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The 461st Bombardment Wing was a Cold War bombardment unit of the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command. It was active between 1953 and 1968.


Its direct predecessor was the 461st Bombardment Group was a World War II United States Army Air Forces combat organization. It served primarily in the Mediterranean, African, and The Middle East Theatres of World War II.


  • Constituted as 461st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on May 19, 1943.
Activated on July 1, 1943.
Inactivated on August 18, 1945
  • Established as 461st Bombardment Wing, Light on December 11, 1953
Activated on December 23, 1953
Redesignated: 461st Bombardment Wing, Tactical on October 1, 1955
Inactivated on April 1, 1958
  • Redesignated: 461st Bombardment Wing, Heavy and activated on November 15, 1962
Organized February 1, 1963
Discontinued and inactivated on May 25, 1968


49th Bombardment Wing, April 30, 1944 – July 1, 1945.
Ninth Air Force, December 23, 1953 – April 1, 1958
Fifteenth Air Force
: 22d Air Division, February 1, 1963
: 819th Air Division, July 1, 1964
19th Air Division, July 2, 1966 – March 25, 1968



  • 764th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945, 1953–1968
  • 765th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 766th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 767th Bombardment Squadron 1943–1945
  • 909th Air Refueling Squadron 1963–1966

Aircraft flown

Operational history

World War II

Constituted as 461st Bombardment Group (Heavy) on May 19, 1943. Activated on July 1, 1943. Moved to the Mediterranean theater, January–February 1944, the air echelon flying B-24's via the South Atlantic and stopping in North Africa before joining the ground echelon in Italymarker. Began combat with Fifteenth Air Force in April 1944.

Engaged chiefly in bombardment of communications, industries, and other strategic objectives in Italymarker, Francemarker, Germanymarker, Czechoslovakiamarker, Hungarymarker, Austriamarker, Romaniamarker, Yugoslavia, and Greecemarker. Supported Fifteenth AF's counter-air operations by bombing enemy airdromes and aircraft centers, receiving a Distinguished Unit Citation for a mission on April 13, 1944 when the group battled its way through enemy defenses to attack an aircraft components plant in Budapestmarker. The 461st conducted Oil Campaign of World War II operations against Brux, Blechhammermarker, Moosbierbaum, Viennamarker, and Ploestimarker; receiving a second DUC for a July 1944 bombing of Ploesti despite flak, clouds, smoke, and fighters. Also operated in support of ground forces and flew some interdictory missions.

Hit artillery positions in support of the invasion of Southern France in August 1944 and flew supply missions to France in September. Aided the Allied offensive in Italy in April 1945 by attacking gun emplacements and troop concentrations. Dropped supplies to prisoner-of-war camps in Austria during May 1945.

Returned to the US in July. Inactivated on August 18, 1945.

Cold War

Established as the 461st Bombardment Wing, Light on December 11, 1953. Assigned to Tactical Air Command. Activated December 23, 1953 at Hill AFBmarker, Utah. Redesignated 461st Bombardment wing, Tactical on October 1, 1955, at Blytheville AFBmarker, Arkansas.

The wing flew flew B-26s from 1953 to 1956 and B-57s from 1955 to 1958.

Assigned to the Strategic Air Command on November 15, 1962 and redesigned the 461st Bombardment Wing, Heavy. Organized February 1, 1963 at Amarillo AFBmarker, Texas, where it absorbed the personnel and equipment of the 4128th Strategic Wing. Trained with B-52s maintained heavy bombardment proficiency and participated in numerous operational readiness inspections and actual and simulated exercises.

Deployed B-52 aircraft and crews to Andersen AFBmarker, Guam from January 18, to July 4, 1967 for combat operations in Southeast Asia.

Inactivated March 25, 1968.


  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.

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