|515th Air Defense Group
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Part of||Air Defense Command|
The 515th Air Defense Group is a disbanded United States Air Force (USAF) organization. Its last assignment was with the 31st Air Division, stationed at Duluth Municipal Airport, Minnesota, where it was inactivated in 1955. The group was originally activated as a support unit for a combat group at the end of World War II in Italy, and then redeployed to Okinawa, where it continued that mission until it was inactivated in 1945.
The group was activated once again in 1953, when Air Defense Command (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 343d Fighter Group in a project that replaced air defense groups commanding fighter squadrons with fighter groups with distinguished records during World War II.
The group was activated as the 515th Air Service Group in late 1944 as part of a reorganization of 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. The unit was designed to support a single combat group. Its 941st Air Engineering Squadron provided maintenance that was beyond the capability of the combat group, its 765th Air Materiel Squadron handled all supply matters, and its Headquarters & Base Services Squadron provided other support. It supported one combat group in Italy. In May 1945, the group assumed responsibility for supporting units that were redeploying from the Mediterranean Theater of Operations. It moved to the Pacific Theater and provided the same support on Okinawa until inactivated in 1945. The 515th was disbanded in 1948.
The group was redesignated as an air defense group, reconstituted and activated at Duluth Municipal Airport in 1953 with responsibility for air defense of Great Lakes area. It was assigned the 11th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (FIS), which was already stationed at Duluth Airport, and flying World War II era North American F-51 Mustangs as its operational component. The 11th FIS had been assigned directly to the 31st Air Division. The group replaced 73rd Air Base Squadron as the USAF host unit at Duluth Airport. It was assigned three squadrons to perform its support responsibilities.
The 11th FIS converted to Mighty Mouse rocket armed and airborne intercept radar equipped North American F-86D Sabres in the fall of 1953. The squadron began flying two-seat Northrop F-89 Scorpions in June 1955. The group was inactivated and replaced by the 343d Fighter Group (Air Defense) in 1955 as part of ADC'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. The 515th was disbanded once again in 1984.