional" (an unapproved designation applied to cover the people and planes in the area) .On 1 Feb 1966 HQ SAC activated the 4133rd Bombardment Wing, Provisional, to control Arc Light resources. In Jun 1966 the division gained the 4258th Strategic Wing, activated in Thailand to control SAC operations there. The capture of the United States Ship (USS) Pueblo (a United States Navy intelligence gathering vessel) on 23 Jan 1968 saw three SAC wings (the 22nd , 70th  and 91st BMWs) deployed as units to meet the crisis. All three subsequently furnished resources for use in Arc Light operations.
      The first elements of 3rd Air Division to enter combat in SEA were the tanker forces under Young Tiger. The 4252nd Strategic Wing at Kadena established a forward operating location at Don Muang Airport, Thailand, on 2 Mar 1965. On 18 Jun 1965, Arc Light B-52s, based at Andersen AFB, struck suspected Viet Cong targets in South Vietnam; commencing the first SAC combat missions. B-52s began striking targets in North Vietnam on 11 Apr 1966; the initial attack against the Mu Gia Pass marked the largest single bomber raid since World War II. By late 1969, most Arc Light operations staged from U-Tapao, Thailand, while others were mounted from Kadena and Andersen. Andersen AFB remained the primary base for deployed forces from the U.S., however, and aircraft and crews were sent from Guam to Kadena and U-Tapao for combat missions. On 1 Apr 1970 the 3rd Air Division's resources passed to Eighth Air Force, which moved to Andersen AFB from the U.S. without personnel or equipment, and the division was inactivated.
    Effective 1 Jan 1975, Eighth Air Force moved without personnel or equipment to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana, where it absorbed resources of Second Air Force. Simultaneously, 3rd Air Division activated at Andersen AFB and absorbed resources left by Eighth Air Force. The division gained the 43rd Strategic Wing at Andersen AFB, the 376th Strategic Wing at Kadena AB, and the 307th Strategic Wing at U-Tapao Royal Thai Air Force Base (RTAFB), and was charged with controlling all SAC operations in the Western Pacific, Far East, and Southeast Asia. The division additionally assumed responsibility for air refueling support of all U.S. military forces in these areas

  3rd Air Division

Activated on:

18 Jun 1954 at Anderson AFB, Guam.

Assigned to:

Strategic Air Command 18 Jun 1954.

Deactivated on:

1 Apr 1970.

Reactivated on: 1 Jan 1975 at Andersen AFB, Guam.
Assigned to: Strategic Air Command 1 Jan 1975.
Reassigned to: Fifteenth Air Force on 31 Jan 1982.
Moved to: Hickham AFB, HI, on 12 Sep 1988.
Deactivated on: 1 Apr 1992.

Assigned Units

6th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

9 Aug 1990

1 Apr 1992

43rd Strategic Wing

1 Jan 1975

30 Sep 1990

307th Strategic Wing

1 Jan 1975

31 Jan 1982

376th Strategic Wing

31 Jan 1982

30 Oct 1991

3960th Air Base Wing

1 Apr 1955


3960th Strategic Wing


1 Apr 1970

4133rd Bomb Wing (Provisional)

1 Feb 1966

1 Apr 1970

4252nd Strategic Wing

12 Jan 1965

1 Apr 1970

4258th Strategic Wing

2 Jun 1966

1 Apr 1970

Attached Units

5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

14 Jan 1955

12 Apr 1955

6th Bomb Wing

31 Oct 1955

26 Jan 1956

9th Bomb Wing

3 Oct 1955

22 Oct 1955

22nd Bomb Wing

14 Apr 1955

5 Jul 1957

28th Bomb Wing

1 Apr 1955

24 Jul 1955

43rd Bomb Wing

1 Jul 1957

1 Oct 1957

92nd Bomb Wing

16 Oct 1954

12 Jan 1955

92nd Bomb Wing

26 Apt 1956

6 Jul 1956

95th Bomb Wing

2 Jul 1955

4 Nov 1955

96th Bomb Wing

10 Jan 1957

7 Apr 1957

99th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing

29 Jan 1956

25 Apr 1956

303rd Bomb Wing

4 Jul 1956

4 Oct 1956

303rd Bomb Wing

4 Apr 1958

4 Jul 1958

320th Bomb Wing

5 Oct 1956

11 Jan 1957

341st Bomb Wing

9 Jan 1958

4 Apr 1958

509th Bomb Wing

1 Feb 1951

4 May 1951

509th Bomb Wing

10 Jul 1954

8 Oct 1954