Welcome to Histories of SAC's Wings


     The Wing was SAC's primary operational unit.  In general, a single wing occupied a base and the wing commander was also the base commander.  Over the years, aircraft and mission changed, resulting in wings having many names.  But all wings carried a numeric designation that remained constant.  
     This section of our web contains a brief history of every known SAC wing.  It is based on Air Force Combat Wings - Lineage and Honors History, by Charles A. Ravenstein, United States Air Force Historical Research Center.  It contains an article on each wing that includes its emblem (patch), the aircraft it flew, the numbered Air Forces and Air Divisions to which it was assigned, it's operational squadrons, the bases where it was stationed, it's commanding officers and a brief summary of operations, honors and  achievements. 
It was published in 1975, so contains no information after that date. 
       These official wing histories provided the framework for the wing histories on this web.  To that we have added information obtained from other sources, most of it from books and personal experiences provided by our visitors.  One of the most challenging problems has been reconstructing events after 1975.  Much of that information was provided by T/Sgt Ronald E. Mixer, USAF, Retired, who provided a copy of his Strategic air Command - An Organizational History.
This is a large section, so we've divided the wings into several categories and provided introductory information and several navigational aids.   
Wing Home Page - Where you are now.
Organization - Provides a brief description of Wing organization and components. 
Wing Organization Details - by Terry Horstead
      Wing Histories can be accessed three ways:
Index - List all wings assigned to SAC.  Quickest way to access any wing history.
Wing Summary Chart - Brief summary of each wing and link to its history.
Who Flew What When - A huge chart listing all Constituted Combat Wings and what they flew year by year.
Links to the history of each.  One of our most popular pages, but very big.  Takes 30-40 seconds to download with 56K modem..

Constituted Combat Wings

      These were the mainstay of the Strategic Air Command.  With the exception of two World War II bomb groups, which were redesignated as wings, all of SAC's wings were established by the command.  So as to perpetuate the histories and honors of World War II units, they were given the same numeric designations.  "Constituted Combat Wings" included the bombardment, reconnaissance and aerial refueling wings.  Controlled by Headquarters USAF (CoAFCON), they were readily distinguished by having one, two or three digit designations.  They could survive inactivations and activations and still retain their lineage and honors.  The one, two or three digit number is always expressed in Arabic terms, such as "1st."  Examples include such units as the 1st Fighter Wing, 2nd Bombardment Wing, 90th Missile Wing, 497th Air Refueling Wing, etc. 
    These are identified on the top navigational bar as "Primary Combat Wings," a term invented by the author to distinguish them from the many other types of wings.  Note that they do not include the fighter wings which are listed separately..    

Other Wing Histories

Four-digit Wings
    When the B-52 dispersal began in the fifties, the new units created to support this program were named strategic wings and given four-digit designations, for example, the 4137th Strategic Wing. Under the USAF organization and lineage system, these four-digit units fell into the MAJCOM (major air command controlled) category and their lineage (histories, awards, and battle honors) ended with their discontinuance and could never be revived.  Although most of the four digit wings were Strategic Wings, four digit designations were used for many other wings.  All that are known are listed in the section. 
Fighter Wings - Yes, SAC had it's own fighters.  Although these are Constituted Combat Wings, SAC's experience with fighters was short lived.  All fighter wing histories summarized on one page.  
National Guard & AF Reserve Wings - Activated and assigned to SAC for short terms.
Original Bomb Groups - that went into forming SAC.

Copyright 2003