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biography   biography

When he was called to Tokyo and briefed on the forthcoming operations. General Partridge took a studied look at his available forces which seemed to him to be "meager at best." Navy and Marine aircraft were going to be employed in the operation at Inch'ŏn, at the same time as the Fifth Air Force would be called upon to intensify its counter-air alert and provide all-out support for the Eighth Army.

Looking about FEAF, Partridge noted that he was fighting a war with eight fighter squadrons while six other fighter squadrons were deployed for the air defense of Japan and five other fighter squadrons defended Okinawa and the Philippines.

After this examination of the problem, Partridge recommended that the Fifth Air Force be released from its commitment to provide day-fighter squadrons for the defense of Itazuke and Misawa, that the entire 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing should be released from the defense of Okinawa and sent to Korea or Kyushu, and that the remaining units of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing should be sent to join the 18th Group in Korea.

General Partridge pointed out that the F-82 all-weather squadrons and the F-80 squadron at Johnson could continue to provide a shell of defense. If the need arose, all fighter squadrons could be redistributed throughout Japan and Okinawa within a few hours.#[15]

At the start of the Korean war General Partridge had made these same proposals, only to have them turned down by General MacArthur's staff, but now his bid for more fighters gained better acceptance.




Because of the Eighth Army's emergency requirements for air support on 1 September, General Weyland released Japan air defense squadrons for service against Korean targets.

The 80th Fighter Bomber Squadron (8th Group) at Itazuke was immediately available for tactical air operations.

On 4 September the 9th Fighter-Bomber Squadron* left Misawa and rejoined its parent 49th Group at Itazuke. Elements of the Johnson-based 41st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (35th Group) moved to Misawa to provide skeleton air defenses. [16]


General Stearley, commander of the Twentieth Air Force, proved quite willing to send Partridge all but one F-80 squadron of the 51st Fighter- Interceptor Wing, but this movement had to await the transfer of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group from Itazuke to a base in Korea.

On 22 September, however, pilots of the 16th and 25th Squadrons flew from Naha Air Base to Itazuke and began operations over Korea the same day, some within two hours after landing in Japan.

By 25 September the water-borne echelon reached Japan, and the 51st Fighter- Interceptor Wing was in place at Itazuke."