Unit Detils

FEAF - Far East Air Forces

 

June 15, 1944

Far East Air Force (FEAF)--Activated at Brisbane, Australia, June 15, 1944, the Far East Air Force fought its way across the Pacific during World War II. When the Korean War began, it was part of the postwar occupation of Japan, with headquarters in Tokyo.

During World War II, the group, each with three or four flying squadrons, was the basic combat element of the Army Air Forces. This organization changed in 1947 when the new United States Air Force adopted the wing-base plan.

Each combat group then active received a controlling parent wing of the same number and nomenclature. The new wing also controlled three additional groups (with the same number) to operate the air base, maintain the aircraft, and provide medical care at the base.

i.e.19th FBW, 19th base, 19th Maint, 19th Med, 19th FBG - 3 squadrons]

 

 

Headquarters, Far East Air Forces (FEAF-rhymes with "leaf"), was located in Tokyo and controlled all USAF and Allied air force units based in Japan, the Ryukyu (Okinawa), the Marianas (Guam, Saipan), and the Philippines. Activated on 15 June 1944 in Australia, it had moved to Tokyo in September 1945. FEAF itself was a unified command directly subordinate to U.S. Far East Command and under jurisdiction of the Department of The Army.

    

FEAF's main operating command was the Fifth Air Force, then headquartered in Nagoya, southwest of Tokyo. Air units stationed in Japan at the time of the invasion included the

  

FEAF's second operational command, the Twentieth Air Force, controlled the

  1.  51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing and the

  2. 19th Bombardment Group (Medium) in the Ryukyu and Marianas,

Pacific Air Forces patch

while the Thirteenth Air Force in the Philippines controlled the

Many of the units would be deployed to Korea or otherwise support operations there. FEAF's final prewar major command was the Far East Air Materiel Command (FEAMCom) in Tokyo.

1503rd Air Transport Group

Additional commands were formed after the invasion of South Korea:

 

October 1951

The 1st Marine Aircraft Wing was placed under FEAF's operational control in October 1951.

November 25, 1951

The 5th Communications Group replaced the 934th Signal Battalion on 25 November 1951, providing the Fifth Air Force with communications support in Japan and Korea .

 

May 1952

The brigade deployed to Korea in May 1952 to oversee in-country SCARWAF aviation engineer units and the construction and maintenance of airfields (SCARWAF units are discussed later).

 

July 27, 1953

At the end of the war FEFA consisted of: Headquarters, Far East Air Forces Fifty Air Force Tokyo, Japan Nagoya, Japan; then R.O.K.

 

*Redesignated from Far East Air Materiel Command on 2 July 1952.

 

Commanders, FEAF:

Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer ....Apr. 1949 - May 1951

Lt. Gen. Earle E. Partridge ............ 21 May 1951

Maj. Gen. Otto P. Weyland ................... 10 June 1951 - end of war

 

Vice Commaders

 Maj. Gen. Laurence Cardee Craigie

 Maj. Gen. Otto P. Weyland, who was FEAF vice commander and who would take command when Stratemeyer suffered a heart attack, argued for a comprehensive air-interdiction plan reaching far into North Korea.

 

June 25, 1950

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THE North Korean People's Army (NKPA) invasion of the Republic of Korea (ROK) on 25 June 1950 found the US armed forces in a deplorable condition with little conventional capability.

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The newly established United States Air Force had spent most of its limited budget on strategic nuclear systems, neglecting the tactical air forces.

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The Far East Air Force (FEAF), based in Japan, and its Fifth Air Force had conducted few joint exercises to practice air-ground coordination with the Eighth US Army in Korea (EUSAK).

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Within a month the NKPA drove the United Nations (UN) forces to a small perimeter around the port of Pusan. Despite the unprepared condition of the tactical air forces, air power prevented disaster and complete defeat of the UN forces during the initial NKPA invasion. Lt Gen Walton H. Walker, the commander of EUSAK at the start of the war, stated,

"If it had not been for the air support we received from the Fifth Air Force, we should not have been able to stay in Korea."3

While the USAF was a major factor in helping to ensure the independence of South Korea, there were numerous errors committed by the US forces, including the Air Force, that resulted in ineffective application of air power.

 

June 25, 1950

This particular Sunday the return from wince they came did not happen exactly as expected.  In Tokyo when  of the SCAP staff learned from Edith Sebald that something was amiss in Korea, he quickly passed the word to General of the Army Douglas A. MacArthur, who was quartered at the  Dai Ichi Life Insurance building.  The General had gotten the word from General Ned [Edward M.] Almond about two hours after the attack began [about 6AM].  FEAF would not learn of it for another three and three quarter hours.  It would not be until 11:30 AM that the whole of FEAF was notified of the incursion.  In the mean time the General of the Army wanted to be alone with his thoughts.  Being so early his wife came in and ask if everything was all right

Confidence in the ROK Army was further reinforced that day by MacArthur's G2, Charles Willoughby. It was contained in the first telecon between Collins and Ridgway in the Pentagon and Willoughby in Tokyo. When Collins and Ridgway queried Willoughby about the situation in South Korea, Willoughby conceded that it was a major NKPA invasion aimed at conquering South Korea but that the ROK Army was withdrawing with "orderliness," the morale of the South Koreans was "good," and the Rhee government was "standing firm." Nonetheless, Willoughby "said," GHQ was proceeding with a prearranged contingency plan to evacuate American personnel (women and children first) by ship from Sŏul's seaport, Inch'ŏn, with appropriate air and naval protection.[3-14]

This first telecon contained a historically fascinating sidelight. Without consulting Truman, that day both GHQ, Tokyo, and the Pentagon decided independently to respond affirmatively to Muccio's request for a ten-day supply of ammo for the ROK Army. When he received the request, MacArthur ordered his chief of staff, Ned Almond, to load two ships immediately. In the telecon Collins asked Willoughby if he was correct in assuming Tokyo was meeting Muccio's request. Willoughby replied: "We are meeting emergency request for ammunition." The two ships would be escorted by air and naval vessels. Thus the Pentagon and GHQ, Tokyo, had made the decision to project American military power into South Korea without presidential authorization.[3-15]

 

 

When combat forces began to fight the war in Korea, the USAF units did so in various organizational forms. In some cases, the combat arm of the wing, plus a portion of the wing's supporting personnel, deployed to the Korean theater, leaving the rest of the wing to operate the home base, to which the group returned after its tour of combat ended.

Early in the war, some combat groups deployed and operated under other wings, including temporary four-digit wings.

June 25

Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge, who was commander, 5th Air Force, but serving as acting commander of Far East Air Forces (FEAF), ordered wing commanders to prepare for air evacuation of US citizens from South Korea. He increased aerial surveillance of Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. The 20th Air Force placed two squadrons of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (FIW) on air defense alert in Japan

June 25, 1950

Precision bombardment by medium bombers in Korea required precise selection of targets to avoid waste of flying effort. During the period 1946-49 FEAF Intelligence had prepared some 900 target folders within its area of interest, a region loosely defined as within 1,000 miles of Tokyo.

This mass of information had been exploited by the FEAF Target Section for the preparation of the standard dossier system desired by the USAF, but with Siberia apparently the most important area at the time, the section had concentrated on strategic targets there. Consequently, Korea was not covered by dossiers as of 25 June.


The old target folder system, however, had coverage for 159 targets in South Korea and 53 in North Korea, and although the data was not in the newest USAF format, FEAF furnished target sheets to its own units, to GHQ, the Navy, and the British, none of whom had target information at the outset of the war.

June 25, 1950

The invasion of South Korea found Admiral Doyle's Amphibious Group busy with its training duties. On the morning of the 25th Task Force 90 got underway from Yokosuka, with elements of the 35th Regimental Combat Team embarked, to conduct landing exercises outside Tokyo Bay. Although operations were carried out on the 26th and 28th, in accordance with the training order, the attention of both teachers and pupils was progressively distracted by reports of happenings in Korea. During the second landing observers from the Far East Air Forces were ordered back to their stations; on completion of the exercise the ships returned at once to Yokosuka to debark the troops.

June 25, 1950

Altogether, on 25 June 1950 FEAF controlled the largest USAF aggregation located outside the continental United States.

 

USAF budget limitations had nevertheless made inroads into FEAF unit strength.

The 90th Bombardment Squadron (L) had been inactivated on 1 October 1949 by USAF direction, leaving only two light bombardment squadrons in the command.

The 314th Air Division at Johnson and the 315th Air Division at Itazuke had been discontinued for economy reasons effective 1 March 1950; loss of these two units would be felt when the Fifth Air Force needed an organization to serve as its advance echelon headquarters, first at Itazuke and then in Korea.

June 25, 1950

Precision bombardment by medium bombers in Korea required precise selection of targets to avoid waste of flying effort. During the period 1946-49 FEAF Intelligence had prepared some 900 target folders within its area of interest, a region loosely defined as within 1,000 miles of Tokyo.

This mass of information had been exploited by the FEAF Target Section for the preparation of the standard dossier system desired by the USAF, but with Siberia apparently the most important area at the time, the section had concentrated on strategic targets there. Consequently, Korea was not covered by dossiers as of 25 June.


The old target folder system, however, had coverage for 159 targets in South Korea and 53 in North Korea, and although the data was not in the newest USAF format, FEAF furnished target sheets to its own units, to GHQ, the Navy, and the British, none of whom had target information at the outset of the war.

 

June 26, 1950

 FEAF was ordered to begin evacuation of U.S. personnel from Korea on 26 June, the day after the invasion.

June 27, 1950

Offensive air operations were authorized on 27 June.

Like all other armed forces, FEAF units were short on personnel and aircraft. Within days of the North Korean invasion, FEAF requested 330 fighters, bombers, and transports to round out its squadrons and provide a 10 percent reserve to replace losses .

July 5, 1950

A Joint Operations Center to control air support for U.N. ground forces had been established at Taejon on 5 July. While some air units deployed to Korea, many flew missions from Japan as U.N. forces were being pushed south toward Pusan. Some units were withdrawn to Japan and later redeployed to Korea. It was not until August that the large-scale move of tactical air units to Korea began. These were placed under the command of provisional tactical support wings formed in Korea.

July 11, 1950

In Japan, I Construction Command (Provisional), responsible for air base construction, was disbanded on 11 July 1950 and replaced by the 417th Engineer Aviation Brigade (SCARWAF) on 1 December.

 

July 14, 1950

On 14 July 1950, Fifth Air Force headquarters was split into two headquarters squadrons. Headquarters Squadron, Fifth Air Force (Rear), remained at its original station at Nagoya, Japan, and retained responsibility for the air defense of Japan and for air units remaining in Japan, some of which flew missions into Korea.

July 24, 1950

Headquarters Squadron, Fifth Air Force (Advance), deployed to Taegu, South Korea, on 24 July. This headquarters was soon redesignated Fifth Air Force in Korea.

December 1950

In December 1950, those groups' aligned (same number) parent wings moved on paper from their previous bases and replaced the temporary wings in combat. The personnel of the temporary wing's headquarters were reassigned to the headquarters of its replacement.

December 1, 1950

On 1 December 1950, the Headquarters Squadron, Fifth Air Force in Korea, became Headquarters Squadron, Fifth Air Force, while the original Headquarters Squadron, Fifth Air Force, was reorganized as the 314th Air Division in Nagoya to pro- vide air defense, logistical support, and supervise airfield construction in Japan.

February 1952

It was re- designated the Japan Air Defense Force in February 1952. At the same time, the existing provisional tactical support wings in Korea were replaced by the permanent wings in Japan.

 

 

1951

In 1951, wings replaced the medium bombardment groups attached to FEAF Bomber Command for combat. In most cases, the personnel assigned to the group headquarters were simply reassigned to the wing headquarters, which had moved on paper to the location of the group headquarters. Most other combat organizations in-theater continued to operate with both wing and group headquarters or with group headquarters only. In a few cases, individual squadrons, such as the 319th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, were directly controlled by an organization higher than either wing or group level.

June 26, 1950

Bio   Bio

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Early on the morning of 26 June General Partridge flew from Nagoya to Tokyo's Haneda Airfield. At FEAF headquarters he held a staff conference, where the principal matter of discussion was the evacuation operation. Throughout the morning intelligence reports were optimistic. KMAG reported "increased steadiness" on the part of ROK troops opposing the tank column north of Sŏul, that Ch'unch'ŏn had been retaken, and that the invaders on the east coast had been contained. These reports were so favorable that FEAF released the C-54 transports at Ashiya to return to normal duties.#27

 

June 26, 1950 0900

Bio

          The invasion of South Korea found Admiral Doyle's Amphibious Group busy with its training duties. On the morning of the 25th Task Force 90 got underway from Yokosuka, with elements of the 35th Regimental Combat Team embarked, to conduct landing exercises outside Tokyo Bay. Although operations were carried out on the26th and 28th, in accordance with the training order, the attention of both teachers and pupils was progressively distracted by reports of happenings in Korea. During the second landing observers from the Far East Air Forces were ordered back to their stations; on completion of the exercise the ships returned at once to Yokosuka to debark the troops.