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4620th Air Defense Wing

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Title: 4620th Air Defense Wing  
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Subject: Semi-Automatic Ground Environment, Willow Run Air Force Station, Bendix AN/FPS-18 Radar, Cape Makkovik Air Station, Cut Throat Island Air Station
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4620th Air Defense Wing

4620th Air Defense Wing
AN/FSQ-7 SAGE Computer
Active 1955-1961
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Role Experimental & Training
Part of Air Defense Command

The 4620th Air Defense Wing (Air Def Wg) is a discontinued Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) air defense system, was compatible with ADC's operational requirements. It also performed operational testing and training on SAGE and earlier systems. Once SAGE started to become operational, the need for the wing no longer existed and it was discontinued, although one of its subordinate groups continued the SAGE training mission until 1962.


The 4620th Air Defense Wing was established to implement the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) air defense system,[1] a system of analog computer-equipped direction centers that could process information from ground radars, picket ships and ground observers onto a generated radar scope to create a composite picture of the emerging air battle.[2] The wing was responsible to insure that SAGE computer systems were based on approved operational concepts for air defense and provided guidance to operational units concerning the implementation, installation, testing, and utilization of SAGE computer programs.[1] Until December 1958, the wing also provided training on the existing manual air defense control systems that were being replaced by SAGE.[1]

The 4620th was originally located with Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Missouri to manage programming and training for the SAGE system and was assigned to the wing.[5] The wing moved to Santa Monica, California in 1958.[6] Anticipating the wing move to Santa Monica, the 4620th Group was reassigned directly to ADC.[5] On 15 September the 4620th group was renumbered as the 4606th Air Defense Group, and continued with that designation until discontinued on 25 June 1962.[5] The wing prepared the operational employment plan for integration of IM-99 Bomarc surface-to-air missiles into the SAGE system.[7]

Preceded by extensive planning and testing of almost three years, the first SAGE air defense sector (New York) became operational on 26 June 1958.[8] The first SAGE division (New York) became operational on 1 January 1959.[8] As the SAGE system was becoming fully operational in 1961,[9] the 4620th Wing had completed its mission and was discontinued.[4]


  • Designated and organized as 4620th Air Defense Wing (SAGE Experimental) on 1 June 1955[4]
Discontinued on 1 February 1961[4]


  • Air Defense Command, 1 June 1955 - 1 February 1961[4]


  • 4620th Air Defense Group (SAGE Programming and Training), 8 May 1957 - 1 July 1958
Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Missouri[5]



  • Col. Robert J. Stevenson, by July 1958 - 24 June 1959[6]
  • Lt Col. George R. Kauffman, 24 June 1959 - 1 Jul 1959[10]
  • Col. Samuel C. Galbreath, 1 July 1959 - 1 February 1961[10]

See also



  1. ^ a b c "Abstract, History 4620 Air Defense Wing, Oct-Dec 1958". Air Force History Index. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  2. ^ Winkler & Webster, p. 32
  3. ^ Winkler & Webster, p. 89
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Cornett & Johnson, p. 65
  5. ^ a b c d Cornett & Johnson, p. 87
  6. ^ a b "Abstract, History 4620 Air Defense Wing, Jul-Sep 1958". Air Force History Index. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Abstract, History 4620 Air Defense Wing, Jan-Dec 1960". Air Force History Index. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b Leonard,
  9. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p. 34
  10. ^ a b "Abstract, History 4620 Air Defense Wing, Jan-Dec 1959". Air Force History Index. Retrieved January 22, 2012. 


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

Further reading

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