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311th Air Division

311th Air Division

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The 311th Air Division (311th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 organization. Its last assignment was with Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

, being stationed at Forbes Air Force Base
Forbes Air Force Base
Forbes Field, previously Forbes Air Force Base, is a joint-use civil-military airport operated by the Topeka Airport Authority located approximately south of Topeka, Kansas....

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

. It was inactivated on 1 November 1949.

History


The 311th began its existence in February 1944, at Bolling Field, DC, as the 311th Photographic Wing, and had its headquarters in the United States for its entire active period. Subordinate units, however, between February 1944 and August 1945, deployed to diverse areas of the world such as Africa, the Middle East, the China Burma India Theater
China Burma India Theater of World War II
China Burma India Theater was the name used by the United States Army for its forces operating in conjunction with British and Chinese Allied air and land forces in China, Burma, and India during World War II...

, Mexico, Canada, Alaska
Alaska
Alaska is the largest state in the United States by area. It is situated in the northwest extremity of the North American continent, with Canada to the east, the Arctic Ocean to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south, with Russia further west across the Bering Strait...

, and the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. These units conducted mapping and charting operations, and in some instances flew reconnaissance missions.

After World War II, the 311th transferred to Continental Air Forces (later, Strategic Air Command
Strategic Air Command
The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

) at Buckley Field, CO. In March 1946 it became the major reconnaissance organization of Strategic Air Command.

The 311th was SAC's first major reconnaissance organization. Its components were scattered around the world and moved several times. It was initially moved to MacDill Field on 17 April 1946, but a month later it was transferred to Andrews AFB. On 20 July 1948 it moved to Topeka AFB Kansas and a month later to Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. The 311th had five squadrons: 1st, 12th, 16th, 91st, and 46th/72nd recon squadrons.

The unit was redesignated as the 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance two years later, on 16 April 1948, and inactivated on 1 November 1949.

Lineage

  • Established as 311th Photographic Wing, Mapping and Charting on 31 January 1944
Activated on 1 February 1944
Redesignated: 311th Reconnaissance Wing on 30 July 1945
Redesignated: 311th Air Division, Reconnaissance on 16 April 1948
Redesignated: 311th Air Division on 5 January 1949
Inactivated on 1 November 1949.

Assignments

  • United States Army Air Forces
    United States Army Air Forces
    The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....

    , 1 February 1944
  • Continental Air Forces (later, Strategic Air Command
    Strategic Air Command
    The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

    ), 13 December 1945
  • Fifteenth Air Force
    Fifteenth Air Force
    The Fifteenth Expeditionary Mobility Task Force is one of two EMTFs assigned to the United States Air Force Air Mobility Command . It is headquartered at Travis Air Force Base, California....

    , 11 May 1946
  • Strategic Air Command
    Strategic Air Command
    The Strategic Air Command was both a Major Command of the United States Air Force and a "specified command" of the United States Department of Defense. SAC was the operational establishment in charge of America's land-based strategic bomber aircraft and land-based intercontinental ballistic...

    , 31 March 1947 – 1 November 1949.

Components


Groups/Wings
  • 5th Reconnaissance Group
    5th Operations Group
    The 5th Operations Group is an operational component of the United States Air Force 5th Bomb Wing, stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota...

    : 26 May – 16 Jul 1949
5th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 16 Jul – 1 Nov 1949
  • 9th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 1 May – 1 Nov 1949
  • 55th Reconnaissance Group
    55th Operations Group
    The 55th Operations Group is a component of the 55th Wing, assigned to the United States Air Force Air Combat Command. The group is stationed at Offut Air Force Base, Nebraska....

    : 24 Feb 1947 – 19 Jul 1948
55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 19 Jul 1948 – 14 Oct 1949
  • 91st Reconnaissance Group
    91st Operations Group
    The 91st Operations Group is the operational component of the 91st Missile Wing, assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command Twentieth Air Force. It is stationed at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota....

    : 1 Oct 1947 – 10 Nov 1948
91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing: 10 Nov 1948 – 1 Nov 1949


Groups
  • 1st Photographic Group
    1st Photographic Group
    The 1st Photographic Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 311th Photographic Wing, stationed at Buckley Field, Colorado. It was inactivated on 5 October 1944.-History:...

    : 5 Mar – 5 Oct 1944
  • 11th Photographic Group
    11th Photographic Group
    The 11th Photographic Group is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Third Air Force stationed at MacDill Field, Florida...

    : 5 Mar – 5 Oct 1944
  • 66th Strategic Reconnaissance Group: 27 Jun – 1 Nov 1949


Squadrons
  • 1st Photographic Charting (later, 1st Photographic Reconnaissance; 1st Reconnaissance) Squadron
    1st Reconnaissance Squadron (World War II)
    The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Thirteenth Air Force. It was inactivated at Clark Field, Philippines on 10 March 1947.-History:...

    : 5 Oct – 10 Nov 1944; 4 Oct 1945 – 3 Feb 1947 (detached, 4 Oct 1945 – 3 Feb 1947)
  • 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron
    1st Reconnaissance Squadron
    The 1st Reconnaissance Squadron is a United States Air Force reconnaissance training unit based at Beale Air Force Base, near Marysville, California. It is the oldest squadron in the Air Force, and the first organization to be established as a U.S. military flying unit...

    : 10 Oct 1948 – 1 Jun 1949 (attached to 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, 10–26 Oct 1948, and 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Group, 27 Oct 1948 – 1 Jun 1949)
  • 1st Weather Reconnaissance Squadron: 9 Feb – 21 Dec 1945
  • 2d Photographic Charting (later, 2d Reconnaissance) Squadron
    2d Troop Carrier Squadron
    The 2d Troop Carrier Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 65th Troop Carrier Group. It was inactivated at Mitchel Air Force Base, New York on 1 April 1953.-History:...

    : 5 Oct 1944 – 31 Mar 1946 (detached c. 20 Oct 1944 – 4 Feb 1946)
  • 3d Weather Reconnaissance (later, 3d Reconnaissance; 53d Reconnaissance) Squadron: c. 15 Feb 1945 – 13 Mar 1946
  • 4th Photographic Charting (later, 4th Reconnaissance) Squadron: 5 Oct 1944 – 14 Apr 1946 (detached, c. 7 Nov 1944–1946)
  • 6th Photographic Squadron: 5 Oct 1944 – 1 Jan 1945
  • 7th Geodetic Control Squadron: 1946
  • 6th Reconnaissance Squadron: 7–31 Mar 1946
  • 10th Reconnaissance Squadron: 7–31 Mar 1946
  • 16th Photographic Squadron: 5 Oct 1944 – 1 Jun 1947
  • 16th Reconnaissance Squadron
    16th Reconnaissance Squadron
    The 16th Reconnaissance Squadron is an inactive United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the 311th Photographic Wing, stationed at Buckley Field, Colorado. It was inactivated on 12 April 1945.-History:...

    : attached 21 Nov 1944 – 12 Apr 1945
  • 16th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron: 16 Dec 1947 – 1 Jun 1949
  • 19th Photographic Charting (later, 19th Reconnaissance) Squadron: 5 Oct 1944 – 15 Dec 1945
  • 20th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: 21 Jul – 1 Nov 1949
  • 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: 1 Apr- l Nov 1949
  • 36th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: 26 May – 1 Jun 1949
  • 54th Reconnaissance Squadron: 27 Nov 1945 – 13 Mar 1946 (detached 8 Dec 1945 – 28 Feb 1946)
  • 55th Reconnaissance Squadron: 1 Jan – 13 Mar 1946
  • 59th Reconnaissance Squadron: c. 11 Dec 1945 – 13 Mar 1946
  • 72d Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron: 1 Apr – 28 Jun 1949
  • 91st Photographic Mapping (later, 91st Photographic Charting; 91st Reconnaissance) Squadron: 5 Oct 1944 – 26 Aug 1946.

Stations

  • Bolling Field, Washington, D.C., 1 February 1944
  • Buckley Field
    Buckley Air Force Base
    Buckley Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base in Aurora, Colorado, that was established by the U.S. Army in 1943. The base was named in honor of the World War I Army pilot 1LT John Harold Buckley.-Overview:...

    , Colorado
    Colorado
    Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

    , c. 24 November 1944
  • MacDill Field, Florida, c. 17 April 1946
  • Andrews Field, Maryland
    Maryland
    Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

    , c. 1 June 1947,
  • Topeka (later, Forbes) AFB, Kansas
    Kansas
    Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

    , c. 20 July 1948
  • Barksdale AFB, Louisiana
    Louisiana
    Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

    , c. 28 October – 1 November 1949.

Aircraft

  • A-29, 1944
  • AT-11, 1944–1946
  • B-17, 1944–1945, 1947–1949
  • B-17/F 9, 1944–1945, 1946–1947.