The PLAAF 3rd Fighter division was a flying circus and the following photos were taken in the late 1980s when it completed its 8th rotation in Tibet with its J-7II’s, and they make their presence known with these PR photos.
According to the December 7th 2007 edition of the PLA Daily, the 3rd division was commissioned on November 11th, 1949 from the 209th infantry Division. When it entered the Korean War in October 1951, it pilots had only 20 flying hours before encountering the USAF. As expected they suffered a huge loss. However, the 3rd division did produce 7 aces for the PLAAF, including its top ace, Wang Hai, credited with 9 shoot-downs or damaged American aircraft. Wang would later become the PLAAF’s Air Marshal (honorary title) in August 1998. There is even a die cast toy made after him.
After the Korean War, the 3rd took part in the 1954 First Taiwan Strait Crisis Air War. Stationed in Guangxi , during the height of the Indochina crisis, the 3rd was credited with downing 6 US recon drones. In the 1996, the 3rd played a vanguard role in the "large-scale-military-exercise" across the Taiwan Strait. Its J-10 regiment became the first J-10 unit to take on the Blue Army’s SU-30MKK “bad guy” squadron in 2007.
October 5th, 3rd pursuit bridge with 625, 626, 627 regiments from the 209th infantry division.
November 11th 1949, enlarged as the 3rd fighter division with 7th (625th), 8th (626th), 9th (627) regiments.
October 1951, 3183 personnel, 59 pilots, 280 ground crew, 59 Mig-15 fighters and two Il-12 transports.
It’s January 2008 orbat as follow:
7th Regiment J-7E (Wuhu)
8th Regiment J-10 (Changxing, Zhejiang)
9th Regiment Su-30MKK. (Wuhu)
Wang Hai and his Mig-15 2249