The United States Air Force's 18th Wing is the host wing for Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan and is the Air Force's largest combat wing. It is the largest and principal organization in the Pacific Air Forces Fifth Air Force.
18th Wing Insignia
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Role||Fighter / Command & Control / Airlift / Rescue|
|Part of||Fifth Air Force|
Pacific Air Forces
|Garrison/HQ||Kadena Air Base|
|Motto(s)||"Unguibus Et Rostro"|
With Talons and Beak
RVGC w/ Palm
|Case A. Cunningham, Brigadier General, USAF|
|Robert L. Rutherford |
Patrick K. Gamble
Richard E. Hawley
William T. Hobbins
George B. Simler
The 18th Wing's mission is to defend U.S. and Japanese' mutual interests by providing a responsive staging and operational airbase with integrated, deployable, forward-based airpower. The focus of the unit's operations is directed to accomplishing this mission. Strategy used to employ this mission centers around a composite force of combat-ready fighter, air refueling, airborne warning and control and rescue aircraft as well as medical aircrews tasked with transporting patients by air.
The 18th Wing is composed of five groups each with specific functions. The Operations Group controls all flying and airfield operations. The Maintenance Group performs Aircraft and Aircraft support equipment maintenance. The Mission Support Group has a wide range of responsibilities but a few of its functions are Security, Communications, Personnel Management, Logistics, Services and Contracting support. The Civil Engineer Group provides facilities management, while the Medical Group provides medical and dental care.
Team Kadena includes associate units from five other Air Force major commands, the Navy, and numerous other Department of Defense agencies and direct reporting units. In addition to the aircraft of the 18th Wing, associate units operate more than 20 permanently assigned, forward-based or deployed aircraft from the base on a daily basis.
The fighting cock emblem, approved in 1931, symbolizes the courage and aggressiveness of a combat organization.
The 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing was reassigned to Korea in July 1950 and entered combat. Its organization was as follows:
At the outbreak of the Korean War, the 18th FBG's 12th FBS provided personnel to form the "Dallas" fighter squadron, which rushed into battle. In late July, the group headquarters with two of its squadrons (12th and 67th FBSs) deployed with F-80s from the Philippines to Taegu AB (K-37), South Korea.
From 28 July to 3 August, the 18th Group operated directly under Fifth Air Force then passed to the control of the 6002nd Fighter (later, Tactical Support) Wing. Pilots exchanged their F-80s for F-51 Mustangs. Combat targets included tanks and armored vehicles, locomotives and trucks, artillery and antiaircraft guns, fuel and ammunition dumps, warehouses and factories, and troop concentrations.
In August, advancing enemy forces and insufficient aircraft parking at Taegu forced the group to move to Japan, but it returned to South Korea the following month to support UN forces in a counteroffensive. Because the front advanced so rapidly, operations from Pusan East (K-9) Air Base soon became impractical, and the group moved in November to Pyongyang East Air Base (K-24), North Korea. The 2nd SAAF Squadron joined the 18th in mid-November.
Maj Louis J. Sebille was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his action on 5 August 1950: although his plane was badly damaged by flak while attacking a concentration of enemy trucks, Maj Sebille continued his strafing passes until he crashed into an armored vehicle.
The Chinese Communist (CCF intervention) caused the group to move twice in as many weeks, first to Suwon AB (K-13), South Korea, then to Chinhae (K-10). From there the 18th FBG continued to support ground forces and carry out armed reconnaissance and interdiction missions. From November 1950 through January 1951, it earned a Distinguished Unit Citation for destroying roughly 2,400 enemy vehicles and severely damaging almost 500 more.
From early 1951 until January 1953, the group and its tactical squadrons, moving from base to base in South Korea, operated separately from the rest of the 18th FBW. The group earned its second Distinguished Unit Citation from 22 April to 8 July 1951, when it flew 6,500 combat sorties while operating from sod, dirt filled, and damaged runways to counter the enemy's 1951 spring offensive.
When in January 1953 the group rejoined the wing at Osan-ni AB (K-55), its squadrons transitioned to F-86 Sabrejets without halting the fight against the enemy. It flew its first F-86 counter air mission on 26 February 1953. In the final days of the war, the 18th FBG attacked dispersed enemy aircraft at Sinuiju and Uiju Airfields.
Since November 1954, the 18th Wing under various designations has been the main United States Air Force operational unit at Kadena Air Base. Over the past 50 years, the 18th has maintained assigned aircraft, crews, and supporting personnel in a high state of readiness for tactical air requirements of Fifth Air Force and the Pacific Air Forces. Known Cold War-Era operational squadrons were:
Flying the North American F-86 Sabres, the wing supported tactical fighter operations in Okinawa, as well as in South Korea, Japan, Formosa (later Taiwan), and the Philippines with frequent deployments. In 1957, the wing upgraded to the North American F-100 Super Sabre and the designation was changed to the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1960, a tactical reconnaissance mission was added to the wing with the arrival of the McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo and the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Tail Code: ZZ) The McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II replaced the RF-101 in the reconnaissance role in 1967.
Beginning in 1961, the 18th was sending its tactical squadrons frequently to South Vietnam and Thailand, initially with its RF-101 reconnaissance forces, and beginning in 1964 with its tactical fighter forces supporting USAF combat missions in the Vietnam War. In 1963, the Republic F-105 Thunderchief replaced the Super Sabres. Known Vietnam-era squadrons of the wing were:
The deployments to Southeast Asia continued until the end of United States involvement in the conflict. An electronic warfare capability was added to the wing in late 1968 with the reassignment of the 19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron from Shaw AFB, South Carolina flying the Douglas EB-66E Destroyer (Tail Code: ZT). The B-66s remained until 1970, flying daily over the skies of Southeast Asia.
During the 1968 Pueblo crisis, the 18th deployed between January and June to Osan Air Base, South Korea following the North Korean seizure of the vessel. Frequent deployments to South Korea have been performed ever since to maintain the air defense alert mission there. The McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II replaced the F-105s in 1971, and a further upgrade to the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle was made in 1979.
In May 1971, the 556th RS was also transferred from Yokota to Kadena with Martin EB-57E Canberra aircraft (Tail Code: GT) to the wing. It inactivated in 1973. In 1972, the 1st Special Operations Squadron was assigned, bringing their specialized C-130E-I. (Combat Talon) The RF-4C reconnaissance mission ended in 1989 with the transfer of the RF-4Cs to the 460th TRG at Taegu AB in Korea.
Post Vietnam-era squadrons have been:
The designation of the wing changed on 1 October 1991, to the 18th Wing with the implementation of the Objective Wing concept. The original designation, as determined by the then Wing Commander, Brigadier General Joseph Hurd, was 18 Wing; meant to mirror the numbering convention of the Royal Air Force. This was quickly changed however when it was disapproved by PACAF but there are coins, etc. from this time period that depict the wing's designation as 18 Wing.
With the objective wing, the mission of the 18th expanded to the Composite Air Wing concept of multiple different wing missions with different aircraft. The mission of the 18th was expanded to include aerial refueling with Boeing KC-135R/T Stratotanker tanker aircraft (909th ARS); and surveillance, warning, command and control Boeing E-3B/C Sentry (961st AACS), and communications. Added airlift mission in June 1992 with the Beech C-12 Huron, transporting mission critical personnel, high-priority cargo and distinguished visitors.
In February 1993, the 18th Wing gained responsibility for coordinating rescue operations in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean with the addition of the 33d Rescue Squadron (33d RQS).
In 2003 the 374th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron at Yokota Air Base, Japan was moved to Kadena and redesignated the 18th AES giving the 18th Wing an added mission of patient transport. 18 AES crews utilize the KC-135s of the 909th ARS as well as other opportune aircraft including the C-17 and C-130.
Between 24–31 March 2006, during Foal Eagle 2006 exercises, aircraft from the 18th Wing teamed with the U.S. Navy's Strike Fighter Squadron 151 (VFA-151) from Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) to provide combat air patrols and coordinated bombing runs via the exercise's Combined Air Operations Center.
The 18th Wing has earned many honors over the years, including 17 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards.
The 18th Operations Group is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 18th Wing, stationed at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.
The 18th OG is the largest combat operations group in the Air Force with eight squadrons, one flight, 842 active-duty members and approximately 80 aircraft, including the F-15 Eagle, E-3 Sentry, KC-135 Stratotanker and the HH-60 Pave Hawk.
The group is one of the oldest in the United States Air Force, being a successor organization of the 18th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.18th Strategic Aerospace Division
The 18th Strategic Aerospace Division is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was with the Fifteenth Air Force at Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, where it was inactivated on 2 July 1968.31st Rescue Squadron
The 31st Rescue Squadron is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It trains, equips and employs combat-ready pararescue specialists.33rd Rescue Squadron
The 33d Rescue Squadron is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates Sikorsky HH-60 Pave Hawk aircraft conducting search and rescue missions.
The squadron was established when the 2d Air Rescue Squadron was expanded to Group status in 1952. Since that time, it has carried out air rescue duties with fixed wing aircraft until 1952, and thereafter with both fixed wing aircraft and helicopters. It has been stationed almost continuously in Okinawa since the 1950s.409th
409th may refer to:
409th Air Expeditionary Operations Group, provisional United States Air Force unit assigned to Air Mobility Command
409th Bombardment Squadron or 909th Air Refueling Squadron (909 ARS), part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan
409th Fighter Squadron or 194th Fighter Squadron, aviation unit of the California Air National Guard
409th Support Brigade (United States), support brigade of the United States Army409th Bomb Squadron of the 93rd Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force of the United States Army Air Force44th Fighter Squadron
The 44th Fighter Squadron is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. The 44th Pursuit Squadron was activated on 1 January 1941 and assigned to the 18th Pursuit Group.623d Air Control Squadron
The 623d Air Control Squadron (623 ACS) is an operational unit of the United States Air Force assigned to the 18th Wing. The 623d is based out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. The 623d is tasked to provide Command & Control within a sector of the Japanese Air Defense System. The 623d conducts operations out of Japanese Air Self Defense Force facilities located at Naha Air Base, Kasuga Air Base and Iruma Air Base. The 623d operates the Southwest Sector Interface Control Cell, conducting joint and combined tactical datalink operations.909th Air Refueling Squadron
The 909th Air Refueling Squadron is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates the KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft conducting air refueling missions.
The squadron was first activated in 1942 as the 19th Reconnaissance Squadron, but was redesignated the 409th Bombardment Squadron shortly after activation. After briefly serving as an antisubmarine unit, it participated in combat in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of Operations, earning two Distinguished Unit Citations for its actions. After the surrender of Germany the squadron returned to the United States and was inactivated.
The squadron was reactivated shortly after the end of World War II as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress unit, and became one of the first units of Strategic Air Command in 1946. It was inactivated later that year when its parent group was replaced by the 43d Bombardment Group.
The 909th Air Refueling Squadron was activated in 1963 at Amarillo Air Force Base, Texas. The squadron supported Strategic Air Command operations from activation and, starting in 1964, supported operations in Southeast Asia from Amarillo, March Air Force Base, California and Kadena Air Base, Okinawa. After the end of the Vietnam War, the squadron continued to support refueling and reconnaissance operations in the Pacific. In 1985 the 409th and 909th squadrons were consolidated into a single unit. The squadron also provided support for combat operations in Southwest Asia during the 1990s.961st Airborne Air Control Squadron
The 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron (961 AACS) is part of the 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base, Japan. It operates the E-3 Sentry aircraft conducting airborne command and control missions.Carrier Air Wing Two
Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) is a United States Navy aircraft carrier air wing based at Naval Air Station Lemoore. The air wing is attached to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70).Clark Air Base
Clark Air Base is a Philippine Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines, located 3 miles (4.8 km) west of Angeles, about 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was previously a United States military facility, operated by the U.S. Air Force under the aegis of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) and their predecessor organizations from 1903 to 1991. The base covered 14.3 square miles (37 km2) with a military reservation extending north that covered another 230 square miles (600 km2).
The base was a stronghold of the combined Filipino and American forces during the final months of World War II and a backbone of logistical support during the Vietnam War until 1975. Following the departure of American forces in 1991 due to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the base eventually became the site of Clark International Airport, the Clark Freeport Zone and the Air Force City of the Philippine Air Force.
In April 2016, an "Air Contingent" of USAF A-10s and HH-60s was deployed from U.S. air bases in Pyeongtaek and Okinawa to Clark. The Air Contingent was composed of five A-10C Thunderbolt IIs from the 51st Fighter Wing, Osan AB, South Korea; three HH-60G Pave Hawks from the 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan; and approximately 200 personnel deployed from multiple Pacific Air Force units. The primary mission of the contingent appears to be to patrol disputed South China Sea islands, "to provide greater and more transparent air and maritime domain awareness to ensure safety for military and civilian activities in international waters and airspace." The air contingent builds upon previous deployments by U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Clark.Gary L. North
Gary Lewis North, is a retired United States Air Force four-star general who served as Commander, Pacific Air Forces and Executive Director, Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii from August 19, 2009 to August 9, 2012. Pacific Air Forces is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Airmen serving principally in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Korea and Japan.
General North was commissioned in 1976 as a distinguished graduate from East Carolina University's Air Force ROTC program. He has held numerous operational, command and staff positions, and has completed four long and four short overseas tours. The general has served two tours on the Joint Staff, serving as executive officer to the Director of the Joint Staff, and as Director of Politico-Military Affairs for Asia-Pacific, where he was responsible for regional planning and policy for the Asia-Pacific, South Asia and Central Asia regions. He has served on the Air Force Staff as the Chief, Joint Requirements Division and Deputy Director of Joint Matters, and as the Director for Operations, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. Prior to his current assignment, General North was the Commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Central, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., comprising six wings in the 9th AF and eight air expeditionary wings in Air Forces Central, and served as the U.S. Central Command Combined Forces Air Component Commander and service functional Air Component Commander for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
General North has also commanded the 33rd Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.; 35th Operations Group at Misawa Air Base, Japan; 8th Fighter Wing at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; and the 18th Wing at Kadena AB, Japan. He is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-4, F-15 and F-16. He flew 83 combat missions in Operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.Kadena Air Base
Kadena Air Base (嘉手納飛行場, Kadena Hikōjō) (IATA: DNA, ICAO: RODN) is a United States Air Force base in the towns of Kadena and Chatan and the city of Okinawa, in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is often referred to as the “Keystone of the Pacific”. Kadena Air Base is home to the USAF's 18th Wing, the 353d Special Operations Group, reconnaissance units, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery, and a variety of associated units. Over 20,000 American servicemembers, family members, and Japanese employees live or work aboard Kadena Air Base. It is the largest and most active US Air Force base in the Far East.Kenneth S. Wilsbach
Kenneth S. Wilsbach (born 2 April 1965) is a lieutenant general in the U.S. Air Force. He is the current deputy commander of United States Forces Korea and commander of the Seventh Air Force. He previously served as the commander of the Eleventh Air Force.
Brig. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach was the Commander of the 18th Wing at the Kadena Air Base, Japan. Wilsbach was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on August 17, 2009. Maj. Gen. Wilsbach was the Commander, 9th Air and Space Expeditionary Task Force- Iraq; Commander-Air, U.S. Forces- Iraq; and Chief of Staff-Air, International Security Assistance Force Joint Command. He oversaw three air expeditionary air wings and three expeditionary groups consisting of more than 6,900 Airmen directly engaged in combat operations; and he advises and assists with joint expeditionary tasked/individual augmentee taskings in the Iraq combined joint operating area. Additionally, the general served as the Central Command Combined Forces Air Component Commander's personal representative to the Commander of Headquarters ISAF as well as the Commander-Air to the Commander U.S. Forces- Iraq, ensuring the optimal integration of air and space power in support of Headquarters ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom missions.
Prior to this position he served as Director of Operations for Pacific Air Forces which is located at the Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. From 2006 through 2008 he served as Commander of the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. General Wilsbach was commissioned in 1985 as a distinguished graduate of the University of Florida's ROTC program. He earned his pilot wings in 1986 as a distinguished graduate from Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The general has commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group and two wings. General Wilsbach is a command pilot with more than 3,800 hours in multiple aircraft, primarily in the F-15C, and he flew 31 combat missions in operations Northern Watch and Southern Watch.
In June 2018 while serving as commander of the Eleventh Air Force, Wilsbach was nominated for reassignment as deputy commander of United States Forces Korea and commander of the Seventh Air Force.List of wings of the United States Air Force
This is a list of Wings in the United States Air Force, focusing on AFCON wings. Air Force active duty and civilian personnel strength now must be at 1,000 or more for wings.Marine Wing Liaison Kadena
Marine Wing Liaison Kadena (MWLK) is a United States Marine Corps logistics and liaison unit based at Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan. They fall under 1st Marine Aircraft Wing and III Marine Expeditionary ForceRamón Colón-López
Command Chief Master Sergeant Ramón Colón-López (born: October 21, 1971) is a pararescueman with the U.S. Air Force. In 2007 he was the only Hispanic American amongst the first six airmen to be awarded the newly created Air Force Combat Action Medal. He is currently the Senior Enlisted Leader of United States Africa Command.VFA-137
Strike Fighter Squadron 137 (VFA-137), also known as the "Kestrels", are a United States Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet strike fighter squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. Their radio callsign is "Falcon".VFA-2
Strike Fighter Squadron 2 (VFA-2) also known as the "Bounty Hunters" is a United States Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet strike fighter squadron based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, California. Their tail code is NE and their callsign is "Bullet". They are attached to Carrier Air Wing 2 (CVW-2), a composite unit made up of a wide array of aircraft performing a variety of combat and support missions that deploy aboard the Carl Vinson.