Far East/Pacific Air Forces
On 6 December 1954 the wing was withdrawn from South Korea and moved to Itami Air Base, near Osaka, Japan. It was reorganized in Japan with the Group's operational squadrons being located at different bases:
- 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Electronics and Weather (RB/WB-26 Invader)
- 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Night Photographic (RB-26 Invader)
- 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic-Jet (RF-80 Shooting Star) (Komaki AB, Japan)
- 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Photographic-Jet (RF-80 Shooting Star) (Misawa AB, Japan)
- 67th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron: A non-flying unit with a mission to process aerial photography taken by the squadrons of the group.
Two of the 67th TRG's squadrons, the 11th and 12th were moved to Itami with RB-26s; the 15th was moved to Komaki AB at Nagoya and the 45th TRS was left at Kimpo AB (K-14), South Korea. The 45th TRS moved from Kimpo to Misawa AB, in northern Japan in March 1955, making it the last of the wing's units to leave South Korea.
With the fighting over in Korea, the mission of the 67th was the need to remain alert and be ready in case of a resumption of combat on the peninsula. At Itami, the 67th's mission shifted from active, combat support of United Nations forces to a status of training and preparedness. It still operated aircraft along the Korean DMZ monitoring the border for Communist aggression and provided photographic and electronic intelligence for areas and of targets of particular interest to Fifth Air Force (Project "Hawkeye"). It provided and maintained visual surveillance of Communist and United Nations forces activities; occasionally directed adjustment of long range artillery and naval gunfire during cease-fire violations. In August 1955 the 15th TRS was moved to Yokota AB with the return of Komaki to Japanese control.
The task of monitoring the Korean DMZ fell to the 67th TRW who had in fact taken up the mission with its 11th and 12th TRS RB-26 aircraft immediately after the signing of the armistice. While the grop was resident at K-14 (Kimpo AB) the regular flights alone the DMZ, although fraught with danger and difficulties, were relatively easy to maintain in logistical terms. The aircraft were based within easy reach of their target. The squadron aircraft could also maintain its other photo recce commitments in Korea with relative ease. However, when the wing moved to Japan, regular DMZ monitoring missions were flown from Itami where the unit was based. This proved impractical to maintain and in early 1955 the wing set up a detachment at Kimpo. Two RB-26s from the 11th TRS were deployed there with support facilities and Project Hawkeye was born.
Initially Detachment #1 of the 67th TRW also included three RF-80s of the 15th TRS. The mission of the RB-26s was to provide day photographic reconnaissance of the DMZ upon request of the Korean Joint Operations Center (KJOC) and to maintain a Photo Processing Center (PPC) capability in Korea. In early 1957 FEAF recognized the need to replace the RB-26 in Hawkeye and, furthermore, give the operation a more permanent establishment at K-14. In addition, the Air Force was faced with the cost of having to re-equip the 67th in the face of a new round of budget reductions. Its photo equipment was worn out from the use during the Korean War, and was deteriorated due to the poor conditions in the combat areas. Also the aircraft were constantly flown during the war, with rapid repair of battle damage being the norm.
The occupation of Japan had formally ended in 1952, and the United States was assisting Japan in the creation of "Self-Defense Forces". In August 1956, the Group's headquarters was moved to Yokota AB, with the wing following on 1 July 1957 as part of the return to Itami to the Japanese Government. This move also addressed the need to reorganize the reconnaissance forces, as the FEAF provisional 6007th Reconnaissance Wing at Yokota had a mission similar to the peacetime mission of the 67th.
With the move to Yokota, the 67th TRW took over the mission, personnel and facilities of the 6007th RW, which had been operating at Yokota since January 1950. The takeover by the 67th of the 6007th Reconnaissance Group made the 67th grow with four additional squadrons:
- 6021st Reconnaissance Squadron, inactivated in December 1957. It's RF-84F Thunderstreaks were reassigned to the 15th TRS; the RT-33A Shooting Star atmospheric sampling mission was reassigned to the 6091st RS, and its RB-57A Canberras returned to the United States.
- 6091st Reconnaissance Squadron, which was engaged in classified activities for Fifth Air Force, was assigned to the 67th TRW as a new squadron equipped with RB-50 Superfortresses, RB-57 Canberras, C-54 Skymasters and C-119 Flying Boxcars for undisclosed intelligence-gathering operations.
- 548th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron: A non-flying unit with a mission to process aerial photography taken by the 6021st and 6091st, passing it on directly to HQ Far East Air Force.
- 421st Air Refueling Squadron: Equipped with KB-50/KB-50J Superfortress, performed aerial refueling for FEAF aircraft.
The 67th also inherited an air rescue mission at Yokota which was inherited from the 35th Air Base Group. It was assigned to the 67th ABG and then to the 6012th Air Base Wing, which took over the host responsibly in July 1957. It operated a specialized SC-47 which was fitted for air rescue duties.
By 1958, the 67th TRW had over 150 aircraft in seven flying squadrons (11th TRS, 12th TRS, 15th TRS at Kadena, 45th TRS at Misawa, 6021st RS, 6091st RS and 421st ARS). In addition, there were Headquarters, Maintenance, Armament, Electronics and Field Maintenance Squadrons, plus the 548th and 67th Reconnaissance Technical Squadrons. This made the 67th TRW the largest wing in the USAF at the time.
At Yokota, the 67th TRW became the sole source of tactical reconnaissance in Japan for Fifth Air Force. It had the diverse, complex mission to provide visual, photo, weather and electronic reconnaissance. With the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to monitor, the 67th was forced to concentrate on the more active long-range Cold War reconnaissance and cartographic graphic tasks inherited from the 6007th, using the flying units of the former wing.
In addition the 67th maintained the surveillance mission of the DMZ to give Army ground forces fast response to high and low oblique photo reconnaissance of the DMZ. In early 1957 FEAF recognized the need to replace the RB-26 and, furthermore, give the operation a more permanent establishment at K-14. The difficulty facing the 67th TRW, which was given the responsibility for coming up with an alternative, was what aircraft to use. One of the terms of the armistice was that new aircraft could not be brought into the theatre. The final choice was the C-47, which was modified with the installation of a K-38, 36-inch oblique camera to shoot oblique imagery across the DMZ. In addition, a mobile photo lab and small Photo-Interpretation capability left over in Korea when the 67th was moved to Itami in 1954. The C-47 also collected SIGNIT which was sent directly to the FEAF ELINT Center at Yokota. Two navigators were always carried on the aircraft to ensure, as far as possible, that no violation of the DMZ occurred. The primary collector of regular photo coverage over the Korean DMZ was RB-50s of 6091st RS. Photography from those missions were processed by the 548th RTS.
With the move to Yokota, the group element was inactivated as part of the transition to the tri-deputate organization, and the operational squadrons were assigned directly to the wing. It was later was assigned to the 41st Air Division in 1958. With the re-assignment to the Division, RB-66 Destroyers replaced the Korean War vintage RB-26s; with WB-66's being assigned to the 11th TRS in 1958. Supeersonic RF-101C Voodoos replaced the RF-84Fs also in 1958.
The Wing was inactivated in December 1960 due to budget reductions which forced a re-alignment of PACAF assets in Japan. The 3d Bombardment Wing was moved from Johnson AB to Yokota and assumed the mission of the 67th TRW. The 421st Air Refueling Squadron and 6091st Reconnaissance Squadron were attached to the 3d Bombardment Wing, but reassigned to the 41st Air Division (It later was incorporated into the 556th Reconnaissance Squadron on 1 July 1968). The 11th and 12th TRS were inactivated; the 15th and 45th TRS were moved to Kadena AB, Okinawa and Misawa AB Japan respectively and given new assignments. The detachment at Osan was reassigned to the 314th Air Division.
Famous quotes containing the words forces, air, east and/or pacific:
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