4 - Digit Wings
| Almost all of
SAC's bomb wings were organized from scratch. However, in
order to perpetuate the history of the bomb groups that had
distinguished themselves during World War II, the newly-formed bomb
wings were given the same numeric designation previously assigned to
such groups, along with it's unit history and honors.
All of SAC's normal bomb, missile and aerial refueling wings had 1, 2, or 3 digit numbers.
These were regular constituted wings established by headquarters Air
The Strategic Air Command had the authority to
establish its own wings. These were temporary in nature and
the number always contains four digits. For more information,
see the Wing History Home
The most extensive use of this authority
occurred in the late 1950's. There were then forty-five B-52s assigned to a bomb
wing. Because of the threat of missile attack SAC divided the unit
into three Strategic Wings and each was assigned 15 aircraft. The
first took the numeric designation of its parent wing, but the other
two were assigned 4-digit numbers.
Four digit numbers have also been used for other wings.
These include Provisional Combat, the Tankers based outside the
United States, the Reflex Wings in England and Spain, Training
Units, Air Base Wings and other things. We have also found
patches of other four digit wings. Most of them contain the
word "strategic," suggesting they were assigned to SAC, but we have
not found any record of them. Your knowledge would be appreciated.
We've recently acquired an extensive list of all the USAF four
digit units. See the Reference Page.