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521st Air Defense Group

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Title: 521st Air Defense Group  
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Subject: Sioux City Air National Guard Base, 31st Air Division, 87th Flying Training Squadron, Willow Run Air Force Station, Bendix AN/FPS-14 Radar
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521st Air Defense Group

521st Air Defense Group
Active 1945, 1953–1955
Country  United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Fighter Interceptor
Role Air Defense
Part of Air Defense Command

The 521st Air Defense Group is a disbanded 31st Air Division at Sioux City Municipal Airport, Iowa, where it was inactivated in 1955. The group was originally activated as a support unit for the 310th Bombardment Group at the end of World War II in Italy and then redeployed to the United States where it was inactivated in 1945.

The group was activated once again in 1953, when ADC established it as the headquarters for a dispersed fighter-interceptor squadron and the medical, maintenance, and administrative squadrons supporting it. It was replaced in 1955 when ADC transferred its mission, equipment, and personnel to the 53d Fighter Group in a project that replaced air defense groups commanding fighter squadrons with fighter groups with distinguished records during World War II.


World War II

The Army Air Forces (AAF) support groups in which the AAF replaced Service Groups that included personnel from other branches of the Army and supported two combat groups with Air Service Groups including only Air Corps units. It was designed to support a single combat group.[1] Its 947th Air Engineering Squadron[2] provided maintenance that was beyond the capability of the combat group, its 771st Air Materiel Squadron[3] handled all supply matters, and its Headquarters & Base Services Squadron provided other support.[1] The group supported 310th Bombardment Group in Italy.[4] The group returned to the US in 1945 and was inactivated. It was disbanded in 1948.[5]

Cold War

F-51D as flown by the 87th FIS until 1953

The group was reconstituted, redesignated as the 521st Air Defense Group, and activated at Sioux City Municipal Airport in 1953[6] with responsibility for air defense of central Midwestern United States. It was assigned the 87th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS), which was already stationed at Sioux City Airport, and flying World War II era North American F-51 Mustangs[7] as its operational component.[8] The 87th FIS had been assigned directly to the 31st Air Division.[8] The group replaced 79th Air Base Squadron as the host USAF unit at Sioux City Municipal Airport. It was assigned three squadrons to perform its support responsibilities.[9][10]

In the fall of 1953 the 87th FIS upgraded to radar equipped and HVAR rocket armed North American F-86 Sabre jet aircraft[7] and the 14th FIS, also flying "Sabres",[11] was activated as the group's second operational squadron.[12] In November 1954 the 87th FIS moved to England and was reassigned.[8] The 87th FIS was replaced the next month by the 519th FIS, another "Sabre" squadron.[13][14] The group was inactivated[6] and replaced by the 53d Fighter Group (Air Defense)[15][16] in 1955 as part of Air Defense Command's Project Arrow, which was designed to bring back on the active list the fighter units which had compiled memorable records in the two world wars.[17] Disbanded once again in 1984.[18]


  • Constituted as 521st Air Service Group
Activated on 1 January 1945[19]
Inactivated on or about 7 November 1945
Disbanded on 8 October 1948
  • Reconstituted and redesignated as 521st Air Defense Group on 21 January 1953
Activated on 16 February 1953
Inactivated on 18 August 1955
Disbanded on 27 September 1984


  • XII Air Force Service Command, 1 January 1945
  • Unknown, ca. 17 July 1945 - 7 November 1945
  • 31st Air Division, 1 January 1953 – 18 August 1955




  • North American F-51D Mustang, 1953
  • North American F-86D Sabre, 1953–1955

See also



  1. ^ a b Coleman, p. 208
  2. ^ Abstract, History of 947th Air Engineering Squadron, Jan 1945 (retrieved Jan 9, 2012)
  3. ^ Abstract, History of 771st Air Materiel Squadron, Jan 1945 (retrieved Jan 9, 2012)
  4. ^ Abstract, History of 771st Air Materiel Squadron, Mar 1945 (retrieved Jan 9, 2012)
  5. ^ Department of the Air Force Letter, 322 (AFOOR 887e), 8 October 1948, Subject: Disbandment of Certain Inactive Air Force Units
  6. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p. 82
  7. ^ a b Cornett & Johnson, p.120
  8. ^ a b c Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 299–300
  9. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p.147
  10. ^ a b Abstract, History of 521st USAF Infirmary, Jan-Jun 1955 (retrieved June 22, 2012)
  11. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p.114
  12. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, p. 78
  13. ^ Cornett & Johnson, p.130
  14. ^ Maurer, Combat Squadrons, pp. 623-624
  15. ^ Maurer, Combat Units, p. 115
  16. ^ Robertson, Patsy AFHRA Factsheet, 53rd Wing 2/24/2009 (retrieved March 3, 2012)
  17. ^ Buss, Sturm, Volan, & McMullen, p.6
  18. ^ Department of the Air Force/MPM Letter 575q, 27 Sep 1984, Subject: Disbandment of Units
  19. ^ a b Abstract, History of 521st Air Service Group, Jan-Feb 1945 (retrieved June 22, 2012)
  20. ^ Abstract, History of 521st Air Service Group, Apr 1945 (retrieved June 22, 2012)
  21. ^ Bailey, Carl E. AFHRA Factsheet, 87th Flying Training Squadron 9/10/2008 (retrieved March 3, 2012)


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

  • Buss, Lydus H.(ed), Sturm, Thomas A., Volan, Denys, and McMullen, Richard F., History of Continental Air Defense Command and Air Defense Command July to December 1955, Directorate of Historical Services, Air Defense Command, Ent AFB, CO, (1956)
  • Coleman, John M (1950). The Development of Tactical Services in the Army Air Forces. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. 
  • Cornett, Lloyd H; Johnson, Mildred W (1980). A Handbook of Aerospace Defense Organization, 1946–1980. Peterson AFB, CO: Office of History, Aerospace Defense Center. 
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History.  
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History.  

Further Reading

External links

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