USAF Patches - Strategic Air Command, bombers, fighters, air divisions and more


4 - Digit Wings

    Almost all of SAC's bomb wings were organized from scratch.  However, in order to perpetuate the history of the bomb groups that had distinguished themselves during World War II, the newly-formed bomb wings were given the same numeric designation previously assigned to such groups, along with it's unit history and honors.   All of SAC's normal bomb, missile and aerial refueling wings had 1, 2, or 3 digit numbers.  These were regular constituted wings established by headquarters Air Force. 
     The Strategic Air Command had the authority to establish its own wings.  These were temporary in nature and the number always contains four digits.  For more information, see the Wing History Home Page.
     The most extensive use of this authority occurred in the late 1950's.  There were then forty-five B-52s assigned to a bomb wing. Because of the threat of missile attack SAC divided the unit into three Strategic Wings and each was assigned 15 aircraft. The first took the numeric designation of its parent wing, but the other two were assigned 4-digit numbers.
    Four digit numbers have also been used for other wings.  These include Provisional Combat, the Tankers based outside the United States, the Reflex Wings in England and Spain, Training Units, Air Base Wings and other things.  We have also found patches of other four digit wings.  Most of them contain the word "strategic," suggesting they were assigned to SAC, but we have not found any record of them. Your knowledge would be appreciated.  
   We've recently acquired an extensive list of all the USAF four digit units.  See the Reference Page.