The Far East Air Force (FEAF) was the military aviation arm of the United States Army in the Philippines just prior to and at the beginning of World War II. Formed on 16 November 1941, FEAF was the predecessor of the Fifth Air Force of the United States Army Air Forces and United States Air Force.
Initially FEAF also included aircraft and personnel of the Philippine Army Air Corps. It was largely destroyed during the Philippines Campaign of 1941–42. When 14 surviving B-17 Flying Fortresses and 143 personnel of the heavy bombardment force were withdrawn from Mindanao to Darwin, Australia in the third week of December 1941, Headquarters FEAF followed it within days. The B-17s were the only combat aircraft of the FEAF to escape capture or destruction.
FEAF, with only 16 P-40 Warhawks and 4 Seversky P-35 fighters remaining of its original combat force, was broken up as an air organization and moved by units into Bataan 24–25 December. 49 of the original 165 pursuit pilots of FEAF's 24th Pursuit Group also evacuated during the campaign, but of non-flying personnel, only one of 27 officers and 16 wounded enlisted men were evacuated. Nearly all ground and flying personnel were employed as infantry at some point during their time on Bataan, where most surrendered on 9 April 1942.
The surviving personnel and a small number of aircraft received from the United States were re-organized in Australia in January 1942, and on 5 February 1942 redesignated as the Fifth Air Force. With most of its aircraft based in Java, the FEAF was nearly destroyed a second time trying to stem the tide of Japanese advances southward.
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... The August strength of Air Force USSAFE"was 2,049 enlisted troops under the command of 254 officers ... One source stated that,as of 30 November,its strength was 5,609 669 officers and 4,940 enlisted troops ... The Philippine Army AirCorps constituted another 1,500 members,with units at Maniquis Field Cabanatuan) Zablon Field Manila) and an auxiliary strip at Batangas,all on Luzon and a detachment at ...
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