8th Fighter-Bomber Wing

USAF Organizations in Korea 1950-1953 Judy G. Endicott http://www.afhra.af.mil/index.asp

     

 

8th Fighter-Bomber Wing


Itazuke Air Base, Japan. Deployed units to Korea in August 1950 and remained in Japan to control other combat units there. Assets of the 6131st Tactical SUpp01l Group redesignated as the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing in December 1950 in Korea, reassuming command of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group. Remained in Korea for the duration.


51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing
8th and 49th Fighter-Bomber Groups
9th and 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons
68th and 339th Fighter All-Weather Squadrons
No. 77 (Fighter) Squadron (RAAF)

 


Stationed at Itazuke AB, Japan, at the beginning of the Korean War and assigned to the Fifth Air Force, the 8th FBW controlled combat groups and attached squadrons that conducted combat operations in Korea, flying mostly interdiction and close air support missions.

The 8th FBG and its squadrons moved to South Korea on August 11, 1950, while the wing remained in Japan and assumed operational control of other combat units.

The wing replaced the 6131st Tactical Support Wing and reunited with its tactical group in Korea in December 1950.

Until the end of the war, it remained in South Korea, performing a variety of missions, including some strategic bombardment, air cover for bombers, armed reconnaissance, and low-level bombing and strafing for interdiction and ground support.

Combat Components

 

 Stations

  1. Itazuke AB, Japan, -December 1, 1950;

  2. Pyongyang, North Korea, December 1, 1950;

  3. Sŏul AB, South Korea, December 9, 1950;

  4. Itazuke AB, Japan, December 10, 1950;

  5. Kimp'o AB, South Korea, June 25, 1951;

  6. Suwŏn AB, South Korea, August 23, 1951-.

 

Commanders

  1.  Col. John M. ("Jack") Price, -December 9, 1950;

  2. Col. Charles W. Stark, December 9, 1950;

  3. Col. James B. Tipton, April 3, 1951;

  4. Col. Raymond K. Gallagher, February 20, 1952;

  5. Col. James J. Stone, Jr., January 24, 1953;

  6. Col. William E. Elder, May 29, 1953-.

 

Campaign Streamers

  1. UN Defensive;

  2. UN Offensive;

  3. CCF Intervention;

  4. First UN Counteroffensive;

  5. CCF Spring Offensive;

  6. UN Summer-Fall Offensive;

  7. Second Korean Winter;

  8. Korea, Summer-Fall 1952;

  9. Third Korean Winter;

  10. Korea, Summer 1953.

 

Decorations

Two Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations for periods June 27, 1950-January 31, 1951 and February 1, 1951-March 31, 1953.

 

Name Unit Kills Enemy Aircraft Date
1st Lt. Robert H. Dewald 35 FS 1 IL-10 F-80 June 27, 1950
1st Lt. William G. Hudson 68 FS 1 Yak-11 F-82 June 27, 1950
           
Maj. James W. Little 339 FS 1 La-7 F-82  June 27, 1950
1st Lt. Charles B. Moran 68 FS 1 La-7 F-82 June 27, 1950
           
Capt. Raymond E. Schillereff  35 FS 1 IL-10 F-82 June 27, 1950
1st Lt. Robert E. Wayne 35 FS 2 IL-10 F-80 June 27, 1950
           
1st Lt. Richard J. Burns 35 FS 1 IL-10 F-80 June 29, 1950
1st Lt. John B. Thomas 36 FS 1 Yak-9 F-51 June 30, 1950
           
1st Lt. Charles A. Wurster 36 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 June 30, 1950
Capt. Francis B. Clark 35 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 17, 1950
           
2nd Lt. Elwood A. Kees 36 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 19, 1950
1st Lt. Robert D. McKee 36 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 19, 1950
           
1st Lt. Charles A. Wurster 36 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 19, 1950
2nd Lt. David H. Goodnough 35 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 20, 1950
           
Capt. Robert L. Lee 35 FS 1 Yak-9 F-80 July 20, 1950
1st Lt. Howard J. Landry 36 FS 1 Mig-15 F-80 March 17, 1951
           
2nd Lt. Robert E. Smith 36 FS 1 Mig-15 F-80 Dec. 1, 1951

Korean War Totals


35th Fighter Squadron 8
36th Fighter Squadron 7
68th Fighter Squadron 2
339th Fighter Squadron 1
8th Fighter Bomber Wing Total 18

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.

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Earlier in fiscal year 1950, FEAF had lost a squadron of light bombers and the 314th and 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.

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 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).

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The 19th Bombardment Wing had become responsible for managing all USAF activities in the Marianas.#69

June 25, 1950 1130

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General Partridge at once acknowledged the gravity of the situation, but he knew that the Far East Command had only one minor mission concerning Korea. At the outbreak of a war or general domestic disorder, and then only at the request of the American ambassador, the Far East Command was required to provide for the safety of American nationals in Korea. #14

For the accomplishment of the air-evacuation mission General MacArthur had charged FEAF to furnish such air-transport aircraft as might be needed to move Americans out of Korea. He had also charged FEAF to be ready to attack hostile ground and surface targets in support of the evacuation, but not before he issued specific instructions so to do. The Fifth Air Force had issued its operation plan on 1 March 1950.

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Since Itazuke Air Base was closest to Korea, General Partridge had designated the commander of the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing as air-task force commander. Assisted by other combat wings as needful. the 8th Wing commander was directed to provide fighter cover for air and water evacuations. and he was given operational control over the transport planes which the 374th troop Carrier Wing would send to him from Tachikawa.

Korean_War

Other wing commanders had stipulated duties: the 3rd Bombardment Wing, for example, was to stage six B-26's to Ashiya Air Base (near Itazuke) where they would fly reconnaissance and cover missions over the water areas off Korea. #15

Shortly after 1130 hours General Partridge ordered all Fifth Air Force wing commanders to complete the deployments required to implement the air evacuation plan, but he cautioned all of them that flights to Korea would await further orders.#16

During the afternoon and early evening of 25 June Col. John M. ("Jack") Price, commander of the 8th Wing, marshaled his own F-80 and F-82 fighters, 10 B-26's, 12 C-54's, and 3 C-47's.

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By a fortunate circumstance, the 8th Bombardment Squadron (Light) had come to Ashiya for a FEAF air-defense readiness test on 24 June, and its B-26's were in place when the alert sounded.

June 26, 1950

In the years since 1945 the United States armed forces had striven to develop all-weather capabilities, but air, ground, and naval forces were still vulnerable to the influence of the natural elements. As the North Koreans used weather to cover their treacherous attack, the 2143rd Air Weather Wing galvanized into action.

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 The 512th Reconnaissance Squadron Weather, flew its first "Buzzard Special" WB-29 weather-reconnaissance mission over Korea on 26 June 1950, and within the next few days the weather crews of this squadron not only provided in-flight meteorological readings but they also flew zigzag courses over Korea and reported tactical observations to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Itazuke.

June 26, 1950

Bio   Bio   Bio

At 0045 hours on 26 June Brig. Gen. Jarred V. Crabb, the FEAF Director of Operations, awakened General Partridge with a telephone call: General MacArthur had ordered FEAF to provide fighter cover while the freighters loaded and withdrew from Inch'ŏn. The fighters were to remain offshore at all times, but they were to shoot in defense of the freighters.

General Partridge instructed the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing to furnish the freighters with combat air patrols. Within a few minutes, however, Fifth Air Force operations let General Crabb know that Colonel Price anticipated difficulties. This patrol work was a job for long-range conventional aircraft, not for the speedy but fuel-hungry jets. Colonel Price's 68th Fighter All-Weather Squadron had twelve operational F-82's, but he needed more aircraft than this. The Fifth Air Force first asked if it would not be possible to use the RAAF No. 77 Squadron's Mustangs, but General Crabb replied that the British had not yet taken a stand in the Korean war. The Fifth Air Force therefore ordered the 339th Fighter All-Weather Squadron to move its combat-ready F-82's from Yokota to Itazuke. This was still not enough of the long-range fighters, and General Crabb ordered the Twentieth Air Force to send eight of the 4th Squadron's planes up to Itazuke from Okinawa. To clear his ramps to receive these additional fighters, Colonel Price moved the contingent of C-54's from Itazuke to nearby Ashiya.