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20th Air Division


Tactical Air Command
85th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron North American F-86D-40-NA Sabre 52-3725.jpg
F-86D Sabre of the 20th Air Division's 85th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Scott AFB in 1957
Active 1955–1960; 1966–1967; 1969–1983
Country Flag of the United States.svg United States
Branch Flag of the United States Air Force.png United States Air Force
Role Air Defense
Part of Tactical Air Command
20th Air Division Emblem
(approved 20 August 1956)
USAF 20th Air Division Crest
20th AD - Map - 1955-1960

20th Air Division ADC AOR 1955–1960

20th AD - Map - 1966-1967

20th Air Division ADC AOR 1966–1967

20th AD - Map - 1969-1983

20th Air Division/NORAD Region ADC AOR 1969–1983

The 20th Air Division (20th AD) is an inactive United States Air Force organization. Its last assignment was with Tactical Air Command at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida where it was inactivated on 1 March 1983.

During most of the division's history it served with Air Defense Command as a regional command and control headquarters. Between 1955 and 1967 the division controlled air defense units in the central United States. It controlled a slightly different areas of the midwestern US from 1955 to 1960 and from 1966 to 1967. Its area of responsibility shifted to the east coast if the United States from 1969 to 1983. It was shifted to its final station on paper in 1983 and was immediately inactivated.


The 20th AD was assigned to Air Defense Command (ADC) for most of its existence. It served as a regional command and control headquarters, controlling fighter interceptor and radar units over several areas of responsibility during the Cold War. For three years it also commanded a surface-to-air missile squadron.

The division was initially activated as an intermediate command organization of Central Air Defense Force at Grandview (later, Richards-Gebaur) AFB in June 1955.[1] The 20th AD was responsible for the interceptor and radar units within an area that covered parts of Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and virtually all of Kansas and Missouri.[2]

On 1 October 1959 ADC activated the Sioux City Air Defense Sector and its Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) DC-22 Direction Center and assigned it to the division.[3] The 20th also operated a Manual Control Center (MCC-2) at Richards-Gebaur. The division was inactivated in 1960 when ADC reorganized, and the 33d Air Division assumed command of most of its former units.[1][4]

The division was reactivated in 1966 under Tenth Air Force as a SAGE organization, replacing the Chicago Air Defense Sector when ADC discontinued its air defense sectors and replaced them with air divisions.[5] The 20th provided air defense from the Truax Field, Wisconsin DC-7/CC-2 SAGE blockhouse for parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and all of Illinois.[2] The division also acted as the 20th NORAD Region after activation of the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) Combat Operations Center at Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. Operational control of the division was transferred to NORAD from ADC.

In addition to the active duty interceptor and radar units, the 20th AD supervised Air National Guard units that flew interception sorties using (among other aircraft) McDonnell F-101 Voodoos and Convair F-106 Delta Darts. At the same time the division controlled numerous radar squadrons. It was inactivated in 1967 as part of an ADC consolidation of intermediate level command and control organizations, driven by budget reductions required to fund USAF operations in Southeast Asia.[citation needed]

The 20th AD was activated for a third time in November 1969 under Aerospace Defense Command (ADCOM).[1] The division provided air defense for virtually all of the southeastern United States, except for most of Louisiana from the SAGE DC-4 blockhouse at Fort Lee AFS, Virginia.[6] The division also controlled a CIM-10 Bomarc surface-to-air anti-aircraft missile squadron near Langley AFB until the squadron's inactivation in October 1972.[7]

ADCOM was inactivated on 1 October 1979. The atmospheric defense resources (interceptors and warning radars) of ADCOM were reassigned to Tactical Air Command, which formed Air Defense, Tactical Air Command (ADTAC) as the headquarters to control them.[8] After 1981, the division controlled units equipped with McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle aircraft. Its subordinate units continued to participate in intensive academic training, numerous multi-region simulated (non-flying) exercises, and flying exercises.

The 20th AD moved to Tyndall AFB, Florida in March 1983 where its mission, personnel and equipment was transferred to the Southeast Air Defense Sector.


  • Constituted as the 20 Air Division (Defense) on 8 June 1955
Activated on 8 October 1955
Inactivated on 1 January 1960
  • Activated on 20 January 1966 (not organized)
Organized on 1 April 1966
Discontinued and inactivated, on 31 December 1967
  • Activated on 19 November 1969[9]
Inactivated on 1 March 1983.


  • Central Air Defense Force, 8 October 1955 – 1 January 1960
  • Air Defense Command, 20 January 1966
  • Tenth Air Force, 1 April 1966 – 31 December 1967
  • Aerospace Defense Command, 19 November 1969
  • Air Defense, Tactial Air Command), 1 October 1979 – 1 March 1983.[9]


  • Grandview (later, Richards Gebaur) AFB, Missouri, 8 October 1955 – 1 January 1960
  • Truax Field, Wisconsin, 1 April 1966 – 31 December 1967
  • Fort Lee AFS, Virginia, 19 November 1969[9]
  • Tyndall AFB, Florida, 1 March 1983 – 1 March 1983.



  • Sioux City Air Defense Sector: 1 October 1959 – 1 January 1960[3]


Sioux Gateway Airport, Iowa
Truax Field, Wisconsin
Richards-Gebaur AFB, Missouri
Tyndall AFB, Florida[14]
Fort Fisher AFS, North Carolina


Langley AFB, Virginia
Scott AFB, Illinois
Dover AFB, Delaware
Langley AFB, Virginia
Houston Intercontinental Airport, Texas
Roanoke Rapids AFS, North Carolina
Lake Charles AFS, Louisiana
Dauphin Island AFS, Alabama
Homestead AFB, Florida
Patrick AFB, Florida
Bedford AFS, Virginia
Dallas Center AFS, Iowa
Bedford AFS, Virginia
MacDill AFB, Florida
NAS Key West, Florida
Antigo AFS, Wisconsin
Tyndall AFB, Florida[14]
NAS Jacksonville, Florida
Palermo AFS, New Jersey
Cross City AFS, Florida
Dauphin Island AFS, Florida
Fort Fisher AFS, North Carolina
Savannah AFS, Georgia
Walnut Ridge AFS, Arkansas
Olathe AFS, Kansas
Williams Bay AFS, Wisconsin
Fort George G. Meade, Maryland
Cape Charles AFS, Virginia
Rockville AFS, Indiana
Chandler AFS, Minnesota
Waverly AFS, Iowa
Omaha AFS, Nebraska
Kirksville AFS, Missouri
Hanna City AFS, Illinois
North Charleston AFS, South Carolina
Hutchinson AFS, Kansas
Bartlesville AFS, Oklahoma
Fordland AFS, Missouri
Belleville AFS, Illinois[34]
Winston-Salem AFS, North Carolina
Aiken AFS, South Carolina
  • 4638th Air Defense Squadron (SAGE), 1 January 1972 – 1 January 1975[19]

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. p. 53. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Cornett & Johnson. p. 31
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 59
  4. Cornett & Johnson, P. 55
  5. Cornett & Johnson, pp. 36–38
  6. Cornett & Johnson, p. 37
  7. 7.0 7.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 150
  8. Cornett & Johnson, p. 46
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Lineage, assignments, and stations through 1980 at Cornett & Johnson, p. 53
  10. Robertson, Patsy AFHRA Factsheet, 53 Wing 2/24/2009 (retrieved June 18, 2013)
  11. Cornett & Johnson, p. 79
  12. Butler, William M. AFHRA Factshet, 328 Armament Systems Wing 12/27/2007 (retrieved June 19, 2013)
  13. Cornett & Johnson, p. 85
  14. 14.0 14.1 Mueller, Robert (1989). Air Force Bases, Vol. I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. pp. 564–565. ISBN 0-912799-53-6. 
  15. Cornett & Johnson, p. 86
  16. Robertson, Patsy AFHRA Factsheet, 48 Flying Training Squadron 10/7/2010 (retrieved June 19, 2013)
  17. AFHRA Factsheet, 85 Test and Evaluation Squadron 3/31/2008 (retrieved June 19, 2013)
  18. AFHRA Factsheet, 95 Fighter Squadron 4/1/2008 (retrieved June 19, 2013)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 105
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Cornett & Johnson, p. 154
  21. 21.0 21.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 155
  22. 22.0 22.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 156
  23. Cornett & Johnson, p. 97
  24. 24.0 24.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 157
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 Cornett & Johnson, p. 159
  26. 26.0 26.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 160
  27. 27.0 27.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 161
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 Cornett & Johnson, p. 162
  29. Cornett & Johnson, p. 163
  30. Cornett & Johnson, p. 164
  31. 31.0 31.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 166
  32. Cornett & Johnson, p. 168
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 Cornett & Johnson, p. 169
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 Cornett & Johnson, p. 170
  35. Cornett & Johnson, p. 101
  36. Cornett & Johnson, p. 102
  37. Cornett & Johnson, p. 172


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