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401st Tactical Fighter Wing
(5th Tactical Fighter Wing)

The 401st is also referred to in some publications, most notably Jane's Sentinel as the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing. The predecessor of the 5th wing was the 5th Tactical Fighter Group and was established in Jianqiao, Hangzhou, in 1936. It was assigned to the command of the Air Force Third Route Command in 1939 and stationed at Shuangliu, Sichuan Province. In 1943, it was assigned to the Chinese-American Composite Corps and stationed at Zhijiang, Hunan, and returned to station at Nanjing after victory over Japan in 1945. The Chinese-American Composite Corps was then dissolved and the unit was assigned to the command of the Air Force 1st Command Headquarters and stationed at Dajiaochang, Nanjing, and assigned to the command of the 4th Military Region Command Headquarters in 1946. In 1928, the wing was ordered to relocate from Nanjing to Taiwan and station at Taoyuan Air Force Base.

In 1953, the reconnaissance squadron was assigned to the command to form the 5th Tactical Fighter Wing. In 1960, the wing was renamed as the 5th Composite Wing. In 1976, the wing was renamed as the Air Force 401st Tactical Composite Wing to present.

This wing has the track of record in several battles during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression in Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Shanxi, and Lanzhou, and won in the score of 1:10 in absolute inferiority of air power. The pilots of the wing have shot down more than 120 enemy planes and severely damaged 23 enemy planes. A remarkable mission was the surprise attack on Bailuo Airfield in Yueyang. The brave pilots have destroyed more than 200 enemy planes at one time that paved the way for the eventual victory of the war.

On October 15, 1955, the 5th Group of the wing shot down one MIG-15 of the PLA for the first time in the air battles over the Taiwan Straits. On July 21, 1956, the pilots of this wing also shot down 2 MIG fighters from the PLA in the air space north of Matsu. Later, the wing has shot down the total of 21 MIG-17 in the battles of August 14, September 8, September 18, September 20, September 24, and October 10 in 1958, and might have shot down another 3 and damaged 5 enemy planes in the same period. The performance of the wing resulted in the conferring of a banner of honor by President Chiang Kai-Shek in person in August 1959. This was the glorious page in the history of the wing during the civil war.

On July 1, 1998, the wing was ordered to relocate from Taoyuan Air Force Base to Hualien Air Force Base to continue the replacement with the F-16 Fighting Falcon and related training under the new streamlined organizational structure of the military forces. Under the same policy, the photography squadron was also assigned to the wing. With this new unit, the wing supported the establishment of the “Phoenix eye” surveillance and photography capacity of the Air Force of the 12th squadron and completed several important missions of intelligence gathering through surveillance and photography, and was highly affirmed and praised by the senior officials.

In January 2002 the 401st Tactical Fighter Wing was "commissioned" as a F-16 A/B fighter wing. This was the second and last unit to be transitioned to the F-16 after having flown the F-5E and F-104. President Chen Shui-Bian visited the Hualian Air Force Base on January 16, 2002 to host the ceremony for the formation of the Air Force 401st Wing. The 5th Composite Wing was then dissolved on October 31, 2004 with the formation of the 17th, 26th, and 27th Combat Squadrons on November 1. The wing has successfully accomplished the missions of defending the air space of the Taiwan Straits.

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Page last modified: 06-10-2021 12:14:53 ZULU