Korean Home Has Long History
By A/1C James L. Vasquez
Around 1935 the Japanese occupation forces here in Korea
undertook the task of building an air base. It took approximately
seven years of backbreaking labor to build what is now the home
of the Fourth FIW. The Japanese used Korean labor to haul rocks
all the way from Kai Hwa San and Yang Chan, 5 and 10 miles from
the base, to use as a rock bed for the runways. Finally, around
1942, the Base was completed.
After the end of World War II the United States took over
the base and from 1945 to 1959 several different American units
were stationed here training Koreans in the job of running an
Air Base. In 1949 all United States troops pulled out of Korea.
With the outbreak of Korean Hostilities the ROK Air Force
was in its very primary stages but put up a valiant defense of
the base with its meager Air Force, which in our eyes could hardly
be called an Air Force. Finally all ROK troops abandoned the strip
and retreated to the Pusan perimeter.
On September 15, 1950, in a very successful amphibious
operation, the United States Army and Marines landed at Inchon.
With this counterattack the UN took the offensive. By the end
of September the UN had control of practically all territory below
the 38th Parallel and this Air Base was once again on the UN side.
Following the occupation of this part of Korea by UN troops,
the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing flew combat sorties in support of
UN troops for about three months. With the great Chinese human
wave attacks the UN forces again were forced to relinquish the
field to the enemy and the 8th FBW had to move out.
In the early part of January 1951 the Chinese were again
holding the base and Seoul. After a few months of fierce fighting
between Chinese troops and the U.S. 8th Army and other UN elements,
again the UN troops came into Seoul.
Around April of '51 the 8th FBW, for the second time,
flew combat missions out of this field. The 8th FBW stayed around
until August of 1951 when they moved to another K-site and the
4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing took its place here.
Names like Maj. Jabara, Col. Davis, Capt. Fernandez and
many others were to be flashed across the headlines of newspapers
all over the world as the "MIG Killers of the 4th Fighter
Interceptor Wing." And so this Air Base, which had
its beginning way back in 1935, came to be known the world over
as "The Home of the MIG Killers". With the signing of
the truce in July 1953 the "Fourth but First" settled
down to the responsibility of guarding the skies of Korea-prepared
and ready for any event. Not only has this base been a big cog
in the wheel of alertness for possible aggression from the Communists,
but also as a training center for hundreds of ROK Air Force personnel
who are being molded into a fighting force very much like our
own Air Force.
All is quiet now; no shooting, no bombing, none of those
noises which are associated with war, but you can still see and
hear the 86s take off on training missions all over Korea.
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