35th Fighter Wing [35th FW]
(Base Code: WW)
The 35th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Misawa Air Base, Japan -- the northernmost U.S. air base in Japan. The only combined, joint service installation in the Western Pacific, Misawa Air Base is located on the shores of Lake Ogawara in Misawa City in the Aomori Prefecture.
Although originally activated at Johnson Air Base, Japan, on Aug. 18, 1948, the wing carries bestowed honors of the 35th Fighter Group, which traces its origin back to Dec. 22, 1939.
The 35th Fighter Wing's original mission tasked it to fly air defense over Japan. The wing carried out this mission flying F-51 aircraft until 20 January 1950, when the wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing and assigned F-80 aircraft. On 1 April 1950, the wing moved to Yokota, Japan, where the 35th Fighter Interceptor Group was stationed. In July 1950, the wing deployed a tactical group and two squadrons to Yonpo, North Korea, and Pusan, South Korea, to support the United Nations ground forces during the Korean War. The remainder of the wing continued to fly air defense missions over Japan and, on 14 August 1950, moved back to Johnson Air Base, Japan.
After the Korean War the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing added aerial reconnaissance to its air defense mission. On 1 October 1954, the wing returned to Yokota Air Base, Japan, along with the 35th Fighter Interceptor Group. Along with the 35 FIG, the wing inactivated on 1 October 1957. From 1951 until its inactivation the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing flew several different airframes, including the RC-45, RF-51, F-86 and F-94. On 14 March 1966, the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing was redesignated the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. On 1 April 1966, the wing activated at Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, replacing the 7252d Tactical Fighter Wing. While at Da Nang Air Base, the wing had five flying squadrons assigned or attached to it. The 390th and 480th Tactical Fighter Squadrons flew F-4Cs while assigned to the wing. The wing had elements of the 64th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, flying F-102 aircraft, and the 8th and 13th Tactical Bomb Squadrons, both flying B-57s, assigned while at Da Nang Air Base.
On 8 October 1966, the wing transferred to Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, replacing the 366th Wing. With the transfer, the 35th became the parent wing at Phan Rang Air Base and began operating F-100 aircraft with Detachment 1 of the 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The 8th and 13th Tactical Bomb Squadrons followed the 35th to Phan Rang Air Base, while the wing gained an attached organization: the Royal Australian Air Force Squadron No. 2, equipped with MK-20 Canberra bombers. In September 1970, the wing gained the 8th Special Operations Squadron, a unit flying the A-37B airframe. On 15 March 1971, the 612th moved from Japan to Phan Rang Air Base, replacing the detachment. In April 1971, the wing began phasing down for inactivation, standing down operations on 26 June 1971. The 35th transferred its remaining resources to the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing on 31 July 1971, when it inactivated.
On 1 October 1971, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing activated at George Air Force Base, California, where it replaced the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing. Once at George, the wing took over the mission of training F-4 flight crews. In July 1973, with the arrival of F-105 aircraft, the wing began training aircrews for "Wild Weasel" (radar detection and suppression) missions in addition to other F-4 training. By 1975, with the arrival of new F-4C aircraft, the wing was training aircrews exclusively in "Wild Weasel" operations for deployment to operational units in Okinawa and Germany. In 1978 the wing received the new F-4G advanced "Wild Weasel," and by 27 July 1980, the last F-105G departed, leaving the 35th with an all F-4 inventory. On 30 March 1981, operations at George Air Force Base were reorganized by mission. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing retained control of the 20th and 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadrons and gained the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The active "Wild Weasel" mission of the 561st and 562d Tactical Fighter Squadrons was assumed by the newly activated 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, also located at George Air Force Base. In 1985, with the inactivation of the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Tactical Training Wing. However, the wing retained an air defense augmentation responsibility. The wing provided operations and maintenance support for the close air support portion of US Army training exercises conducted at the US Army National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, from 1981 to 1990. In addition, the wing advised specific Air National Guard units on F-4 operations from 1981 to 1991.
On 5 October 1989, operations at George Air Force Base were again reorganized. The 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 35th Tactical Training Wing consolidated all operations under the newly redesignated 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. Under the reorganization the 35th gained control of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron and the 562d Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.
On 2 August 1990, a far superior Iraqi military invaded the small country of Kuwait. The United States and its allies quickly denounced the act of violence and vowed to stop the advancement of the Iraqi military. The Saudi Arabian government requested that the United States and Allied forces move into their country to assist in protecting Saudi soil and turning back the Iraqi military. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was among the units mobilized in support of what became known as "Operation Desert Shield". On 16 August 1990, 24 F-4Gs of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron departed George Air Force Base. After staging at Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, all 24 aircraft journeyed to their final destination at Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain. The journey required a grueling 15 1/2 hour flight. Once on the ground, deployed personnel established operational, maintenance, and living facilities for the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional). These facilities eventually housed more than 60 active duty and Air National Guard F-4s, and over 2,600 personnel.
On 17 January 1991, when US and Allied forces attacked Iraqi troops in an attempt to drive them out of Kuwait, Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm. Though Operation Desert Storm only lasted 43 days, the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron flew 1,182 combat sorties, for a total of 4,393.5 hours. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional), as a whole, was credited with flying 3,072 combat missions, for 10,318.5 hours. The US Central Command relied heavily on the wing's "Wild Weasels" for the suppression of the enemy's air defense systems. The F-4G aircrews were credited with firing 905 missiles at Iraqi targets, while the RF-4C aircrews provided over 300,000 feet of vital reconnaissance film. Operation Desert Storm ended on 28 February 1991. During the entire operation the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) suffered no casualties. Personnel began returning to George Air Force Base on 23 March, and the 35th's aircraft returned on 26 March 1991.
On 31 March 1991, the 831st Air Division inactivated at George Air Force Base. With this inactivation the 35th became the host unit for the base and gained numerous support agencies. The 35th Combat Support Group and associated squadrons activated on 1 April 1991. On 28 June, in support of USAF force reduction programs, the 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron inactivated. On 1 October 1991, as part of an Air Force wide overall reorganization, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Wing. On 1 November the wing's tactical fighter squadrons were redesignated fighter squadrons.
In 1992, the 35th began down-sizing in preparation for the closure of George Air Force Base. On 5 June 1992, the 20th Fighter Squadron moved to Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico. By the end of June the 561st and 562d Fighter Squadrons were also inactivated. A few months later, on 15 December 1992, the 35th Fighter Wing inactivated and George Air Force Base closed.
Although the closing of George Air Force Base brought an end to 21 years of continuous service, and more than 34 years of total service, for the 35th, it was not to remain inactive long. Less than six months after its inactivation the 35th was again called to service. On 31 May 1993, the 35th Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Wing and activated at Naval Air Station (NAS) Keflavik, Iceland. The 35th replaced Air Forces Iceland, which had served as a wing equivalent for over 40 years.
The 35th Wing's new mission was to "Deter Aggression, Stabilize the North Atlantic Region, and Protect the Sovereign Airspace of Iceland through the use of Combat Capable Surveillance, Air Superiority, and Rescue Forces." The 57th Fighter Squadron provided the air superiority through the use of F-15C/D aircraft. The 932d Air Control Squadron provided surveillance through the Iceland Regional Operations Control Center (ICEROCC) and four remote radar sites located on the four corners of the island. While the 56th Rescue Squadron provided combat rescue and reaction force insertion capabilities through the use of four HH-60G helicopters.
On 30 September 1994, the 35th Wing inactivated at NAS Keflavik, Iceland. On the following day, 1 October 1994, it activated as the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, Japan, where the wing assumed the missions and responsibilities previously performed by the 432d Fighter Wing.
The wing's mission is to "help defend Japan and promote regional security in the Pacific by providing forward presence, deployable forces, and quality mission support".
The wing flies two squadrons of the Block 50 model F-16CJ and F-16DJ Fighting Falcon. The wing conducts daily F-16 flight training to maintain its combat readiness edge. Its pilots fly air-to-air weapons delivery exercises over water and sharpen their air-to-ground skills using the ripsaw gunnery range located 12 miles north of Misawa.
In addition to its flight training schedule, the wing holds quarterly local operational readiness exercises, which allow its people to concentrate training on war fighting skills essential for readiness. The 35th Fighter Wing also maintains its readiness by participating in Pacific Air Forces-sponsored exercises, including Cope Thunder in Alaska, and joint U.S. forces exercises, such as Cobra Gold in Thailand. Three times a year, the wing participates in 5th Air Force-sponsored Cope North bilateral exercises involving the United States and Japan.
Four groups are assigned to the 35th Fighter Wing: the 35th Logistics Group, 35th Medical Group, 35th Operations Group and 35th Support Group. The 35th Fighter Wing also serves as the host unit to a variety of associate units representing all four U.S. military services. These units include Naval Air Facility Misawa, Naval Security Group Activity Misawa, Company E Marine Support Battalion, 301st Intelligence Squadron, 3rd Space Surveillance Squadron and the Army's 750th Military Intelligence Company.
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