The Fifth Air Force (5 AF) is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It is headquartered at Yokota Air Base, Japan. +more It is the U. S. Air Force's oldest continuously serving Numbered Air Force. The organization has provided 80 years of continuous air power to the Pacific since its establishment in September 1941.

Fifth Air Force is the Headquarters Pacific Air Forces forward element in Japan, and maximizes partnership capabilities and promotes bilateral defense cooperation. In addition, 5 AF is the air component to United States Forces Japan.

Its mission is three-fold. First, it plans, conducts, controls, and coordinates air operations assigned by the PACAF Commander. +more Fifth Air Force maintains a level of readiness necessary for successful completion of directed military operations. And last, but certainly not least, Fifth Air Force assists in the mutual defense of Japan and enhances regional stability by planning, exercising, and executing joint air operations in partnership with Japan. To achieve this mission, Fifth Air Force maintains its deterrent force posture to protect both U. S. and Japanese interests, and conducts appropriate air operations should deterrence fail.

Fifth Air Force is commanded by Lieutenant General Ricky Rupp.

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Fighter Groups: * 8th FG (P-39) Townsville, Australia * 35th FG (P-40) Port Moresby, New Guinea * 49th FG (P-40) Darwin, Australia

Bomber Groups: * 3rd BG (B-25, A-20, & A-24) Charters Towers, Australia * 19th BG (Non-Operational. Battle scarred from Philippines & Java) Mareeba, Australia * 22nd BG (B-26) Woodstock, Australia * 38th BG (B-25) Charters Towers, Australia * 43rd BG (B-17 until 1943; B-24 1943-1945) Port Moresby, New Guinea

US Far East Air Forces

On 4 November 1942, the Fifth Air Force commenced sustained action against the Japanese in Papua New Guinea and was a key component of the New Guinea campaign (1942-1945). Fifth Air Force engaged the Japanese again in the Philippines campaign (1944-45) as well as in the Battle of Okinawa (1945).

Fifth Air Force along with Thirteenth Air Force in the Central Pacific and Seventh Air Force in Hawaii were assigned to the newly created United States Far East Air Forces (FEAF) on 3 August 1944. FEAF was subordinate to the U. +moreS. Army Forces Far East and served as the headquarters of Allied Air Forces Southwest Pacific Area. By 1945, the three numbered air forces were supporting operations throughout the Pacific. FEAF was the functional equivalent in the Pacific of the United States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) in the European Theater of Operations.

Order of battle, 1945

V Fighter CommandNight Fighter UnitsV Bomber CommandPhoto Reconnaissance54th Troop Carrier Wing
3d ACG (P-51, C-47)418th NFS3d BG (L) (B-25, A-20)6th RG (F-5, F-7)2d CCG
8th FG (P-40, P-38)421st NFS22d BG (M/H) (B-26 - B-24)71st RG (B-25)317th TCG
35th FG (P-47, P-51)547th NFS38th BG (M) (B-25)374th TCG (1943 only)
49th FG (P-40, P-47, P-38)43d BG (H) (B-24)375th TCG
58th FG (P-47)90th BG (H) (B-24)433d TCG
348th FG (P-47, P-51)312th BG (L) (A-20)
475th FG (P-38)345th BG (M) (B-25)
380th BG (H) (B-24)
417th BG (L) (A-20)

LEGEND: ACG - Air Commando Group, FG - Fighter Group, NFS - Night Fighter Squadron, BG (L) - Light Bomb Group, BG (M) - Medium Bomb Group, BG (H) - Heavy Bomb Group, RG - Reconnaissance Group, CCG - Combat Cargo Group, TCG - Troop Carrier Group

When the war ended, Fifth Air Force had an unmatched record of 3,445 aerial victories, led by the nation's two top fighter aces Major Richard Bong and Major Thomas McGuire, with 40 and 38 confirmed victories respectively, and two of Fifth Air Force's ten Medal of Honor recipients.

Shortly after World War II ended in August, Fifth Air Force relocated to Irumagawa Air Base, Japan, about 25 September 1945 as part of the Allied occupation forces. The command remained in Japan until 1 December 1950 performing occupation duties.

Korean War

for the units, stations and type aircraft flown in combat during the war (25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953)

In 1950, Fifth Air Force was called upon again, becoming the main United Nations Command combat air command during the Korean War, and assisted in bringing about the Korean Armistice Agreement that formally ended the war in 1953.

In the early morning hours of 25 June, North Korea launched a sudden, all-out attack against the south. Reacting quickly to the invasion, Fifth Air Force units provided air cover over the skies of Seoul. +more The command transferred to Seoul on 1 December 1950, remaining in South Korea until 1 September 1954.

In this first Jet War, units assigned to the Fifth Air Force racked up an unprecedented 14. 5 to 1 victory ratio. +more By the time the truce was signed in 1953, Fifth Air Force had flown over 625,000 missions, downing 953 North Korean and Chinese aircraft, while close air support accounted for 47 percent of all enemy troop casualties.

Thirty-eight fighter pilots were identified as aces, including Lieutenant Colonel James Jabara, America's first jet ace; and Captain Joseph McConnell, the leading Korean War ace with 16 confirmed victories. +more Additionally, four Medals of Honor were awarded to Fifth Air Force members. One other pilot of note was Marine Major John Glenn, who flew for Fifth Air Force as part of an exchange program.

With the end of combat in Korea, Fifth Air Force returned to normal peacetime readiness Japan in 1954.

Cold War

Not only concerned with maintaining a strong tactical posture for the defense of both Japan and South Korea, Fifth Air Force played a critical role in helping the establishment of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force as well as the Republic of Korea Air Force. These and other peacetime efforts lasted a decade before war clouds once again developed in the Pacific.

This time, the area of concern was Southeast Asia, beginning in 1964 with the Gulf of Tonkin Crisis. Fifth Air Force furnished aircraft, aircrews, Support personnel, and supplies throughout the eight years of combat operations in South Vietnam and Laos. +more Since 1972, the Pacific has seen relative calm, but that doesn't mean Fifth Air Force hasn't been active in other roles. The command has played active or supporting roles in a variety of issues ranging from being first on the scene at the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shoot down in 1983 to deploying personnel and supplies for the Persian Gulf War in 1990.

During this time span, the size of Fifth Air Force changed as well. With the activation of Seventh Air Force in 1986, fifth left the Korean Peninsula and focused its energy on continuing the growing bilateral relationship with Japan.

The Fifth Air Force's efforts also go beyond combat operations. Fifth Air force has reacted to natural disasters in Japan and abroad. +more These efforts include the Great Hanshin earthquake in 1995 and Super Typhoon Paka which hit Guam in 1997. Fifth Air Force has reached out to provide assistance to victims of floods, typhoons, volcanoes, and earthquakes throughout the region.

The 432d Tactical Fighter Wing flew F-16s from Misawa Air Base from July 1, 1984 - October 31, 1994. On the inactivation of the wing, its personnel, aircraft, and other assets were used to reform the 35th Fighter Wing.

Present Day

Today, according to the organization's website, major components include the 18th Wing, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan; the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, and the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base. Kadena AB hosts the 18th Wing, the largest combat wing in the USAF. +more The Wing includes F-15 fighters, KC-135 refuelers, E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, and HH-60G Pave Hawk rescue helicopters, and represents a major combat presence and capability in the Western Pacific. The 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan, includes two squadrons equipped with the most modern Block 50 F-16 variant, dedicated to the suppression of enemy air defenses. The final formation is the 374th Airlift Wing, at Yokota Air Base, Japan.

According to a 2017 study by two US Navy commanders, in case of a surprise Chinese ballistic missile attack against airbases in Japan, more than 200 U. S. +more aircraft would be trapped or destroyed on the ground in the first hours of the conflict.

Lineage, assignments, stations, and components


Established as Philippine Department Air Force on 16 August 1941 : Activated on 20 September 1941 : Redesignated: Far East Air Force on 16 November 1941 : Redesignated: 5 Air Force on 5 February 1942 : Redesignated: Fifth Air Force* on 18 September 1942.

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


Philippine Department, U. S. +more Army, 20 September 1941 * US Forces in Australia (USFIA), 23 December 1941 : Redesignated: US Army Forces in Australia (USAFIA), 5 January 1942 * American-British-Dutch-Australian Command (ABDACOM), 23 February 1942 * Allied Air Force, Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA), 2 November 1942 * Far East Air Forces (Provisional), 15 June 1944 * Far East Air Forces, 3 August 1944 : Redesignated: Pacific Air Command, United States Army, 6 December 1945 : Redesignated: Far East Air Forces, 1 January 1947 : Redesignated Pacific Air Forces, 1 July 1957-present.


Nichols Field, Luzon, 20 September 1941 * RAAF Base Darwin, Australia, 31 December 1941 * Bandoeng, Java, 18 January 1942 * [url=https://web. archive. +moreorg/web/20080706134606/http://www. macarthurmuseumbrisbane. org/]Brisbane AAB[/url], Australia,c 1 March 1942 * Nadzab Airfield, New Guinea, 15 June 1944 * Owi Airfield, Schouten Islands, Netherlands East Indies, 10 August 1944 * Bayug Airfield, Leyte, Philippines, c. 20 November 1944 * McGuire Field, Mindoro, Philippines, January 1945 * Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines, April 1945 * Hamasaki (Motobu Airfield), Okinawa, 4 August 1945.

* Irumagawa AB, Japan, c. 25 September 1945 * Tokyo, Japan, 13 January 1946 * Nagoya, Japan, 20 May 1946 * Seoul AB (K-16), Korea, 1 December 1950 * Taegu AB (K-2), Korea, 22 December 1950 * Seoul AB (K-16), 15 June 1951 * Osan AB, Korea, 25 January 1954 * Nagoya AB (later, Nagoya AS; Moriyama AS), Japan, 1 September 1954 * Fuchu AS, Japan, 1 July 1957 * Yokota AB, Japan, 11 November 1974-present

Major components

Commands * V Air Force Service: 18 June 1943 - 15 June 1944 * V Air Service Area: 9 January 1944 - 15 June 1944 * 5 Bomber (later, V Bomber): 14 November 1941 - 31 May 1946 * V Fighter: 25 August 1942 - 31 May 1946 * 5 Interceptor: 4 November 1941 - 6 April 1942 : Became Army Air Force Infantry unit during Battle of the Philippines (1941-42) (20 December 1941 - 9 April 1942) * Far East Air Service (later, 5 Air Force Base; V Air Force Base): 28 October 1941 - 2 November 1942

Divisions * 39th Air Division: 1 September 1954 - 15 January 1968 * 41st Air Division: 1 September 1954 - 15 January 1968 * 43d Air Division: 1 September 1954 - 1 October 1957 * 313th Air Division: 1 March 1955 - 1 October 1991 * 314th Air Division: 31 May 1946 - 1 March 1950; 1 December 1950 - 18 May 1951; 15 March 1955 - 8 September 1986 * 315 Air Division (formerly, 315 Composite Wing): 1 June 1946 - 1 March 1950.

Wings (incomplete listing) * 8th Fighter Wing, later 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 1950s * 18th Wing: 1 Oct 1991-. * 35th Fighter Wing: 1 Oct 1994-. +more * 51st Fighter Wing: 1955-September 1986 * 374th Airlift Wing: 1 Apr 1992-. * 432d Tactical Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan: July 1, 1984 - May 31, 1991; 432d Fighter Wing from June 1, 1991 - October 31, 1994 (wing personnel and assets thereafter used to reactivate 35th Fighter Wing) * 6100th Support Wing, Tachikawa Air Base, Japan: "Brigadier General Thomas R. FORD Replaced Col. Lewis B. MENG as commander of 6100th Support Wing effective" 11 June 1962. "6100 Support Wing was Major Air Command control (MAJCON) unit directly subordinate to Headquarters (HQ) 5 Air Force. Contains. functions of various subordinate elements of 6100 Support Wing (Kanto Base Command). ".

Groups *2nd Combat Cargo Group: October 1944-15 January 1946

List of commanders

PortraitNameTook officeLeft officeTerm length {{Officeholder table | order = - | military_rank = Major General | image = Portrait gray. png | officeholder = +more_Tate'>Robert F. Tate | officeholder_sort = | born_year = | died_year = | term_start = 6 July 1961 | term_end = 2 August 1961 | timeinoffice =acting = y }} {{Officeholder table | order = - | military_rank = Major General | image = Portrait gray. png | officeholder = Edward P. McNeff | officeholder_sort = | born_year = | died_year = | term_start = 1 March 1974 | term_end = 8 May 1974 | timeinoffice =acting = y }} {{Officeholder table | order = - | military_rank = Brigadier General | image = Brig Gen James M. Johnston III. jpg | officeholder = James M. Johnston III | officeholder_sort = | born_year = | died_year = | term_start = 18 July 1991 | term_end = 9 August 1991 | timeinoffice =acting = y }}