Unit Details

417th Engineer Aviation Brigade

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

Special Category Army Personnel with the Air Force
Special Category Army Personnel with the Air Force (SCARWAF) personnel were recruited,
trained, and assigned to Army engineer aviation units but charged to Air Force
strength and subordinate to the Air Force. SCARW AF units assigned to the Fifth .-\:.::
Force to construct and maintain airfields included:
417th Engineer Aviation Brigade
930th Engineer Aviation Group
808th and 822d Engineer Aviation Battalions
622d Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company
931st Engineer Aviation Group
809th and 8 11th Engineer Aviation Battalions
919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company
934th Engineer Aviation Group
802d and 839th Engineer Aviation Battalions
336th, 840th, 841st, and 1903d Engineer Aviation Battalions
733d Engineer Aviation Maintenance Supply Point Company
420th Engineer Aviation Topographic Detachment


At the beginning of the Korean War, there were few airfields in Korea able to support the modern aircraft of the U. S. Air Force. Most of the existing facilities had been constructed by the Japanese before
1945, and they lacked runways long enough or strong enough to support multiple landings by large four- engined cargo aircraft such as C-54s or jet fighters such as F-86s. The extensive use of the old runways by World War II vintage-USAF aircraft, such as F-51s, also demanded frequent and extensive runway repairs. To correct the problem, the Far East Air Forces deployed to Korea engineer aviation units, manned by Special Category Army Personnel with Air Force (SCARWAF) troops.

 Although they
suffered chronic shortages of adequately trained personnel, as early as July 1950, the 802nd and 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalions were repairing and extending runways at Pohang and Taegu.

By the end of the Korean War, the engineer aviation units in Korea included the 417th Engineer Aviation Brigade with its subordinate units: three groups, ten battalions, three companies, and one detachment.

The engineer aviation units repaired, renovated, and expanded air bases all over Korea for the basing and staging of Far East Air Forces, Fifth Air Force, and other United Nations aircraft, including fighters, fighter- bombers, and transports. Among the airfields they repaired or expanded, besides Pohang and Taegu, were Kimp'o, Suwŏn, Pyongyang, Pusan, Hoengsong, Chunchon, Chinhae, Chungju, Kunsan, Sŏul, and P'yŏngt'aek.

At most of these airfields the engineers laid pierced-steel planking for runways and taxiways and replaced inadequate foundations. They also constructed airfield facilities such as jet fuel storage tanks and hardstands. At airfields captured from the enemy, the aviation engineer personnel filled in bomb craters and patched runways. In 1952, the engineer aviation battalions constructed new 9,000-foot concrete or asphalt runways for jet fighters at Taegu, Suwŏn, and Kunsan.

That same year, three of the
battalions built a new air base with a fourth 9,000-foot runway at Osan-ni. The new paved runways saved tires, lessened structural damage to aircraft, and reduced the need for jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) units. At Sŏul, the aviation engineers strengthened and extended the runways to handle strategic airlift transports. At Pusan and P'yŏngt'aek, they constructed airfield facilities for U.S. Marine Corps air units.


Engineer Aviation Units in Korea as of May 1953:


417th Engineer Aviation Brigade

420th Engineer Aviation Topographic Detachment
366th Engineer Aviation Battalion

733rd Engineer Aviation Supply Point Company
840th Engineer Aviation Battalion
841st Engineer Aviation Battalion
1903rd Engineer Aviation Battalion
930th Engineer Aviation Group
o 622nd Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company
o 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion
o 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion
931st Engineer Aviation Group
o 809th Engineer Aviation Battalion
o 811th Engineer Aviation Battalion
o 919th Engineer Aviation Maintenance Company
934th Engineer Aviation Group
o 802nd Engineer Aviation Battalion
o 839th Engineer Aviation Battalion