A SHORT HISTORY OF YOKOTA AB IT'S HISTORY IS STILL BEING MADE
Location: 28 some histories say 35 miles miles west of Tokyo, Japan Origin of Name: named for nearby townYokota Air Base is one of three operational U.S. Air Force installations in Japan. The base opened in 1940 as Tama Army Airfield, a flight test center and aviation maintenance school for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The base received minor damage during the war and remained fully operational until the surrender of the Imperial Armed Forces on August 15, 1945. U.S. operations began September 4, 1945, when U.S. forces occupied the area. The base was renamed Yokota after a small village previously located in the northeast corner of the base.In the years after opening in August 1945 over 400 units have been assigned to the base.
The base was occupied by US forces after World War II and was heavily involved in the Korean War. The 3rd Bomb Group was one of the first USAF units in residence operating the B-26 during 1948/1949. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel, thus starting the Korean War. President Harry Truman quickly committed American support to South Korea and the United States bungled it's way into the conflict. "It is the wrong war, in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong enemy," declared General Omar Bradley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
At the close of World War II, the United States had thrown away its vast military power and military appropriations had been reduced to almost nothing. The Berlin Crises of 1948 demonstrated the stupidity of the unilateral disarmament and B-29s were hastily brought back into service. However the new Strategic Air Command had but a small fraction of the forces that the US strategic air forces had at the end of the war. In spite of these limitations, SAC was quick to respond.
The 31st Reconnaissance Squadron, 5th Reconnaissance Group, was then temporarily deployed at Kadena AB, Okinawa. It quickly moved to Yokota AB to shorten mission time. The 19th Bomb Group was then stationed at North Field, Guam, but quickly deployed to a forward base. The 31st Recon Squadron immediately began flying combat reconnaissance missions. Results were passed on to the 19th, which sprung into action. On the night of June 28th - only three days after the outbreak of the war - their B-29s struck enemy bridges, trucks, tanks and supply columns. This was the first use of SAC's combat power. During the next month, the 31st Squadron flew 31 missions. On July 3, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, USAF Chief of Staff ordered the 2nd and 92nd Bombardment Wings to deploy to the Far East. On the 5th, the 19th Bombardment Group relocated northward to Kadena, Okinawa to reduce the distance to their targets. Three days later, the 92nd Bombardment Group deployed from Spokane AFB (later Fairchild) to Yokota AB, Japan. The 22nd Bombardment Group departed March AFB, California on July 13 to join the 19th at Kadena AB, Okinawa. Operational activities at Yokota remained fairly constant until February 1950 when the 3rd Bombardment Group and its assigned aircraft relocated to Johnson AB. They were replaced by the 35th fighter group which brought F-80s, F-82s, and F-94s to Yokota's flight line. The Korean conflict made Yokota AB the home of FEAF Bomber Command and included the headquarters and B-29 aircraft of the 22nd and 98th Bombardment Groups. The 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing was in residence for a short time from April 1950, and returned to Yokota from Johnson AB, Japan, in Oct 1954. With the inactivation of the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing on 1 October 1957 and retirement of its F-86D all-weather interceptors, the host unit at Yokota became the 6102nd Air Base Wing (ABW)
The wing's parent headquarters was 41st Air Division, just down the road at Johnson AB. Although the base was maintained by the 6102 ABW, there was still plenty of flying activity accomplished by the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing and forward deployed forces from the Strategic Air Command. At the end of 1960, the 3 BW returned to Yokota from Johnson AB. The 6041st Air Base Group, Johnson's housekeeping unit, was inactivated and replaced by the 6102nd Air Base Squadron which made Johnson subordinate to Yokota AB. The 67th TRW inactivated in Dec 1960 and returned home to the US. The 6000th Operations Wing was assigned during the 1950s and 1960s with two operations squadrons flying the C-119G and a pair of reconnaissance squadrons equipped with the RB-57A and RB-50E/G. The latter was withdrawn in July 1961 when replaced by the C-130B-II. On July 1, 1962 the 41st Air Division relocated to Yokota from Johnson AS and Tachikawa AB became the Kanto Base Command. Some time in 1963, Yokota moved back into the air defense area with F-105 and F-102 Fighter-Interceptor aircraft. Itazuke AB was closed and its assets were transferred to Yokota AB. Elements of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing were in short-term residence at Yokota in 1964 with the F-105, although the wing was stationed at George AFB, CA.
There some history you might add: My Dad (Capt. Oscar L. Bond, Jr) was one of three pilots that flew the F100C and B-57(Long Wing versions) for photo Recon Mission over China. Operation "Slick Chick" 1954-1957 assigned to the 6021st Recon Sq. at Yokota. He recieved two DFC and a Silver Star in so call peace time. Col. Avery was the Base Commander at the time. I was an Air Scout supported by the 40th FS..F-86D.. It was the 41st Scout Troop. Gus Potter M. SGT. was our scout master. we were a four star unit. Information furnished by Wilson Swilley.
The 421st ARS was stationed at Yokota from 1953 until 1965 to provide air refueling with the KB-29 and later the KB-50J. The 6441st Tactical Fighter Wing was formed in April 1965 and was assigned until Nov 1966. The 65th Military Airlift Group transferred to Yokota from Tachikawa AB in August 1967 due to increased C-141 operations -- the C-141 could not land on Tachikawa's short runways. The 41st Air Division and 441st Combat Support Group were
inactivated on January 15, 1968, and replaced by the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) and . 347th Combat Support Group (CSG). The 347th Tactical Fighter Wing. The squadron performed two combat deployments to Southeast Asia in 1964 and 1965, serving first for two months at Korat Air Base, Thailand and later for two months at Takhli Air Base, Thailand. The 347th Tactical Fighter Wing operated the F-4 as well as the remainder of the RB-57 and C-130B reconnaissance types of the 556th RS until May 1971, when the wing returned home.
The reduction in activities at Yokota resulted in the base being administered by the 475th Air Base Wing from November 1971, with the UH-1N and CT-39A to support HQ 5th Air Force. The 374th Tactical Airlift Wing formed at Clark AB November 1973 as the primary MAC unit in the Far East, with one squadron of C-130s located at Yokota from late 1974. The 316th Tactical Airlift Group was formed to control the squadron, but was inactivated in Sep 1989 when the parent wing moved to Yokota. Units stationed at Yokota AB3rd Bomb Group/Bomb Wing HQ 5th Air Force 22nd Bombardment Group 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing 41st Air Division 65th Military Airlift Group 610TH MILITARY AIRLIFT SUPPORT SQUADRON67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing 98th Bombardment Group 347th Tactical Fighter Wing/Combat Support Group.
The present parent command is the 374 Military Airlift Wing. There are 32 other units assigned to the base besides the 374 MAW it's 4 groups and 18 squadrons assigned to the base.