SAC's Fighter Wings

    The Strategic Air Command was founded by men who had flown bomb raids against Germany during World War II.  They usually encountered swarms of enemy fighters and knew the importance of having fighter escorts. They didn't want to haggle with other commands to get fighters when needed, so they had fighter wings placed under their own operational control.
    Advances in technology soon made them obsolete.  A single atomic bomb had more explosive power than all the bombs dropped during all of World War II, so only one of them could certainly destroy a target far more effectively than hundreds of World War II B-17s and B-24s.  Thus SAC's missions were based on the use of an individual airplane, not a formation of them.
    During its early years, SAC flew B-29s left over from the war and later B-50s and B36s.  They were soon replaced by new jet bombers, the B-47 and B-52.  They flew so fast and so high that they were virtually immune from fighters.  Plus the F-84s and F-86s in SAC's fighter inventory couldn't keep up with them.  The fighter wings were no longer necessary, so they were either inactivated or assigned to other commands.

   Initial Groups     Note: Most patches are from later non-SAC assignments.

4th Fighter Group
     In November 1946, SAC had restructured to include one composite group, eight very heavy bomb groups and two fighter groups. The 4th Fighter Group was established 28 Jul 1947 at Andrews AFB, MD and assigned to the Strategic Air Command on 15 Aug 1947.  It was assigned to Selfridge Field, where it joined the 56th Fighter Group.  It left SAC when it was reassigned to Fourteen Air Force on December 1, 1948.
27th Fighter Group
     Activated on August 15, 1947 at Kearney Field, Nebraska.  Initially flew P-51D Mustangs, but was soon re-equipped with F-82E Twin Mustangs, the only unit in SAC to have them. Between 1947 and 1950, it flew fighter escort operations to support SAC missions.  In September 1950, it deployed 90 F-84E from Bergstrom AFB, Texas to Furstenfeldbruck Air Base, West Germany. by way of Labrador, Greenland, Iceland and England. This was the first long-range mass flight of jet aircraft in history.  Fought in Korea   Assigned to Tactical Air Command in 1955.  
33rd Fighter Group
Activated at Roswell AAFld New Mexico on November 5, 1947 and initially equipped with
P-51Ds.  Later assigned to the 509th Bomb Wing.   Assigned air defense mission in 1949.
56th Fighter Group
     The 56th Pursuit Group was one of the premier fighter units on World War II, but inactivated on October 18, 1945, as part of Americans post war demobilization.  It was reactivated on May 1, 1946.  It was assigned to Fifteen Air Force, to become SAC's first fighter unit.  It was established as the 56th Fighter Wing on July 28, 1947.  Its assigned to SAC was short lived.  On August 1, 1948, it was assigned to the  Tenth Air Force as part of the 30th Air Division defense force

82nd Fighter Group
     It was assigned to Headquarter SAC and stationed at Bolling Field, DC. on June 27, 1946. becoming SAC's second fighter unit.  It was then only a paper unit.  As such, it was later moved to Andrews Field.  Established as the 82nd Fighter Wing on July 28, 1947.  On Once up to strength it was assigned to the 307th Bombardment Group which was deployed to Europe January 5-10, 1948.  It was inactivated on October 2, 1949.  Reactivated as the 82nd Flying Training Wing on February 1, 1973. 

Below: P-51s at Grenier AAF in 1949.  See 82nd Fighter Group Website

Later Units

1st Fighter Wing.
Assigned by Fourth Air Force to SAC on 1 May 1949.  It was assigned to Fifteenth Air Force, and attached to the 22nd Bomb Wing from 1 Jul 1949 to 1 Apr 1950.  It flew F-86s.  One accounts states that it also flew B-29s, but why a fighter wing would have heavy bombers is beyond me.  On 16 Apr 1950, it was redesigned as 1st Fighter Interceptor Wing.  It continued to fly F86s until returned the Fourth Air Force on 1 Jul 1950.
12th Fighter Escort Wing
Activated 1 Nov 1950, at Turner AFB, GA.  Assigned to Second Air Force.  Flew F-84s.  Moved to Bergstrom AFB, TX, on 5 Dec 1950 and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force.  Reassigned to the 42nd Air Division on 9 Apr 1951.  (Attached to the 7th Air Division from 20 Jul to 30 Nov 1951).  On 20 Jan 1953, it was redesignated as the 12th Strategic Fighter Wing.

31st Fighter-Bomber Wing
On July 1, 1950, the 31st Fighter-bomber Wing under the command of Colonel David C. Schilling was transferred from TAC to SAC.  It was redesignated the 31st Fighter Escort Wig on July 16.  It was stationed at  Turner AFB, Georgia and flew F-48E Thunderjets.  The following year it left SAC to perform national defense missions.
71st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing - Fighter
Activated on  26 Jan. 1955 at Larson AFB, WA to perform strategic reconnaissance and test a technique for launching small RBF-84 aircraft from GRB-36 bombers, to extend the range of photographic reconnaissance and fighter escort. Tests ended in 1956, but wing continued strategic reconnaissance until inactivated in 1957.  Redesignated 71st Surveillance Wing (Ballistic Missile Early Warning System) and activated on 6 Dec. 1961.  Redesigned 71st Missile Warning Wing on
1 Jan 1967.  Inactivated 30 April 1971.  Redesigned 71st Flying Training Wing on 14 April 1972.  Activated 1 Nov. 1972
407th Fighter-Bomber Wing
Established March 23, 1953 and activated at great Falls AFB, Montana.  It flew F-84Fs and had an air refueling squadron with K-29s.  The 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, flying RF--84Ks was attached to the wing between December 10, 1954 and July 15, 1955.  During this period, the wing provided air defense for northern Japan while deployed to Misawa AB, Japan
506th Strategic Fighter Wing
Established November 20, 1952 and activated at Dow AFB, Maine on January 20, 1953, replacing the 4009 Air Base Squadron which was stationed there. The wing had four squadrons of F-84s and one refueling squadron of KB-29P.  Between April 1953 and June 1957, the wing trained in air defense and escort operation.  The wing was deployed to provided air defense for northern Japan.  It was deployed to Misawa AB Japan from August 13 to November 7, 1953.
508th Fighter - Escort Wing
Established 19 Jun 1952.  Activated 1 Jul 1952, at Turner AFB, GA.  Assigned to Second Air Force, 49th Air Division.  Flew F-84s.  In 1953 added KB-29s tankers. 
508th Strategic Fighter Wing
Redesigned 20 Jan 1952. at Turner AFB, GA.  Assigned to Second Air Force, 40th Air Division.
Attached to 319th Air Division (Defense) from 8 Feb to 13 May 1953 and from 1
2 Feb to 7 May 1954).