8th Operations Group

The 8th Operations Group (8 OG) is the operational flying component of the United States Air Force 8th Fighter Wing. It is stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, and is a part of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF).

The group is a direct successor organization of the 8th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.

During World War II, the unit operated primarily in the Southwest Pacific Theater as part of Fifth Air Force. When the unit arrived in Brisbane, Australia, in April 1942, three squadrons were assigned: the 35th, 36th and 80th Pursuit Squadrons. Since fighting became the new objective, the unit took on the new designation of the 8th Fighter Group. During the course of World War II in the Pacific, the 8th participated in battles in Port Moresby, Nadaab, Owi, Zamboanga, the Philippines, Minadoro, Ie Shima and Japan. The Group participated in nine campaigns and received two Distinguished Unit Citations. The 8th spawned twenty-seven "Aces" and accounted for destroying 449 enemy aircraft during World War II.

During the Korean War, the group was the first USAF air unit committed to combat, first jet unit, first unit to shoot down an enemy airplane, first to fly 255 sorties in one day, first to fly 50,000 sorties in jet warfare, first to fly 60,000 sorties, and first to fly 291 sorties in a single day. The Group added eleven streamers to their flag, two Republic of Korea citations, and another Distinguished Unit Citation.

8th Operations Group
8th Fighter Wing
Emblem of the 8th Operations Group
Active1931–1957; 1992–present
CountryUnited States
BranchUnited States Air Force
Nickname(s)Cyclone's Flying Circus
Engagements
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon
 
Army of Occupation ribbon
 
Korean Service Medal ribbon
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1942–1945)
  • Army of Occupation (Japan) (1945–1952)
  • Korean Service (1950–1953)
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Col. Emmett "Cyclone" Davis
8thoperationsgroup-f-16-2
80th Fighter Squadron F-16CJ Block 40D Fighting Falcon 88-0543
8thoperationsgroup-f-16-1
35th Fighter Squadron F-16DJ Block 40F 89-2168 and CJs 89-2150 and 88-0504 in formation
8fg-emblem
Emblem of the World War II 8th Fighter Group
P-40s 8PG Langley 1941
P-40s of the 33rd PS, 8th PG, at Langley Field, Va., in 1941.
8fg-p40-1942
P-40 of the 8th Fighter Group, New Guinea, 1942
8fg-36fssign
Sign of the 36th Fighter Squadron, New Guinea, 1943
8fw-p38s-36fs-Mindiro-1944
P-38s of the 38th Fighter Squadron, Mindiro, Filipinos, 1944
F-80d-48-708-80fbs-8fg
Lockheed F-80C-10-LO Shooting Star 49-8708 of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, Korea, 1950.
8fbg-80fbs-f-86
North American F-86F-30-NA Sabres of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, Korea, 1953. Serial 52-4877 in front in Wing Commander's colors, 52-4473 alongside.

Overview

The 8 OG is a combat-ready fighter group composed of two deployable Lockheed F-16CJ fighter squadrons (Tail Code: WP), and one operational support squadron. The group is assigned the following squadrons:

The squadrons conduct interdiction, close air support, counter air, air superiority, and suppression of enemy air defense missions

Heraldry

The group's emblem, approved in 1934, is a simple chevron in the stylized shape of clouds.

History

For additional history and lineage, see 8th Fighter Wing

Origins

The 8th Operations Group's origins go back to World War I, when the 33rd, 35th and 36th Aero Squadrons were activated in 1917 at Camp Kelly, Texas. These squadrons would later be combined in the 8th Pursuit Group.

In 1931, the 8th Pursuit Group was reactivated helped fly the air corps air mail routes across the United States. In addition, the group trained, took part in maneuvers and reviews, and tested planes and equipment. Initially, the group had two flying squadrons assigned, but both operated from other bases. The 36th Pursuit Squadron flew from Selfridge Field, Michigan, while the 55th Pursuit Squadron operated from Mather Field, California.

In June 1932 the group reorganized. It gained the 33rd and 35th Pursuit Squadrons, and activated at Langley Field, Virginia. The 36th moved from Selfridge to Langley to join the rest of the group. At the same time, the 55th Pursuit Squadron transferred to the 20th Fighter Group, leaving the 8th with three squadrons.

At Langley the group trained in such aircraft as the Consolidated PB-2, Curtiss P-6, and Boeing P-12. Over the next several years, the group transitioned to such newer aircraft as the Seversky P-35, Curtiss P-36 Hawk, Bell P-39 Airacobra, and the Curtiss P-40.

Significantly, on 11 October 1940, the 8th Pursuit Group participated in a test designed to compare the take-off runs of standard Navy and Army aircraft. On that day, 24 P-40s from the 8th Pursuit Group launched from the USS Wasp, an aircraft carrier, and returned to Langley Field. That experiment, the first time that Army planes had flown from a Navy carrier, foreshadowed the use of the ship in the ferry role that it performed admirably in World War II.

In December 1940, the group became part of the defense force for the New York metropolitan area, being reassigned to Mitchel Field on Long Island. At Mitchel, the 33rd Pursuit Squadron was transferred to the 342d Composite Group in Iceland in August 1941 to engage in North Atlantic defense. This left the group with two flying squadrons, the 35th and 36th. To replace the 33rd the 58th was activated, but then was transferred to form the 33rd Fighter Group. Finally, the 80th Squadron was activated on 10 January 1942.

World War II

In May 1942, the unit was redesignated as the 8th Fighter Group, as fighting became the new mission. The group was assigned to the South West Pacific Theatre and deployed Brisbane, Australia, sailing on the Army Transport Ship Maui. After a 21-day voyage, headquarters was established on 6 March 1942. Upon completion of the reassembly of planes, men and equipment they moved to the Townsville area.

On 26 April while the U.S. Navy was preparing to engage the Japanese invasion fleet headed for Port Moresby, New Guinea, men from the 35th and 36th arrived at the 7 mile strip where the 75th and 76th Australian Squadrons were sacrificing their last P-40s to the Japanese Zero's. When the squadrons arrived their first act included preparation and take-off over the Owen Stanley Range to surprise the Japanese at Lae. Meanwhile, the Japanese fleet withdrew from the intended invasion and the Battle of the Coral Sea. During the month of May the 35th and 36th were experiencing not only daily and night raids, but endured the shortage of food, excessive heat, rain, mud, mosquito's and necessary parts for planes and vehicles plus continuous alerts, bombing and strafing.

Returning to Townsville in June, the 35th and 36th Squadrons were equipped and prepared to leave for Oro Bay when word was received that the Japanese began offensive action to occupy the same territory. On 20 July 1942 the 80th left the group for New Guinea equipped with P-400s for action near Port Moresby.

In August 1942 the Japanese invaded Milne Bay where it was reported that the 8th Fighter Control Squadron played an important part of the ground defense with four wheel drive vehicles capable of moving supplies and ammo through mud to the ground personnel. Once again the 35th and the 36th replaced the Australian 75th and 76th in Milne Bay on 18 September 1942 with the 80th following on 8 November for limited air action. The group served in combat until February 1943 flying P-40s. In February 1943 the Group returned to Mareeba where the 80th was equipped with the P-38 Lightning which they took to Port Moresby in March.

Resuming operations in April 1943, the 8th served in combat operations through the rest of the Second World War, providing cover for Allied landings, escorting bombers, and attacking enemy airfields. The group supported operations of the Marines at Cape Gloucester, February and March 1944; flew long-range escort and attack missions to Borneo, Ceram, Halmahera, and the southern Philippines; provided cover for convoys; and attacked enemy shipping.

The unit won a Distinguished Unit Citation for strafing a Japanese naval force off Mindoro on 26 December 1944. The group went on to cover landings at Lingayen; support ground forces on Luzon; escort bombers to targets on the Asian mainland and on Formosa; and, in the last days of the war, attack enemy airfields and railways in Japan.

After V-J Day, the group remained as part of the Far East Air Forces occupation force at Ashiya Air Field on the island of Kyūshū.

Initially flying North American P-51D Mustangs in 1946, the 8th provided air defense for the Japanese region. While stationed in Japan, the wing upgraded to the more sophisticated Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star jet fighter in 1948.

Korean War

It began operations in the Korean War on 26 June 1950 by providing cover for the evacuation of US personnel from Seoul, entering into combat the next day. The group is known for the heroic actions of its members, including Major Charles J. Loring, a pilot in the 80th FS, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on 22 November 1952 when he flew his badly damaged F-80 aircraft into an enemy artillery emplacement near Sniper Ridge so that entrenched U.S. Infantry men could escape. During the next three years, the 8th flew more than 60,000 sorties while operating from bases in both Korea and Japan. The wing participated in 10 campaigns and earned three unit citations.

Following the war, it performed air defense in Japan and maintained a quick reaction strike force. The group was not operational from 1 February 1957 until its inactivation in October 1957.

Modern era

Activated again in 1992, and assumed responsibility for flight operations of the 8th Fighter Wing.

Lineage

  • Authorized on the inactive list as the 8th Pursuit Group on 24 March 1923
Redesignated 8th Pursuit Group, Air Corps, on 8 August 1926
Activated on 1 April 1931
Redesignated: 8th Pursuit Group on 1 September 1936
Redesignated: 8th Pursuit Group (Fighter) on 6 December 1939
Redesignated: 8th Pursuit Group (Interceptor) on 12 March 1941
Redesignated: 8th Fighter Group on 15 May 1942
Redesignated: 8th Fighter Group, Single Engine, 20 August 1943
Redesignated: 8th Fighter-Bomber Group on 20 January 1950
Inactivated on 1 October 1957
  • Redesignated: 8th Tactical Fighter Group on 31 July 1985 (Remained inactive)
  • Redesignated: 8th Operations Group on 1 February 1992
Activated on 3 February 1992.

Commanders

Assignments

Attached to: 86th Fighter Wing, 1 May 1944 – 16 August 1945
Attached to: 310th Bombardment Wing, 16 August 1945 – 25 March 1946
Attached to 6131st Fighter [later, 6131st Tactical Support] Wing, 14 August-1 December 1950

Components

Stations

Aircraft

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1983) [1961]. Air Force Combat Units of World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-02-1. LCCN 61060979.
  • Robertson, Patsy (February 6, 2015). "Factsheet 8 Operations Group (PACAF)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  • Stanaway, John. Attack and Conquer: The 8th Fighter Group in World War II. Schiffer Publishing, 1995. ISBN 0-88740-808-7.
  • USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers—1908 to present

External links

2d Combat Bombardment Wing

The Second Bombardment Wing, abbreviated both as 2d Bombardment Wing and 2nd Bombardment Wing, of the United States Army Air Forces is a disbanded unit whose last assignment was with the Continental Air Forces, based at McChord Field, Washington. It was last active in November 1945.

35th Fighter Squadron

The 35th Fighter Squadron is a United States Air Force unit, assigned to the 8th Operations Group, stationed at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. The squadron operates the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft conducting air superiority missions.

The 35th FS is one of two squadrons of Block 40 F-16C/Ds at Kunsan, flying the Fighting Falcon since 1981. The 35th is one of the oldest squadrons in the United States Air Force, its history dating to 12 June 1917, when the unit was activated as the 35th Aero Squadron.

80th Fighter Squadron

The 80th Fighter Squadron (traditionally nicknamed the "Headhunters", and since 1971 also the "Juvats") is a General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter squadron of the United States Air Force, currently part of the 8th Operations Group of the 8th Fighter Wing, and stationed at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

The 80th has served in combat operations in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

8th Air Brigade (Argentina)

The 8th Air Brigade was an Argentine Air Force brigade that was deactivated in 1988. It operated Mirage III fighters.

8th Fighter Wing

The United States Air Force 8th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea and is assigned to Seventh Air Force. Seventh Air Force falls under Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). The Wing's 8th Operations Group is the successor of the 8th Pursuit Group, one of the 15 original combat air groups formed by the Army before World War II.

Established in Japan after World War II in 1948, the wing flew combat missions throughout the Korean War. Redesignated the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing in 1958, it remained in Japan until 1964. After a year in California, it moved to Southeast Asia, where its F-4 Phantom II crews earned the nicknames "MiG killers" and "bridge busters". In 1974 the wing relocated to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, where it was redesignated the 8th Fighter Wing in 1992.

Kunsan Air Base

Kunsan K-8 Air Base is a United States Air Force base located at Gunsan Airport, which is on the west coast of the South Korean peninsula bordered by the Yellow Sea. It is at the town of Gunsan about 150 miles (240 km) south of Seoul. The town (군산시, 群山市 in Korean) can be romanized as both Gunsan and Kunsan. The United States Air Force uses Gunsan to refer to the town, and Kunsan to refer to the base.

Kunsan Air Base is the home of the 8th Fighter Wing, "The Wolf Pack," assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Seventh Air Force and the 38th Fighter Group of the Republic of Korea Air Force. About 45 F-16 aircraft are stationed at the base. It is one of two major Air Force installations operated by the United States Forces Korea, the other being Osan Air Base.

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