Military


Seventh Air Force
Combined Air Component Command (CACC)

The Seventh Air Force role is to plan, direct, and conduct combined air operations in the Republic of Korea and in the Northwest Pacific in support of PACAF, US Pacific Command, United Nations Command, US-ROK Combined Forces Command, and US Forces Korea.

Headquarters 7 AF consists of approximately 10,000 Air Force personnel located primarily at Osan AB, Kunsan AB, and five other collocated operating bases throughout the Republic of Korea. Air Force personnel fly and maintain the F-16 Falcon and the A/OA-10 Thunderbolt combat aircraft, and perform a myriad of intelligence, logistics, planning, communications, and liaison duties.

Although primarily a combat ready command, 7 AF also provides assistance to non-combatants and civilians with the region. Rescue at sea, typhoon evacuations, and medical assistance to the needy are but a few of the instances in which the men and women of the Seventh Air Force have extended an open hand.

As one of the four Numbered Air Forces in Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Seventh Air Force (7 AF) has a distinguished heritage that is deeply rooted in the Pacific. Initially, 7 AF activated on 1 November 1940 as the Hawaiian Air Force. The command was twice renamed before settling as 7 AF on 5 February 1947.

The fledgling 7 AF's involvement in World War II was best summed up by its air and ground views as "Just one damned island after another!" 7 AF fought the Japanese imperial might from Hawaii 2,000 miles southwest to the Gilberts, then 600 miles northwest to the Marshalls, 900 miles west to the Carolines, 600 miles northwest to the Marianas, 600 miles north to Iwo Jima, 1,000 miles west to Okinawa, always edging closer towards the center of Japanese power. A map story of the 7 AF would cover 3,000 miles north and south of Midway to Fiji, and 5,000 miles east and west from Pearl Harbor to the Ryukus.

The saga of the 7 AF's aerial exploits across the Central Pacific has the "rags-to-riches" qualities of a Horatio Alger story. First the almost complete decimation of the Hawaiian Air Force (predecessor of the 7 AF) at Pearl Harbor, then its gradual build-up and vast oceanic search missions to keep the enemy at bay. Later, long-range heavy bomber attacks softened up strategic islands for amphibious invasions, with greater weight brought against the enemy perimeter defense by the advance of fighter and medium bombers. Finally, after constant consolidation of gains, 7 AF smashed at Japan directly from both Iwo Jima, as escort to the long-range strategic B-29s, and from Okinawa with the Far East Air Forces in the rocky Ryukus, right up to the surrender of Japan.

The Seventh was the first air force to feel the enemy's weight and the first to take toll of the enemy. It flew longer to battle, used wider range of aircraft, and covered more territory than any land-based Air Force. It fought and bombed by day and night, flew distant reconnaissance missions, dropped every type of bomb and incendiary, sunk enemy shipping, mined enemy waters, and performed countless routine and special jobs. Its personnel served on isolated coral atolls, received scant recognition, and endured months of dreary monotony. By necessity, 7 AF was a precision-bombing unit. Its commander, Major General Willis Hale, summed up 7 AF's contribution by saying: "The target had to be directly hit. The difference of 40 feet one way or the other meant that bombs would either land on the lagoon on one side of the island or the ocean on the other. And we didn't fly 2,000 miles to kill fish."

Upon reactivation on 28 March 1966, 7 AF was designated a combat command at Ton Son Nhut AB, Republic of Vietnam. It was the Air Component Command of Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MAVC). From April 1966 until 1973, the command assumed responsibility for most Air Force operations in Vietnam and shared responsibility with the Thirteenth Air Force for operations conducted from Thailand as 7/13 Air Force. In June 1966, the first US air attacks near Hanoi and Haiphong occurred when 7 AF planes bombed oil installations near these two cities. The following month, US aircraft struck North Vietnamese forces inside the DMZ following the North's violations of agreements not to put military forces there.

One of the most publicized battles of the war was the siege of Khe Sanh in early 1968, known as "Operation Niagra." More than 24,000 tactical and 2700 B-52 strike dropped 110,000 tons of ordnance in attacks that averaged over 300 sorties per day. At night, AC-47 gunships kept up a constant chatter of fire against enemy troops. In August 1968, General George S. Brown began to oversee the "Vietnamization" of the air war. By 1970, this effort was successful enough that General Brown released the first USAF units to leave Vietnam. On 29 March 1973, the command transferred to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai AB, Thailand, where it accepted dual responsibility as the US Support Activities Group and 7 AF. As a result, 7 AF controlled air assets and operations in Thailand. It served this role until its deactivation on 30 June 1975.

On September 1986, the Air Force activated 7 AF again to assume the duties of maintaining the fragile armistice on the Korean peninsula that the 314 Air Division was responsible for. Since then, 7 AF, as the US Air Force component to the US and ROK Combined Forces Command's Air Component Command, has been an integral part of deterring aggression from North Korea against the ROK.

Headquarters 7 AF consists of approximately 10,000 Air Force personnel located primarily at Osan AB, Kunsan AB, and five other collocated operating bases throughout the Republic of Korea. Air Force personnel fly and maintain the F-16 Falcon and the A/OA-10 Thunderbolt combat aircraft, and perform a myriad of intelligence, logistics, planning, communications, and liaison duties.

Although primarily a combat ready command, 7 AF also provides assistance to non-combatants and civilians with the region. Rescue at sea, typhoon evacuations, and medical assistance to the needy are but a few of the instances in which the men and women of the Seventh Air Force have extended an open hand.

Combined Air Component Command (CACC)

The commander, Seventh Air Force, is dual-hatted as commander, Combined Air Component Command (CACC). On September 1986, the Air Force activated 7 AF to assume the duties of maintaining the fragile armistice on the Korean peninsula that the 314 Air Division was responsible for. Since then, 7 AF, as the US Air Force component to the US and ROK Combined Forces Command's Air Component Command, has been an integral part of deterring aggression from North Korea against the ROK.

Air Component Command (ACC) -- part of the US-Republic of Korea (ROK) Combined Forces Command (CFC) -- is the air component of CFC. CFC exercises Combined Delegated Authority over Korean forces responsible for the defense of the Republic of Korea. Should the policy of deterrence fail, CFC would direct combat operations to defeat an enemy attack. These CFC forces are organized into ground, air, naval components and two Major Subordinate Commands, marine and when activated, a special operations command. ACC is responsible for planning and executing the Integrated Tasking Order (ITO).



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