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4721st Air Defense Group Airdefensecommand-logo.jpg
538th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron F-104 56-841 1958.jpg
Active 1956–1959
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Fighter Interceptor
Role Air Defense
Part of Aerospace Defense Command

The 4721st Air Defense Group is a discontinued group of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with the 4700th Air Defense Wing at Larson Air Force Base, Washington, where it was last active in1959. The group was formed to provide a single command and support organization for the two fighter interceptor squadrons of Air Defense Command (ADC), that were tenants at Larson, a Tactical Air Command (TAC) base. It was discontinued after the 322d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron moved in 1959, leaving only a single fighter squadron at Larson.

History[edit | edit source]

The 4721st Air Defense Group was organized in 1956 at Larson AFB[1] to centralize supervision and support of the 322d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS) and the 538th FIS.[2] Both squadrons were already stationed at Larson, flying radar equipped and HVAR rocket armed North American F-86D Sabre interceptor aircraft,[3][4] and assigned directly to the 9th Air Division.[5][6] The 4721st was a tenant of Tactical Air Command (TAC)'s 62d Air Base Group (ABG), the host organization at Larson.

In July 1957, the base transferred from TAC to Military Air Transport Service, although the 62d ABG remained the host unit.[7] In the summer of 1957, both the 322d FIS and the 538th FIS upgraded to later model Sabres equipped with data link to tie them directly into the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment command and control system.[3][4] In about June 1958, the 538th FIS converted to Lockheed F-104 Starfighters.[4] In April 1959, the 322nd FIS moved to Kingsley Field, Oregon and was reassigned out of the group as part of ADC's drawdown at Larson AFB.[5] The following month, the 4721st was discontinued[1] and its remaining squadron, the 538th FIS, was assigned directly to the 4700th Air Defense Wing.[6]

Lineage[edit | edit source]

  • Designated as the 4721st Air Defense Group and organized on 1 Dec 1956
Discontinued on 1 May 1959


  • 9th Air Division, 1 Dec 1956
  • 25th Air Division, 15 Aug 1958
  • 4700th Air Defense Wing, 1 Sep 1958 – 1 May 1959


  • 322d Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1 Dec 1956 – 1 Apr 1959
  • 538th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, 1 Dec 1956 – 1 May 1959


  • Larson AFB, Washington, 1 December 1956 – 1 May 59

Aircraft[edit | edit source]

  • F-86D 1956-1957
  • F-86L 1957-1959
  • F-104A 1958-1959

Commanders[edit | edit source]

  • Col. Louis W. Ford, unknown - ca. 30 June 1958[8]
  • Lt Col. John E. Gaffnery, ca. 1 July 1958 - unknown[9]

References[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  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. 89. http://www.usafpatches.com/pubs/handbookofadcorg.pdf. 
  2. Abstract, History of 9th Joint Defense Division, Jul 1958-Dec 1958 (accessed 19 Jan 2012)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cornett & Johnson, p. 125
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cornett & Johnson, p. 130
  5. 5.0 5.1 Maurer, Maurer, ed (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 396. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/combat_sq_of_the_af_wwii.pdf. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Maurer, p.645
  7. Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings, Lineage & Honors Histories 1947-1977. Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. p. 99. ISBN 0-912799-12-9. http://www.airforcehistory.hq.af.mil/Publications/fulltext/combat_wings.pdf. 
  8. Abstract, History of 4721st Air Def Gp, Jan 1958-Jun 1958 (accessed 19 Jan 2012)
  9. Abstract, History of 4721st Air Def Gp Jul 1958-Dec 1958 (accessed 19 Jan 2012)

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

Further Reading

See also[edit | edit source]

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