Fifth Air Force




One of the few numbered air forces never stationed in the United States, Fifth Air Force is also one of the oldest and continuously active.* It engaged in combat in the Pacific during World War II and remained in Japan following the war. The Fifth was the combat air force in Korea during the Korean conflict, then returned and remains located in Japan.


Established as Philippine Department Air Force on August 16, 1941. Activated on September 20, 1941 at Nichols Field, Philippine Islands, assigned to the Philippine Department, U.S. Army. Redesignated Far East Air Force on October 28, 1941. Moved to Darwin, Australia, in December 1941, following the Japanese attacks in the Philippines. Redesignated 5th Air Force on February 5, 1942. Moved to Brisbane, Australia, in September 1942. Redesignated Fifth Air Force on September 18, 1942. Assigned to Southwest Pacific Area in November 1942. Moved to Nadzab, New Guinea, in June 1944, and assigned to Far East Air Forces (later, Pacific Air Command, U.S. Army; Far East Air Forces; Pacific Air Forces). Moved to Owi, Schouten Islands in Aug 1944; to Leyte, Philippine Islands, in November 1944; to Mindoro, Philippine Islands, in January 1945; to Luzon, Philippine Islands, in April 1945; to Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, in July 1945; to Irumagawa, Japan, about September 25, 1945; to Tokyo, Japan, in January 1946; to Nagoya (later, Nagoya AB), Japan, in May 1946; to Seoul, South Korea, on December 1, 1950; to Taegu AB, South Korea, on December 22, 1950; to Seoul, South Korea, on June 15, 1951; to Osan-ni, South Korea, in January 1954; to Nagoya AB (later, Nagoya AS; Moriyama AS), Japan, on September 1, 1954; to Fuchu AS, Japan, on July 1, 1957; and to Yokota AB, Japan, on November 11, 1974.

*Not to be confused with a second "Fifth" air force created as a temporary establishment to handle combat operations after the outbreak of hostilities on June 25, 1950, in Korea. This numbered air force was established as Fifth Air Force, Advance, and organized at Itazuki AB, Japan, assigned to Fifth Air Force, on July 14, 1950. It moved to Taegu AB, South Korea, on July 24, 1950, and was redesignated Fifth Air Force in Korea at the same time. After moving, it apparently received command control from Far East Air Forces. The establishment operated from Pusan, Taegu, and Seoul before being discontinued on December 1, 1950.

© 1998 Air Force Historical Research Agency


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