June 25, 1950
Altogether, on 25 June 1950, General Stratemeyer controlled 30 USAF squadrons, or the equivalent of nine of USAF's total of 48 combat wings. This was the largest aggregation of USAF units outside the continental limits of the United States, but budgetary limitations, taken in context with the Far East Command's defensive mission, had caused significant reductions in FEAF strength.
Earlier in fiscal year 1950, FEAF had lost a squadron
of light bombers and the
315th Air Divisions, the latter being small headquarters organizations
which had provided an intermediate control of the air-defense effort in
Japan. At this time General MacArthur had protested that the Air Force units
assigned to the Far East were so inadequate in number as to reduce his capabilities
to defend the command area beyond the point of a calculated risk-almost,
indeed, to the point of a "gambler's risk.#68
All but a few of the squadrons which FEAF owned or controlled were organized in basic Air Force wings. According to concept, a combat wing was a nearly self-sufficient entity in which one wing commander directed the combat effort, supporting elements, base services, and medical services necessary for the performance of his mission. The resultant combat wing was a large and complex organization, but, in theory, it possessed mobility. Tables of organization and equipment contained provisions whereby supporting personnel and equipment might be detached to accompany and support a separate combat squadron. When a whole wing was transferred, the combat-wing plan visualized that a temporary station or airbase group would be organized to replace it at the old installation. Because of the pressure for personnel savings arising from pre-1950 economy programs, however, most of FEAF's combat wings had been compelled to assume an area-command status that was inconsistent with their combat mobility.
Following the inactivation of the two air division headquarters in Japan, the air-defense functions previously exercised by these units had been subdivided into three parts and delegated to the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing (Northern Air Defense Area), the 35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (Central Air Defense Area), and the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing (Southern Air Defense Area).
The 19th Bombardment Wing had become responsible for managing all USAF activities in the Marianas.#69