Strategic Air Command

History of the Strategic Air Command 

1947 The U.S. Air Force is Established

On September 16, 1947, the United States Air Force was established a separate and equal element of the United States armed forces.  The fledging Air Force quickly established it's own identity.  Army Air Fields were renamed Air Force Bases.  It was a big first step, but the "brown shoe days," were not yet over.
     Organization remained pretty much the same.  The Strategic Air Command, Tactical Air Command and Air Defense Command were still it's combat arms.  The group organization carried over from World War II remained in place.  
     During the Spring, SAC headquarters became ambitious and began a large expansion.  On July 1, 1947, seven new Bomb Groups were activated at Andrews Field.   That is, they were established on paper.  But there were not enough  aircraft and personnel for them to become operational.  Only two of the groups received B-29s.  On September 24, 1947, the 2nd Bomb Group moved to Davis-Monthan in Arizona and the 98th Bombardment Group to Spokane, Washington.  The other five groups were nothing more than "paper tigers."  They were the 44th, 90th, 303rd, 305 and 306th.  They remained at Andrews - unmanned and unequipped until September 6, 1948, when they were deactivated.  The only group to survive this fate was the 306th Bombardment Group which moved to MacDill in August of 1948.  It soon received the B-29 Superfortress..

1947 - The Hobson Plan

     Once the new Air Force was free of army domination, it's first job was to discard the old and dreadfully inadequate ground army organizational structure.  This was the "Base Plan" where the combat group commander reported to the base commander, who was often regular army, with no flying experience.  This sometimes resulted in ludicrous situations.  For example, a brigadier general commanded the 311th Reconnaissance and he reported to the MacDill Air Base commander who was a cavalry colonel.  
     General Carl A. "Tooey" Spatz established a new policy, "No tactical commander should be subordinate to the station commander."  This resulted in a search for a better arrangement.  The commander of the 15th Air Force, Major General Charles Born, proposed the Provisional Wing Plan, which basically reversed the situation and put the wing commander over the base commander, but the details were so complex, that the plan was soon discarded.
     In October and November of 1947, the Air Force implemented the Hobson Plan.   SAC's basic organizational unit became the Base-Wing.  Under this plan, combat squadrons were temporarily assigned to combat groups, which were in turn assigned to a wing.  The Wing Commander was an experienced air combat leader.  The base support functions - supply, base operations, and medical were assigned to groups, assigned to the wing.   The group of this period was really nothing more than an administrative unit and consisted of nothing more than a designated commander and one assistant.  As the paper-work caught up with what was actually happening, the combat group was completely discontinued.  The administrative unit only survived in non-combat roles.  The base and the wing became one and the same unit.
     Prior to this combat groups and support groups often carried different numeric designations.  Under the new plan all carried the same.  Thus the 2nd Supply Group and 2nd Medical Group were components of the 2nd Bombardment Wing.  As a result of this new reorganization, all bomb groups were renamed bomb wings.  This is reflected in the history and lineage of every unit.  Over the years that followed, the Hobson Plan was modified, but in the fall of 1947, it was a new ball game!  The airmen were finally in charge of the aircraft.  For Details, see Wing Organization