Note: Each entry uses the local date, which, in theater, was one day later than in the US. Dates separated by a hyphen indicate that an entry covers events from one date through a second date. Two dates separated by a slash indicate events occurred at night.
June 25: North Korea invaded South Korea. Simultaneously, North Korean troops made an amphibious landing at Kangnung on the east coast just south of the 38th parallel. North Korean fighter aircraft attacked airfields at Kimpo and Seoul, the South Korean capital, destroying one USAF C-54 on the ground at Kimpo.
John J. Muccio, US ambassador to South Korea, relayed to President Harry S. Truman a South Korean request for US air assistance and ammunition. The UN Security Council unanimously called for a cease-fire and withdrawal of the North Korean Army to north of the 38th parallel. The resolution asked all UN members to support the withdrawal of the NKA and to render no assistance to North Korea.
Maj. Gen. Earle E. Partridge, who was commander, 5th Air Force, but serving as acting commander of Far East Air Forces (FEAF), ordered wing commanders to prepare for air evacuation of US citizens from South Korea. He increased aerial surveillance of Tsushima Strait between Korea and Japan. The 20th Air Force placed two squadrons of the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing (FIW) on air defense alert in Japan.
June 26: North Koreans captured Chunchon, Pochon, and Tongduchon, South Korea. The US Seventh Fleet sailed north from the Philippines. South Korea requested 10 F-51s from the US Air Force to supplement the South Korean air force’s AT-6s and liaison-type airplanes. In continued preparation for air evacuation of US citizens from Korea, FEAF traded C-54s for C-47s from all over the Far East, because the latter could land on smaller airfields.
USAF SB-17 aircraft provided rescue cover for the initial evacuation by sea of US citizens from Seoul. Beginning in the early morning, 682 people boarded the Norwegian merchant ship Reinholte, which finally left Inchon Harbor at 4:30 p.m., bound for Sasebo, Japan.
F-82G Twin Mustang fighters of the 68th Fighter All-Weather Squadron (FAWS) provided air cover for freighters, including the Reinholte. Fifth Air Force also flew escort and surveillance sorties, some over the straits between Japan and Korea and some over the Seoul area.
June 27: The UN Security Council called on all UN members to aid South Korea. President Truman directed US air and sea forces to assist South Korea, and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Commander in Chief, Far East Command, ordered FEAF to attack North Korean units south of the 38th parallel. Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, commander, FEAF, who was in the United States when the war broke out, returned to Japan. (Partridge then served as acting FEAF vice commander until July 7.) FEAF used Kimpo airfield, near Seoul, and Suwon airfield, some 20 miles south of Seoul, for emergency air evacuation of 748 persons to Japan on C-54s, C-47s, and C-46s. Cargo aircraft assigned to the 374th Troop Carrier Wing (TCW) and FEAF headquarters accomplished the airlift, escorted by F-82s, F-80 jet fighters, and B-26 light bombers.
Fifth Air Force embarked on a mission to establish air superiority over South Korea, partially to prevent the North Korean air force from attacking South Korean forces and to protect evacuation forces. When North Korean aircraft appeared over Kimpo and Suwon airfields, the USAF aircraft flying air cover engaged the enemy in the first air battle of the war. Maj. James W. Little, commander, 339th FAWS, fired the first shot. Lt. William G. Hudson, 68th FAWS, flying an F-82, with Lt. Carl Fraser as his radar observer, scored the first aerial victory. In all, six USAF pilots shot down over Kimpo seven North Korean propeller-driven fighters, the highest number of USAF aerial victories in one day for all of 1950.
Fifth Air Force B-26s, flying from Ashiya AB, Japan, attacked enemy targets in South Korea in the evening, but bad weather made the raids ineffective. Fifth Air Force established an advance echelon at Itazuke AB, Japan, and moved B-26s to Ashiya and RF-80s to Itazuke for missions in Korea. The 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing (FBW) organized a composite unit of USAF and South Korean airmen at Taegu airfield, South Korea, to fly F-51D Mustangs.
June 28: North Koreans captured Seoul, forcing the South Korean government to move to Taejon. Enemy forces also occupied nearby Kimpo airfield and, on the east coast, Mukho naval base below Kangnung. North Korean Yaks strafed Suwon airfield, destroying one B-26 and one F-82.
In the first USAF airstrikes of the Korean War, more than 20 B-26s of the 3rd Bombardment Group (BG) attacked Munsan railroad yards near the 38th parallel and rail and road traffic between Seoul and the North Korean border. One, heavily damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire, crashed on its return to Ashiya, killing all aboard. Flying from Kadena AB, Okinawa, the 19th BG, in the first B-29 medium bomber strikes of the Korean War, attacked a railroad bridge and targets of opportunity such as tanks, trucks, and supply columns along North Korean invasion routes.
Bad weather over Japan limited 5th Air Force sorties, but 18 fighters flew close air support and interdiction missions. More than 30 F-80s from Itazuke escorted C-54s and B-26s flying between Japan and Suwon. First Lt. Bryce Poe II, in an RF-80A, flew USAF’s first jet combat reconnaissance mission, photographing the NKA advance elements and reporting clearing weather over the front in Korea. C-54s and C-47s flew out the last of 851 US citizens evacuated by air from South Korea. FEAF transports airlifted 150 tons of ammunition from Tachikawa AB, Japan, to Suwon.
June 29: North Korean forces captured Kapyong and massed on the north shore of the Han River. Heavy fighting raged in the Kimpo area. North Korean aircraft bombed and strafed Suwon airfield, destroying a C-54 on the ground. The 21st Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS) moved from Clark AB in the Philippines to Tachikawa AB.
MacArthur directed Stratemeyer to concentrate air attacks on the Han River bridges and North Korean troops massing north of the river. B-26s attacked the bridges, and 5th Air Force F-80s patrolled the Han River area. F-82s from the 86th FAWS, using jettisonable fuel tanks, attacked with napalm for the first time in the war. Pilots of the 35th and 80th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons (FBS) shot down five North Korean airplanes that were attacking Suwon airfield. Eight B-29s of the 19th BG attacked enemy-held Kimpo airfield and the Seoul railroad station, reportedly killing a large number of enemy troops. As the medium bombers turned toward Kadena, enemy aircraft attacked the formation, enabling B-29 gunners to shoot down, for the first time in the war, one of the opponent’s airplanes.
MacArthur authorized FEAF attacks on airfields in North Korea. In the first USAF attack on North Korea, 18 B-26s of the 3rd BG attacked Heijo airfield near Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, claiming up to 25 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. The 8th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS) began photographic reconnaissance of North Korean airfields. Using RB-29 aircraft, the 31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS) (Photographic) also started operations over Korea from Yokota AB, Japan.
June 30: President Truman ordered the use of US ground troops in Korea and a naval blockade of North Korea. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) No. 77 Squadron arrived in Korea to support 5th Air Force, to which it was subsequently attached. North Korean forces reached Samchock on the east coast and in the west crossed the Han River, threatening Suwon airfield. FEAF began evacuation of the airfield and authorized improvement of Kumhae airfield, 11 miles northwest of Pusan, to compensate for the presumed loss of Kimpo and Suwon. The first 5th Air Force Tactical Air Control Parties (TACPs) arrived at Suwon. B-26s from the 3rd BG strafed, bombed, and rocketed enemy troops and traffic in the Seoul area. One flight hit a stalled enemy column. Fifteen B-29s attacked railroad bridges, tanks, trucks, and troop concentrations on the north bank of the Han River in the Seoul area.
July 1: North Korean forces occupied Suwon, denying FEAF use of its airstrip. The 374th TCW began airlifting the US Army 24th Infantry Division, the first US troops to enter Korea since the war began, from Itazuke to Pusan. Fifth Air Force gained operational control of the RAAF No. 77 Squadron.
July 3: FEAF continued to airlift US Army troops to Korea but substituted smaller C-46s and C-47s for C-54s, which damaged the Pusan runways. Pilots of four F-80s on the first mission with external rockets reported excessive drag that shortened their range.
July 5: A Joint Operations Center opened at Taejon to provide better close air support for US ground forces, which, near Osan, battled, for the first time, North Korean troops.
July 6: In the first strategic air attacks of the war, nine B-29s bombed the Rising Sun oil refinery at Wonsan and a chemical plant at Hungnam in North Korea. B-26s hitting advancing enemy armored columns reported six to 10 tanks destroyed.
July 7: Partridge resumed active command of 5th Air Force. The UN Security Council established the UN Command, designated the United States as executive agent for prosecuting the Korean War, and requested that the US President appoint a UN Commander. The RAAF No. 77 Squadron, representing Australia’s contribution to airpower in the theater, was attached to FEAF.
July 8: President Truman designated MacArthur as Commander in Chief of UN forces in the Korean Theater. FEAF organized Bomber Command (Provisional) at Yokota, with Maj. Gen. Emmett O’Donnell Jr. as commander. Lt. Oliver Duerksen and Lt. Frank Chermak provided from radio-equipped jeeps the first forward air control to direct air-to-ground attacks in the Korean War.
July 9: Forward air controllers began using L-5G and L-17 liaison airplanes to direct F-80 airstrikes in support of ground forces.
July 10: Carefully timing airstrikes to coincide with the departure of USAF counterair patrols for refueling, four enemy Yaks bombed and strafed the USA 19th Infantry Regiment at Chongju. The 5th Air Force began using T-6 trainer aircraft for forward air control missions, because liaison airplanes were not fast enough to elude enemy fire. F-80s caught an enemy convoy stopped at a bombed-out bridge near Pyongtaek. Along with B-26s and F-82s, they attacked the convoy and claimed destruction of 117 trucks, 38 tanks, and seven half-tracks.
July 12: Four Military Air Transport Service airplanes arrived in Japan from the United States carrying 58 large 3.5-inch rocket launchers (bazookas) and shaped charges desperately needed to destroy North Korean tanks. Enemy fighters shot down one B-29, one B-26, and one L-4, the first North Korean aerial victories. In its first mission, the 92nd BG, flying from its base at Yokota, bombed the Seoul marshaling yards.
July 13: Forty-nine FEAF Bomber Command B-29s from the 22nd BG and the 92nd BG bombed marshaling yards and an oil refinery at Wonsan, North Korea. The 3rd Air Rescue Squadron (ARS) began flying SB-17 aircraft off the Korean coast to drop rescue boats to downed B-29 crews. Advancing enemy troops forced the airborne control function to move southeastward from Taejon to Taegu. Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, commander, Eighth Army in Korea, assumed command of all US ground forces in Korea.
July 14: The 35th Fighter-Interceptor Group (FIG), moving from Japan to a new airfield at Pohang, became the first USAF fighter group to be based in South Korea during the war. The 6132nd Tactical Air Control Group (Provisional), the first tactical air control unit in the war, activated at Taegu under Col. Joseph D. Lee. It provided forward, ground-based air control for aircraft providing close air support of UN forces. A 5th Air Force-Eighth Army Joint Operations Center began to function at Taegu, and 5th Air Force activated its advance headquarters at Itazuke.
July 15: Carrier aircraft on missions over Korea began to report to the Joint Operations Center at Taegu. The 51st Fighter Squadron (FS) (Provisional) at Taegu flew the first F-51 Mustang combat missions in Korea. A 5th Air Force operation order assigned “Mosquito” call signs to airborne controllers in T-6 airplanes, and the name became the identifier for the aircraft.
July 17: Three B-29s accidentally bombed friendly civilians in Andong, South Korea, illustrating the dangers of using B-29s on close air support missions.
July 18: The 19th BG modified some B-29s for the use of radio-guided bombs (razon) to enable them to bomb bridges more accurately.
July 19: In a dogfight near Taejon, 5th Air Force F-80s shot down three enemy Yaks, the highest daily number of aerial victories this month. In the campaign to establish air superiority in the theater, seven F-80s of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group (FBG), led by Lt. Col. William T. Samways, destroyed 15 enemy airplanes on the ground near Pyongyang.
July 20: Despite FEAF close air support, the NKA took Taejon, forcing the remnants of the USA 24th Infantry Division to withdraw to the southeast. US ground forces defending Taejon had suffered, in seven days, almost 30 percent casualties. Maj. Gen. Otto P. Weyland arrived in the Far East to assume the position of FEAF vice commander for operations. Fifth Air Force pilots in F-80s shot down two more enemy aircraft, the last aerial victories until November. Enemy air opposition by this time had virtually disappeared, a sign of UN air superiority.
July 22: The US Navy aircraft carrier USS Boxer arrived in Japan with 145 USAF F-51s aboard. The 3rd ARS deployed the first H-5 helicopter in Korea to Taegu.
July 23: The 6132nd Tactical Air Control Group (Provisional) established a Tactical Air Control Center adjacent to the Joint Operations Center at Taegu.
July 24: Fifth Air Force moved its advance headquarters from Japan to Taegu, locating it next to Eighth Army headquarters in Korea for ease of communication and coordination. FEAF established the advance headquarters as 5th Air Force in Korea. The UN Command was formally established in Tokyo, commanded by MacArthur, who assigned responsibility for ground action in Korea to Eighth Army commander Walker; naval action to Vice Adm. C. Turner Joy, commander, Naval Forces, Far East; and air action to Stratemeyer, commander, FEAF.
July 28: The first amphibious SA-16 Albatross aircraft arrived in Japan for air rescue service off the Korean coast.
July 30: Forty-seven B-29s bombed the Chosen nitrogen explosives factory at Hungnam on the east coast of North Korea.
July 31: As North Korean troops continued to advance, Walker ordered UN forces to withdraw to a new defensive line along the Naktong River.
Aug. 1: The 6147th Tactical Control Squadron (Airborne) was established at Taegu for forward air control operations with T-6 aircraft. Forty-six B-29s of the 22nd and 92nd BGs bombed the Chosen nitrogen fertilizer factory at Hungnam, the largest chemical plant in the Far East.
Aug. 2-3: In response to an Eighth Army request, the 374th Troop Carrier Group (TCG) airlifted 300,000 pounds of equipment and supplies from Ashiya to Korea in 24 hours, a new airlift record for the war.
Aug. 3: The 18th FBG headquarters moved from Japan to Taegu for expanded F-51 operations. SA-16 amphibious rescue aircraft began flying sorties along the Korean coast to retrieve US pilots forced down during operations.
Aug. 4: B-29 attacks against key bridges north of the 38th parallel initiated FEAF Interdiction Campaign No. 1.
Aug. 5: Maj. Louis J. Sebille, commander, 67th FBS, dived his damaged F-51 into an enemy position. For this action he posthumously received the first Medal of Honor awarded to a USAF member in Korea. In the first SA-16 rescue operation of the war, Capt. Charles E. Shroder led a crew in saving a Navy pilot who had crashed into the sea off the Korean coast.
Aug. 6: FEAF began nightly visual reconnaissance of enemy supply routes.
Aug. 7: The 98th BG flew its first mission in the Korean War shortly after 20 of its B-29s landed at Yokota. The 822nd Engineer Aviation Battalion completed the first phase of new runway construction, which allowed expanded USAF operations at Taegu.
Aug. 8: The enemy threat to Taegu forced the 18th FBG to evacuate to Ashiya. The 307th BG, newly based in Okinawa, flew its first mission.
Aug. 10: The US Air Force called up two Reserve units, the 437th TCW and the 452nd Bombardment Wing (BW), for Korean War service. Forty-six B-29s of the 22nd, 92nd, and 98th BGs hit an oil refinery and railroad shops at Wonsan, North Korea.
Aug. 11: C-119 Flying Boxcars began airlifting trucks from Tachikawa AB in Japan to Taegu.
Aug. 12: USN Task Force 77 stopped close air support and interdiction strikes in South Korea and moved up Korea’s west coast to attack interdiction targets in North Korea, leaving all air attacks in South Korea to FEAF. More than 40 B-29s attacked the port of Rashin in northeastern Korea, near the border of the Soviet Union.
Aug. 13: Endangered by the NKA advance to Pohang, two squadrons of F-51s in the 35th FIG moved from nearby Yonil airfield in South Korea to Tsuiki AB, Japan.
Aug. 16: Because of the enemy threat to Taegu, the advance 5th Air Force headquarters moved to Pusan. Ninety-eight B-29s carpet-bombed suspected enemy troop concentrations in a 27-square-mile area near Waegwan northwest of Taegu. The Superfortresses dropped more than 800 tons of 500-pound bombs in the largest employment of airpower in direct support of ground forces since the Normandy invasion of World War II. Subsequent reconnaissance showed little destruction of enemy troops or equipment, because they had already left the area.
Aug. 19: US troops, aided by airstrikes, drove North Korean forces in the Yongsan bridgehead back across the Naktong River, ending the Battle of the Naktong Bulge. Sixty-three B-29s attacked the industrial and port area of Chongjin in northeastern Korea. Nine Superfortresses of the 19th BG dropped 54 tons of 1,000-pound bombs on the west railway bridge at Seoul, called the “elastic bridge” because repeated air attacks had failed to bring it down. Thirty-seven USN dive bombers from two aircraft carriers followed up the USAF attack. Aerial reconnaissance the next day revealed that two spans had collapsed.
Aug. 19-20: Partridge moved the Joint Operations Center from Taegu to Pusan because of enemy advances.
Aug. 22: Anti-aircraft gunners fired from across the Yalu River at RB-29s reconnoitering the border, the first hostile Chinese action against UN aircraft.
Aug. 23: MacArthur set Sept. 15 as the date to invade Inchon. The 19th BG flew the first razon mission, but with the exception of one bomb that hit the railroad bridge west of Pyongyang, the World War II-era control equipment failed to guide the bombs to the target.
Aug. 25: FEAF directed 5th Air Force to maintain constant armed surveillance of enemy airfields to prevent enemy buildup of air strength before the Inchon invasion.
Aug. 26: Fifth Air Force organized the 47th and 48th TCSs (Provisional) at Tachikawa with C-46s from all over the Far East theater to augment FEAF airlift resources for UN offensives planned for September. At Ashiya, FEAF organized the 1st Troop Carrier Task Force (Provisional) as the nucleus of the new Combat Cargo Command (Provisional). Maj. Gen. William H. Tunner, architect of the Hump airlift of World War II and the Berlin airlift, 1948-49, assumed command of Combat Cargo Command.
Aug. 27: Two USAF Mustang pilots accidentally strayed into China and strafed an airstrip near Antung, mistaking it for a North Korean airstrip at Sinuiju. The Chinese exploited the incident to the fullest for propaganda and diplomatic purposes. The 92nd BG sent 24 B-29s to Kyomipo to bomb the largest iron and steel plant in Korea. FEAF experimented with delayed action bombs to discourage enemy repairs on bridges.
Aug. 30: Before dawn an experimental B-29 flare mission illuminated the Han River in the Seoul area for a B-26 strike on an elusive enemy pontoon bridge, but it could not be found. B-26s attacked the permanent bridge.
Aug. 31: After a 10-day lull in the ground fighting, North Korean forces launched a coordinated offensive against the entire Pusan Perimeter. Fifth Air Force provided close air support for the defending UN troops. Seventy-four B-29s bombed mining facilities, metal industries, and marshaling yards at Chinnampo in the largest strategic bombing mission of the month. Among the targets were aluminum and magnesium plants.
Sept. 1: Fifth Air Force strafed and dropped napalm and bombs on NKA troops and armored columns attacking along the Naktong River front. Carrier-based aircraft from USN Task Force 77 also provided close air support to the perimeter defenders. The 21st TCS dropped rations and ammunition to US troops temporarily cut off by the enemy thrusts. MacArthur directed Stratemeyer to use all available FEAF airpower, including B-29s, to help Eighth Army hold the Pusan Perimeter, the southeast corner of the Korean peninsula that South Korea still controlled.
Sept. 3: Task Force 77 withdrew its aircraft carriers from the Pusan area for replenishment at sea and movement north to strike communications targets, leaving all close air support responsibility with FEAF.
Sept. 4: In the first H-5 helicopter rescue of a downed US pilot from behind enemy lines in Korea, at Hanggan-dong, Lt. Paul W. Van Boven saved Capt. Robert E. Wayne. Three squadrons of C-119 Flying Boxcars arrived at Ashiya for use in the Korean War.
Sept. 6: As North Korean forces approached Taegu, Eighth Army headquarters withdrew to Pusan. Col. Aaron Tyler, airfield commander at Taegu, began moving the remaining aircraft, including the T-6 Mosquitoes of the 6147th Tactical Control Squadron, southward to Pusan.
Sept. 7: FEAF Bomber Command attacked the iron works at Chongjin in the extreme northeast of North Korea, employing 24 B-29s of the 22nd BG.
Sept. 8: The 18th FBG, which had departed Korea a month earlier, returned from Japan, settling at Pusan East (Tongnae).
Sept. 9: North Korean forces attacking southeast of Hajang reached a point only eight miles from Taegu, their farthest penetration on the western front. FEAF Bomber Command began a rail interdiction campaign north of Seoul to slow enemy reinforcements that might counter the UN Inchon landing. In this campaign, the medium bombers combined attacks on marshaling yards with raids to cut rails at multiple points along key routes.
Sept. 10: As a result of the USN Task Force 77’s unexpected withdrawal from close air support of Eighth Army on Sept. 3, Stratemeyer persuaded MacArthur to direct that all close air support requests must be routed through 5th Air Force. If 5th Air Force lacked resources to meet the requests, they were to be forwarded to FEAF headquarters for coordination with the commander, Naval Forces, Far East.
Sept. 13: Typhoon Kezia hit southern Japan, hampering FEAF operations and forcing some aircraft to move temporarily to Pusan and Taegu.
Sept. 15: US Marines invaded Wolmi-do in Inchon Harbor at dawn, occupying the island in less than an hour. The main US Army X Corps landings at Inchon occurred at high tide, in the afternoon, after a 45-minute naval and air bombardment. USN and US Marine Corps aircraft from carriers provided air cover during the amphibious assault. At the same time, FEAF air raids in South Korea prepared the way for the planned Eighth Army advance from the Pusan Perimeter.
Sept. 16: US forces secured Inchon and began moving toward Seoul. From the vicinity of Taegu, Eighth Army launched its long-awaited offensive.
Sept. 17: US Marines captured Kimpo airfield near Seoul. To support the Eighth Army offensive, 5th Air Force F-51s and F-80s flew napalm attacks, reportedly killing more than 1,200 enemy soldiers in Tabu-dong, Yongchon, and other strongholds near the Naktong River. FEAF began a week of dropping 4 million psychological warfare leaflets.
Sept. 18: Forty-two B-29s of the 92nd and 98th BGs carpet-bombed two 500-by-5,000-yard areas near Waegwan. The 1,600 bombs effectively destroyed enemy troop concentrations blocking the Eighth Army offensive.
Sept. 19: Combat Cargo Command began an airlift to Kimpo. Thirty-two C-54s landed with equipment and supplies for ground troops. Supported by 5th Air Force close air support missions, the 24th Infantry Division began crossing the Naktong River near Waegwan, and 1st Cavalry Division broke through Communist lines.
Sept. 20: Combat Cargo Command expanded its airlift into Kimpo into an around-the-clock operation by using night-lighting equipment it had transported the previous day. US Marines entered the outskirts of Seoul. To destroy enemy reinforcements, B-29s attacked three separate barracks areas in and near Pyongyang.
Sept. 21: USAF forward air controllers in T-6 Mosquitoes, equipped with air-to-ground radios, spotted about 30 enemy tanks preparing to ambush the advancing 24th Infantry Division. They called USAF aircraft and USA ground artillery, which destroyed 14 enemy tanks and forced the rest to flee. Combat Cargo Command C-54s began airlifting supplies, including 65 tons of rations and ammunition to newly captured Suwon airfield south of Seoul. C-119s initiated airdrops of food and ammunition to front-line UN troops.
Sept. 22: North Korean resistance crumbled all along the Pusan Perimeter. Lt. George W. Nelson, a USAF pilot in a Mosquito aircraft, dropped a note to 200 enemy troops northeast of Kunsan demanding their surrender. They complied, moving to a designated hill to be captured by nearby UN ground troops. B-29s dropped flares over rail lines, allowing B-26s to attack enemy trains at night.
Sept. 23: Headquarters 5th Air Force in Korea moved from Pusan to Taegu. In the first recorded special operations mission of the war, SB-17 aircraft of 3rd ARS made a classified flight in Korea.
Sept. 25: FEAF flew flare missions over Seoul all night to allow USMC night fighters to attack North Korean troops fleeing the city. Combat Cargo Command landed a battalion of 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team paratroopers at Kimpo to guard US Army X Corps’ northern flank as it moved out from Inchon.
Sept. 26: US military forces from Inchon and Pusan linked up near Osan, while South Korean troops with 5th Air Force support moved northward along the east coast toward the 38th parallel. Twenty B-29s of the 22nd BG bombed a munitions factory at Haeju, destroying the power plant and five related buildings. Other B-29s belonging to the 92nd BG raided the Pujon hydroelectric plant near Hungnam. These attacks marked the end of the first strategic bombing campaign against North Korea. Fifth Air Force organized the provisional 543rd Tactical Support Group at Taegu to manage tactical reconnaissance squadrons in Korea.
Sept. 27: US Marines drove enemy forces from Seoul and took control of the capital building. More than 100 Communist troops, each carrying a “safe conduct pass” that B-29s had dropped, surrendered to US forces near Seoul. The Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered MacArthur to destroy the NKA, a move that involved crossing the 38th parallel into North Korea. Only South Korean troops were to be allowed by the UN Command in provinces bordering China and the Soviet Union. The Joint Chiefs of Staff also canceled further strategic bombing of North Korea. Combat Cargo Command finished airlifting 187th Airborne Regimental Command Team paratroopers to Kimpo.
Sept. 28: South Korean troops advanced into North Korea for the first time. MacArthur officially restored Seoul to South Korean President Syngman Rhee. The first jet fighter squadron to operate from a base in Korea, the 7th FBS moved from Itazuke to Taegu. Three RB-45 Tornadoes, the first jet reconnaissance aircraft in the USAF inventory, arrived in the Far East.
Oct. 2: In an effort to crush NKA reinforcements, 22 Bomber Command B-29s attacked a North Korean military training area at Nanam, destroying 75 percent of the buildings. The 8th TRS moved from Itazuke to Taegu, to become the first USAF day reconnaissance squadron stationed in Korea.
Oct. 3: In a message to the Indian ambassador, China warned that it would send troops to defend North Korea if non-Korean UN troops moved north of the 38th parallel.
Oct. 4: FEAF gained operational control of all land-based aircraft in Korea, including USMC squadrons at Kimpo. Anticipating the acquisition of enemy air installations, FEAF stopped most attacks on airfields south of the 40th parallel. The South African air force No. 2 Squadron, the Union of South Africa’s contribution to UN airpower, arrived in the theater and was attached to FEAF.
Oct. 6: The US Air Force took charge of Kimpo airfield, which the US Marine Corps had commanded since its capture. Eighteen B-29s attacked an enemy arsenal at Kan-ni, North Korea. FEAF issued a new interdiction plan canceling attacks on bridges south of Pyongyang and Wonsan.
Oct. 7: The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution authorizing MacArthur to move into North Korea. For the first time, US troops crossed the 38th parallel. USAF airplanes dropped food to a group of 150 former POWs who had escaped during the North Korean retreat.
Oct. 8: Two F-80s accidentally strafed a Soviet airfield near Vladivostok, USSR, on the coast northeast of the Korean border. Stratemeyer removed the group commander, reassigning him to FEAF headquarters, and instituted a court-martial of the two pilots. Razon bomb missions resumed after more reliable radio-guided bombs arrived from the US. The 162nd TRS moved from Itazuke to Taegu, becoming the first night reconnaissance squadron stationed in Korea.
Oct. 10: A 3rd ARS H-5 crew administered, for the first time while a helicopter was in flight, blood plasma to a rescued pilot. The crew members received Silver Stars for this action.
Oct. 12: Combat Cargo Command began an airlift of South Korean military supplies to Wonsan, which South Korean forces had captured two days earlier. It also began transporting 600 tons of bridge sections to Kimpo airfield.
Oct. 14: Two Communist aircraft raided Inchon Harbor and Kimpo airfield. FEAF suspected they had come from Sinuiju, North Korea, on the Chinese border. Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) troops began to enter North Korea from Manchuria.
Oct. 15: MacArthur, in a meeting with President Truman on Wake Island, predicted that the war would be over by Christmas and China would not intervene. CCF anti-aircraft artillery for the first time shot down an F-51 over the Yalu River near Sinuiju. Headquarters 5th Air Force in Korea opened in Seoul.
Oct. 17: Just one day after the capture of Sinmak, less than 50 miles southeast of Pyongyang, Combat Cargo Command began airlifting fuel and rations there to sustain a UN offensive toward the North Korean capital. The command also began aeromedical evacuations from Sinmak to Kimpo.
Oct. 18: An RB-29 reconnaissance crew spotted more than 75 fighters at Antung’s airfield in China, just across the Yalu River from North Korea, suggesting that Communist China might intervene in the war.
Oct. 19: After a battle at Hukkyori, some 10 miles south of the North Korean capital, UN forces entered Pyongyang. Fifth Air Force fighters provided crucial air support to US 1st Cavalry Division troops during this battle.
Oct. 20: Combat Cargo Command dropped the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team 30 miles north of Pyongyang. Seventy-one C-119s and 40 C-47s participated in the operation, dropping more than 2,800 troops and 300 tons of equipment and supplies at Sukchon and Sunchon. The command also began airlifting Eighth Army supplies to Pyongyang.
Oct. 21: UN forces from Pyongyang linked up with the 187th paratroopers in the Sukchon and Sunchon areas. H-5s of 3rd ARS evacuated some 35 paratroopers in the first use of a helicopter in support of an airborne operation. H-5s also evacuated seven American POWs from the area. A C-47 equipped with loudspeakers persuaded some 500 enemy troops hiding in houses south of Kunmori to surrender. Combat Cargo Command began aeromedical evacuations from Pyongyang.
Oct. 23: The cargo command concluded its fourth consecutive day of airlift for the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. Flying Boxcars had air-dropped almost 4,000 troops and nearly 600 tons of materiel, including jeeps, trucks, and howitzers.
Oct. 24: MacArthur removed restrictions on how far US troops could move into North Korea, giving them permission to go all the way to the Chinese border.
Oct. 25: FEAF Bomber Command temporarily quit flying combat missions for lack of B-29 targets in Korea. FEAF removed all restrictions on close air support missions near the Yalu River, allowing fighter operations all the way to the Chinese border. Combat Cargo Command set a new daily record by airlifting 1,767 tons of equipment within Korea.
Oct. 26: South Korean forces reached the Yalu River along the Chinese border at Chosan in northwest Korea. Chinese forces severely savaged a South Korean battalion near Onjong. South Korean and UN troops captured the first CCF troops. Combat Cargo Command C-119s dropped supplies to friendly ground troops cut off in North Korea, delivering 28.5 tons of ammunition, fuel, and oil near Unsan, some 50 miles south of Chosan.
Oct. 27: Chinese soldiers moving into Korea attacked the South Korean 6th Infantry Division near the Yalu River. The 452nd BG flew its first B-26 combat mission in the Korean War, less than a month after it was called to active duty in the United States.
Oct. 29: C-47s made aeromedical flights from newly captured Sinanju, North Korea, the northernmost Korean airfield FEAF aircraft ever used. Sinanju was located at the mouth of the Chongchon River, some 40 miles north of Pyongyang.
Nov. 1: Three Yak fighters attacked USAF airplanes, including a B-26, over northwestern North Korea. The B-26 crew claimed one Yak, and two F-51 pilots shot down the other two enemy aircraft, scoring the first aerial victories since July. F-80s attacked Sinuiju airfield, destroying several Yak fighters on the ground, but anti-aircraft artillery located across the Yalu River shot down a FEAF jet. Later that day, six MiG-15 jets appeared for the first time in the war and fired on a T-6 and a flight of F-51 Mustangs in the Yalu River area. A regiment of the USA 1st Cavalry Division experienced a strong CCF attack in the first encounter of the war between US and Chinese ground forces.
Nov. 2: FEAF flew the first RB-45 Tornado jet reconnaissance mission in the war.
Nov. 3: In the face of strong CCF attacks, Walker ordered the bulk of Eighth Army to withdraw to the Chongchon River for regrouping and resupply.
Nov. 4: B-26s providing close support for Eighth Army attacked enemy troops near Chongju, killing an estimated 500 soldiers and providing hard-pressed US troops some relief.
Nov. 5: Bomber Command began incendiary bomb attacks on North Korean cities and towns. Twenty-one B-29s of the 19th BG dropped 170 tons of fire bombs on Kanggye, located less than 20 miles south of the Chinese border. The attack destroyed 65 percent of the town’s center.
Nov. 8: In the largest incendiary raid of the Korean War, 70 Superfortresses dropped some 580 tons of fire bombs on Sinuiju on the Chinese border. Other B-29s attacked bridges over the Yalu River for the first time. When MiG-15s challenged F-80s flying in the same area, Lt. Russell J. Brown, 16th FIS, shot down a MiG to score the first jet-to-jet aerial victory in history.
Nov. 9: A 91st SRS gunner, Sgt. Harry J. Levene, scored the first B-29 jet victory of the Korean War, destroying an attacking MiG-15. The damaged RB-29 limped back to Japan, but five crewmen died in the crash landing.
Nov. 10: MiG-15s near the Yalu River shot down a B-29 for the first time. The crew, assigned to the 307th BG, parachuted behind enemy lines and became POWs. Less than 36 hours after its arrival in Japan, the 437th TCW began airlifting cargo on C-46s to Korea.
Nov. 13: UN forces of X Corps, based in Hungnam, North Korea, began moving northward, with a regiment of the US 1st Marine Division advancing into the Changjin Reservoir area.
Nov. 14: Fifteen MiG-15s attacked 18 B-29s bombing the bridges at Sinuiju and damaged two.
Nov. 18: For the first time, a USAF fighter group moved to North Korea. The 35th FIG, which had also been the first fighter group based in South Korea, settled at Yonpo airfield, near Hungnam.
Nov. 19: In the first massed light bomber attack of the Korean War, 50 B-26s from Japan dropped incendiary bombs on Musan, North Korea, on the Tumen River border with China. The attack destroyed 75 percent of the town’s barracks area.
Nov. 20: Combat Cargo Command air-dropped rations and gasoline at Kapsan, some 20 miles south of the Yalu River, to supply the 7th Infantry Division, the US ground unit advancing the farthest north during the war.
Nov. 24: To support the UN offensive beginning this day, B-29s attacked North Korean communications and supply centers and Yalu River bridges, while 5th Air Force fighters intensified close air support missions, and Combat Cargo Command air-dropped ammunition to front-line troops.
Nov. 25: Chinese Communist Forces launched a major offensive and, with almost double the number of MacArthur’s US troops, stopped the UN offensive completely. The Royal Hellenic air force detachment, a C-47 transport unit representing Greece’s airpower contribution to the war, arrived in the Far East and was attached to FEAF.
Nov. 26: USAF B-26s flew their first close air support night missions under TACP direction. The 3rd BG flew 67 B-26 missions along Eighth Army’s bomb line in a five-hour period. Still, the enemy drove Eighth Army in northwest Korea and X Corps in northeast Korea southward.
Nov. 28: Combat Cargo Command began a two-week airlift of supplies to US troops, whom the Chinese had surrounded in the Changjin Reservoir area. From Yonpo, North Korea, the 35th FIG flew intense close air support missions for the encircled forces. For the first time, B-26s, using a more accurate radar than previously, bombed within 1,000 yards of the front line. A small Communist aircraft bombed US-held Pyongyang airfield, badly damaging 11 P-51 Mustangs on the ground. MacArthur informed Washington that he faced “an entirely new war.”
Dec. 1: USS Cape Esperance arrived in Japan with F-86 fighters of the 4th FIW. Fifth Air Force headquarters moved from Nagoya, Japan, to Seoul, and its newly activated 314th Air Division assumed responsibility for the air defense of Japan. In the first prolonged MiG attack of the war, six MiG-15s engaged three B-29s for six minutes, damaging them considerably despite the F-80 escorts. Combat Cargo Command evacuated about 1,500 UN casualties from the Pyongyang area.
Dec. 3: US troops from the Changjin Reservoir area fought their way to Hagaru-ri, while a relief column from Hungnam fought its way toward them, reaching Koto-ri, about seven miles away. Communist troops prevented the two groups from linking and encircled them both, forcing them to rely on airlift for resupply.
Dec. 4: MiG-15s shot down one of the three USAF Tornado reconnaissance aircraft in the theater, making the first successful jet bomber interception in airpower history.
Dec. 5: UN forces abandoned Pyongyang, which they had held since Oct. 19. Greek C-47s joined the Combat Cargo Command airlift to supply UN troops surrounded in northeastern Korea. The command evacuated 3,925 patients from Korea to Japan in the biggest day of the war for aeromedical airlift. Transports flew most of these from a frozen airstrip at Hagaru-ri. USAF suspended attacks on the Yalu River bridges because enemy forces were crossing the frozen river on the ice.
Dec. 6: The 27th Fighter Escort Wing (FEW), a Strategic Air Command unit from Bergstrom AFB, Tex., began flying combat operations from Taegu, introducing F-84 Thunderjet fighters to the war.
Dec. 7: FEAF B-29s bombed North Korean towns in the Changjin Reservoir area to relieve enemy pressure on US Marine and Army units attempting to break out from Hagaru-ri and Koto-ri. Troops in those two locations finally linked and built crude airstrips that allowed Combat Cargo Command airplanes to land food and ammunition and to evacuate casualties. Eight C-119s dropped bridge spans to the surrounded US troops so that they could cross a 1,500-foot-deep gorge to break the enemy encirclement. This was the first air-dropped bridge in the history of warfare.
Dec. 10: A two-week Combat Cargo Command airlift for surrounded US troops in northeastern Korea concluded after delivering 1,580 tons of supplies and equipment and moving almost 5,000 sick and wounded troops. Participating airlift units conducted 350 C-119 and C-47 flights.
Dec. 11: The X Corps began loading on ships in Hungnam Harbor.
Dec. 14: As Chinese forces approached, Combat Cargo Command began an aerial evacuation from Yonpo airfield near Hamhung. A FEAF airplane dropped the first tarzon bomb to be used in Korea on a tunnel near Huichon, with limited effectiveness. The tarzon bomb was a six-ton version of the razon bomb, but generally it did not live up to expectations.
Dec. 15: The 4th FIG inaugurated F-86 Sabrejet operations in Korea. Bomber Command launched its first mission in a new zone interdiction plan. South Korean forces completed their withdrawal from Wonsan, North Korea, and Eighth Army withdrew below the 38th parallel.
Dec. 17: Lt. Col. Bruce H. Hinton, 4th FIG, scored the first F-86 aerial victory over a MiG-15 on the first day Sabres encountered Communist jets. Combat Cargo Command abandoned Yonpo airfield to Communist forces, having transported in four days 228 patients, 3,891 other passengers, and 20,088 tons of cargo.
Dec. 20: Twelve C-54s of the 61st TCG airlifted 806 South Korean orphans from Kimpo to Cheju-Do off the South Korean coast in Operation Christmas Kidlift.
Dec. 22: One USN and five USAF pilots shot down six MiG-15s, the highest daily FEAF aerial victory credit total for the month and the highest since June. A MiG-15 shot down an F-86 for the first time. Headquarters 5th Air Force, Eighth Army in Korea headquarters, and the Joint Operations Center moved from Seoul to Taegu.
Dec. 23: Three H-5 helicopter crews with fighter cover rescued 11 US and 24 South Korean soldiers from a field eight miles behind enemy lines. Eighth Army commander Walker died in a vehicle accident north of Seoul.
Dec. 24: The X Corps completed the sea evacuation of Hungnam. More than 105,000 troops and 91,000 civilians had departed since the exodus began Dec. 11. USAF B-26s and US Navy gunfire held the enemy at bay during the night as the last ships departed. The 3rd ARS flew 35 liberated POWs from enemy territory.
Dec. 25: Chinese forces crossed the 38th parallel into South Korea.
Dec. 26: Lt. Gen. Matthew B. Ridgway, USA, took command of Eighth Army in Korea, as it absorbed X Corps.
Dec. 29: From Taegu, RF-51 aircraft began flying tactical reconnaissance missions in Korea for the first time. They had longer ranges than their RF-80 predecessors.
Dec. 31: Chinese Communist Forces in Korea launched an offensive against UN troops south of the 38th parallel. Ridgway ordered Eighth Army troops to a new defensive line 70 miles farther south.
Jan. 1: As almost half a million CCF and North Korean troops launched a new ground offensive, 5th Air Force embarked on a campaign of air raids on enemy troop columns.
Jan. 2: For the first time, a C-47 dropped flares to illuminate B-26 and F-82 night attacks on enemy forces. The flares also deterred enemy night attacks on US troops. Fifth Air Force withdrew forward-based F-86s assigned to the 4th FIW from enemy-threatened Kimpo airfield near Seoul to the wing’s home station at Johnson AB, Japan.
Jan. 3: As massive numbers of Chinese troops crossed the frozen Han River east and west of Seoul, Eighth Army began evacuating the South Korean capital. The South Korean government began moving to Pusan. In one of the largest Bomber Command air raids, more than 60 B-29s dropped 650 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. UN forces burned nearly 500,000 gallons of fuel and 23,000 gallons of napalm at Kimpo in preparation for abandoning the base to the advancing enemy. FEAF flew 958 combat sorties, a one-day record.
Jan. 4: For the third time in six months, Seoul changed hands as CCF troops moved in. The last USAF aircraft left Kimpo airfield.
Jan. 5: Fifty-nine B-29s dropped 672 tons of incendiary bombs on Pyongyang. The 18th FBG staged its final missions from Suwon. US ground troops burned the buildings at Suwon’s airfield before withdrawing.
Jan. 6: Combat Cargo Command concluded a multiday airlift of supplies to the US 2nd Infantry Division, which was fighting to prevent a break in the UN defensive line across South Korea. C-47s from 21st TCS landed 115 tons of cargo at Wonju, in central Korea, and C-119s of the 314th TCG dropped 460 tons of supplies to the division.
Jan. 8: When blizzards forced USN Task Force 77 carriers to suspend close air support missions for X Corps, 5th Air Force took up the slack. Superfortresses cratered Kimpo airfield to prevent its use by enemy aircraft. US forces in central Korea withdrew to new positions three miles south of Wonju.
Jan. 10: Continued severe winter weather forced 5th Air Force to cancel close air support missions, and FEAF flew the lowest daily total of sorties since July 1950. Brig. Gen. James E. Briggs, replaced O’Donnell as commander of Bomber Command. From now on, Strategic Air Command changed commanders of Bomber Command every four months to provide wartime experience to as many officers as possible.
Jan. 11: With improved weather, 5th Air Force and Bomber Command resumed close air support missions for X Corps in north central South Korea.
Jan. 12: After Wonju fell to Communist forces, 98th BG sent 10 B-29s to attack the occupied city. For the first time, B-29s dropped 500-pound general purpose bombs fused to burst in the air and shower enemy troops with thousands of steel fragments. The innovation slowed the enemy advance. To improve bombing precision, FEAF installed shoran (a short-range navigation system) on a B-26 for the first time.
Jan. 13: FEAF flew the first effective tarzon mission against an enemy-held bridge at Kanggye, dropping a 6-ton radio-guided bomb on the center span, destroying 58 feet of the structure.
Jan. 14: Chinese Communist Forces reached their furthest extent of advance into South Korea with the capture of Wonju.
Jan. 15: The enemy began a limited withdrawal in some areas of South Korea.
Jan. 17: A 4th FIG detachment began operating from Taegu, restoring F-86 operations in Korea. For the first time, the Sabres flew in the air-to-ground role as fighter-bombers, conducting armed reconnaissance and close air support missions. FEAF temporarily suspended tarzon bombing missions because of a shortage of the radio-guided bombs. Only three, earmarked for emergencies, remained in the theater.
Jan. 17-18: Combat Cargo Command flew an extraordinary 109 C-119 sorties to drop more than 550 tons of supplies to front-line troops in Korea.
Jan. 19: FEAF launched a 13-day intensive air campaign, by fighters, light bombers, and medium bombers, to restrict to a trickle the supplies and reinforcements reaching enemy forces in the field.
Jan. 20: After weeks of almost unbroken absence, MiGs appeared again over Korea, resulting on this date in the first encounter between USAF F-84s and CCF MiG-15s.
Jan. 21: Large numbers of MiG-15s attacked USAF jets, shooting down one F-80 and one F-84. Lt. Col. William E. Bertram of the 27th FEW shot down a MiG-15 to score the first USAF aerial victory by an F-84 Thunderjet.
Jan. 23: No other day in January saw as much air action. Thirty-three F-84s staging from Taegu attacked Sinuiju, provoking a furious half-hour air battle with MiG-15s from across the Yalu. The Thunderjets shot down three MiGs, the highest daily USAF aerial victory credit total for the month. While 46 F-80s suppressed Pyongyang’s anti-aircraft artillery, 21 B-29s cratered the enemy capital’s airfields.
Jan. 25: FEAF replaced its Combat Cargo Command (Provisional) with the 315th Air Division (Combat Cargo), which reported directly to FEAF and did not depend on 5th Air Force for administrative and logistical support.
Jan. 25-Feb. 9: Eighth Army executed Operation Thunderbolt, the first UN offensive of the year. The objectives were to clear the area south of the Han River and recapture the port of Inchon and the airfield at Suwon. To sustain this offensive, 68 C-119s in five days dropped at Chunju 1,162 tons of supplies, including fuel, oil, sleeping bags, C rations, and signal wire.
Jan. 26: FEAF flew its first C-47 “control aircraft,” loaded with enough communications equipment to connect by radio all T-6 Mosquitoes, TACP, and the Tactical Air Control Center. This was the harbinger of today’s warning and control aircraft.
Jan. 30: The first USAF aircraft to land at the recaptured Suwon airfield were C-54s of the 61st TCG, delivering 270 tons of supplies for the advancing UN forces.
Jan. 31: In the first such mission recorded during the Korean War, a special operations unit of the 21st TCS dropped a UN agent behind enemy lines near Yonan, on the west coast just south of the 38th parallel.
Feb. 4: Fifth Air Force modified some B-26s to drop flares because the flare-dropping C-47s that had accompanied B-26 night raiders had trouble keeping up with the fast bombers.
Feb. 5: As part of Operation Roundup, designed to disrupt enemy preparations for a new offensive, X Corps advanced with strong air support near Hoengsong, northeast of Wonju. Maj. Arnold Mullins, 67th FBS, in an F-51 Mustang, shot down a Yak-9 seven miles north of Pyongyang to score the only USAF aerial victory of the month. Capt. Donald Nichols was transferred from Office of Special Investigations to the intelligence section of 5th Air Force to work directly on special and clandestine operations.
Feb. 6: B-26 crews proved that the new MPQ-2 radar equipment, which provided the aircrew better definition of targets, increased the accuracy of night bombing raids. To clear up a backlog of medical patients at Chungju, 315th Air Division C-47s airlifted 343 patients to Pusan. Eight C-54s airlifted a 40-ton, 310-foot treadway bridge, in 279 pieces, from Tachikawa AB, Japan, to Taegu. In a onetime effort to demoralize CCF troops, six C-119s dropped 32 booby-trapped boxes, designed to blow up when opened, on an enemy troop concentration at Kwangdong-ni. The 91st SRS performed its first night photographic mission.
Feb. 8: FEAF, using B-29s, B-26s, and fighters, launched an all-out attack on rail lines in northeastern Korea between Hoeryong and Wonsan. Brig. Gen. John P. Henebry replaced Tunner as commander of the 315th Air Division and airlift operations in the Korean War.
Feb. 9: US troops reached the Han River seven miles east-southeast of Seoul.
Feb. 10: UN forces captured the port of Inchon and the important nearby airfield at Kimpo. Air raids had cratered the field so badly that it required extensive renovation before USAF aircraft could use it. On the east coast, South Korean troops crossed the 38th parallel and entered Yangyang.
Feb. 11/12: In central Korea some 50 miles east of Seoul, Chinese and North Korean forces attacked the South Korean 3rd and 8th Divisions north and northwest of Hoengsong and in two days captured the town, forcing the UN forces toward Wonju, a few miles to the south.
Feb. 12: FEAF cargo aircraft air-dropped supplies to the X Corps command post airstrip at Wonju. A leaflet-dropping C-47 aircraft, hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, crash-landed at Suwon. FEAF decided to launch subsequent C-47 leaflet drops at night. While B-26s attacked enemy positions at night behind the battle line by the light of air-dropped flares, two enemy aircraft used the same flare light to attack UN positions.
Feb. 13: The 315th Air Division airlifted more than 800 sick and wounded US troops from forward airstrips, such as that at Wonju, to Taegu and Pusan. This airlift used so many C-47s that they were not available for other airlift demands.
Feb. 13-16: Three CCF divisions surrounded UN troops, including members of the US 23rd Infantry Regiment and a French battalion, at a crucial road junction at Chipyong-ni in central Korea. Despite heavy enemy ground fire, 93 transports dropped some 420 tons of food and ammunition to the encircled troops. Twenty C-119s dropped supplies at night over a zone marked by burning gasoline-soaked rags. Also, H-5 helicopters delivered medical supplies to the troops and evacuated more than 40 wounded. The 5th Air Force flew close air support missions for the surrounded troops, who held out until relieved by a friendly armored column.
Feb. 16: For the first time, the US Army began using its own aircraft, the L-19 Bird Dog, for forward air control, artillery spotting, and other front-line duties, relieving 5th Air Force of demands for these types of missions.
Feb. 17/18: B-26s flew the first night bombing mission using shoran, a short-range navigation system employing an airborne radar device and two ground beacon stations for precision bombing.
Feb. 20: FEAF activated a “Special Air Mission” detachment under 315th Air Division to provide air transportation for important officials and for psychological warfare missions, for example, aerial broadcasting and leaflet drops.
Feb. 21: Eighth Army launched Operation Killer to destroy large numbers of enemy troops while moving the UN line northward to the Han River.
Feb. 23: Bomber Command flew the first B-29 mission with the more accurate MPQ-2 radar, bombing a highway bridge seven miles northeast of Seoul.
Feb. 24: The 315th Air Division dropped a record 333 tons of cargo to front-line troops, using 67 C-119s and two C-46s.
Feb. 28: UN ground forces eliminated the last Communist presence south of the Han River.
March 1: Bomber Command B-29s launched the first mission of a new interdiction campaign. Twenty-two F-80s sent to escort 18 B-29s over Kogunyong, North Korea, arrived ahead of the Superfortresses and returned to base because they were running low on fuel. MiGs attacked the unescorted B-29s, damaging 10, three of which had to land in South Korea. One B-29 gunner brought down a MiG.
March 3: A new shipment of tarzon bombs arrived in the Far East, allowing FEAF to resume raids, suspended since Jan. 17, with the large guided weapons.
March 4: Fifty-one C-119s dropped 260 tons of supplies to the 1st Marine Division in the largest airdrop of the month.
March 6: The 334th FIS used Suwon as a staging base from which F-86 Sabres began raiding the Yalu River area after being absent for months.
March 7: UN forces launched a new offensive called Operation Ripper to cross the Han River in central Korea east of Seoul, destroy large numbers of enemy troops, and break up preparations for an enemy offensive. Fifth Air Force flew more close air support missions to support the operation.
March 14: Communist forces abandoned Seoul without a fight after Ridgway’s troops seized high ground on either side of the city north of the Han River. At night B-26s began dropping specially designed tetrahedral tacks on highways to puncture the tires of enemy vehicles. They were more effective than the roofing nails dropped earlier.
March 15: UN forces entered Seoul, the fourth time the city had changed hands since the war began.
March 16: FEAF flew 1,123 effective sorties, a new daily record.
March 17: An F-80, flown by Lt. Howard J. Landry of the 36th FBS, collided with a MiG-15. Both went down with their pilots. Fifth Air Force lost no other aircraft in aerial encounters during the month.
March 20: Fifteen F-94B all-weather jet fighters arrived in the Far East for eventual service as night escorts for B-29s.
March 23: Operation Tomahawk, the second airborne operation of the war and the largest in one day, involved 120 C-119s and C-46s, escorted by 16 F-51s. The 314th TCG and the 437th TCW air transports flew from Taegu to Munsan-ni, an area behind enemy lines some 20 miles northwest of Seoul, and dropped the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and two Ranger companies-more than 3,400 men and 220 tons of equipment and supplies. Fifth Air Force fighters and light bombers had largely eliminated enemy opposition. UN forces advanced quickly to the Imjin River, capturing 127 Communist prisoners. Some of the prisoners waved safe-conduct leaflets that FEAF aircraft had dropped during the airborne operation. Helicopters evacuated only 68 injured personnel from the drop zone. One C-119, possibly hit by enemy bullets, caught fire and crashed on the way back. On the same day, 22 B-29s of the 19th and 307th BGs, protected from MiGs by 45 F-86s, destroyed two bridges in northwestern Korea.
March 24: For the first time, FEAF used an H-19, a service test helicopter, in Korea for the air evacuation of wounded troops. The H-19 was considerably larger and more powerful, with greater range, than the H-5s.
March 24, 26-27: Fifty-two C-119s and C-46s dropped an additional 264 tons of supplies to troops at Munsan-ni, because they could not depend on surface lines of communication for supplies.
March 29: With fighter escorts, B-29s returned to the Yalu River to bomb bridges, which had become important targets again as the river ice thawed. Fifth Air Force light bombers and fighters, which had handled interdiction in the area during the winter, could not destroy the larger Yalu River bridges.
March 31: Flight Lt. J.A.O. Levesque, Royal Canadian Air Force, flying with the 334th FIS, scored the first aerial victory since 1950 of an F-86 over a MiG-15. Elements of Eighth Army moved northward across the 38th parallel. The 3rd ARS used the H-19 to retrieve some 18 UN personnel from behind enemy lines, the first use of this type helicopter in a special operations mission. The 315th Air Division grounded its C-119s for modification and reconditioning.
April 3: The service-test YH-19 helicopter with the 3rd ARS picked up a downed F-51 pilot southeast of Pyongyang, receiving small-arms fire during the sortie.
April 12: As of this date in the war, the heaviest concentration of B-29s against a single bridge encountered the largest and most determined enemy counterair effort, resulting in the largest jet air battle so far in the war. Forty-six B-29s attacking the Yalu River bridge at Sinuiju and 100 escorting fighters encountered between 100 and 125 MiGs, which shot down three bombers and damaged seven others. However, B-29 gunners destroyed seven MiGs, and F-86 pilots downed four more, the highest daily MiG tally thus far. The bridge, despite numerous direct hits, remained standing. At President Truman’s direction, Eighth Army commander Ridgway replaced MacArthur, who had several times publicly criticized the Administration’s Korean War and foreign policies.
April 14: Lt. Gen. James A. Van Fleet assumed command of Eighth Army.
April 16-20: Bomber Command flew a daily average of 10 B-29 sorties against Pyongyang, Kangdong, Yonpo, and other North Korean airfields.
April 17: President Truman signed an executive order extending US military enlistments involuntarily by nine months, an indication of the manpower shortage facing the military services during the war. An intelligence operation behind enemy lines resulted in the recovery of vital components of a crashed MiG-15. In Operation MiG, a YH-19 helicopter transported a US and South Korean team to the crash area south of Sinanju. Under friendly fighter cover, the party extracted MiG components and samples and obtained photographs. On the return flight southward the helicopter came under enemy ground fire and received one hit. The successful mission led to greater technical knowledge of the MiG.
April 18: H-5 helicopters from the 3rd ARS evacuated 20 critically wounded US soldiers from front-line aid stations to the nearest field hospital. Five of the 10 sorties encountered enemy fire.
April 19: The first modified and reconditioned C-119 returned to service.
April 21: An SA-16, 3rd ARS, attempted to pick up a downed enemy Yak pilot near Chinnampo for intelligence purposes. The aircrew landed and put out a raft but had to take off because of intense enemy fire, leaving the Yak pilot behind.
April 22/23: Enemy ground forces launched a massive spring offensive.
April 23: FEAF flew some 340 close air support sorties, one of the highest daily totals prior to 1953. The 336th FIS began operating from Suwon, so that its F-86 aircraft could operate for longer periods in MiG Alley near the Yalu River.
April 23-26: FEAF daily flew over 1,000 combat sorties, inflicting enemy casualties and destroying supplies needed to sustain the offensive.
April 24: On separate pickups, an H-5 helicopter from the 3rd ARS rescued first the pilot then the navigator of a downed B-26 near Chorwon, about 15 miles north of the 38th parallel, in the central sector. The navigator, suffering a broken leg, had been captured by two enemy soldiers. But he managed to seize a gun belonging to one of the enemy, causing them to run for cover. Friendly fighters kept them pinned down, while the helicopter made the pickup.
April 26/27: At night, over the western sector, a B-29 close air support strike against enemy troops forming for an attack on the US Army IX Corps broke up the assault.
April 30: Fifth Air Force set a new record of 960 effective sorties. On separate sorties, two H-5 helicopters each picked up a downed UN pilot behind enemy lines. Small-arms fire damaged one helicopter. The first indication of enemy radar-controlled anti-aircraft guns came with the loss of three out of four F-51s making an air-to-ground attack against a target at Sinmak.
May 5: An H-5 helicopter from the 3rd ARS rescued a downed F-51 pilot north of Seoul, encountering small-arms fire in the area.
May 8: Another H-5 helicopter picked up two US soldiers north of Seoul, encountering small-arms fire in the area.
May 9: In one of the largest counterair efforts so far, 5th Air Force and 1st Marine Air Wing fighter-bombers flew more than 300 sorties against Sinuiju airfield in extreme northwestern Korea.
May 15/16: As anticipated, the Communists launched the second phase of their spring offensive against the South Korean corps in the east, a last vain attempt to drive UN forces from the Korean peninsula. The enemy limited its tactical assaults to night because of FEAF daytime aerial attacks.
May 16-26: In a maximum effort, 315th cargo aircraft flew an average of more than 1,000 tons of supplies daily from Japan to Korea to support UN ground forces seeking to halt the Communist offensive.
May 17-22: Bomber Command B-29s flew 94 (mostly nighttime) sorties against enemy ground forces, far more close air support missions in a similar period than previously in the war. The B-29s flew few other type missions during this time.
May 19: An H-5 helicopter rescued a downed F-51 pilot southwest of Chorwon in the central sector, sustaining damage from small-arms fire during the pickup.
May 20: Capt. James Jabara, 334th FIS, destroyed his fifth and sixth MiGs in aerial combat, thereby becoming the world’s first jet-to-jet ace. Eighth Army successfully blunted the Communist offensive, leaving the enemy overextended and under constant aerial attack. Stratemeyer, FEAF commander, suffered a severe heart attack.
May 21: Partridge assumed command of FEAF. Maj. Gen. Edward J. Timberlake took his place as 5th Air Force commander.
May 22: In close air support sorties, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers inflicted some 1,700 casualties on enemy forces, one of the highest daily totals thus far.
May 23: Brig. Gen. Robert H. Terrill assumed command of Bomber Command, replacing Briggs.
May 24: The 136th FBW, one of two Air National Guard organizations sent to Korea, flew its first combat sorties of the war.
May 27-28: Unit 4/Special Air Mission C-47s flew leaflet-drop/voice-broadcast sorties encouraging the enemy to surrender to elements of the US Army’s IX Corps. Some 4,000 enemy soldiers surrendered, many carrying leaflets. The captives reported morale problems among the enemy because of UN aerial attacks.
May 31: Fifth Air Force began Operation Strangle, an interdiction campaign against enemy supply lines in North Korea.
June 1: One flight of F-86s from the 336th FIS, escorting B-29s, engaged 18 MiG-15s, destroying two. A flight of 343rd BS B-29s defended itself against 22 MiG-15s in the vicinity of Sonchon. The MiGs destroyed one B-29 and damaged another, while the defenders destroyed two enemy jets. Special Air Mission C-47s dropped 15 Koreans into enemy-held territory to retrieve parts from a crashed MiG-15. Unfortunately, Communist forces captured all 15. Maj. Gen. Frank F. Everest, assumed command of 5th Air Force, replacing Timberlake.
June 3: UN anti-aircraft artillery destroyed two 315th C-119s while the aircraft were attempting a resupply airdrop. This fratricide incident led to the adoption of new procedures for Identification, Friend or Foe during air-drop operations.
June 7-10: B-26 and B-29 aircraft undertook radar-directed area attacks against the Iron Triangle-the vital Chorwon-Kumhwa-Pyongyang communications and supply area-at night, raining 500-pound bombs set to explode over the heads of the enemy troops. These operations were in preparation for UN ground forces’ assaults.
June 10: The airfield at Chunchon, some 50 miles northeast of Seoul and 10 miles south of the 38th parallel, opened to cargo traffic, adding to 315th Air Division’s ability to meet the growing demand for air-drop capability. In Tokyo, Lt. Gen. Otto P. Weyland assumed command of FEAF, replacing Partridge.
June 11: An SA-16 of the 3rd ARS made a pickup at dusk of a downed F-51 pilot from the Taedong River near Kyomipo, North Korea. The SA-16, although receiving fire from both sides of the river, made a landing approach without lights, avoiding low electrical transmission lines and rocks and debris on the river’s surface. The pilot earned the Distinguished Service Cross for the rescue.
June 15: Fifth Air Force moved its headquarters from Taegu back to Seoul.
June 23: Jacob Malik, Soviet ambassador to the United Nations, called for negotiations between representatives of UN forces and Communist forces for an armistice in Korea based upon the separation of the armies along the 38th parallel.
June 25: The 8th FBG moved to Kimpo after completion of repairs to Kimpo’s short runway. This marked the resumption of combat operations at Kimpo, although aviation engineers continued their work to restore the main runway.
July 1: Kim Il Sung, North Korean premier, and Paeng Te-huai, CCF commander, responded to UN overtures and agreed to participate in truce negotiations. Pioneer in aerial reconnaissance, Col. Karl L. Polifka, commander, 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing (TRW), was shot down and killed, while flying an RF-51 near the front lines.
July 6: An Air Materiel Command KB-29M tanker, operated by a Strategic Air Command crew assigned to the 43rd ARS, conducted the first in-flight refueling over enemy territory under combat conditions. The tanker refueled four RF-80 Shooting Stars flying reconnaissance missions over North Korea.
July 10: Naval Forces, Far East, commander Joy led the UN delegation that met the Communists at Kaesong, some 30 miles northwest of Seoul and just south of the 38th parallel, in the first conference of the armistice negotiations. A flight of F-80s reported a long convoy of NKA trucks and tanks halted by a demolished bridge. Fifth Air Force diverted every available aircraft to attack with bombs, rockets, and gunfire, resulting in the destruction of over 150 vehicles, a third of them tanks.
July 14: In one of the more spectacular night strikes of the war, a single B-26 of the 452nd BG attacked two enemy convoys north of Sinanju in the early morning hours, claiming 68 destroyed or damaged vehicles.
July 21: A detachment of the 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron completed a week-long effort near Cho-do Island to recover the most components ever salvaged from a MiG-15 aircraft. This combined operation involved 5th Air Force aircraft providing high cover, British carrier aircraft flying low cover, and the US Army contributing a vessel outfitted with a crane.
July 24: The 116th FBW, the second Air National Guard wing deployed to the Far East, arrived with its F-84 Thunderjets at Misawa and Chitose ABs in Japan.
July 25: Fifth Air Force directed the formal establishment of an air defense system for South Korea, utilizing the resources of the 502nd Tactical Control Group and its subordinate squadrons.
July 29: UN jet fighter-bombers and reconnaissance aircraft operating near Pyongyang encountered MiGs much farther south than usual. Evading the attacking MiGs, the UN aircraft returned safely to base.
July 30: In the largest single mass attack for the month on targets in the Pyongyang area, 91 F-80s suppressed enemy air defenses while 354 USMC and USAF fighter-bombers attacked specified military targets. To avoid adverse world public opinion during ongoing peace negotiations, the Joint Chiefs of Staff withheld information on the strike from the news media.
Aug. 4: Communist ground forces violated the Kaesong neutral zone, resulting in suspension of truce talks.
Aug. 10: Armistice negotiations resume at Kaesong with the North Korean promise to respect the neutral zone.
Aug. 17: A typhoon at Okinawa halted B-29 operations.
Aug. 18: FEAF began Operation Strangle against North Korean railroads.
Aug. 22: The Communist delegation trumped up evidence that a UN aircraft bombed Kaesong, resulting in suspension of the armistice negotiations once again.
Aug. 24/25: B-26s claimed over 800 trucks destroyed in the new campaign of night anti-truck operations.
Aug. 25: In Bomber Command’s largest operation of the month, 35 B-29s, escorted by USN fighters, dropped 300 tons of bombs on marshaling yards at Rashin in far northeastern Korea. Previously excluded from target lists because of its proximity of less than 20 miles to the Soviet border, Rashin was a major supply depot.
Sept. 9: Seventy MiGs attacked 28 Sabres between Sinanju and Pyongyang. Despite such odds, F-86 pilots, Capt. Richard S. Becker, 334th FIS, and Capt. Ralph D. Gibson, 335th FIS, each destroyed a MiG, increasing the number of jet aces from one to three.
Sept. 10: South of Pyongyang a 3rd ARS H-5 helicopter, with fighter escort, rescued F-80 pilot Capt. Ward M. Millar, 7th FBS. He had suffered two broken ankles during his ejection from the jet but escaped after two months as a prisoner and then evaded recapture for three weeks. The helicopter also brought out an NKA sergeant who had assisted Millar, delivering both to Seoul.
Sept. 14: Capt. John S. Walmsley Jr., 8th BS, on a night B-26 interdiction sortie, attacked an enemy train, expending his ordnance. He then used a USN searchlight experimentally mounted on his aircraft’s wing to illuminate the target for another B-26. Shot down and killed by ground fire, Walmsley earned the Medal of Honor for his valorous act.
Sept. 23: In an excellent example of shoran bombing technique, eight B-29s from the 19th BG knocked out the center span of the Sunchon rail bridge despite nine-tenths cloud cover.
Sept. 24: Attempts to reopen peace talks at Kaesong failed.
Sept. 25: In the largest air battle in recent weeks, an estimated 100 MiG-15s attacked 36 F-86s flying a fighter sweep over the Sinanju area. Sabre pilots destroyed five MiGs in aerial combat, the daily high for the month.
Sept. 27: In Operation Pelican, a service-test C-124A Globemaster flew its first payload from Japan to Korea, delivering 30,000 pounds of aircraft parts to Kimpo airfield.
Sept. 28: On the longest flight to date for a jet aircraft using in-flight refueling, a Yokota-based RF-80 flew for 14 hours and 15 minutes on a Korean combat sortie, refueling multiple times from two KB-29M tankers.
Sept. 30: Replacing Terrill, Brig. Gen. Joe W. Kelly assumed command of Bomber Command.
Oct. 1-3: In Operation Snowball, 315th C-119s experimentally dropped 55-gallon drums filled with napalm behind enemy lines.
Oct. 10: FEAF marked a significant date for the Chinese, the anniversary of the overthrow of the Manchu Dynasty, by dropping special leaflets and making radio broadcasts aimed at Chinese Communist Forces in Korea.
Oct. 16: Fifth Air Force Sabre pilots destroyed nine MiG-15s in aerial combat, a record daily high.
Oct. 16/17: B-29s flew 31 day and night sorties, the high for the month, including attacks against rail bridges, marshaling yards, and the Samchang airfield and leaflet drop and reconnaissance sorties.
Oct. 19: The US Army opened a 1,000-bed hospital at Camp Drew, north of Tachikawa AB, Japan. Henceforth, C-54s flew medical evacuees from Korea to Tachikawa, then C-47s shuttled them to Camp Drew, thereby reducing transit time.
Oct. 21-30: The enemy flew sorties over North Korea daily for the first time in the war. MiGs appeared in numbers over 100, consistently outnumbering their F-86 counterparts and downing three F-86s at a cost of five MiGs lost to Sabres.
Oct. 22: Two 3rd ARS SA-16s rescued the 12-man crew of a downed B-29, the highest number rescued by SA-16s on any day in the war.
Oct. 23: In one of the bloodiest air battles of the war, during a 307th BW raid on Namsi airfield, MiG-15s destroyed three B-29s and one F-84 and damaged five other bombers. Fighter pilots and B-29 gunners shot down five MiGs.
Oct. 25: In an unusually effective close air support strike, F-51 Mustangs inflicted approximately 200 casualties on enemy troops in the I Corps sector. Enemy small-arms fire hit a rescue helicopter picking up a downed UN pilot. The H-5 made a forced landing in enemy territory. The next day, two other H-5s hoisted all four men to safety from the mountainside where they had hidden from Communist troops during the night. At the request of the Communists, peace negotiations resumed.
Oct. 27: MiGs flew approximately 200 sorties, the high for the month. On a last medium bomber daylight raid, B-29 gunners shot down six MiG-15s, their highest number of enemy aircraft downed on any day of the war. A 3rd ARS H-5, with fighter escort, rescued a downed UN fighter pilot despite intense fire from enemy ground troops.
Oct. 31: The service-test C-124A departed for the United States, having successfully completed its test in the Far East and convinced the 315th Air Division of the need for a Globemaster squadron.
Nov. 3: Enemy ground fire damaged a 3rd ARS SA-16 engaged in a failed rescue attempt; however, the aircrew, in spite of six- to eight-foot seas, successfully landed in Korea Bay, off the west coast of North Korea, and rescued another downed pilot.
Nov. 4: Thirty-four F-86s encountered an estimated 60 MiG-15s in the Sinamju area. The F-86 pilots destroyed two and damaged three others.
Nov. 6: Eleven enemy piston-type, twin-engine light bombers, probably TU-2s, bombed Taehwa-do, a UN-controlled island. This raid was the first confirmed report of air-to-ground action by an enemy light bomber formation since the Korean War started.
Nov. 8: F-86s and F-80s encountered more than 100 MiG-15s, but only a small number chose to fight. USAF pilots destroyed one MiG and damaged another, while losing one F-86.
Nov. 9: A C-47 landed on the beach of Paengnyong-do Island, off the southwest coast of North Korea, and rescued 11 crewmen of a downed B-29. The 19th BG attacked marshaling yards at Hwang-ju, Kowon, and Yangdok; the Saamcham airfield; and a barracks area. In other night attacks, 98th BW B-29s bombed Taechon airfield, flew five close support sorties and a leaflet sortie, and struck Hungnam.
Nov. 12: Peace negotiations moved to Panmunjom, a village less than five miles east of Kaesong, in a newly established demilitarized zone on the 38th parallel. UN Command ceased offensive ground operations.
Nov. 16: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers made more than 100 rail cuts between Sinanju and Sukchon and between Kunu-ri and Sunchon. They also damaged bridges, knocked out gun positions, destroyed supply buildings, fired fuel dumps, and took a toll of enemy railcars.
Nov. 18: F-86 aircraft strafed eight MiG fighters on the ground at Uiju, destroyed four, and damaged the rest. MiG-15s forced three flights of F-84 fighter-bombers to jettison their bombs and abort prebriefed rail-cutting missions near Sinanju.
Nov. 24: In night operations, 98th BW bombed Taechon airfield and the marshaling yard at Tongchon and flew five close support sorties; 307th BW bombed the marshaling yard at Hambusong-ji; and 19th BG bombed Namsi airfield, the Hoeyang highway bridge, and the marshaling yards at Munchon and Hambusong-ji.
Nov. 27: Maj. Richard D. Creighton, 4th FIG, shot down a MiG to become the fourth ace of the war.
Nov. 28: Representatives of all intelligence gathering organizations in Korea met at Far East Command, Liaison Division, to discuss how to coordinate their activities. Capt. Donald Nichols represented Det. 2, 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron. The conference resulted in the establishment of the Combined Command for Reconnaissance Activities in Korea.
Nov. 30: In one of the largest aerial battles of the war, F-86 pilots of the 4th FIG engaged over the island of Taehwa-do 44 enemy aircraft flying south to bomb a UN target. The Sabre pilots destroyed 12 and damaged three others. Maj. George A. Davis Jr., 334th FIS, achieved Korean War ace status by downing a Tu-2 and a MiG-15. He was the first to be an ace in two wars, since he had been an ace in World War II, as well. Maj. Winton W. Marshall, 335th FIS, also became an ace, destroying an La-9 and a Tu-2. Enemy forces attacked Taehwa-do, north of Cho-do, forcing friendly forces to retreat to Cho-do. Fifth Air Force aircraft dislodged the enemy, enabling friendly forces to retake the island.
Dec. 3: Enemy jets made their first air-ground attack of the war, bombing and strafing UN ground positions near Chorwon, almost 60 miles northeast of Seoul.
Dec. 13: Twenty-nine F-86s encountered 75 MiG-15s over Sinanju, and in a wild melee the F-86 pilots shot down nine MiGs, giving USAF pilots a total of 13 aerial victories for the day.
Dec. 14: In the night, 19th BG B-29s inflicted severe damage on marshaling yards at Maengjung-dong.
Dec. 19: The 307th BW sent 10 B-29s to bomb marshaling yards at Chongju.
Dec. 21: Fifth Air Force units flew 530 sorties, making 30 cuts in the main rail line between Sinanju and Sukchon and attacking a supply complex near Kunu-ri.
Dec. 24: In a typical nighttime mission, B-29s from the 98th BW cratered the runway at Taechon airfield and bombed the railroad bridge at Sinanju.
Dec. 27: FEAF aircraft flew 900 sorties, the largest number of the month, damaging or destroying locomotives, railcars, buildings, vehicles, and gun positions.
Jan. 12: F-84s caught three supply trains at Sunchon, racing for the shelter of a tunnel. They blasted the tunnel mouth shut, trapping the trains in the open, then destroyed the boxcars and at least two locomotives.
Jan. 12/13: Ten Okinawa-based Superfortresses dropped 396 high-explosive 500-pound bombs on the railroad bridge east of Sinanju across the Chongchong River, rendering the bridge unserviceable.
Jan. 25: A helicopter rescued a downed airman, near the coastline of the Yellow Sea, while F-84s strafed enemy troops in the area. Escorting F-86s destroyed three MiG-15s during the pickup. In other air-to-air combat, UN jets destroyed six and damaged four Communist aircraft.
Jan. 26: A rescue helicopter, behind enemy lines near the coastline of the Yellow Sea, received small-arms fire while rescuing an F-84 pilot, Capt. A.T. Thawley.
Feb. 9: In a typical mission, 10 medium bombers used radar-aiming methods to drop 100 tons of 500-pound bombs, rendering the north bypass Chongju rail bridge unserviceable.
Feb. 10: Leading a flight of three F-86s on a patrol near the Manchurian border, Maj. George A. Davis Jr. engaged 12 MiG-15s in aerial combat. Davis shot down two enemy aircraft and completely disrupted the enemy formation, but the MiGs destroyed his aircraft as well. Because he executed his attack against superior numbers and successfully protected the fighter-bombers his flight had been escorting, Davis posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his valor.
Feb. 16-22: MiG-15 pilots flew close to 1,400 sorties this week.
Feb. 17: Fifth Air Force flew an impressive 695 sorties, cratering rail tracks in more than 50 locations, damaging a locomotive and 15 railcars north of Huichon, strafing a convoy of trucks near Sinanju, and destroying supply buildings and dumps between Kumsong and Sibyon-ni.
Feb. 19: The Communists flew approximately 389 MiG-15 sorties, the largest aerial effort to date. In aerial combat, USAF pilots destroyed three enemy aircraft.
Feb. 23: By shooting down a MiG-15, Maj. William T. Whisner Jr., 25th FIS, achieved ace status.
Feb. 26: Ten Superfortresses, using radar-aiming methods, dropped 100 tons of bombs on the Sinhung-dong railroad bridge near Huichon in north central Korea, knocking out two spans. Col. Cecil H. Childre replaced Henebry as commander, 315th Air Division.
March 5: While jet fighters stilled enemy anti-aircraft fire, a USAF helicopter lowered a hoist sling and rescued a downed USN pilot in the vicinity of Yongyon.
March 11: Fighter-bombers dropped 150 tons of bombs and approximately 33,000 gallons of napalm on a four-square-mile supply storage and troop training area near Sinmak. Fifth Air Force operations officers reported this to be the most intensive napalm attack on a single area in the war.
March 11/12: Ten B-29s struck the Sinchang-ni choke point, 10 miles east of Sunchon, with 91 tons of high explosives, rendering the point unpassable.
March 15: Brig. Gen. Wiley D. Ganey replaced Kelly as commander, Bomber Command.
March 20: In the Sui-ho Reservoir area, MiG-15s attacked a USAF patrol. The F-86 pilots destroyed five MiGs and damaged approximately 13 others.
March 25: Fifth Air Force flew 959 sorties, concentrating on interdiction of the rail line from Sinanju to Chongju and making approximately 142 cuts in the track. Some aircraft struck the Sunchon-Pyongyang highway, scoring 27 hits.
March 27: A helicopter crew, learning that Chinese troops had captured a downed US pilot near Pyoksong, made several low passes, enabling him to escape. While one helicopter crew member fired at the Chinese soldiers with a rifle, others lowered a hoist and rescued the pilot.
March 31/April 1: Bomber Command B-29s flew 29 sorties, approximately twice the normal rate, mostly against the Sinhung-dong rail bridge and Kwaksan railroad track.
April 1: Fifth Air Force Sabre pilots destroyed 10 MiGs while losing one F-86. Col. Francis S. Gabreski, commander, 51st FIW, destroyed a MiG to become the eighth jet ace of the war.
April 3: In aerial combat, Capt. Robert H. Moore, 336th FIS, destroyed his fifth MiG to become an ace.
April 6: In air-to-air operations, Capt. Iven C. Kincheloe Jr., 25th FIS, destroyed a MiG, becoming the war’s 10th ace.
April 10: Brig. Gen. Chester E. McCarty assumed command of the 315th for the remainder of the war.
April 14: The first Air Force Reserve wing ordered to active duty service, the 403rd TCW (Medium), arrived at Ashiya. An SA-16 of the 3rd ARS, while under enemy small-arms fire from the shoreline, rescued a US naval aviator from the water.
April 21: In aerial combat, Capt. Robert J. Love, 335th FIS, destroyed two MiGs to become an ace.
April 22: Because of shortage of fighter-bombers, 5th Air Force assigned Sabres of the 4th FIW and 51st FIW a new commitment-the armed reconnaissance of enemy lines of communication.
April 26: In air-to-air operations, Maj. William H. Wescott, 51st FIG, destroyed his fifth MiG in four weeks to become the war’s 12th ace.
April 28: An H-19 helicopter of the 3rd ARS picked up a downed Royal Netherlands air force Sea Fury pilot. It was the second time in three weeks that the same pilot had been picked up by a 3rd ARS helicopter.
April 29-30: Unrelated crashes of a C-47, a C-119, and a C-46 claimed the lives of 16 people, the greatest loss for the 315th Air Division in the first half of 1952.
May 3: Sabre pilots destroyed five MiG-15s, with Maj. Donald E. Adams, 16th FIS, destroying two and Capt. Robert T. Latshaw Jr., 335th FIS, downing another to increase the number of aces to 14.
May 4: Twenty-five F-86s strafed and destroyed five of 24 Yak-9s parked in revetments at Sinuiju airfield.
May 8: In the first of four major interdiction strikes, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers flew approximately 465 sorties against the enemy supply depot at Suan, located about 40 miles southeast of Pyongyang, in the largest one-day attack since the war began. Over a 13-hour period, the UN pilots damaged or destroyed more than 200 supply buildings, personnel shelters, revetments, vehicles, and gun positions. Enemy anti-aircraft fire downed an F-86 on a dive-bombing strike against the Kunu-ri marshaling yards, the first loss of a Sabre on a fighter-bomber sortie.
May 12: Gen. Mark W. Clark, USA, replaced Ridgway as CINC, UN Command and Far East Command.
May 13: Fifth Air Force Sabres destroyed five MiG-15s in aerial combat. In the morning, 12 F-86s attacked targets in Sinuiju and Sinuiju and Uiju airfields. In early afternoon, Sabres struck the marshaling yards at Kunu-ri and, in late afternoon, bombed Sinuiju with 1,000-pound bombs. Unfortunately, Col. Walker M. Mahurin, commander, 4th FIG, who had led all three missions, was shot down and captured.
May 15: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers flew 265 sorties against a vehicle repair factory at Tang-dong, north of Pyongyang, destroying at least 39 buildings and a power plant. First Lt. James H. Kasler, 335th FIS, destroyed two MiGs to become an ace.
May 16-17: In an outstanding example of emergency unit movement by air, 315th C-119, C-54, and C-46 aircraft transported 2,361 members of the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team and combat equipment, vehicles, and supplies from Japan to Pusan. The team quelled rioting POWs at Koje-do, where the UN Command had established a large POW compound.
May 18: An SA-16 amphibian from the 3rd ARS, while under fire from the enemy shoreline, rescued a downed F-84 pilot.
May 20: Col. Harrison R. Thyng, commander, 4th FIW, destroyed his fifth MiG to become the 16th jet ace of the war.
May 22: Fifth Air Force flew 472 fighter-bomber sorties against the Kijang-ni industrial area southwest of Pyongyang to destroy more than 90 percent of the complex, which produced hand grenades, small arms, and ammunition.
May 23: In the last of four major interdiction strikes, 5th Air Force flew 275 fighter-bomber sorties against a steel factory complex in the Kijang-ni area, destroying 80 percent of the target. Because of poor weather, an H-19 helicopter from 3rd ARS flew most of a sortie on instruments and picked up a downed Marine Corps AD-2 pilot-one of the first instances of a primarily instruments helicopter rescue.
May 23/24: B-26s seeded the Kijang-ni area with delayed-action bombs to hamper repair efforts.
May 26: The 315th Air Division received its first Globemaster as two squadrons began the conversion from C-54 to C-124 aircraft.
May 26/27: Ten B-29s from the 19th BG attacked the Sinhung-dong rail bridge, destroying one locomotive, 16 boxcars, 350 linear feet of the bridge, and nearly 400 feet of track on the approaches.
May 30: Lt. Gen. Glenn O. Barcus replaced Everest as commander, 5th Air Force.
June 4: An H-19 helicopter of 3rd ARS picked up a downed British pilot, encountering automatic weapons fire during the rescue.
June 6: Fifth Air Force Sabres destroyed eight MiGs in aerial combat, the highest daily tally for the month.
June 7: In initiation of an air refueling test, code-named Operation Hightide, 35 F-84 Thunderjets took off from Japan, refueled from KB-29M aircraft over Korea, and attacked targets in the north.
June 9: A 3rd ARS H-19 helicopter picked up a downed UN pilot, encountering moderate small-arms fire en route.
June 10/11: Eight 19th BG B-29s attacked the rail bridge at Kwaksan. Enemy MiGs, operating in conjunction with radar-controlled searchlights and flak, destroyed two B-29s and badly damaged a third. This new development in the enemy’s air defense system prompted FEAF to improve electronic countermeasures to jam and confuse enemy radar.
June 14: Following reconnaissance flights that indicated repairs at the Pyongyang airfield, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers cratered the runways, rendering them unserviceable in approximately 150 sorties without a loss.
June 15: In aerial combat, 2nd Lt. James F. Low, 335th FIS, destroyed his fifth MiG, becoming an ace just six months after completing flight training.
June 19/20: B-29s flew 35 sorties against North Korean targets, nearly three times the nightly average for the month. Twenty-seven medium bombers attacked the Huichon rail bridge.
June 23: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers, with F-86 cover, flew approximately 250 sorties against North Korean hydroelectric power plants. The Sui-ho complex sustained 70 percent structural damage, rendering it nonoperational.
June 24: FEAF flew 1,043 sorties, the highest daily total for the month. Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers flew more than 250 sorties against North Korean hydroelectric power plants, four of them having been targets the previous day.
June 24/25: Twenty-six B-29s flew close air support sorties, one of the largest such medium bomber missions since the early days of the war. Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers rendered temporarily unserviceable the Samdong-ni rail complex, the choke point of the east-west and north-south rail lines in North Korea. Night-flying B-26s seeded the area with delayed-action bombs to hamper repair efforts.
June 30: The first two aircrews of the 374th TCW completed their proficiency checks in the C-124 Globemaster.
July 3: McCarty, 315th Air Division commander, flew the 374th TCW’s first operational C-124 from Japan to Korea. In 13 sorties over enemy territory, C-47s dropped more than 22 million leaflets, over one-sixth of all dropped during the month.
July 4: Approximately 53 MiGs, some piloted by Soviets, attacked some 50 F-86s and 70 F-84s during a raid on the North Korean military academy at Sakchu near the Yalu. Fifth Air Force pilots downed 13 MiG-15s at a cost of two Sabres. Although four MiGs succeeded in passing through the protective fighter screen, they failed to destroy any fighter-bombers. Bombing results were poor, however.
July 10: Beginning this date, over the next three weeks the 315th airlifted the 474th FBW from Misawa to Kunsan, the largest unit movement by air to date.
July 11: FEAF flew 1,329 sorties, the highest daily total for the month. In the first raid of Operation Pressure Pump, nearly every operational air unit in the Far East attacked 30 targets in Pyongyang, in the largest single strike so far of the war. Attacking aircraft destroyed three targets, including the North Korean Ministry of Industry. Most others sustained heavy damage.
July 11/12: As part of Pressure Pump, B-29s flew 71 effective sorties, more than 50 against the Pyongyang supply area.
July 13: FEAF initiated a new general-warning leaflet-drop program over enemy territory. The new leaflet identified specific towns and targets to be destroyed by air attacks.
July 15: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers flew approximately 175 sorties against the Sungho-ri cement plant and a nearby locomotive repair facility.
July 20: Fifty-eight F-84Gs of the 31st FEW arrived in Japan, the first large-scale Pacific crossing of jet fighters using in-flight refueling.
July 30: Following extended heavy rains, helicopters of the 3rd ARS carried approximately 650 flood-stranded US military members and Koreans to safety. Flying more than 100 sorties, five large H-19s transported some 600 evacuees, while two H-5s carried the rest. In the I Corps sector, two H-5s flew more than 30 sorties to rescue 60 flood-stranded Koreans and US soldiers.
July 30/31: In one of the largest medium bomber raids against a single target, 60 B-29s destroyed a noteworthy 90 percent of the Oriental Light Metals Co. facility, only four miles from the Yalu River. The B-29s achieved the unusually extensive destruction of the target in spite of encountering the largest nighttime counterair effort to date by the enemy. The attacking bombers suffered no losses.
Aug. 6: Fifth Air Force pilots observed an estimated 250 MiGs, the largest daily total since April 1. In the major air-to-air battle of the month, 34 F-86s destroyed six of 52 MiG-15s. FEAF organized Det. 3, 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron, to increase effectiveness of evasion and escape techniques by downed airmen. The detachment continued ongoing experiments, such as “snatching” downed personnel by especially equipped C-47s. It also emphasized aircrew training in emergency procedures, the use of radios and survival equipment, and helicopter rescue procedures.
Aug. 7-8: Capt. Clifford D. Jolley, 335th FIS, destroyed three additional MiGs in two days to become the 18th ace of the war.
Aug. 8: Fifth Air Force fighters flew 285 close air support sorties, the highest daily total for the month. Indicative of FEAF’s increased use of propaganda, at night B-26s flew three voice-broadcast sorties totaling almost four hours over enemy-held positions near the east coast.
Aug. 15: The 315th transported 300 medical evacuees, the highest daily total for the month.
Aug. 19/20: FEAF aircraft dropped general-warning leaflets over Pyongyang concerning the next night’s attacks.
Aug. 20/21: Thirty-eight B-29s bombed supply areas of the enemy’s capital, the highest number of medium bomber sorties against a single target this month.
Aug. 22-23: On successive nights, three C-47s flew 60-minute voice-broadcast sorties near the front lines, indicating a greater emphasis by UN Command on psychological war.
Aug. 29: At the request of the US Department of State, FEAF conducted against Pyongyang the largest air attack to date as a dramatic military action during a visit by China’s foreign minister, Chou En-lai, to the Soviet Union. The State Department hoped that the attack might lead the Soviets to urge the Chinese to accept an armistice rather than expend further Communist resources in the war. FEAF aircraft, protected by USAF Sabres and RAAF Meteors, flew approximately 1,400 air-to-ground sorties. The 31 targets sustained moderate to severe damage, but 5th Air Force lost three aircraft to ground fire.
Aug. 31: The 31st FEW, stationed at Misawa, completed the last phase of the USAF air refueling test program, Operation Hightide, begun in June.
Sept. 3/4: B-29s flew 52 effective sorties, the monthly high, and all but two against the Chosin hydroelectric power plant complex.
Sept. 4: Seventy-five fighter-bombers flew well north of the Chongchon River to attack targets, flushing out an estimated 89 MiGs from their Manchurian bases. The 39 Sabres screening the F-84s engaged the MiGs, destroying 13, to equal the one-day records set on Dec. 13, 1951, and July 4. Four F-86s fell to the MiG pilots. Maj. Frederick C. Blesse, 334th FIS, destroyed his fifth enemy aircraft to become an ace. An H-19 from the 3rd ARS rescued a downed fighter pilot and two crewmen of a USN helicopter, which had lost power and crashed in the water while attempting to pick up the pilot.
Sept. 5: In two daylight strikes, FEAF flew more than 200 sorties against an ore-processing plant located northeast of Sinanju, damaging or destroying approximately 70 buildings and repair shops.
Sept. 9: Protected by F-86s, 45 F-84s attacked the North Korean military academy at Sakchu. Of approximately 64 MiGs in the area, some penetrated the Sabre screen, shot down three Thunderjets, and forced several flights to jettison their bombs. The F-86s suffered no losses during the aerial combat and destroyed five MiGs.
Sept. 12/13: Twenty-five B-29s attacked the generator building at the giant Sui-ho power plant. Prior to and during the attack, USAF B-26s and USN aircraft dropped low-level fragmentation bombs to suppress enemy searchlights, rendering eight of approximately 30 unserviceable. At the same time, four B-29s orbiting to the east jammed enemy radar. Enemy fighters shot down one medium bomber and flak damaged several others, but the B-29s dropped their bombs on target, again rendering the plant unserviceable. FEAF concluded that searchlight suppression and electronic countermeasures probably had saved the B-29s from greater losses.
Sept. 15: To improve air-ground coordination and mutual understanding between the US Air Force and the US Army, 5th Air Force commander Barcus began sending groups of 15 pilots at a time on three-day tours to the front lines.
Sept. 16: Fifth Air Force flew 110 B-26 sorties, the high figure for the month, mostly night armed reconnaissance and interdiction. Using the recently developed roadblock tactics, the light bombers damaged or destroyed more than 100 enemy vehicles.
Sept. 19: In the first daylight medium bomber raid in 11 months, 32 B-29s with F-86 escorts attacked an enemy barracks and two supply areas southwest of Hamhung. An RB-45 preceded the B-29 formation, and an RB-29 orbited in the assembly area, providing weather information.
Sept. 21: Sabre pilot Capt. Robinson Risner, 336th FIS, destroyed two MiG-15s to become an ace when the enemy responded to an attack on the Pukchong munitions plant by 41 F-84s.
Sept. 27: At night, three B-26s flew in the central sector loudspeaker sorties totaling 3.5 hours, an unusually high amount of broadcast time.
Sept. 29: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers flew against enemy bunkers and gun positions 207 close air support sorties, the highest figure this month and well above the daily average.
Sept. 30/Oct. 1: Including five electronic countermeasures flak suppression aircraft, 48 B-29s from three units-19th BG, 98th BW, and 307th BW-destroyed the last strategic-type target in Korea, the Namsan-ni chemical plant located 1,300 feet from the Yalu River and near the Sui-ho dam. During the bombing, seven B-26s swept in at low altitudes to suppress eight of some 40 searchlights.
Oct. 4: Brig. Gen. William P. Fisher succeeded Ganey as commander, Bomber Command.
Oct. 5: Fifth Air Force combined attacks with USN aircraft against barracks and supplies of the Chinese 67th Army at Loeyang.
Oct. 7: Fifth Air Force fighter pilots and USN aviators attacked the CCF 26th Army at Yongpyongni.
Oct. 8: To support the Kojo amphibious hoax, 10 B-29s of the 98th BW conducted a rare daylight visual bombing mission on the supply area at Kowon in eastern Korea in coordination with USN fighter-bomber attacks. Truce talks at Panmunjom recessed over the issue of forced repatriation of POWs. The UN delegates proposed to allow enemy POWs to choose repatriation or not; the Communist delegates insisted on the repatriation of all POWs at the end of the war.
Oct. 9: Fighter-bombers attacked widely scattered Communist communications centers from Huichon in North Korea south to the bomb line. Fifth Air Force aircraft inflicted heavy casualties on a Communist regiment, delaying its commitment to the enemy attack under way.
Oct. 12: An SA-16 pilot, 3rd ARS, participated in two rescues within 30 minutes and more than 100 miles apart. After directing a helicopter pickup of a downed Sabrejet pilot, the SA-16 pilot landed in the Haeju Harbor and, while overhead fighters suppressed ground fire from the shore, picked up from a dinghy a 69th FBS pilot who had parachuted from his burning F-84.
Oct. 12-14: The 315th conducted paratroop-drop exercises with the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team as part of the Kojo deception.
Oct. 12/13: Twenty-six B-29s from all three medium bombardment units struck nine separate troop concentrations on Haeju Peninsula.
Oct. 13: In preparation for the Kojo amphibious demonstration, FEAF and USN aircraft hit enemy positions around Kojo, and USN surface craft shelled the beach area. After a respite of almost a year, the enemy, using small fabric-covered biplanes, hassled Cho-do and the Seoul area with “Bedcheck Charlie” raids.
Oct. 15: For the amphibious Kojo hoax, assault troops climbed down to assault landing craft, which made a pass at the shore then returned to the ship. In addition, 32 C-119s, 403rd TCW, flew to Chorwon, let down to paradrop altitude of 800 feet, then returned to Taegu.
Oct. 16: North Korea sent a strongly worded protest to Far East Command concerning the recess in armistice negotiations but continued to insist on total repatriation of Chinese and North Korean POWs.
Oct. 24: Fifth Air Force and Eighth Army completed a successful 30-day test in IX Corps area of a new flak-suppression technique that allowed friendly artillery to continue firing while close support strikes were in progress.
Oct. 25: Fifth Air Force B-26s and fighter-bombers attacked the Kumgang political school, starting fires and almost completely destroying the installation.
Oct. 27: Fifth Air Force aviation engineers completed a heavy-duty runway for combat cargo operations at the Seoul municipal airport.
Oct. 31: North Korea presented a new POW camp list.
Nov. 1: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers attacked three railroad bridges at Yongmi-dong. The 61st TCG began to phase its C-54s out of the airlift in preparation for the group’s return to the US.
Nov. 4: Dwight D. Eisenhower, having campaigned on a promise to seek an end to the Korean War, was elected President. FEAF photographic surveillance showed the three railroad bridges at Yongmi-dong again in serviceable condition and two bypass bridges nearing completion.
Nov. 5: Typhoon conditions on Okinawa forced cancellation of all scheduled B-29 missions.
Nov. 6: On a return attack against the Yongmi-dong railroad bridges, 100 fighter-bombers found that the enemy had moved in anti-aircraft artillery and begun to build a fifth bypass bridge.
Nov. 10: The 315th air evacuated the 250,000th patient from Korea to Japan.
Nov. 12/13: Six B-29s of the 98th BW knocked four spans out of Pyongyang’s restored railway bridges.
Nov. 13/14: Five B-29s from the 307th BW in an experimental attack used incendiary clusters against the Sopo supply area but obtained poor results.
Nov. 15: In the first fatal accident of 315th’s airlift of rest and recreation passengers, a 403rd TCW C-119, returning 40 travelers to Korea, crashed in Japan, killing all on board.
Nov. 16: USMC aircraft attached to 5th Air Force attacked hydroelectric facilities at Kongosan.
Nov. 17: USAF fighter-bombers attacked hydroelectric facilities at Kongosan. Col. Royal N. Baker, commander, 4th FIG, flying in MiG Alley with the 335th FIS, scored his fifth MiG kill.
Nov. 18: When USN Task Force 77 attacked the North Korean border town of Hoeryong in the far northeast, unmarked but obviously Russian MiG-15s flying from Vladivostok attempted to attack the fleet. Carrier-based F9F aircraft engaged several MiGs and downed one of them. In MiG Alley, 334th FIS pilot Capt. Leonard W. Lilley scored his fifth MiG kill.
Nov. 18/19: Six B-29s from the 98th BW attacked the Sonchon supply center, 35 miles from the Manchurian border. On this night, weather in the target area was clear, and enemy interceptors used new tactics to shoot down one B-29. The enemy dropped flares so that searchlights could lock on the bomber, and four fighter passes riddled it, forcing its crew to abandon ship over Cho-do.
Nov. 19: The 49th and 58th FBWs, in two separate strikes totaling 179 aircraft, attacked a troop and supply concentration at Kanggye. An Eighth Army-5th Air Force indoctrination team completed a tour begun in late October to brief key Eighth Army officers on the nature and functioning of the air-ground system.
Nov. 22: The 8th FBW lost two F-80s to ground fire during close support missions for IX Corps. One of the pilots, Maj. Charles J. Loring Jr., leading a flight of four F-80s, was hit near Sniper Ridge by enemy ground fire. He deliberately crashed his aircraft into the midst of enemy gun emplacements, destroying them completely. Loring was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. In MiG Alley, 16th FIS pilot 1st Lt. Cecil G. Foster scored his fifth MiG kill to add his name to the list of aces.
Nov. 28/29: All three medium bomber units at 45-minute intervals hit at Sinuiju and Uiju targets defended by approximately 116 heavy guns, 94 of which were radar-controlled, and 40 searchlights, as well as enemy interceptors. Preceding the attacks, five B-26s flew flak-suppression missions. Fourteen B-29s bombed Sinuiju airfield, six struck the Sinuiju locomotive repair facilities, 10 hit the Uiju airfield, and four attacked the Uiju communications center. In spite of clear weather, using electronic countermeasures equipment and chaff, the B-29s escaped losses in a generally successful mission.
Dec. 2-5: President-elect Eisenhower toured the front in Korea and met with South Korean President Syngman Rhee.
Dec. 2-7: Bomber Command increased from one to three the number of B-29s allocated for radar-directed bombing in front of IX Corps during the battle for Sniper Ridge north of Kumhwa.
Dec. 3: F-86 pilots engaged enemy swept-wing jets in strength in the Pyongyang area for the first time since Aug. 9.
Dec. 5: Shortly after 9 p.m., enemy aircraft dropped three bombs on Cho-do, causing no damage in the fifth reported attack on this installation.
Dec. 6: New flak-suppression technique across the Eighth Army front became effective for close support sorties.
Dec. 11: A fully loaded B-26 of the 3rd BW caught fire at Kunsan airfield and exploded. The accident soon destroyed three other B-26s and caused major damage to six F-84s of the co-located 474th FBW.
Dec. 17: Two F-86 Sabre pilots claimed the first sighting of the enemy’s IL-28 twin-jet bombers, one having crossed the Yalu River a few miles south of the Sui-ho reservoir, escorted by two MiG-15s, while the other remained over Manchuria.
Dec. 19: Photoreconnaissance of the Pyongyang main airfield revealed the presence of three aircraft, the first observed there since October 1951.
Dec. 21: The 366th Engineering Aviation Battalion completed a new landing strip at Pusan East.
Dec. 22: An SA-16 crew landed in an inlet near Haeju, a North Korean port just north of the 38th parallel on the Yellow Sea, and rescued a downed HMS Glory Sea Fury pilot in his dinghy. The only fatal aeromedical evacuation accident of the war occurred when a Royal Hellenic air force C-47 transporting patients collided with an F-80 jet fighter-bomber at Suwon.
Dec. 27-31: The 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing (ARCW) flight of four H-19 helicopters at Seoul flew several experimental agent-insertion sorties into enemy territory for covert and clandestine intelligence activities.
Dec. 28: An SA-16 crew of the 3rd ARS picked up a downed pilot in the Yellow Sea north of Cho-do. He was in the water less than three minutes.
Dec. 29/30: Eleven B-29s of the 307th BW attacked the Teagam-ni headquarters area, destroying 146 buildings.
Dec. 30: As a part of Project Spotlight, an RB-26 located five locomotives in one marshaling yard, and two B-26 light bombers destroyed four and damaged the fifth.
Dec. 30/31: The 19th BG bombed the Choak-tong ore-processing plant near the Yalu. Aided by a full moon and a signaling aircraft, enemy interceptors downed one B-29 and damaged two others so badly that they were forced to land at Suwon.
Jan. 4: Fifth Air Force mounted a 124-airplane strike against the Huichon supply center.
Jan. 4/5: Twelve B-29s of the 307th BW bombed the Huichon supply areas and railroad bridge.
Jan. 9/10: Seventeen B-29s kicked off an air campaign against the Sinanju communications complex by bombing rail bridges at Yongmi-dong, anti-aircraft gun positions near Sinanju, and two marshaling yards at Yongmi-dong and Maejung-dong.
Jan. 10: Fighter-bombers followed up the B-29 night attacks with a daylight 158-aircraft raid against bridges, rail lines, and gun positions.
Jan. 10/11: 307th BW B-29s bombed Sonchon and Anju marshaling yards. Enemy searchlights illuminated a B-29 apparently betrayed by its contrails, and fighters shot it down.
Jan. 11: Battle damage assessment indicated that all rail lines in the Yongmi-dong area were unserviceable.
Jan. 12-15: After missing a day because of weather, fighter-bombers continued around-the-clock attacks in the Sinanju area.
Jan. 13: Some 12 enemy fighters shot down a B-29 on a psychological warfare, leaflet-drop mission over North Korea. The crew included Col. John K. Arnold Jr., commander, 581st ARCW.
Jan. 13/14: 307th BW and 19th BG attacked Sinanju and Kunu-ri marshaling yards.
Jan. 14: Following up on the B-29 attacks the night before, fighter-bombers struck gun positions, railroads, and bridges in the Sinanju area.
Jan. 15: Aerial photographs revealed a new camouflaged yard at the Sui-ho hydroelectric dam and two of the four generators working.
Jan. 17/18: The 98th BW attacked the Pyongyang radio installation, which was 42 feet underground and only 1,000 feet from a possible POW camp. The 11 B-29s scored eight to 10 hits with 2,000-pound general-purpose bombs, but these did not penetrate deeply enough to destroy the radio station.
Jan. 22: The 18th FBW withdrew its remaining F-51 Mustangs from combat and prepared to transition to F-86 Sabres, thus ending the use of USAF single-engine, propeller-driven aircraft in offensive combat in the Korean War. Peking radio announced the capture of Arnold and his surviving crew members, three having perished when the B-29 went down Jan. 13. The Communists did not release Arnold until 1956.
Jan. 24: Two pilots of the 51st FIW, Capt. Dolphin D. Overton III, 16th FIS, and Lt. Harold E. Fischer, 39th FIS, achieved ace status. In addition, Overton set a record for becoming a jet ace in the shortest time of four days.
Jan. 25: Beginning this day, UN Command limited immunity for only one Communist convoy each way per week between Pyongyang and the Panmunjom area. The enemy could no longer use the armistice negotiations as a pretense for sending supplies and reinforcements unthreatened by UN airpower to the front lines.
Jan. 28: In a break from interdiction of enemy transportation targets, fighter-bombers attacked a troop concentration near Pyongyang.
Jan. 28/29: A 19th BG B-29 exploded over the target southwest of Sariwon. Enemy fighters apparently silhouetted the B-29 against a full moon and shot it down. This was the fourth B-29 loss since December but the last of the war. USMC Skynight aircraft escorting B-29s used new tactics to down an enemy night interceptor, the first enemy jet destroyed at night by a radar-equipped jet fighter.
Jan. 29: Fighter-bombers followed up the previous day’s attack near Pyongyang.
Jan. 29/30: Enemy fighters badly damaged another B-29 in the same circumstances as the previous night. USMC Skynights once again shot down an enemy night fighter. A 319th FIS F-94 tracked by radar and destroyed an La-9 aircraft late on the night of the 30th. This marked the first Starfire kill in Korea.
Jan. 30: A 4th FIW F-86 pilot intercepted and shot down a Russian-built Tu-2 twin-engine bomber over the Yellow Sea, northeast of Pyongyang, the first reported destruction of this type aircraft since Nov. 30, 1951.
Jan. 30/3l: Approximately 10 enemy fighters so badly damaged a 307th BW B-29 that it barely made an emergency landing in South Korea.
Feb. 2: Ninety-six 5th Air Force fighter-bombers struck a troop billeting area located six miles south of Kyomipo, destroying 107 buildings.
Feb. 9: At Kyomipo, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers and light bombers left in smoldering ruins the former steel mill being used as a munitions factory and locomotive repair shop.
Feb. 15: In the strike of the month, 22 F-84 Thunderjets of the 474th FBW struck the Sui-ho hydroelectric power plant. With no losses, 82 escorting F-86 Sabres drew off 30 MiGs while the Thunderjets dropped their 1,000-pound bombs. The attack halted power production at Sui-ho for several months.
Feb. 15/16: Radio Pyongyang went off the air when B-29s attacked the nearby Pingjang-ni communications center, damaging power lines.
Feb. 16: Capt. Joseph C. McConnell Jr., 39th FIS, achieved ace status. The 1st Marine Air Wing led a 178-aircraft formation, including 5th Air Force fighter-bombers, in an attack against troop billeting and supply storage in the Haeju to Sariwon region of western North Korea. The 45th TRS transferred all its remaining RF-51s to Japan, leaving it an all-jet RF-80 unit.
Feb. 18: In one of the highlights of the air-to-air war, four F-86s attacked a formation of 48 MiG-15s just south of the Sui-ho reservoir, shooting down two enemy aircraft. Two other MiGs, attempting to follow an F-86 through evasive maneuvers, went into uncontrollable spins and crashed. In this battle, Capt. Manuel J. Fernandez, 334th FIS, achieved ace status, downing his fifth and sixth MiGs.
Feb. 18-19: In one of the largest all-jet fighter-bomber strikes of the war, 511 aircraft placed high-explosive bombs on a tank and infantry school at Kangso, southwest of Pyongyang, destroying 243 buildings.
Feb. 22: In a letter to Kim Il Sung, North Korean premier, and Paeng Te-huai, CCF commander in Korea, the UN Command stated its readiness to repatriate immediately seriously ill and wounded POWs who were fit to travel and asked whether the North Korean and Chinese leaders were prepared to do the same.
Feb. 26: Fifth Air Force instituted routine armed daylight reconnaissance over northwestern Korea in response to the enemy’s vehicle movements.
Feb. 28: Third Air Rescue Group received two new and larger H-19 helicopters. MATS C-124s had flown the dismantled helicopters directly from the factory in the US to Japan, where they were assembled and test-flown before being ferried to Korea.
March 5: Good weather permitted 5th Air Force to complete 700 sorties. Sixteen F-84 Thunderjets attacked an industrial area at Chongjin, just 63 miles from the Siberian border, destroying buildings and two rail and two road bridges, damaging seven railcars, and inflicting several rail and road cuts. Fighter-bombers flying ground support missions reported damage or destruction to 56 bunkers and gun positions, 14 personnel shelters, and 10 supply stacks.
March 5/6: Seventeen 98th BG B-29s attacked a supply area deep in North Korea at Onjong. Two 19th BG medium bombers flew close support missions opposite the US Army’s IX and X Corps. Two other B-29s employed shoran to attack on the east coast the Naewan-ni marshaling yard.
March 9: Responding to press reports that US pilots routinely pursued Communist jets across the Manchurian border, UN Command CINC Clark asserted that UN pilots broke off engagements at the Yalu River boundary, enabling many damaged MiGs to escape, although some border violations might have occurred in the heat of combat. Informing the US Joint Chiefs of Staff that air operations in Korea were conducted strictly within limitations established by appropriate authority, Clark also directed FEAF to comply with directives concerning violation of the Manchurian border.
March 13/14: On a deep penetration raid, 12 307th BW B-29s struck a cantonment area near the Choak-tong ore-processing plant near the Yalu River.
March 14: To provoke aerial engagements with Communist fighters, 5th Air Force combat crews dropped leaflets asking, “Where is the Communist air force?” over each ground concentration they attacked.
March 17/18: Serving notice that medium bombers would continue striking in MiG Alley, the 307th BW and 19th BG raided the Punghwa-dong troop concentration area just three miles south of the Communist fighter base at Sinuiju. The bombers sustained very minor flak damage.
March 21: North Korean truce negotiators expressed their willingness to observe the provisions of the Geneva Convention and exchange sick and wounded POWs. At the same time they hinted that the exchange might lead to a resolution of other issues hindering an armistice.
March 21/22: Operation Spring Thaw began when 18 19th BG medium bombers knocked spans out of two principal bridges at Yongmi-dong and rendered the third unserviceable.
March 22/23: Eight 19th BG B-29s continued the attack on Yongmi-dong bridges. The raiders observed that the enemy had repaired one of the bridges damaged the night before. Despite reports of backed-up traffic on the approaches to the bridges, Bomber Command suspended further raids, suspecting that bombers returning for a third time might sustain heavy losses.
March 26: UN pilots sighted 289 MiGs, the highest daily total observed since Aug. 6, 1952.
March 27: MiG-15s equipped with external fuel tanks jumped two RF-80s and two RAAF Meteors between Sariwon and Sinmak, only 38 miles north of the front lines. This was one of several MiG forays close to front-line positions, seemingly in response to UN leaflet drops goading the enemy air forces to come out and fight. Assigned to the 18th FBW, Maj. James P. Hagerstrom destroyed his fifth MiG to become the 28th Korean War ace.
March 28: Col. James K. Johnson, 4th FIW, downed his fifth MiG to achieve ace status.
March 29: Lt. Col. George L. Jones, 4th FIW, became the 30th jet ace.
March 30: Chou En-lai, China’s foreign minister, suggested that POWs not desiring repatriation might be placed in the temporary custody of a neutral nation until negotiations determined their final status. Prior to this proposal the Communists had insisted on the repatriation of all POWs. Their new flexibility on this issue provided an opportunity to resume truce negotiations.
April 1: One 307th BW B-29, unable to attack its primary target, visually bombed a truck convoy, reporting excellent results in an attack believed to be the first of its type since Bomber Command began operations in North Korea.
April 6/7, 7/8, 11/12: At night, Bomber Command B-29s raided the three serviceable railroad bridges spanning the Chongchon River at Sinanju. The following mornings, fighter-bombers struck traffic backed up on the approaches to the damaged bridges.
April 12: An H-19 helicopter assigned to the 581st ARCW hoisted Capt. Joseph C. McConnell Jr., F-86 pilot with eight victory credits to date, from the Yellow Sea, after he had ejected from his battle-damaged aircraft.
April 13: An 8th FBW pilot flew an F-86F model Sabre on its first air-to-ground combat mission.
April 15: The Communists completed approximately 75 miles of railroad linking Kusong with Kunu-ri and Sinpyong-ni. Built in less than 70 days, the new line bypassed numerous bottlenecks created by USAF bombing of the Chongju, Sinanju, and Sunchon railroad complexes.
April 20-May 3. During Operation Little Switch, Communist and UN forces exchanged sick and injured prisoners.
April 26: Suspended for six months, armistice negotiations between Communist and UN forces reconvened.
April 26/27: A B-29 medium bomber dropped leaflets over North Korea to kick off Project Moola, the FEAF effort to obtain an operational MiG-15.
May 1: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers struck Radio Pyongyang. Screened by the 4th and 51st FIWs, the 8th and 18th FBWs briefly headed toward the Yalu River then abruptly swooped down on North Korea’s capital to bomb the broadcasting facility and its power supply. Monitoring the battle from the air, 5th Air Force commander Barcus promised that his aircraft would return every time the Communists broadcast “filthy lies” about 5th Air Force.
May 10: Flying through intense flak Col. Victor E. Warford, commander, 58th FBW, led eight Thunderjets to attack the hydroelectric generating facilities at Sui-ho near the Yalu River.
May 10/11: Thirty-nine Superfortresses raided the 375-acre Yangsi troop concentration area 12 miles southeast of Sinuiju, achieving 63 percent destruction of one of the last large lucrative targets remaining in North Korea.
May 13: Thunderjets of the 58th FBW, in the first attack against previously excluded irrigation dams, bombed the Toksan Dam holding the Potong River’s water 20 miles north of Pyongyang. Floodwaters swirling from the breached dam washed out six miles of embankment and five bridges, destroyed two miles of the major north-south highway, rendered Sunan airfield inoperable, and ruined five square miles of prime rice crop.
May 14: Communist and UN truce negotiators recessed indefinitely over differences concerning POWs who refused repatriation.
May 16: Ninety 58th FBW sorties breached the Chasan irrigation dam. Surging waters washed away three railroad bridges and destroyed rice ripening in surrounding fields.
May 18: An H-19 helicopter rescued two members of a B-26 crew 20 miles inside enemy territory by using tactics presaging those of later conflicts. The helicopter scrambled from its base and flew to a small island off the Haeju Peninsula to await fighters to clear the path to the downed airmen. Penetrating enemy territory at 5,000 feet, the helicopter followed the fighter pilots’ directions until it located the survivors who were signaling with a mirror. After the survivors set off a flare to indicate wind direction, the helicopter landed and rescued them, staying on the ground for approximately 30 seconds.
Lt. Col. George I. Ruddell, commander, 39th FS, became the 31st jet ace. Another squadron member, McConnell, downed three more MiG-15s to become the first triple jet ace and, with 16 victories, the highest scoring ace of the Korean War.
May 18/19: Eighteen Superfortresses returned to complete the destruction of the Yangsi troop concentration area.
May 19/20: A formation of 19th BG B-29s attacked a large supply complex at Unsan-dong, destroying 140 buildings. Located eight miles west of Sinanju, the complex probably sheltered coast defense forces and was a bivouac area for troops moving south.
May 21/22: Using shoran to aim the bombs, B-29s scored seven direct hits on the Kuwonga dam but failed to burst it because North Koreans had lowered the water level by 12 feet, significantly reducing the pressure on the dam.
May 25: The UN armistice delegation vainly attempted a compromise with the Communists, proposing that nonrepatriate POWs remain in neutral custody for up to 120 days after the armistice, until their governments could confirm their attitude toward repatriation.
May 27: Aerial reconnaissance discovered Communist preparations for a major ground offensive.
May 28/29: The B-29s returned to the Kuwonga dam, scoring five direct hits with 2,000-pound bombs. Although the dam did not burst, North Koreans had to finish draining the reservoir to accomplish repairs, thus exhausting the supply of water available for irrigation.
May 28: The Communists launched a series of company- to regiment-sized attacks that lasted into early June. Gen. Duk Shin Choi, the senior South Korean army delegate to the UN armistice delegation, informed negotiators that his government considered the May 25 proposals by the UN Command unacceptable and announced that he was boycotting future negotiations on the instructions of his government.
May 29: Clark warned the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the South Korean government might release POWs unilaterally.
May 31: Lt. Gen. Samuel E. Anderson assumed command of 5th Air Force, replacing Barcus.
June 2-3: Bomber Command B-29 bombers began night close support missions, mostly against targets where the Communists were training and building up troops and supplies in the western sector of the US IX Corps area.
June 5: Lt. Col. Vermont Garrison, 335th FIS, became the Korean War’s 32nd jet ace.
June 10: Fifth Air Force and Bomber Command made coordinated strikes against North Korean serviceable and near-serviceable airfields. Sixteen B-29s from the 98th BW struck Sinuiju and Uiju, encountering flak and fighters without losses. In the heaviest 5th Air Force raid of the airfield campaign, 31 F-84s struck Kanggye airfield.
June 11: Fighter-bombers made their deepest penetration of the war when 13 F-84s attacked Chunggang-jin airfield located midway on the North Korean-Manchurian border. Pilots reported that the raid had rendered the runway unserviceable.
June 13-18: To flood airfields at Namsi and Taechon, F-84s, B-29s, and Marine F4U Corsair fighter-bombers struck irrigation dams at Toksan and Kusong. The raids failed to breach the dams because the Communists had lowered water levels to decrease water pressure.
June 15: Brig. Gen. Richard H. Carmichael replaced Fisher as commander, Bomber Command.
June 16: Setting a single day record, 5th Air Force flew 1,834 sorties. More than half were close support missions against enemy troops in the Pukhan Valley area.
June 17/18: The South Korean government unilaterally released 27,000 anti-Communist POWs.
June 18: Flying for the 335th FIS, Capts. Lonnie R. Moore and Ralph S. Parr Jr. became the Korean War’s 33rd and 34th jet aces, respectively.
June 22: Assigned to the 25th FIS, Col. Robert P. Baldwin became a jet ace.
June 22-23: The 315th employed 27 C-46s and 61 C-119s in 284 sorties to transport the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team-3,252 paratroopers and 1,771 tons of cargo-to Korea to reinforce Eighth Army reserves.
June 23: With all North Korean airfields but one inoperable, FEAF commander Weyland advised his air forces to limit attacks to follow-on raids to damage airfields sufficiently so that another series of air raids could knock them out in four or five days.
June 28-July 2: C-46, C-54, and C-119 transports of the 315th airlifted the 19th and 34th Infantry Regiments-3,937 soldiers and 1,227 tons of cargo-from Japan to Korea.
June 30: Sabres set a record by destroying 16 MiGs in a single day. The previous record, 13 kills, had been set Dec. 13, 1951, and matched July 4 and Sept. 4, 1952. Flying with the 25th FIS, 1st Lt. Henry Buttelmann became the Korean War’s 36th jet ace.
July 4/5: Twenty-four B-29s attacked airfields at Taechon, Namsi, and Pyongyang.
July 7/8: Sixteen medium bombers raided a supply area and marshaling yard at Namsi.
July 10: Fifth Air Force fighter-bombers began raiding rail bridges at Sinanju and Yongmi-dong to hinder the buildup for the final Communist assault.
July 10/11: The 98th BW B-29s attacked the Sinanju bridges. The 307th BW B-29s bombed rail bridges at Yongmi-dong.
July 11: South Korean President Syngman Rhee agreed to accept a cease-fire agreement in return for promises of a mutual security pact with the United States. Maj. John Bolt, USMC, flying with the 39th FIS of the 51st FIW, shot down his fifth and sixth MiGs to become the Marines’ only Korean War ace.
July 12: RF-80 reconnaissance aircraft photographed heavy concentrations of anti-aircraft artillery opposite sectors of the front held by the US IX Corps and the South Korean II Corps, providing warning of an enemy offensive.
July 12-20: Close air support sorties by FEAF aircraft contributed significantly to staunching the Communist onslaught against the South Korean II Corps.
July 13-19: B-29 medium bombers flew nearly 100 ground support missions dropping 4,000-pound airburst and delayed action anti-personnel bombs to blunt the Communist offensive.
July 15: Maj. James Jabara, 334th FIS, scored his 15th aerial victory to become the world’s second triple jet ace.
July 16: Cmdr. Guy Bordelon, flying with 5th Air Force, became the war’s 38th ace and the only ace for the US Navy.
July 16-20: Fighter-bombers completed a series of attacks on the Chongchon bridges, rendering them unusable.
July 19: Capt. Clyde A. Curtin, 335th FIS, shot down two MiGs to become the 39th ace. The final session of armistice negotiations at Panmunjom convened. After meeting one day, the top negotiators agreed to adjourn while technical experts worked out the cease-fire details.
July 20: Maj. Stephen L. Bettinger, 336th FIS, became the 40th ace of the Korean War with his fifth MiG-15 kill.
July 21/22: Eighteen B-29s close out the war for Bomber Command, striking Uiju airfield.
July 22: Combat between USAF Sabres and Communist MiGs ended with an air battle between three 51st FIW and four Communist jets. During this engagement, Lt. Sam P. Young, 25th FIS, scored the last MiG kill of the Korean War.
July 27: At 10 a.m. Lt. Gen. William K. Harrison, USA, the senior delegate for the UN Command, and Gen. Nam Il, the senior delegate for the North Korean Army and the Chinese Volunteers, signed the armistice agreement to produce a cease-fire in the Korean War.
Capt. Ralph S. Parr Jr. became a double ace with the last air-to-air victory of the war by shooting down an IL-12 transport. In the final hours before the cease-fire, 5th Air Force fighter-bombers hammered North Korean airfields. Poststrike photography from 67th TRW aircraft confirmed that every airfield in North Korea was unserviceable for jet aircraft landings, indicating the successful conclusion of the airfield neutralization program.
Flying a 91st SRS RB-29, Lt. Denver S. Cook piloted the last Bomber Command sortie, dropping leaflets over North Korea. An 8th BS B-26 dropped the last bombs of the Korean War in a night, radar-directed close support mission. Aircraft from the same squadron had flown the first combat strike into North Korea. A RB-26 of the 67th TRW made the last combat sortie of the war over North Korea.
As the Korean War formally ended, by 10:01 p.m., all FEAF’s aircraft were located either south of the front line or more than three miles from North Korea’s coast.
In accordance with the Armistice Agreement, in August, POWs were exchanged in Operation Big Switch-77,000 Communists for 12,700 UN men, of whom 3,597 were Americans.