Fabulous Rocketeers Photo/Historical Collection 1950-1951

336th Squadron of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing

Squadron Commander:

February 1, 1949 to May 1949 Major Benjamin H. King

June 1, 1949 to end of 1949 Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Preston, Jr.

January 1, 1950 - July 1951 Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton

July 1951 - March 1952 Major Richard D. Creighton




FEAF Recognition Markings






Daily Press - Jet Team March 8, 1950 (Before the war)


(Daily Press, Newport News - Wednesday, March 8, 1950)



Daily Press - F-86 Display at Langley May 20, 1950 (Before the war)

(Daily Press, Newport News - Saturday, May 20, 1950)



Daily Press - Training Chores June 11, 1950 (Before the war)

For a larger view, click here.

(Daily Press, Newport News - Sunday, June 11, 1950)



1/Lt. Ernest Neubert & 1/Lt. Garold R. Beck

100 Missions at Kimpo!

1/Lt. Ernest F. Neubert (left) and 1/Lt. Garold R. Beck (right)

(Photo submitted from Garolds son, Bradley Beck)



Lt. Col. John C. Meyer

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044


Korean War

Meyer then returned to a tactical flying unit in August 1950 when he assumed command of the 4th Fighter Wing at New Castle, Delaware. He took the North American F-86 Sabre jet wing to Korea where it flew in the First United Nations Counteroffensive and Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive campaigns.

On December 1950, Meyer, led a flight of eight F-86 Sabres against 15 MiG-15s in the first major all-jet fighter battle in history. The flight downed six MiGs without sustaining any losses.

During the war, he destroyed two MiG-15 aircraft, bringing his total of enemy aircraft destroyed (air and ground) in both World War II and Korean War to 39½.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_C._Meyer

(Wilmington Morning News - Vol. 138 - No. 82, October 4, 1950)




Leaving the Runway 1950

North American F-86 SabreJet DAY FIGHTERS (WARBIRD TECH SERIES, Volume 3)



1/Lt. William A. Todd
336th FIS

(Photos from 1/Lt. Bill Todd)




Lt. Arthur L. Connor
336th FIS

(Wilmington Morning News - Vol. 138 - No. 96, October 20, 1950)




1/Lt. Lloyd Thompson
336th FIS

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




Lt. Scotty Hanford
336th FIS

FU-178 (s/n 49-1178) "Marilyn" with red nose, flown by 336th FIS Major Richard Creighton.

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

Photo from an ebay auction - Item: 392093193996.





Lt. Frank Robison
336th FIS

Source: http://press-herald.com/korean-war-pilot-to-speak-to-lions/

(Sabre Jet Classics magazine Volume 23 Number 2 (Summer 2016))




Lt. Ward "Turkey" Hitt Jr. FU-089 (s/n 49-1089)

"Punkin Head"

336th FIS; writeoff on 5-10-1951 "Punkin Head" Pilot: Hitt

Circumstances of Loss: Code: N Operational on a combat mission, not enemy action Cause: Hydraulics

[336th Pilot: Hitt on 05.10.1951 Status: Uninjured] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

Nickname "Turkey"

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Hitt, Ward Jr. (NASM-9A09973)

Link: https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/air-force-units-336th-fighter-squadron-korean-war-photograph-0

To view Wards collection on Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum website, click here.

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(F-86 Sabres of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing - Thompson)

F-86 Sabre (by Aircraft Films - DVD 2004)

FU-089 number under De Ramblin Rebel; front of sabre on right side of photo.

North American F-86 SabreJet DAY FIGHTERS (WARBIRD TECH SERIES, Volume 3)

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044


Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044




Major Harry R. Cassleman

(Source: David Howman - (UK))

(Source: David Howman - (UK))

Harry Cassleman inspecting a crash scene. (Source: David Howman - (UK))

(Source: David Howman - (UK))

(Source: David Howman - (UK))

(Source: David Howman - (UK))

(Source: David Howman - (UK))



FU-109 (s/n 49-1109)
334th FIS; writeoff on 10-24-1951 Pilot: Wicks

Circumstances of Loss: Code: M Operational due to enemy action, but includes failure of oxygen systems and explosions Cause: MiG-15

[336th on 10.24.1951 Status: POW] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




1/Lt. Carl G. Barnett FU-113 (s/n 49-1113)
336th FIS; writeoff 9-26-1951 Pilot: Barnett

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Flight of four F-86s, shot down by MiG over Sinuiju at approx 1010L

[336th 1/Lt. Carl G. Barnett, Jr. on 09.26.1951 Status: MIA]




Capt. Alfred C. Simmons FU-129 (s/n 49-1129)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

FU-129 (s/n 49-1129)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




1/Lt. Thomas C. Hansen FU-130 (s/n 49-1130)
336th FIS; writeoff on 6-5-1951 Pilot: Hanson

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Jettisoned external fuel tanks, crashed on take-off .5 mi off end of runway at Suwon K-13

[336th 1/Lt. Thomas C. Hanson on 06.05.1951 Status: RCV]

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




FU-147 (s/n 49-1147)
336th FIS; writeoff on 10-16-1951 Pilot: Kotek

Circumstances of Loss: Code: M Operational due to enemy action, but includes failure of oxygen systems and explosions. Cause: Fuel

[335th Pilot: Kotek on 10.16.1951 Status: Rescued] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

F-86 Sabre (by Aircraft Films - DVD 2004)




Capt. Ken D. Chandler FU-159 (s/n 49-1159)
334th FIS; writeoff on 12-13-1951 Pilot: Hogue

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Ingested debris from downed MiG, bailed out near Cho-do

[336th Capt. Ken D. Chandler on 12.13.1951 Status: RSC]




Capt. Lawrence V. Bach FU-176 (s/n 49-1176)
335th FIS; writeoff on 12-20-1950 Pilot: Bach

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: 8 F-86s vs. 13 MiG-15s, downed by MiG 25 mi fm Sauchon at approx. 0900L

[335th Capt. Lawrence V. Bach, Jr. on 12.22.1950 Status: RMC]

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Maj. Richard D. Creighton FU-178 (s/n 49-1178)


336th FIS; writeoff on 6-21-1952 Pilot: Frick

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: 4 MiG-15s vs. 4 F-86s, downed by MiGs 3 mi S of Uiju

[336th 2/Lt. Vance R. Frick on 06.21.1952 Status: RMC]

"Marilyn", third sabre in with the red nose, is FU-178.

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

FU-178 (s/n 49-1178)




Capt. Don Torres FU-184 (s/n 49-1184)

"Miss Behaving"

4th FIG; writeoff on 12-4-1951 "Miss Behaving"

FU-184 (s/n 49-1184)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton FU-190 (s/n 49-1190)


336th FIS

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

FU-190 (s/n 49-1190) Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton "Squanee"

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




2/Lt. A. C. Foster FU-225 (s/n 48-225)

"Hot Spook"

336th FIS; "Hot Spook"




FU-225 (s/n 48-225)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Maj. Richard D. Creighton / Lt. Clay O. Keen / Ward Hitt

FU-225 (s/n 49-1225)

336th FIS

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Hitt, Ward Jr. (NASM-9A09971)

Link: https://airandspace.si.edu/collection-objects/hitt-ward-jr-north-american-p-86a-f-86a-sabre-korean-war-photograph

FU-225 (s/n 49-1225)




1/Lt. Richard Merian FU-227 (48-227)
336th FIS

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




FU-230 (s/n 49-1230)
334th FIS; writeoff on 2-2-1951 Pilot: Evans

Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Midair

[336th Pilot: Evans on 02.02.1951 Status: Ejected] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




FU-232 (s/n 48-232)

336th FIS; writeoff on 4-27-1951@ Johnson AB, Japan "Joltin Judy"


Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Unknown

[336th on 04.27.1951 Status: @ Johnson AB] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)



FU-236 (s/n 49-1236)
336th FIS; write off on 10-24-1951 Pilot: Irish

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by MiG, 4 F-86s vs 3 MiGs, tail section smoking at Sinanju heading SW at 1530L

[334th 1/Lt. Bradley B. Irish on 10.24.1951 Status: RMC]

Lt Col Bruce Hinton: First F-86 MiG Kill

Replica of Lt Col Bruce Hinton's Museum Sabre FU-236 (s/n 49-1236)




FU-239 (s/n 49-1239)
334th FIS; writeoff on 2-2-1951 Pilot: Upchurch

Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Midair

[336th Pilot: Upchurch on 02.02.1951 Status: Ejected] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




FU-245 (s/n 48-245)

"Lightnin' Bug"

334th FIS, 336th


(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




FU-259 (s/n 48-259)
336th FIS; writeoff on 11-9-1951

Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Engine

[336th Pilot: Freeland on 11.09.1951 Status: Ejected OK] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

Korea - The Air War (1991)




FU-260 (s/n 48-260)
336th FIS


(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

F-86 Sabre (by Aircraft Films - DVD 2004)

FU-260 is first on the left.

Year: 1951

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)



FU-266 (s/n 49-1266)
4th FIG; writeoff on 8-29-1951 Pilot: Young

Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Lost, fuel

[336th Pilot: Young on 08.29.1951 Status: Minor injuries] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)




Col. John G. Ironmonger

("The F-86 Sabre Jet and Pilots" by Turner, 1997)




FU-276 (s/n 49-1276)
336th FIS; writeoff on 6-22-1951 Pilot: Miller

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by MiG at 0645L

[336th 1/Lt. Howard P. Miller, Jr. on 06.22.1951 Status: RCV]


(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)



FU-281 (s/n 48-281) STOVEPIPE
334th FIS; briefly painted olive drab


(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




FU-297 (s/n 49-1297)
336th FIS; writeoff on 7-13-1951 Pilot: Reeves

Circumstances of Loss: Code: A Accident Cause: Landing accident

[336th Pilot: Reeves on 07.13.1951 Status: Uninjured] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

FU-297 (s/n 49-1297) F-86A in Korea, 1950

Photo from Jim Escalle (F-86 Sabres of the Korean War, facebook)




Lt. Simpson Evans FU-298 (49-1298)
336th FIS; writeoff on 6-19-1951 "The Bearded Clam" Pilot: Raier?

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by 2 MiGs near Sonchon, 50 km ESE of Sinuiju

[336th 1/Lt. Robert H. Laier on 06.19.1951 Status: POW]

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

FU-298 is the third jet in.

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Captain Robert H. Laier

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by 2 MiGs near Sonchon, 50 km ESE of Sinuiju

[336th 1/Lt. Robert H. Laier on 06.19.1951 Status: POW]

Capt. Robert Laier - photo from his son Richard.




1/Lt. Bill N. Garrett FU-319 (s/n 49-1319)
4th FIG; writeoff on 10-6-1951 Pilot: Garvett

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Hit by gnd fire 15 mi SW of Sinanju, crashed into the sea, bail out into Sinanju River

[1/Lt. Bill N. Garrett on 10.06.1951 Status: RSC]

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

Ward Hitt Photo Collection NASM




FU-671 (s/n 50-671)
4th FIG; writeoff on 10-6-1951

Circumstances of Loss: Code: M Operational due to enemy action, but includes failure of oxygen systems and explosions Accident Cause: MiG-15/fuel

[336th on 10.06.1951 Status: Ejected OK] (Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)



Lt. Dayton Ragland FU-673 (s/n 50-673)
336th FIS; writeoff on 11-28-1951 Pilot:Ragland

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by MiG, 4 F-86s vs. 10 MiG-15s, no chute observed, Sinanju area

[336th 1/Lt. Dayton W. Ragland on 11.28.1951 Status: RMC]

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

Photo from Facebook: "Dayton Ragland, F-86 pilot in Korea. Ragland flew with the 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, destroying four MiG-15's on the ground at Uiju Air Base in November 1951. Ten days later, he shot down a MiG in air combat, only to be trapped and shot down himself by Russian fighter pilot Yevgeni Pepelyayev. He spent the rest of the war as a POW.

He was shot down and declared MIA during the Vietnam War after his F-4 was hit by ground fire in 1966."

(Sabre Jet Classics magazine)



Lt. Fred T. Wicks FU-682 (s/n 50-682)
336th FIS; writeoff on 10-12-1951

KORWALD Circumstances of Loss: Downed by MiG, 4 F-86s vs. 4 MiGs, tail damaged, crashed at approx 1517L

[336th Lt. Fred T. Wicks on 10.24.1951 Status: RMC]



FU-686 (s/n 50-686)
336th FIS; writeoff on 2-7-1952 Pilot: Green

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Col. Ben Preston FU-747 (s/n 51-2747)

"Lil' Punkin'"

336th FIS; "Lil' Punkin"

FU-747 (s/n 51-2747) Col. Ben Preston "Lil' Punkin'"

Col. Ben Preston was the 336th Squadron Commander June 1949 to the end of 1949.

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




Brig. Gen. George F. Smith

(Wilmington Morning News - Vol. 139 - No. 108, May 5, 1951)




Sgt. Robert Schneider - Crew Chief

(The Scranton Times - August 21, 1951)




Group Photos

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Ward Hitt Photo Collection

Source: https://sova.si.edu/record/NASM.2012.0044

Los Angeles Times December 7, 1951

(Photo from 1/Lt. Bill Todd)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)




336th Fabulous Rocketeers - Confirmed MiG Kills 1950

December 17, 1950
Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton
1.0 Credit MiG-15

Dec. 17, 1950

Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton, 4th FIG, scored the first F-86 aerial victory over a MiG-15 on the first day Sabres encountered Communist jets.

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)


336th Fabulous Rocketeers - Confirmed MiG Kills 1951

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)

(The 4th Fighter Wing in the Korean War - Larry Davis)



No recorded kills for 336th


No recorded kills for 336th


No recorded kills for 336th



April 3, 1951

April 4, 1951

April 9, 1951

April 12, 1951

April 12, 1951

April 22, 1951

1st Lt. William B.Yancey

Maj. Edward C. Fletcher

1st Lt. A. O'Connor

Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton

Capt. Howard M. Lane

1st Lt. William B.Yancey

0.5 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15



No recorded kills for 336th



June 1, 1951

June 1, 1951

June 18, 1951

June 22, 1951

Lt. Simpson R. Evans (USN)

Capt. Richard O. Ransbottom

Maj. Richard D. Creighton

1st Lt. Charles O. Riester

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15



No recorded kills for 336th


No recorded kills for 336th
September 25, 1951
Maj. Richard D. Creighton
1.0 Credit MiG-15

October 2, 1951

October 5, 1951

October 16, 1951

October 16, 1951

October 23, 1951

October 23, 1951

October 26, 1951

October 26, 1951

October 28, 1951

1st Lt. Lloyd J. Thompson

Maj. Richard D. Creighton

1st Lt. David B. Freeland

1st Lt. Anthony Kulengosky

Capt. Ralph E. Banks

Maj. Richard D. Creighton

1st Lt. Douglas K. Evans

1st. Lt. Claude Mitson

1st Lt. Robert H. Moore

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15


November 4, 1951

November 13, 1951

November 27, 1951

November 27, 1951

November 28, 1951

November 29, 1951

November 30, 1951

November 30, 1951

Capt. William F. Guss (USMC)

Capt. Kenneth Chandler

Maj. Richard D. Creighton

1st Lt. William R. Dawson

1st Lt. Dayton W. Ragland

1st Lt. Vernon L. Wright

1st. Lt. Robert W. Akin

1st Lt. Douglas K. Evans

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit TU-2

1.0 Credit TU-2


December 5, 1951

December 5, 1951

December 6, 1951

December 11, 1951

December 13, 1951

Decemeber 13, 1951

Decemeber 13, 1951

1st. Lt. Garold R. Beck

1st Lt. Ernest F. Neubert

1st Lt. Charles B. Christison

Capt. Alfred C. Simmons

Capt. Kenneth D. Chandler

1st Lt. John P. Green

1st Lt. Claude C. Mitson

0.5 Credit MiG-15

0.5 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

1.0 Credit MiG-15

(Mig Alley - Sabres vs. MiGs Over Korea - Thompson and McLaren)


Highlights of the Korean War (June 1950 - Dec 1951)



June 25: North Korea invaded South Korea. Simultaneously, North Korean troops made an amphibious landing at Kangnung on the east coast just south of the 38th parallel. North Korean fighter aircraft attacked airfields at Kimpo and Seoul, the South Korean capital, destroying one USAF C-54 on the ground at Kimpo.

John J. Muccio, US ambassador to South Korea, relayed to President Harry S. Truman a South Korean request for US air assistance and ammunition. The UN Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire and withdrawal of the North Korean Army to north of the 38th parallel. The resolution asked all UN members to support the withdrawal of the NKA and to render no assistance to North Korea.

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 26: North Koreans captured Chunchon, Pochon, and Tongduchon, South Korea. The US Seventh Fleet sailed north from the Philippines. South Korea requested 10 F-51s from the US Air Force to supplement the South Korean air force's AT-6s and liaison-type airplanes. In continued preparation for air evacuation of US citizens from Korea, FEAF traded C-54s for C-47s from all over the Far East, because the latter could land on smaller airfields.

USAF SB-17 aircraft provided rescue cover for the initial evacuation by sea of US citizens from Seoul. Beginning in the early morning, 682 people boarded the Norwegian merchant ship Reinholte, which finally left Inchon Harbor at 4:30 p.m., bound for Sasebo, Japan.

F-82G Twin Mustang fighters of the 68th Fighter All-Weather Squadron (FAWS) provided air cover for freighters, including the Reinholte. Fifth Air Force also flew escort and surveillance sorties, some over the straits between Japan and Korea and some over the Seoul area.

June 27: The UN Security Council called on all UN members to aid South Korea. President Truman directed US air and sea forces to assist South Korea, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, Far East Command, ordered FEAF to attack North Korean units south of the 38th parallel. Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, commander, FEAF, who was in the United States when the war broke out, returned to Japan. (Partridge then served as acting FEAF vice commander until July 7.) FEAF used Kimpo airfield, near Seoul, and Suwon airfield, some 20 miles south of Seoul, for emergency air evacuation of 748 persons to Japan on C-54s, C-47s, and C-46s. Cargo aircraft assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Wing (TCW) and FEAF headquarters accomplished the airlift, escorted by F-82s, F-80 jet fighters, and B-26 light bombers.

Fifth Air Force embarked on a mission to establish air superiority over South Korea, partially to prevent the North Korean air force from attacking South Korean forces and to protect evacuation forces. When North Korean aircraft appeared over Kimpo and Suwon airfields, the USAF aircraft flying air cover engaged the enemy in the first air battle of the war. Maj. James W. Little, commander, 339th FAWS, fired the first shot. Lt. William G. Hudson, 68th FAWS, flying an F-82, with Lt. Carl Fraser as his radar observer, scored the first aerial victory. In all, six USAF pilots shot down over Kimpo seven North Korean propeller-driven fighters, the highest number of USAF aerial victories in one day for all of 1950.

Fifth Air Force B-26s, flying from Ashiya AB, Japan, attacked enemy targets in South Korea in the evening, but bad weather made the raids ineffective. Fifth Air Force established an advance echelon at Itazuke AB, Japan, and moved B-26s to Ashiya and RF-80s to Itazuke for missions in Korea. The 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing (FBW) organized a composite unit of USAF and South Korean airmen at Taegu airfield, South Korea, to fly F-51D Mustangs.

June 28: North Koreans captured Seoul, forcing the South Korean government to move to Taejon. Enemy forces also occupied nearby Kimpo airfield and, on the east coast, Mukho naval base below Kangnung. North Korean Yaks strafed Suwon airfield, destroying one B-26 and one F-82.

In the first USAF airstrikes of the Korean War, more than 20 B-26s of the 3rd Bombardment Group (BG) attacked Munsan railroad yards near the 38th parallel and rail and road traffic between Seoul and the North Korean border. One, heavily damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire, crashed on its return to Ashiya, killing all aboard. Flying from Kadena AB, Okinawa, the 19th BG, in the first B-29 medium bomber strikes of the Korean War, attacked a railroad bridge and targets of opportunity such as tanks, trucks, and supply columns along North Korean invasion routes.

Bad weather over Japan limited 5th Air Force sorties, but 18 fighters flew close air support and interdiction missions. More than 30 F-80s from Itazuke escorted C-54s and B-26s flying between Japan and Suwon. First Lt. Bryce Poe II, in an RF-80A, flew USAF's first jet combat reconnaissance mission, photographing the NKA advance elements and reporting clearing weather over the front in Korea. C-54s and C-47s flew out the last of 851 US citizens evacuated by air from South Korea. FEAF transports airlifted 150 tons of ammunition from Tachikawa AB, Japan, to Suwon.

June 29: North Korean forces captured Kapyong and massed on the north shore of the Han River. Heavy fighting raged in the Kimpo area. North Korean aircraft bombed and strafed Suwon airfield, destroying a C-54 on the ground. The 21st Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) moved from Clark AB in the Philippines to Tachikawa AB.

MacArthur directed Stratemeyer to concentrate air attacks on the Han River bridges and North Korean troops massing north of the river. B-26s attacked the bridges, and 5th Air Force F-80s patrolled the Han River area. F-82s from the 86th FAWS, using jettisonable fuel tanks, attacked with napalm for the first time in the war. Pilots of the 35th and 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons (FBS) shot down five North Korean airplanes that were attacking Suwon airfield. Eight B-29s of the 19th BG attacked enemy-held Kimpo airfield and the Seoul railroad station, reportedly killing a large number of enemy troops. As the medium bombers turned toward Kadena, enemy aircraft attacked the formation, enabling B-29 gunners to shoot down, for the first time in the war, one of the opponent's airplanes.

MacArthur authorized FEAF attacks on airfields in North Korea. In the first USAF attack on North Korea, 18 B-26s of the 3rd BG attacked Heijo airfield near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, claiming up to 25 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. The 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS) began photographic reconnaissance of North Korean airfields. Using RB-29 aircraft, the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) (Photographic) also started operations over Korea from Yokota AB, Japan.

June 30: President Truman ordered the use of US ground troops in Korea and a naval blockade of North Korea. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 77 Squadron arrived in Korea to support 5th Air Force, to which it was subsequently attached. North Korean forces reached Samchock on the east coast and in the west crossed the Han River, threatening Suwon airfield. FEAF began evacuation of the airfield and authorized improvement of Kumhae airfield, 11 miles northwest of Pusan, to compensate for the presumed loss of Kimpo and Suwon. The first 5th Air Force Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs) arrived at Suwon. B-26s from the 3rd BG strafed, bombed, and rocketed enemy troops and traffic in the Seoul area. One flight hit a stalled enemy column. Fifteen B-29s attacked railroad bridges, tanks, trucks, and troop concentrations on the north bank of the Han River in the Seoul area.

July 1: North Korean forces occupied Suwon, denying FEAF use of its airstrip. The 374th TCW began airlifting the US Army 24th Infantry Division, the first US troops to enter Korea since the war began, from Itazuke to Pusan. Fifth Air Force gained operational control of the RAAF No. 77 Squadron.

July 3: FEAF continued to airlift US Army troops to Korea but substituted smaller C-46s and C-47s for C-54s, which damaged the Pusan runways. Pilots of four F-80s on the first mission with external rockets reported excessive drag that shortened their range.

July 5: A Joint Operations Center opened at Taejon to provide better close air support for US ground forces, which, near Osan, battled, for the first time, North Korean troops.

July 6: In the first strategic air attacks of the war, nine B-29s bombed the Rising Sun oil refinery at Wonsan and a chemical plant at Hungnam in North Korea. B-26s hitting advancing enemy armored columns reported six to 10 tanks destroyed.

July 7: Partridge resumed active command of 5th Air Force. The UN Security Council established the UN Command, designated the United States as executive agent for prosecuting the Korean War, and requested that the US President appoint a UN Commander. The RAAF No. 77 Squadron, representing Australia's contribution to airpower in the theater, was attached to FEAF.

July 8: President Truman designated MacArthur as Commander in Chief of UN forces in the Korean Theater. FEAF organized Bomber Command (Provisional) at Yokota, with Maj. Gen. Emmett O'Donnell Jr. as commander. Lt. Oliver Duerksen and Lt. Frank Chermak provided from radio-equipped jeeps the first forward air control to direct air-to-ground attacks in the Korean War.

July 9: Forward air controllers began using L-5G and L-17 liaison airplanes to direct F-80 airstrikes in support of ground forces.

July 10: Carefully timing airstrikes to coincide with the departure of USAF counterair patrols for refueling, four enemy Yaks bombed and strafed the USA 19th Infantry Regiment at Chongju. The 5th Air Force began using T-6 trainer aircraft for forward air control missions, because liaison airplanes were not fast enough to elude enemy fire. F-80s caught an enemy convoy stopped at a bombed-out bridge near Pyongtaek. Along with B-26s and F-82s, they attacked the convoy and claimed destruction of 117 trucks, 38 tanks, and seven half-tracks.

July 12: Four Military Air Transport Service airplanes arrived in Japan from the United States carrying 58 large 3.5-inch rocket launchers (bazookas) and shaped charges desperately needed to destroy North Korean tanks. Enemy fighters shot down one B-29, one B-26, and one L-4, the first North Korean aerial victories. In its first mission, the 92nd BG, flying from its base at Yokota, bombed the Seoul marshaling yards.

July 13: Forty-nine FEAF Bomber Command B-29s from the 22nd BG and the 92nd BG bombed marshaling yards and an oil refinery at Wonsan, North Korea. The 3rd Air Rescue Squadron (ARS) began flying SB-17 aircraft off the Korean coast to drop rescue boats to downed B-29 crews. Advancing enemy troops forced the airborne control function to move southeastward from Taejon to Taegu. Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, commander, Eighth Army in Korea, assumed command of all US ground forces in Korea.

July 14: The 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group (FIG), moving from Japan to a new airfield at Pohang, became the first USAF fighter group to be based in South Korea during the war. The 6132nd Tactical Air Control Group (Provisional), the first tactical air control unit in the war, activated at Taegu under Col. Joseph D. Lee. It provided forward, ground-based air control for aircraft providing close air support of UN forces. A 5th Air Force-Eighth Army Joint Operations Center began to function at Taegu, and 5th Air Force activated its advance headquarters at Itazuke.

July 15: Carrier aircraft on missions over Korea began to report to the Joint Operations Center at Taegu. The 51st Fighter Squadron (FS) (Provisional) at Taegu flew the first F-51 Mustang combat missions in Korea. A 5th Air Force operation order assigned "Mosquito" call signs to airborne controllers in T-6 airplanes, and the name became the identifier for the aircraft.

July 17: Three B-29s accidentally bombed friendly civilians in Andong, South Korea, illustrating the dangers of using B-29s on close air support missions.

July 18: The 19th BG modified some B-29s for the use of radio-guided bombs (razon) to enable them to bomb bridges more accurately.

July 19: In a dogfight near Taejon, 5th Air Force F-80s shot down three enemy Yaks, the highest daily number of aerial victories this month. In the campaign to establish air superiority in the theater, seven F-80s of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group (FBG), led by Lt. Col. William T. Samways, destroyed 15 enemy airplanes on the ground near Pyongyang.

July 20: Despite FEAF close air support, the NKA took Taejon, forcing the remnants of the USA 24th Infantry Division to withdraw to the southeast. US ground forces defending Taejon had suffered, in seven days, almost 30 percent casualties. Maj. Gen. Otto P. Weyland arrived in the Far East to assume the position of FEAF vice commander for operations. Fifth Air Force pilots in F-80s shot down two more enemy aircraft, the last aerial victories until November. Enemy air opposition by this time had virtually disappeared, a sign of UN air superiority.

July 22: The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Boxer arrived in Japan with 145 USAF F-51s aboard. The 3rd ARS deployed the first H-5 helicopter in Korea to Taegu.

July 23: The 6132nd Tactical Air Control Group (Provisional) established a Tactical Air Control Center adjacent to the Joint Operations Center at Taegu.

July 24: Fifth Air Force moved its advance headquarters from Japan to Taegu, locating it next to Eighth Army headquarters in Korea for ease of communication and coordination. FEAF established the advance headquarters as 5th Air Force in Korea. The UN Command was formally established in Tokyo, commanded by MacArthur, who assigned responsibility for ground action in Korea to Eighth Army commander Walker; naval action to Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy, commander, Naval Forces, Far East; and air action to Stratemeyer, commander, FEAF.

July 28: The first amphibious SA-16 Albatross aircraft arrived in Japan for air rescue service off the Korean coast.

July 30: Forty-seven B-29s bombed the Chosen nitrogen explosives factory at Hungnam on the east coast of North Korea.

July 31: As North Korean troops continued to advance, Walker ordered UN forces to withdraw to a new defensive line along the Naktong River.

Aug. 1: The 6147th Tactical Control Squadron (Airborne) was established at Taegu for forward air control operations with T-6 aircraft. Forty-six B-29s of the 22nd and 92nd BGs bombed the Chosen nitrogen fertilizer factory at Hungnam, the largest chemical plant in the Far East.

Aug. 2-3: In response to an Eighth Army request, the 374th Troop Carrier Group (TCG) airlifted 300,000 pounds of equipment and supplies from Ashiya to Korea in 24 hours, a new airlift record for the war.

Aug. 3: The 18th FBG headquarters moved from Japan to Taegu for expanded F-51 operations. SA-16 amphibious rescue aircraft began flying sorties along the Korean coast to retrieve US pilots forced down during operations.

Aug. 4: B-29 attacks against key bridges north of the 38th parallel initiated FEAF Interdiction Campaign No. 1.

Aug. 5: Maj. Louis J. Sebille, commander, 67th FBS, dived his damaged F-51 into an enemy position. For this action he posthumously received the first Medal of Honor awarded to a USAF member in Korea. In the first SA-16 rescue operation of the war, Capt. Charles E. Shroder led a crew in saving a Navy pilot who had crashed into the sea off the Korean coast.

Aug. 6: FEAF began nightly visual reconnaissance of enemy supply routes.

Aug. 7: The 98th BG flew its first mission in the Korean War shortly after 20 of its B-29s landed at Yokota. The 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion completed the first phase of new runway construction, which allowed expanded USAF operations at Taegu.

Aug. 8: The enemy threat to Taegu forced the 18th FBG to evacuate to Ashiya. The 307th BG, newly based in Okinawa, flew its first mission.

Aug. 10: The US Air Force called up two Reserve units, the 437th TCW and the 452nd Bombardment Wing (BW), for Korean War service. Forty-six B-29s of the 22nd, 92nd, and 98th BGs hit an oil refinery and railroad shops at Wonsan, North Korea.

Aug. 11: C-119 Flying Boxcars began airlifting trucks from Tachikawa AB in Japan to Taegu.

Aug. 12: USN Task Force 77 stopped close air support and interdiction strikes in South Korea and moved up Korea's west coast to attack interdiction targets in North Korea, leaving all air attacks in South Korea to FEAF. More than 40 B-29s attacked the port of Rashin in northeastern Korea, near the border of the Soviet Union.

Aug. 13: Endangered by the NKA advance to Pohang, two squadrons of F-51s in the 35th FIG moved from nearby Yonil airfield in South Korea to Tsuiki AB, Japan.

Aug. 16: Because of the enemy threat to Taegu, the advance 5th Air Force headquarters moved to Pusan. Ninety-eight B-29s carpet-bombed suspected enemy troop concentrations in a 27-square-mile area near Waegwan northwest of Taegu. The Superfortresses dropped more than 800 tons of 500-pound bombs in the largest employment of airpower in direct support of ground forces since the Normandy invasion of World War II. Subsequent reconnaissance showed little destruction of enemy troops or equipment, because they had already left the area.

Aug. 19: US troops, aided by airstrikes, drove North Korean forces in the Yongsan bridgehead back across the Naktong River, ending the Battle of the Naktong Bulge. Sixty-three B-29s attacked the industrial and port area of Chongjin in northeastern Korea. Nine Superfortresses of the 19th BG dropped 54 tons of 1,000-pound bombs on the west railway bridge at Seoul, called the "elastic bridge" because repeated air attacks had failed to bring it down. Thirty-seven USN dive bombers from two aircraft carriers followed up the USAF attack. Aerial reconnaissance the next day revealed that two spans had collapsed.

Aug. 19-20: Partridge moved the Joint Operations Center from Taegu to Pusan because of enemy advances.

Aug. 22: Anti-aircraft gunners fired from across the Yalu River at RB-29s reconnoitering the border, the first hostile Chinese action against UN aircraft.

Aug. 23: MacArthur set Sept. 15 as the date to invade Inchon. The 19th BG flew the first razon mission, but with the exception of one bomb that hit the railroad bridge west of Pyongyang, the World War II-era control equipment failed to guide the bombs to the target.

Aug. 25: FEAF directed 5th Air Force to maintain constant armed surveillance of enemy airfields to prevent enemy buildup of air strength before the Inchon invasion.

Aug. 26: Fifth Air Force organized the 47th and 48th TCSs (Provisional) at Tachikawa with C-46s from all over the Far East theater to augment FEAF airlift resources for UN offensives planned for September. At Ashiya, FEAF organized the 1st Troop Carrier Task Force (Provisional) as the nucleus of the new Combat Cargo Command (Provisional). Maj. Gen. William H. Tunner, architect of the Hump airlift of World War II and the Berlin airlift, 1948-49, assumed command of Combat Cargo Command.

Aug. 27: Two USAF Mustang pilots accidentally strayed into China and strafed an airstrip near Antung, mistaking it for a North Korean airstrip at Sinuiju. The Chinese exploited the incident to the fullest for propaganda and diplomatic purposes. The 92nd BG sent 24 B-29s to Kyomipo to bomb the largest iron and steel plant in Korea. FEAF experimented with delayed action bombs to discourage enemy repairs on bridges.

Aug. 30: Before dawn an experimental B-29 flare mission illuminated the Han River in the Seoul area for a B-26 strike on an elusive enemy pontoon bridge, but it could not be found. B-26s attacked the permanent bridge.

Aug. 31: After a 10-day lull in the ground fighting, North Korean forces launched a coordinated offensive against the entire Pusan Perimeter. Fifth Air Force provided close air support for the defending UN troops. Seventy-four B-29s bombed mining facilities, metal industries, and marshaling yards at Chinnampo in the largest strategic bombing mission of the month. Among the targets were aluminum and magnesium plants.

Sept. 1: Fifth Air Force strafed and dropped napalm and bombs on NKA troops and armored columns attacking along the Naktong River front. Carrier-based aircraft from USN Task Force 77 also provided close air support to the perimeter defenders. The 21st TCS dropped rations and ammunition to US troops temporarily cut off by the enemy thrusts. MacArthur directed Stratemeyer to use all available FEAF airpower, including B-29s, to help Eighth Army hold the Pusan Perimeter, the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula that South Korea still controlled.

Sept. 3: Task Force 77 withdrew its aircraft carriers from the Pusan area for replenishment at sea and movement north to strike communications targets, leaving all close air support responsibility with FEAF.

Sept. 4: In the first H-5 helicopter rescue of a downed US pilot from behind enemy lines in Korea, at Hanggan-dong, Lt. Paul W. Van Boven saved Capt. Robert E. Wayne. Three squadrons of C-119 Flying Boxcars arrived at Ashiya for use in the Korean War.

Sept. 6: As North Korean forces approached Taegu, Eighth Army headquarters withdrew to Pusan. Col. Aaron Tyler, airfield commander at Taegu, began moving the remaining aircraft, including the T-6 Mosquitoes of the 6147th Tactical Control Squadron, southward to Pusan.

Sept. 7: FEAF Bomber Command attacked the iron works at Chongjin in the extreme northeast of North Korea, employing 24 B-29s of the 22nd BG.

Sept. 8: The 18th FBG, which had departed Korea a month earlier, returned from Japan, settling at Pusan East (Tongnae).

Sept. 9: North Korean forces attacking southeast of Hajang reached a point only eight miles from Taegu, their farthest penetration on the western front. FEAF Bomber Command began a rail interdiction campaign north of Seoul to slow enemy reinforcements that might counter the UN Inchon landing. In this campaign, the medium bombers combined attacks on marshaling yards with raids to cut rails at multiple points along key routes.

Sept. 10: As a result of the USN Task Force 77's unexpected withdrawal from close air support of Eighth Army on Sept. 3, Stratemeyer persuaded MacArthur to direct that all close air support requests must be routed through 5th Air Force. If 5th Air Force lacked resources to meet the requests, they were to be forwarded to FEAF headquarters for coordination with the commander, Naval Forces, Far East.

Sept. 13: Typhoon Kezia hit southern Japan, hampering FEAF operations and forcing some aircraft to move temporarily to Pusan and Taegu.

Sept. 15: US Marines invaded Wolmi-do in Inchon Harbor at dawn, occupying the island in less than an hour. The main US Army X Corps landings at Inchon occurred at high tide, in the afternoon, after a 45-minute naval and air bombardment. USN and US Marine Corps aircraft from carriers provided air cover during the amphibious assault. At the same time, FEAF air raids in South Korea prepared the way for the planned Eighth Army advance from the Pusan Perimeter.

Sept. 16: US forces secured Inchon and began moving toward Seoul. From the vicinity of Taegu, Eighth Army launched its long-awaited offensive.

Sept. 17: US Marines captured Kimpo airfield near Seoul. To support the Eighth Army offensive, 5th Air Force F-51s and F-80s flew napalm attacks, reportedly killing more than 1,200 enemy soldiers in Tabu-dong, Yongchon, and other strongholds near the Naktong River. FEAF began a week of dropping 4 million psychological warfare leaflets.

Sept. 18: Forty-two B-29s of the 92nd and 98th BGs carpet-bombed two 500-by-5,000-yard areas near Waegwan. The 1,600 bombs effectively destroyed enemy troop concentrations blocking the Eighth Army offensive.

Sept. 19: Combat Cargo Command began an airlift to Kimpo. Thirty-two C-54s landed with equipment and supplies for ground troops. Supported by 5th Air Force close air support missions, the 24th Infantry Division began crossing the Naktong River near Waegwan, and 1st Cavalry Division broke through Communist lines.

Sept. 20: Combat Cargo Command expanded its airlift into Kimpo into an around-the-clock operation by using night-lighting equipment it had transported the previous day. US Marines entered the outskirts of Seoul. To destroy enemy reinforcements, B-29s attacked three separate barracks areas in and near Pyongyang.

Sept. 21: USAF forward air controllers in T-6 Mosquitoes, equipped with air-to-ground radios, spotted about 30 enemy tanks preparing to ambush the advancing 24th Infantry Division. They called USAF aircraft and USA ground artillery, which destroyed 14 enemy tanks and forced the rest to flee. Combat Cargo Command C-54s began airlifting supplies, including 65 tons of rations and ammunition to newly captured Suwon airfield south of Seoul. C-119s initiated airdrops of food and ammunition to front-line UN troops.

Sept. 22: North Korean resistance crumbled all along the Pusan Perimeter. Lt. George W. Nelson, a USAF pilot in a Mosquito aircraft, dropped a note to 200 enemy troops northeast of Kunsan demanding their surrender. They complied, moving to a designated hill to be captured by nearby UN ground troops. B-29s dropped flares over rail lines, allowing B-26s to attack enemy trains at night.

Sept. 23: Headquarters 5th Air Force in Korea moved from Pusan to Taegu. In the first recorded special operations mission of the war, SB-17 aircraft of 3rd ARS made a classified flight in Korea.

Sept. 25: FEAF flew flare missions over Seoul all night to allow USMC night fighters to attack North Korean troops fleeing the city. Combat Cargo Command landed a battalion of 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team paratroopers at Kimpo to guard US Army X Corps' northern flank as it moved out from Inchon.

Sept. 26: US military forces from Inchon and Pusan linked up near Osan, while South Korean troops with 5th Air Force support moved northward along the east coast toward the 38th parallel. Twenty B-29s of the 22nd BG bombed a munitions factory at Haeju, destroying the power plant and five related buildings. Other B-29s belonging to the 92nd BG raided the Pujon hydroelectric plant near Hungnam. These attacks marked the end of the first strategic bombing campaign against North Korea. Fifth Air Force organized the provisional 543rd Tactical Support Group at Taegu to manage tactical reconnaissance squadrons in Korea.

Sept. 27: US Marines drove enemy forces from Seoul and took control of the capital building. More than 100 Communist troops, each carrying a "safe conduct pass" that B-29s had dropped, surrendered to US forces near Seoul. The Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered MacArthur to destroy the NKA, a move that involved crossing the 38th parallel into North Korea. Only South Korean troops were to be allowed by the UN Command in provinces bordering China and the Soviet Union. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also canceled further strategic bombing of North Korea. Combat Cargo Command finished airlifting 187th Airborne Regimental Command Team paratroopers to Kimpo.

Sept. 28: South Korean troops advanced into North Korea for the first time. MacArthur officially restored Seoul to South Korean President Syngman Rhee. The first jet fighter squadron to operate from a base in Korea, the 7th FBS moved from Itazuke to Taegu. Three RB-45 Tornadoes, the first jet reconnaissance aircraft in the USAF inventory, arrived in the Far East.

Oct. 2: In an effort to crush NKA reinforcements, 22 Bomber Command B-29s attacked a North Korean military training area at Nanam, destroying 75 percent of the buildings. The 8th TRS moved from Itazuke to Taegu, to become the first USAF day reconnaissance squadron stationed in Korea.

Oct. 3: In a message to the Indian ambassador, China warned that it would send troops to defend North Korea if non-Korean UN troops moved north of the 38th parallel.

Oct. 4: FEAF gained operational control of all land-based aircraft in Korea, including USMC squadrons at Kimpo. Anticipating the acquisition of enemy air installations, FEAF stopped most attacks on airfields south of the 40th parallel. The South African air force No. 2 Squadron, the Union of South Africa's contribution to UN airpower, arrived in the theater and was attached to FEAF.

Oct. 6: The US Air Force took charge of Kimpo airfield, which the US Marine Corps had commanded since its capture. Eighteen B-29s attacked an enemy arsenal at Kan-ni, North Korea. FEAF issued a new interdiction plan canceling attacks on bridges south of Pyongyang and Wonsan.

Oct. 7: The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution authorizing MacArthur to move into North Korea. For the first time, US troops crossed the 38th parallel. USAF airplanes dropped food to a group of 150 former POWs who had escaped during the North Korean retreat.

Oct. 8: Two F-80s accidentally strafed a Soviet airfield near Vladivostok, USSR, on the coast northeast of the Korean border. Stratemeyer removed the group commander, reassigning him to FEAF headquarters, and instituted a court-martial of the two pilots. Razon bomb missions resumed after more reliable radio-guided bombs arrived from the US. The 162nd TRS moved from Itazuke to Taegu, becoming the first night reconnaissance squadron stationed in Korea.

Oct. 10: A 3rd ARS H-5 crew administered, for the first time while a helicopter was in flight, blood plasma to a rescued pilot. The crew members received Silver Stars for this action.

Oct. 12: Combat Cargo Command began an airlift of South Korean military supplies to Wonsan, which South Korean forces had captured two days earlier. It also began transporting 600 tons of bridge sections to Kimpo airfield.

Oct. 14: Two Communist aircraft raided Inchon Harbor and Kimpo airfield. FEAF suspected they had come from Sinuiju, North Korea, on the Chinese border. Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) troops began to enter North Korea from Manchuria.

Oct. 15: MacArthur, in a meeting with President Truman on Wake Island, predicted that the war would be over by Christmas and China would not intervene. CCF anti-aircraft artillery for the first time shot down an F-51 over the Yalu River near Sinuiju. Headquarters 5th Air Force in Korea opened in Seoul.

Oct. 17: Just one day after the capture of Sinmak, less than 50 miles southeast of Pyongyang, Combat Cargo Command began airlifting fuel and rations there to sustain a UN offensive toward the North Korean capital. The command also began aeromedical evacuations from Sinmak to Kimpo.

Oct. 18: An RB-29 reconnaissance crew spotted more than 75 fighters at Antung's airfield in China, just across the Yalu River from North Korea, suggesting that Communist China might intervene in the war.

Oct. 19: After a battle at Hukkyori, some 10 miles south of the North Korean capital, UN forces entered Pyongyang. Fifth Air Force fighters provided crucial air support to US 1st Cavalry Division troops during this battle.

Oct. 20: Combat Cargo Command dropped the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team 30 miles north of Pyongyang. Seventy-one C-119s and 40 C-47s participated in the operation, dropping more than 2,800 troops and 300 tons of equipment and supplies at Sukchon and Sunchon. The command also began airlifting Eighth Army supplies to Pyongyang.

Oct. 21: UN forces from Pyongyang linked up with the 187th paratroopers in the Sukchon and Sunchon areas. H-5s of 3rd ARS evacuated some 35 paratroopers in the first use of a helicopter in support of an airborne operation. H-5s also evacuated seven American POWs from the area. A C-47 equipped with loudspeakers persuaded some 500 enemy troops hiding in houses south of Kunmori to surrender. Combat Cargo Command began aeromedical evacuations from Pyongyang.

Oct. 23: The cargo command concluded its fourth consecutive day of airlift for the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. Flying Boxcars had air-dropped almost 4,000 troops and nearly 600 tons of materiel, including jeeps, trucks, and howitzers.

Oct. 24: MacArthur removed restrictions on how far US troops could move into North Korea, giving them permission to go all the way to the Chinese border.

Oct. 25: FEAF Bomber Command temporarily quit flying combat missions for lack of B-29 targets in Korea. FEAF removed all restrictions on close air support missions near the Yalu River, allowing fighter operations all the way to the Chinese border. Combat Cargo Command set a new daily record by airlifting 1,767 tons of equipment within Korea.

Oct. 26: South Korean forces reached the Yalu River along the Chinese border at Chosan in northwest Korea. Chinese forces severely savaged a South Korean battalion near Onjong. South Korean and UN troops captured the first CCF troops. Combat Cargo Command C-119s dropped supplies to friendly ground troops cut off in North Korea, delivering 28.5 tons of ammunition, fuel, and oil near Unsan, some 50 miles south of Chosan.

Oct. 27: Chinese soldiers moving into Korea attacked the South Korean 6th Infantry Division near the Yalu River. The 452nd BG flew its first B-26 combat mission in the Korean War, less than a month after it was called to active duty in the United States.

Oct. 29: C-47s made aeromedical flights from newly captured Sinanju, North Korea, the northernmost Korean airfield FEAF aircraft ever used. Sinanju was located at the mouth of the Chongchon River, some 40 miles north of Pyongyang.

Nov. 1: Three Yak fighters attacked USAF airplanes, including a B-26, over northwestern North Korea. The B-26 crew claimed one Yak, and two F-51 pilots shot down the other two enemy aircraft, scoring the first aerial victories since July. F-80s attacked Sinuiju airfield, destroying several Yak fighters on the ground, but anti-aircraft artillery located across the Yalu River shot down a FEAF jet. Later that day, six MiG-15 jets appeared for the first time in the war and fired on a T-6 and a flight of F-51 Mustangs in the Yalu River area. A regiment of the USA 1st Cavalry Division experienced a strong CCF attack in the first encounter of the war between US and Chinese ground forces.

Nov. 2: FEAF flew the first RB-45 Tornado jet reconnaissance mission in the war.

Nov. 3: In the face of strong CCF attacks, Walker ordered the bulk of Eighth Army to withdraw to the Chongchon River for regrouping and resupply.

Nov. 4: B-26s providing close support for Eighth Army attacked enemy troops near Chongju, killing an estimated 500 soldiers and providing hard-pressed US troops some relief.

Nov. 5: Bomber Command began incendiary bomb attacks on North Korean cities and towns. Twenty-one B-29s of the 19th BG dropped 170 tons of fire bombs on Kanggye, located less than 20 miles south of the Chinese border. The attack destroyed 65 percent of the town's center.

Nov. 8: In the largest incendiary raid of the Korean War, 70 Superfortresses dropped some 580 tons of fire bombs on Sinuiju on the Chinese border. Other B-29s attacked bridges over the Yalu River for the first time. When MiG-15s challenged F-80s flying in the same area, Lt. Russell J. Brown, 16th FIS, shot down a MiG to score the first jet-to-jet aerial victory in history.

Nov. 9: A 91st SRS gunner, Sgt. Harry J. Levene, scored the first B-29 jet victory of the Korean War, destroying an attacking MiG-15. The damaged RB-29 limped back to Japan, but five crewmen died in the crash landing.

Nov. 10: MiG-15s near the Yalu River shot down a B-29 for the first time. The crew, assigned to the 307th BG, parachuted behind enemy lines and became POWs. Less than 36 hours after its arrival in Japan, the 437th TCW began airlifting cargo on C-46s to Korea.

Nov. 13: UN forces of X Corps, based in Hungnam, North Korea, began moving northward, with a regiment of the US 1st Marine Division advancing into the Changjin Reservoir area.

Nov. 14: Fifteen MiG-15s attacked 18 B-29s bombing the bridges at Sinuiju and damaged two.

Nov. 18: For the first time, a USAF fighter group moved to North Korea. The 35th FIG, which had also been the first fighter group based in South Korea, settled at Yonpo airfield, near Hungnam.

Nov. 19: In the first massed light bomber attack of the Korean War, 50 B-26s from Japan dropped incendiary bombs on Musan, North Korea, on the Tumen River border with China. The attack destroyed 75 percent of the town's barracks area.

Nov. 20: Combat Cargo Command air-dropped rations and gasoline at Kapsan, some 20 miles south of the Yalu River, to supply the 7th Infantry Division, the US ground unit advancing the farthest north during the war.

Nov. 24: To support the UN offensive beginning this day, B-29s attacked North Korean communications and supply centers and Yalu River bridges, while 5th Air Force fighters intensified close air support missions, and Combat Cargo Command air-dropped ammunition to front-line troops.

Nov. 25: Chinese Communist Forces launched a major offensive and, with almost double the number of MacArthur's US troops, stopped the UN offensive completely. The Royal Hellenic air force detachment, a C-47 transport unit representing Greece's airpower contribution to the war, arrived in the Far East and was attached to FEAF.

Nov. 26: USAF B-26s flew their first close air support night missions under TACP direction. The 3rd BG flew 67 B-26 missions along Eighth Army's bomb line in a five-hour period. Still, the enemy drove Eighth Army in northwest Korea and X Corps in northeast Korea southward.

Nov. 28: Combat Cargo Command began a two-week airlift of supplies to US troops, whom the Chinese had surrounded in the Changjin Reservoir area. From Yonpo, North Korea, the 35th FIG flew intense close air support missions for the encircled forces. For the first time, B-26s, using a more accurate radar than previously, bombed within 1,000 yards of the front line. A small Communist aircraft bombed US-held Pyongyang airfield, badly damaging 11 P-51 Mustangs on the ground. MacArthur informed Washington that he faced "an entirely new war."

Dec. 1: USS Cape Esperance arrived in Japan with F-86 fighters of the 4th FIW. Fifth Air Force headquarters moved from Nagoya, Japan, to Seoul, and its newly activated 314th Air Division assumed responsibility for the air defense of Japan. In the first prolonged MiG attack of the war, six MiG-15s engaged three B-29s for six minutes, damaging them considerably despite the F-80 escorts. Combat Cargo Command evacuated about 1,500 UN casualties from the Pyongyang area.

Dec. 3: US troops from the Changjin Reservoir area fought their way to Hagaru-ri, while a relief column from Hungnam fought its way toward them, reaching Koto-ri, about seven miles away. Communist troops prevented the two groups from linking and encircled them both, forcing them to rely on airlift for resupply.

Dec. 4: MiG-15s shot down one of the three USAF Tornado reconnaissance aircraft in the theater, making the first successful jet bomber interception in airpower history.

Dec. 5: UN forces abandoned Pyongyang, which they had held since Oct. 19. Greek C-47s joined the Combat Cargo Command airlift to supply UN troops surrounded in northeastern Korea. The command evacuated 3,925 patients from Korea to Japan in the biggest day of the war for aeromedical airlift. Transports flew most of these from a frozen airstrip at Hagaru-ri. USAF suspended attacks on the Yalu River bridges because enemy forces were crossing the frozen river on the ice.

Dec. 6: The 27th Fighter Escort Wing (FEW), a Strategic Air Command unit from Bergstrom AFB, Tex., began flying combat operations from Taegu, introducing F-84 Thunderjet fighters to the war.

Dec. 7: FEAF B-29s bombed North Korean towns in the Changjin Reservoir area to relieve enemy pressure on US Marine and Army units attempting to break out from Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri. Troops in those two locations finally linked and built crude airstrips that allowed Combat Cargo Command airplanes to land food and ammunition and to evacuate casualties. Eight C-119s dropped bridge spans to the surrounded US troops so that they could cross a 1,500-foot-deep gorge to break the enemy encirclement. This was the first air-dropped bridge in the history of warfare.

Dec. 10: A two-week Combat Cargo Command airlift for surrounded US troops in northeastern Korea concluded after delivering 1,580 tons of supplies and equipment and moving almost 5,000 sick and wounded troops. Participating airlift units conducted 350 C-119 and C-47 flights.

Dec. 11: The X Corps began loading on ships in Hungnam Harbor.

Dec. 14: As Chinese forces approached, Combat Cargo Command began an aerial evacuation from Yonpo airfield near Hamhung. A FEAF airplane dropped the first tarzon bomb to be used in Korea on a tunnel near Huichon, with limited effectiveness. The tarzon bomb was a six-ton version of the razon bomb, but generally it did not live up to expectations.

Dec. 15: The 4th FIG inaugurated F-86 Sabrejet operations in Korea. Bomber Command launched its first mission in a new zone interdiction plan. South Korean forces completed their withdrawal from Wonsan, North Korea, and Eighth Army withdrew below the 38th parallel.

Dec. 17: Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton, 4th FIG, scored the first F-86 aerial victory over a MiG-15 on the first day Sabres encountered Communist jets. Combat Cargo Command abandoned Yonpo airfield to Communist forces, having transported in four days 228 patients, 3,891 other passengers, and 20,088 tons of cargo.

Dec. 20: Twelve C-54s of the 61st TCG airlifted 806 South Korean orphans from Kimpo to Cheju-Do off the South Korean coast in Operation Christmas Kidlift.

Dec. 22: One USN and five USAF pilots shot down six MiG-15s, the highest daily FEAF aerial victory credit total for the month and the highest since June. A MiG-15 shot down an F-86 for the first time. Headquarters 5th Air Force, Eighth Army in Korea headquarters, and the Joint Operations Center moved from Seoul to Taegu.

Dec. 23: Three H-5 helicopter crews with fighter cover rescued 11 US and 24 South Korean soldiers from a field eight miles behind enemy lines. Eighth Army commander Walker died in a vehicle accident north of Seoul.

Dec. 24: The X Corps completed the sea evacuation of Hungnam. More than 105,000 troops and 91,000 civilians had departed since the exodus began Dec. 11. USAF B-26s and US Navy gunfire held the enemy at bay during the night as the last ships departed. The 3rd ARS flew 35 liberated POWs from enemy territory.

Dec. 25: Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea.

Dec. 26: Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, USA, took command of Eighth Army in Korea, as it absorbed X Corps.

Dec. 29: From Taegu, RF-51 aircraft began flying tactical reconnaissance missions in Korea for the first time. They had longer ranges than their RF-80 predecessors.

Dec. 31: Chinese Communist Forces in Korea launched an offensive against UN troops south of the 38th parallel. Ridgway ordered Eighth Army troops to a new defensive line 70 miles farther south.


Jan. 1: As almost half a million CCF and North Korean troops launched a new ground offensive, 5th Air Force embarked on a campaign of air raids on enemy troop columns.

Jan. 2: For the first time, a C-47 dropped flares to illuminate B-26 and F-82 night attacks on enemy forces. The flares also deterred enemy night attacks on US troops. Fifth Air Force withdrew forward-based F-86s assigned to the 4th FIW from enemy-threatened Kimpo airfield near Seoul to the wing's home station at Johnson AB, Japan.

Jan. 3: As massive numbers of Chinese troops crossed the frozen Han River east and west of Seoul, Eighth Army began evacuating the South Korean capital. The South Korean government began moving to Pusan. In one of the largest Bomber Command air raids, more than 60 B-29s dropped 650 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. UN forces burned nearly 500,000 gallons of fuel and 23,000 gallons of napalm at Kimpo in preparation for abandoning the base to the advancing enemy. FEAF flew 958 combat sorties, a one-day record.

Jan. 4: For the third time in six months, Seoul changed hands as CCF troops moved in. The last USAF aircraft left Kimpo airfield.

Jan. 5: Fifty-nine B-29s dropped 672 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. The 18th FBG staged its final missions from Suwon. US ground troops burned the buildings at Suwon's airfield before withdrawing.

Jan. 6: Combat Cargo Command concluded a multiday airlift of supplies to the US 2nd Infantry Division, which was fighting to prevent a break in the UN defensive line across South Korea. C-47s from 21st TCS landed 115 tons of cargo at Wonju, in central Korea, and C-119s of the 314th TCG dropped 460 tons of supplies to the division.

Jan. 8: When blizzards forced USN Task Force 77 carriers to suspend close air support missions for X Corps, 5th Air Force took up the slack. Superfortresses cratered Kimpo airfield to prevent its use by enemy aircraft. US forces in central Korea withdrew to new positions three miles south of Wonju.

Jan. 10: Continued severe winter weather forced 5th Air Force to cancel close air support missions, and FEAF flew the lowest daily total of sorties since July 1950. Brig. Gen. James E. Briggs, replaced O'Donnell as commander of Bomber Command. From now on, Strategic Air Command changed commanders of Bomber Command every four months to provide wartime experience to as many officers as possible.

Jan. 11: With improved weather, 5th Air Force and Bomber Command resumed close air support missions for X Corps in north central South Korea.

Jan. 12: After Wonju fell to Communist forces, 98th BG sent 10 B-29s to attack the occupied city. For the first time, B-29s dropped 500-pound general purpose bombs fused to burst in the air and shower enemy troops with thousands of steel fragments. The innovation slowed the enemy advance. To improve bombing precision, FEAF installed shoran (a short-range navigation system) on a B-26 for the first time.

Jan. 13: FEAF flew the first effective tarzon mission against an enemy-held bridge at Kanggye, dropping a 6-ton radio-guided bomb on the center span, destroying 58 feet of the structure.

Jan. 14: Chinese Communist Forces reached their furthest extent of advance into South Korea with the capture of Wonju.

Jan. 15: The enemy began a limited withdrawal in some areas of South Korea.

Jan. 17: A 4th FIG detachment began operating from Taegu, restoring F-86 operations in Korea. For the first time, the Sabres flew in the air-to-ground role as fighter-bombers, conducting armed reconnaissance and close air support missions. FEAF temporarily suspended tarzon bombing missions because of a shortage of the radio-guided bombs. Only three, earmarked for emergencies, remained in the theater.

Jan. 17-18: Combat Cargo Command flew an extraordinary 109 C-119 sorties to drop more than 550 tons of supplies to front-line troops in Korea.

Jan. 19: FEAF launched a 13-day intensive air campaign, by fighters, light bombers, and medium bombers, to restrict to a trickle the supplies and reinforcements reaching enemy forces in the field.

Jan. 20: After weeks of almost unbroken absence, MiGs appeared again over Korea, resulting on this date in the first encounter between USAF F-84s and CCF MiG-15s.

Jan. 21: Large numbers of MiG-15s attacked USAF jets, shooting down one F-80 and one F-84. Lt. Col. William E. Bertram of the 27th FEW shot down a MiG-15 to score the first USAF aerial victory by an F-84 Thunderjet.

Jan. 23: No other day in January saw as much air action. Thirty-three F-84s staging from Taegu attacked Sinuiju, provoking a furious half-hour air battle with MiG-15s from across the Yalu. The Thunderjets shot down three MiGs, the highest daily USAF aerial victory credit total for the month. While 46 F-80s suppressed Pyongyang's anti-aircraft artillery, 21 B-29s cratered the enemy capital's airfields.

Jan. 25: FEAF replaced its Combat Cargo Command (Provisional) with the 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo), which reported directly to FEAF and did not depend on 5th Air Force for administrative and logistical support.

Jan. 25-Feb. 9: Eighth Army executed Operation Thunderbolt, the first UN offensive of the year. The objectives were to clear the area south of the Han River and recapture the port of Inchon and the airfield at Suwon. To sustain this offensive, 68 C-119s in five days dropped at Chunju 1,162 tons of supplies, including fuel, oil, sleeping bags, C rations, and signal wire.

Jan. 26: FEAF flew its first C-47 "control aircraft," loaded with enough communications equipment to connect by radio all T-6 Mosquitoes, TACP, and the Tactical Air Control Center. This was the harbinger of today's warning and control aircraft.

Jan. 30: The first USAF aircraft to land at the recaptured Suwon airfield were C-54s of the 61st TCG, delivering 270 tons of supplies for the advancing UN forces.

Jan. 31: In the first such mission recorded during the Korean War, a special operations unit of the 21st TCS dropped a UN agent behind enemy lines near Yonan, on the west coast just south of the 38th parallel.

Feb. 4: Fifth Air Force modified some B-26s to drop flares because the flare-dropping C-47s that had accompanied B-26 night raiders had trouble keeping up with the fast bombers.

Feb. 5: As part of Operation Roundup, designed to disrupt enemy preparations for a new offensive, X Corps advanced with strong air support near Hoengsong, northeast of Wonju. Maj. Arnold Mullins, 67th FBS, in an F-51 Mustang, shot down a Yak-9 seven miles north of Pyongyang to score the only USAF aerial victory of the month. Capt. Donald Nichols was transferred from Office of Special Investigations to the intelligence section of 5th Air Force to work directly on special and clandestine operations.

Feb. 6: B-26 crews proved that the new MPQ-2 radar equipment, which provided the aircrew better definition of targets, increased the accuracy of night bombing raids. To clear up a backlog of medical patients at Chungju, 315th Air Division C-47s airlifted 343 patients to Pusan. Eight C-54s airlifted a 40-ton, 310-foot treadway bridge, in 279 pieces, from Tachikawa AB, Japan, to Taegu. In a onetime effort to demoralize CCF troops, six C-119s dropped 32 booby-trapped boxes, designed to blow up when opened, on an enemy troop concentration at Kwangdong-ni. The 91st SRS performed its first night photographic mission.

Feb. 8: FEAF, using B-29s, B-26s, and fighters, launched an all-out attack on rail lines in northeastern Korea between Hoeryong and Wonsan. Brig. Gen. John P. Henebry replaced Tunner as commander of the 315th Air Division and airlift operations in the Korean War.

Feb. 9: US troops reached the Han River seven miles east-southeast of Seoul.

Feb. 10: UN forces captured the port of Inchon and the important nearby airfield at Kimpo. Air raids had cratered the field so badly that it required extensive renovation before USAF aircraft could use it. On the east coast, South Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and entered Yangyang.

Feb. 11/12: In central Korea some 50 miles east of Seoul, Chinese and North Korean forces attacked the South Korean 3rd and 8th Divisions north and northwest of Hoengsong and in two days captured the town, forcing the UN forces toward Wonju, a few miles to the south.

Feb. 12: FEAF cargo aircraft air-dropped supplies to the X Corps command post airstrip at Wonju. A leaflet-dropping C-47 aircraft, hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, crash-landed at Suwon. FEAF decided to launch subsequent C-47 leaflet drops at night. While B-26s attacked enemy positions at night behind the battle line by the light of air-dropped flares, two enemy aircraft used the same flare light to attack UN positions.

Feb. 13: The 315th Air Division airlifted more than 800 sick and wounded US troops from forward airstrips, such as that at Wonju, to Taegu and Pusan. This airlift used so many C-47s that they were not available for other airlift demands.

Feb. 13-16: Three CCF divisions surrounded UN troops, including members of the US 23rd Infantry Regiment and a French battalion, at a crucial road junction at Chipyong-ni in central Korea. Despite heavy enemy ground fire, 93 transports dropped some 420 tons of food and ammunition to the encircled troops. Twenty C-119s dropped supplies at night over a zone marked by burning gasoline-soaked rags. Also, H-5 helicopters delivered medical supplies to the troops and evacuated more than 40 wounded. The 5th Air Force flew close air support missions for the surrounded troops, who held out until relieved by a friendly armored column.

Feb. 16: For the first time, the US Army began using its own aircraft, the L-19 Bird Dog, for forward air control, artillery spotting, and other front-line duties, relieving 5th Air Force of demands for these types of missions.

Feb. 17/18: B-26s flew the first night bombing mission using shoran, a short-range navigation system employing an airborne radar device and two ground beacon stations for precision bombing.

Feb. 20: FEAF activated a "Special Air Mission" detachment under 315th Air Division to provide air transportation for important officials and for psychological warfare missions, for example, aerial broadcasting and leaflet drops.

Feb. 21: Eighth Army launched Operation Killer to destroy large numbers of enemy troops while moving the UN line northward to the Han River.

Feb. 23: Bomber Command flew the first B-29 mission with the more accurate MPQ-2 radar, bombing a highway bridge seven miles northeast of Seoul.

Feb. 24: The 315th Air Division dropped a record 333 tons of cargo to front-line troops, using 67 C-119s and two C-46s.

Feb. 28: UN ground forces eliminated the last Communist presence south of the Han River.

March 1: Bomber Command B-29s launched the first mission of a new interdiction campaign. Twenty-two F-80s sent to escort 18 B-29s over Kogunyong, North Korea, arrived ahead of the Superfortresses and returned to base because they were running low on fuel. MiGs attacked the unescorted B-29s, damaging 10, three of which had to land in South Korea. One B-29 gunner brought down a MiG.

March 3: A new shipment of tarzon bombs arrived in the Far East, allowing FEAF to resume raids, suspended since Jan. 17, with the large guided weapons.

March 4: Fifty-one C-119s dropped 260 tons of supplies to the 1st Marine Division in the largest airdrop of the month.

March 6: The 334th FIS used Suwon as a staging base from which F-86 Sabres began raiding the Yalu River area after being absent for months.

March 7: UN forces launched a new offensive called Operation Ripper to cross the Han River in central Korea east of Seoul, destroy large numbers of enemy troops, and break up preparations for an enemy offensive. Fifth Air Force flew more close air support missions to support the operation.

March 14: Communist forces abandoned Seoul without a fight after Ridgway's troops seized high ground on either side of the city north of the Han River. At night B-26s began dropping specially designed tetrahedral tacks on highways to puncture the tires of enemy vehicles. They were more effective than the roofing nails dropped earlier.

March 15: UN forces entered Seoul, the fourth time the city had changed hands since the war began.

March 16: FEAF flew 1,123 effective sorties, a new daily record.

March 17: An F-80, flown by Lt. Howard J. Landry of the 36th FBS, collided with a MiG-15. Both went down with their pilots. Fifth Air Force lost no other aircraft in aerial encounters during the month.

March 20: Fifteen F-94B all-weather jet fighters arrived in the Far East for eventual service as night escorts for B-29s.

March 23: Operation Tomahawk, the second airborne operation of the war and the largest in one day, involved 120 C-119s and C-46s, escorted by 16 F-51s. The 314th TCG and the 437th TCW air transports flew from Taegu to Munsan-ni, an area behind enemy lines some 20 miles northwest of Seoul, and dropped the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and two Ranger companies-more than 3,400 men and 220 tons of equipment and supplies. Fifth Air Force fighters and light bombers had largely eliminated enemy opposition. UN forces advanced quickly to the Imjin River, capturing 127 Communist prisoners. Some of the prisoners waved safe-conduct leaflets that FEAF aircraft had dropped during the airborne operation. Helicopters evacuated only 68 injured personnel from the drop zone. One C-119, possibly hit by enemy bullets, caught fire and crashed on the way back. On the same day, 22 B-29s of the 19th and 307th BGs, protected from MiGs by 45 F-86s, destroyed two bridges in northwestern Korea.

March 24: For the first time, FEAF used an H-19, a service test helicopter, in Korea for the air evacuation of wounded troops. The H-19 was considerably larger and more powerful, with greater range, than the H-5s.

March 24, 26-27: Fifty-two C-119s and C-46s dropped an additional 264 tons of supplies to troops at Munsan-ni, because they could not depend on surface lines of communication for supplies.

March 29: With fighter escorts, B-29s returned to the Yalu River to bomb bridges, which had become important targets again as the river ice thawed. Fifth Air Force light bombers and fighters, which had handled interdiction in the area during the winter, could not destroy the larger Yalu River bridges.

March 31: Flight Lt. J.A.O. Levesque, Royal Canadian Air Force, flying with the 334th FIS, scored the first aerial victory since 1950 of an F-86 over a MiG-15. Elements of Eighth Army moved northward across the 38th parallel. The 3rd ARS used the H-19 to retrieve some 18 UN personnel from behind enemy lines, the first use of this type helicopter in a special operations mission. The 315th Air Division grounded its C-119s for modification and reconditioning.

April 3: The service-test YH-19 helicopter with the 3rd ARS picked up a downed F-51 pilot southeast of Pyongyang, receiving small-arms fire during the sortie.

April 12: As of this date in the war, the heaviest concentration of B-29s against a single bridge encountered the largest and most determined enemy counterair effort, resulting in the largest jet air battle so far in the war. Forty-six B-29s attacking the Yalu River bridge at Sinuiju and 100 escorting fighters encountered between 100 and 125 MiGs, which shot down three bombers and damaged seven others. However, B-29 gunners destroyed seven MiGs, and F-86 pilots downed four more, the highest daily MiG tally thus far. The bridge, despite numerous direct hits, remained standing. At President Truman's direction, Eighth Army commander Ridgway replaced MacArthur, who had several times publicly criticized the Administration's Korean War and foreign policies.

April 14: Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet assumed command of Eighth Army.

April 16-20: Bomber Command flew a daily average of 10 B-29 sorties against Pyongyang, Kangdong, Yonpo, and other North Korean airfields.

April 17: President Truman signed an executive order extending US military enlistments involuntarily by nine months, an indication of the manpower shortage facing the military services during the war. An intelligence operation behind enemy lines resulted in the recovery of vital components of a crashed MiG-15. In Operation MiG, a YH-19 helicopter transported a US and South Korean team to the crash area south of Sinanju. Under friendly fighter cover, the party extracted MiG components and samples and obtained photographs. On the return flight southward the helicopter came under enemy ground fire and received one hit. The successful mission led to greater technical knowledge of the MiG.

April 18: H-5 helicopters from the 3rd ARS evacuated 20 critically wounded US soldiers from front-line aid stations to the nearest field hospital. Five of the 10 sorties encountered enemy fire.

April 19: The first modified and reconditioned C-119 returned to service.

April 21: An SA-16, 3rd ARS, attempted to pick up a downed enemy Yak pilot near Chinnampo for intelligence purposes. The aircrew landed and put out a raft but had to take off because of intense enemy fire, leaving the Yak pilot behind.

April 22/23: Enemy ground forces launched a massive spring offensive.

April 23: FEAF flew some 340 close air support sorties, one of the highest daily totals prior to 1953. The 336th FIS began operating from Suwon, so that its F-86 aircraft could operate for longer periods in MiG Alley near the Yalu River.

April 23-26: FEAF daily flew over 1,000 combat sorties, inflicting enemy casualties and destroying supplies needed to sustain the offensive.

April 24: On separate pickups, an H-5 helicopter from the 3rd ARS rescued first the pilot then the navigator of a downed B-26 near Chorwon, about 15 miles north of the 38th parallel, in the central sector. The navigator, suffering a broken leg, had been captured by two enemy soldiers. But he managed to seize a gun belonging to one of the enemy, causing them to run for cover. Friendly fighters kept them pinned down, while the helicopter made the pickup.

April 26/27: At night, over the western sector, a B-29 close air support strike against enemy troops forming for an attack on the US Army IX Corps broke up the assault.

April 30: Fifth Air Force set a new record of 960 effective sorties. On separate sorties, two H-5 helicopters each picked up a downed UN pilot behind enemy lines. Small-arms fire damaged one helicopter. The first indication of enemy radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns came with the loss of three out of four F-51s making an air-to-ground attack against a target at Sinmak.

May 5: An H-5 helicopter from the 3rd ARS rescued a downed F-51 pilot north of Seoul, encountering small-arms fire in the area.

May 8: Another H-5 helicopter picked up two US soldiers north of Seoul, encountering small-arms fire in the area.

May 9: In one of the largest counterair efforts so far, 5th Air Force and 1st Marine Air Wing fighter-bombers flew more than 300 sorties against Sinuiju airfield in extreme northwestern Korea.

May 15/16: As anticipated, the Communists launched the second phase of their spring offensive against the South Korean corps in the east, a last vain attempt to drive UN forces from the Korean peninsula. The enemy limited its tactical assaults to night because of FEAF daytime aerial attacks.

May 16-26: In a maximum effort, 315th cargo aircraft flew an average of more than 1,000 tons of supplies daily from Japan to Korea to support UN ground forces seeking to halt the Communist offensive.

May 17-22: Bomber Command B-29s flew 94 (mostly nighttime) sorties against enemy ground forces, far more close air support missions in a similar period than previously in the war. The B-29s flew few other type missions during this time.

May 19: An H-5 helicopter rescued a downed F-51 pilot southwest of Chorwon in the central sector, sustaining damage from small-arms fire during the pickup.

May 20: Capt. James Jabara, 334th FIS, destroyed his fifth and sixth MiGs in aerial combat, thereby becoming the world's first jet-to-jet ace. Eighth Army successfully blunted the Communist offensive, leaving the enemy overextended and under constant aerial attack. Stratemeyer, FEAF commander, suffered a severe heart attack.

May 21: Partridge assumed command of FEAF. Maj. Gen. Edward J. Timberlake took his place as 5th Air Force commander.

May 22: In close air support sorties, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers inflicted some 1,700 casualties on enemy forces, one of the highest daily totals thus far.

May 23: Brig. Gen. Robert H. Terrill assumed command of Bomber Command, replacing Briggs.

May 24: The 136th FBW, one of two Air National Guard organizations sent to Korea, flew its first combat sorties of the war.

May 27-28: Unit 4/Special Air Mission C-47s flew leaflet-drop/voice-broadcast sorties encouraging the enemy to surrender to elements of the US Army's IX Corps. Some 4,000 enemy soldiers surrendered, many carrying leaflets. The captives reported morale problems among the enemy because of UN aerial attacks.

May 31: Fifth Air Force began Operation Strangle, an interdiction campaign against enemy supply lines in North Korea.

June 1: One flight of F-86s from the 336th FIS, escorting B-29s, engaged 18 MiG-15s, destroying two. A flight of 343rd BS B-29s defended itself against 22 MiG-15s in the vicinity of Sonchon. The MiGs destroyed one B-29 and damaged another, while the defenders destroyed two enemy jets. Special Air Mission C-47s dropped 15 Koreans into enemy-held territory to retrieve parts from a crashed MiG-15. Unfortunately, Communist forces captured all 15. Maj. Gen. Frank F. Everest, assumed command of 5th Air Force, replacing Timberlake.

June 3: UN anti-aircraft artillery destroyed two 315th C-119s while the aircraft were attempting a resupply airdrop. This fratricide incident led to the adoption of new procedures for Identification, Friend or Foe during air-drop operations.

June 7-10: B-26 and B-29 aircraft undertook radar-directed area attacks against the Iron Triangle-the vital Chorwon-Kumhwa-Pyongyang communications and supply area-at night, raining 500-pound bombs set to explode over the heads of the enemy troops. These operations were in preparation for UN ground forces' assaults.

June 10: The airfield at Chunchon, some 50 miles northeast of Seoul and 10 miles south of the 38th parallel, opened to cargo traffic, adding to 315th Air Division's ability to meet the growing demand for air-drop capability. In Tokyo, Lt. Gen. Otto P. Weyland assumed command of FEAF, replacing Partridge.

June 11: An SA-16 of the 3rd ARS made a pickup at dusk of a downed F-51 pilot from the Taedong River near Kyomipo, North Korea. The SA-16, although receiving fire from both sides of the river, made a landing approach without lights, avoiding low electrical transmission lines and rocks and debris on the river's surface. The pilot earned the Distinguished Service Cross for the rescue.

June 15: Fifth Air Force moved its headquarters from Taegu back to Seoul.

June 23: Jacob Malik, Soviet ambassador to the United Nations, called for negotiations between representatives of UN forces and Communist forces for an armistice in Korea based upon the separation of the armies along the 38th parallel.

June 25: The 8th FBG moved to Kimpo after completion of repairs to Kimpo's short runway. This marked the resumption of combat operations at Kimpo, although aviation engineers continued their work to restore the main runway.

July 1: Kim Il Sung, North Korean premier, and Paeng Te-huai, CCF commander, responded to UN overtures and agreed to participate in truce negotiations. Pioneer in aerial reconnaissance, Col. Karl L. Polifka, commander, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW), was shot down and killed, while flying an RF-51 near the front lines.

July 6: An Air Materiel Command KB-29M tanker, operated by a Strategic Air Command crew assigned to the 43rd ARS, conducted the first in-flight refueling over enemy territory under combat conditions. The tanker refueled four RF-80 Shooting Stars flying reconnaissance missions over North Korea.

July 10: Naval Forces, Far East, commander Joy led the UN delegation that met the Communists at Kaesong, some 30 miles northwest of Seoul and just south of the 38th parallel, in the first conference of the armistice negotiations. A flight of F-80s reported a long convoy of NKA trucks and tanks halted by a demolished bridge. Fifth Air Force diverted every available aircraft to attack with bombs, rockets, and gunfire, resulting in the destruction of over 150 vehicles, a third of them tanks.

July 14: In one of the more spectacular night strikes of the war, a single B-26 of the 452nd BG attacked two enemy convoys north of Sinanju in the early morning hours, claiming 68 destroyed or damaged vehicles.

July 21: A detachment of the 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron completed a week-long effort near Cho-do Island to recover the most components ever salvaged from a MiG-15 aircraft. This combined operation involved 5th Air Force aircraft providing high cover, British carrier aircraft flying low cover, and the US Army contributing a vessel outfitted with a crane.

July 24: The 116th FBW, the second Air National Guard wing deployed to the Far East, arrived with its F-84 Thunderjets at Misawa and Chitose ABs in Japan.

July 25: Fifth Air Force directed the formal establishment of an air defense system for South Korea, utilizing the resources of the 502nd Tactical Control Group and its subordinate squadrons.

July 29: UN jet fighter-bombers and reconnaissance aircraft operating near Pyongyang encountered MiGs much farther south than usual. Evading the attacking MiGs, the UN aircraft returned safely to base.

July 30: In the largest single mass attack for the month on targets in the Pyongyang area, 91 F-80s suppressed enemy air defenses while 354 USMC and USAF fighter-bombers attacked specified military targets. To avoid adverse world public opinion during ongoing peace negotiations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff withheld information on the strike from the news media.

Aug. 4: Communist ground forces violated the Kaesong neutral zone, resulting in suspension of truce talks.

Aug. 10: Armistice negotiations resume at Kaesong with the North Korean promise to respect the neutral zone.

Aug. 17: A typhoon at Okinawa halted B-29 operations.

Aug. 18: FEAF began Operation Strangle against North Korean railroads.

Aug. 22: The Communist delegation trumped up evidence that a UN aircraft bombed Kaesong, resulting in suspension of the armistice negotiations once again.

Aug. 24/25: B-26s claimed over 800 trucks destroyed in the new campaign of night anti-truck operations.

Aug. 25: In Bomber Command's largest operation of the month, 35 B-29s, escorted by USN fighters, dropped 300 tons of bombs on marshaling yards at Rashin in far northeastern Korea. Previously excluded from target lists because of its proximity of less than 20 miles to the Soviet border, Rashin was a major supply depot.

Sept. 9: Seventy MiGs attacked 28 Sabres between Sinanju and Pyongyang. Despite such odds, F-86 pilots, Capt. Richard S. Becker, 334th FIS, and Capt. Ralph D. Gibson, 335th FIS, each destroyed a MiG, increasing the number of jet aces from one to three.

Sept. 10: South of Pyongyang a 3rd ARS H-5 helicopter, with fighter escort, rescued F-80 pilot Capt. Ward M. Millar, 7th FBS. He had suffered two broken ankles during his ejection from the jet but escaped after two months as a prisoner and then evaded recapture for three weeks. The helicopter also brought out an NKA sergeant who had assisted Millar, delivering both to Seoul.

Sept. 14: Capt. John S. Walmsley Jr., 8th BS, on a night B-26 interdiction sortie, attacked an enemy train, expending his ordnance. He then used a USN searchlight experimentally mounted on his aircraft's wing to illuminate the target for another B-26. Shot down and killed by ground fire, Walmsley earned the Medal of Honor for his valorous act.

Sept. 23: In an excellent example of shoran bombing technique, eight B-29s from the 19th BG knocked out the center span of the Sunchon rail bridge despite nine-tenths cloud cover.

Sept. 24: Attempts to reopen peace talks at Kaesong failed.

Sept. 25: In the largest air battle in recent weeks, an estimated 100 MiG-15s attacked 36 F-86s flying a fighter sweep over the Sinanju area. Sabre pilots destroyed five MiGs in aerial combat, the daily high for the month.

Sept. 27: In Operation Pelican, a service-test C-124A Globemaster flew its first payload from Japan to Korea, delivering 30,000 pounds of aircraft parts to Kimpo airfield.

Sept. 28: On the longest flight to date for a jet aircraft using in-flight refueling, a Yokota-based RF-80 flew for 14 hours and 15 minutes on a Korean combat sortie, refueling multiple times from two KB-29M tankers.

Sept. 30: Replacing Terrill, Brig. Gen. Joe W. Kelly assumed command of Bomber Command.

Oct. 1-3: In Operation Snowball, 315th C-119s experimentally dropped 55-gallon drums filled with napalm behind enemy lines.

Oct. 10: FEAF marked a significant date for the Chinese, the anniversary of the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty, by dropping special leaflets and making radio broadcasts aimed at Chinese Communist Forces in Korea.

Oct. 16: Fifth Air Force Sabre pilots destroyed nine MiG-15s in aerial combat, a record daily high.

Oct. 16/17: B-29s flew 31 day and night sorties, the high for the month, including attacks against rail bridges, marshaling yards, and the Samchang airfield and leaflet drop and reconnaissance sorties.

Oct. 19: The US Army opened a 1,000-bed hospital at Camp Drew, north of Tachikawa AB, Japan. Henceforth, C-54s flew medical evacuees from Korea to Tachikawa, then C-47s shuttled them to Camp Drew, thereby reducing transit time.

Oct. 21-30: The enemy flew sorties over North Korea daily for the first time in the war. MiGs appeared in numbers over 100, consistently outnumbering their F-86 counterparts and downing three F-86s at a cost of five MiGs lost to Sabres.

Oct. 22: Two 3rd ARS SA-16s rescued the 12-man crew of a downed B-29, the highest number rescued by SA-16s on any day in the war.

Oct. 23: In one of the bloodiest air battles of the war, during a 307th BW raid on Namsi airfield, MiG-15s destroyed three B-29s and one F-84 and damaged five other bombers. Fighter pilots and B-29 gunners shot down five MiGs.

Oct. 25: In an unusually effective close air support strike, F-51 Mustangs inflicted approximately 200 casualties on enemy troops in the I Corps sector. Enemy small-arms fire hit a rescue helicopter picking up a downed UN pilot. The H-5 made a forced landing in enemy territory. The next day, two other H-5s hoisted all four men to safety from the mountainside where they had hidden from Communist troops during the night. At the request of the Communists, peace negotiations resumed.

Oct. 27: MiGs flew approximately 200 sorties, the high for the month. On a last medium bomber daylight raid, B-29 gunners shot down six MiG-15s, their highest number of enemy aircraft downed on any day of the war. A 3rd ARS H-5, with fighter escort, rescued a downed UN fighter pilot despite intense fire from enemy ground troops.

Oct. 31: The service-test C-124A departed for the United States, having successfully completed its test in the Far East and convinced the 315th Air Division of the need for a Globemaster squadron.

Nov. 3: Enemy ground fire damaged a 3rd ARS SA-16 engaged in a failed rescue attempt; however, the aircrew, in spite of six- to eight-foot seas, successfully landed in Korea Bay, off the west coast of North Korea, and rescued another downed pilot.

Nov. 4: Thirty-four F-86s encountered an estimated 60 MiG-15s in the Sinamju area. The F-86 pilots destroyed two and damaged three others.

Nov. 6: Eleven enemy piston-type, twin-engine light bombers, probably TU-2s, bombed Taehwa-do, a UN-controlled island. This raid was the first confirmed report of air-to-ground action by an enemy light bomber formation since the Korean War started.

Nov. 8: F-86s and F-80s encountered more than 100 MiG-15s, but only a small number chose to fight. USAF pilots destroyed one MiG and damaged another, while losing one F-86.

Nov. 9: A C-47 landed on the beach of Paengnyong-do Island, off the southwest coast of North Korea, and rescued 11 crewmen of a downed B-29. The 19th BG attacked marshaling yards at Hwang-ju, Kowon, and Yangdok; the Saamcham airfield; and a barracks area. In other night attacks, 98th BW B-29s bombed Taechon airfield, flew five close support sorties and a leaflet sortie, and struck Hungnam.

Nov. 12: Peace negotiations moved to Panmunjom, a village less than five miles east of Kaesong, in a newly established demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel. UN Command ceased offensive ground operations.

Nov. 16: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers made more than 100 rail cuts between Sinanju and Sukchon and between Kunu-ri and Sunchon. They also damaged bridges, knocked out gun positions, destroyed supply buildings, fired fuel dumps, and took a toll of enemy railcars.

Nov. 18: F-86 aircraft strafed eight MiG fighters on the ground at Uiju, destroyed four, and damaged the rest. MiG-15s forced three flights of F-84 fighter-bombers to jettison their bombs and abort prebriefed rail-cutting missions near Sinanju.

Nov. 24: In night operations, 98th BW bombed Taechon airfield and the marshaling yard at Tongchon and flew five close support sorties; 307th BW bombed the marshaling yard at Hambusong-ji; and 19th BG bombed Namsi airfield, the Hoeyang highway bridge, and the marshaling yards at Munchon and Hambusong-ji.

Nov. 27: Maj. Richard D. Creighton, 4th FIG, shot down a MiG to become the fourth ace of the war.

Nov. 28: Representatives of all intelligence gathering organizations in Korea met at Far East Command, Liaison Division, to discuss how to coordinate their activities. Capt. Donald Nichols represented Det. 2, 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron. The conference resulted in the establishment of the Combined Command for Reconnaissance Activities in Korea.

Nov. 30: In one of the largest aerial battles of the war, F-86 pilots of the 4th FIG engaged over the island of Taehwa-do 44 enemy aircraft flying south to bomb a UN target. The Sabre pilots destroyed 12 and damaged three others. Maj. George A. Davis Jr., 334th FIS, achieved Korean War ace status by downing a Tu-2 and a MiG-15. He was the first to be an ace in two wars, since he had been an ace in World War II, as well. Maj. Winton W. Marshall, 335th FIS, also became an ace, destroying an La-9 and a Tu-2. Enemy forces attacked Taehwa-do, north of Cho-do, forcing friendly forces to retreat to Cho-do. Fifth Air Force aircraft dislodged the enemy, enabling friendly forces to retake the island.

Dec. 3: Enemy jets made their first air-ground attack of the war, bombing and strafing UN ground positions near Chorwon, almost 60 miles northeast of Seoul.

Dec. 13: Twenty-nine F-86s encountered 75 MiG-15s over Sinanju, and in a wild melee the F-86 pilots shot down nine MiGs, giving USAF pilots a total of 13 aerial victories for the day.

Dec. 14: In the night, 19th BG B-29s inflicted severe damage on marshaling yards at Maengjung-dong.

Dec. 19: The 307th BW sent 10 B-29s to bomb marshaling yards at Chongju.

Dec. 21: Fifth Air Force units flew 530 sorties, making 30 cuts in the main rail line between Sinanju and Sukchon and attacking a supply complex near Kunu-ri.

Dec. 24: In a typical nighttime mission, B-29s from the 98th BW cratered the runway at Taechon airfield and bombed the railroad bridge at Sinanju.

Dec. 27: FEAF aircraft flew 900 sorties, the largest number of the month, damaging or destroying locomotives, railcars, buildings, vehicles, and gun positions.

Source: Air Force Magazine October 2000



4th Fighter Wing - The Early Years: 1948-51

The Early Sabre Years: 1948-51
By Lon Walter

The 4th Fighter Wing was formed during World War II from the three Royal Air Force "Eagle" Squadrons (Nos. 71, 121, and 133) of American volunteer pilots, who had flown Spitfires.
Flying P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs in the European Theater of Operations (ETO), the RAF veterans who transferred over to the USAAF, along with newly arrived pilots, downed 1,016 enemy aircraft by war's end. This was tops for any US unit in Europe.

After the war ended, the 4th moved to Andrews AFB, Maryland, where it was originally equipped with P-47s, and then moved up to F-80 Shooting Stars, the US's first operational jet fighter.

After honing their skills in the F-80, the 4th and its pilots were moved again, to Langley AFB, VA, and re-equipped with the F-86A Sabre in mid-1949. The 4th was the second fighter unit to be equipped with the new Sabre (The 1st Fighter Wing, at March AFB, California, was the first to fly the F-86.)

As the Korean War began in late June 1950, the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing, along with its subordinate 4th Fighter-Interceptor Group (with three fighter squadrons) was located at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. The 4th Wing was commanded by Colone George F. Smith, while the 4th Group commander was Lt. Col. John C. Meyer, who was the seventh highest-scoring Air Force ace of World War II (24 victories in ETO). Meyer later became a four-star general.

Shortly after hostilities began, the group was deployed to three locations selected to afford additional security for the national capital. Group headquarters, along with the 334th (Eagles) relocated to New Castle County Airport, Delaware, the 335th (Chiefs) went to Andrews AFB, Maryland, and the 336th (Rocketeers) went to Dover AFB, Delaware.

As the summer of 1950 turned to fall, and the air war over Korea became more and more intense, the 4th Group experienced an influx of two distinctly different kinds of pilots. Some were World War II combat veterans, arguably the finest jet fighter pilots in the world. Others were fresh graduates of the Air Force's pilot training program. All of the latter came to the 4th without any formal tactical training.

Under the leadership of the combat veterans, the 4th built up experience and proficiency in the F-86 Sabre, but the full training program for new arrivals was overcome by events when the MiG-15 appeared in Korean skies to challenge United Nations (principally American air forces) air superiority along the Yalu River.

Orders to move the entire 4th Wing to Korea came on 11 November 1950. Simultaneously, newer Sabres were delivered to New Castle, Andrews, and Dover from other Sabre units throughout the eastern US. There the shiny '86s were exchanged for some of the older aircraft which the 4th had been flying for two years. So it was that the three 4th Fighter squadrons whose contrails pointed towards the West Coast, flew aircraft with the markings of many different fighter units.

The 334th and 335th arrived at North Island Naval Air Station, San Diego, California, on 13 November. Their Sabres were loaded onto the escort aircraft carrier (known as a "Jeep" carrier because of its small size) USS Cape Esperance and coated with anti-corrosive grease. The Cape Esperance had just been taken out of "mothball" status, and experienced engineering problems which delayed its departure. It finally sailed on 29 November, and arrived on 13 December in Yokosuka, Japan.

All of the F-86s arriving at Yokosuka were loaded onto barges and taken across Tokyo Bay to Kisarazu Air Base, where they were cleaned up, repaired, repainted, and tested before being flown to Johnson Air Base, northwest of Tokyo, which was to be the next home of the Fourth.

Meanwhile, the 336th had flown to McClellan AFB, California, where their aircraft were cocooned and moved to San Francisco to be placed aboard another ship for the journey to Japan. The 336th Sabres were the first to arrive in Japan, and their pilots and ground crews were flown to Japan aboard Military Air Transport Service (MATS) aircraft.

The Sabres which arrived at Johnson from the Kisarazu facility sported a new paint scheme designed to enhance their recognition and avoid confusion with the only other swept-wing fighter in Korean skies - the MiG-15. These markings consisted of alternating black and white stripes near wing tips and on the fuselage just behind the cockpit. Additionally, there was a black stripe on the vertical tail paralleling the rudder hinge area. The stripes were said to have been inspired by the famous "invasion stripes" painted on Allied aircraft for the D-Day invasion of France. Twelve inch wide color bands were painted around the noses of 335th (yellow) and 336th (blue) aircraft, but those of the 334th did not receive this treatment because of reports that many MiG-15s had red noses. Instead, 334th aircraft were identified by a small red-winged star just beneath the cockpit on both sides.

The original destination for the 4th had been Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, which was in UN hands at the time the 4th left its stateside bases. But Communist Chinese forces swept southward while the F-86s were crossing the Pacific, and by late 1950, only K-14 (Kimpo Airfield), near Seoul, and K-13, near Suwon, were held by UN forces and were close enough to permit Sabres to operate along the Yalu River.

Although salt water corrosion repairs delayed the availability of many of the Sabres, seven aircraft which had arrived with the 336th shipment were moved from Johnson to K-14 on 13 December 1950. Communist Chinese troops were still advancing towards Seoul, and it was considered unlikely that K-14 could be held for much more than two weeks. Conditions were primitive at Kimpo, but Suwon was ruled out because runway and parking facilities at K-14 were much superior, particularly during winter operations.

Lt. Col. John C. Meyer, 4th Group commander, headed the small elite contingent of pilots and ground crews at Kimpo. All of the pilots were highly experienced and many were aces from World War II. Additional aircraft and crews arrived later, but the detachment never exceeded the size of a small squadron.

An orientation mission was flown over North Korea on 15 December, but no enemy aircraft were encountered. Pilots had little information about their adversary, the MiG-15. There were few photographs, and virtually nothing was known about its armament. American pilots who had seen it were asked to describe the MiG, but could only estimate its speed and maneuverability.

Finally, on 17 December, the Kimpo-based Sabres flew their first combat air patrol in what was to become known as "MiG Alley" along the Yalu River. On this mission, Lt. Col. Bruce Hinton, 336th commander, scored the first F-86 victory by destroying a MiG-15. Weather permitting, the detachment then flew daily missions, and several other pilots were credited with victories. The first loss of an F-86 also occurred several days before Christmas 1950.

As 1951 approached, it was obvious that enemy forces would overrun K-14, and the detachment was forced to return to Johnson AB very early in the new year (1951) with all their equipment. The Sabres had demonstrated their potential, but no longer had a suitable base of operations on the Korean mainland.

The tide of war changed again in late January 1951, and elements of the Fourth (about six aircraft) returned to Korea, and operated in a ground attack role from Taegu (K-2) until early February, then returned to Johnson. The F-86A performed well on ground attack missions, but its effectiveness was limited by its small ordnance load (six fifty caliber guns and two five inch rockets).

As UN forces rolled back enemy forces to the vicinity of the 38th parallel (where the battle lines would remain until the end of the war), first K-13, and then K-14 became available to the Sabres of the Fourth.

In March 1951, two of the fighter squadrons returned to Korea, and began operations from K-13. The other squadron remained at Johnson in an air defense and training role. Eventually, each squadron took its turn at Johnson. Johnson remained the wing headquarters location, as well as the heavy maintenance facility. For the next six months, combat missions were flown by 4th pilots from K-13, and squadrons, pilots and aircraft were rotated frequently between K-13 and Johnson.

During this period the 4th Fighter Group Sabres amassed a 10-1 victory ratio over the MiG-15, highlighted by the crowning of history's first jet ace, Captain James Jabara, on 20 May 1951.

In September, the operations base was moved from K-13 to K-14, which had been repaired significantly since enemy forces had been forced out. They operated there for two more years, until the war ended in 1953, and continued their domination over the MiG-15.

Several pilots from the early period besides Captain Jabara (who eventually scored 15 victories) became aces, including Major Winton W. "Bones" Marshall (6.5), Captain Richard S. Becker (5), Major Richard D. Creighton (5), and Captain Ralph D. "Hoot" Gibson (5).

In recent years, officers who served with the 4th during the early years have held reunions on a bi-annual basis at such diverse locations as Colorado Springs CO, San Antonio TX, Austin TX, Panama City FL, Jacksonville FL and Columbia, MO

(Source: https://web.archive.org/web/20030224222237/http://www.fightertown.org/wg004ftr.htm)





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