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Fourth's Korean Home Has Long History

By A/1C James L. Vasquez

Around 1935 the Japanese occupation forces here in Korea undertook the task of building an air base. It took approximately seven years of backbreaking labor to build what is now the home of the Fourth FIW. The Japanese used Korean labor to haul rocks all the way from Kai Hwa San and Yang Chan, 5 and 10 miles from the base, to use as a rock bed for the runways. Finally, around 1942, the Base was completed.

After the end of World War II the United States took over the base and from 1945 to 1959 several different American units were stationed here training Koreans in the job of running an Air Base. In 1949 all United States troops pulled out of Korea.

With the outbreak of Korean Hostilities the ROK Air Force was in its very primary stages but put up a valiant defense of the base with its meager Air Force, which in our eyes could hardly be called an Air Force. Finally all ROK troops abandoned the strip and retreated to the Pusan perimeter.

On September 15, 1950, in a very successful amphibious operation, the United States Army and Marines landed at Inchon. With this counterattack the UN took the offensive. By the end of September the UN had control of practically all territory below the 38th Parallel and this Air Base was once again on the UN side.

Following the occupation of this part of Korea by UN troops, the 8th Fighter-Bomber Wing flew combat sorties in support of UN troops for about three months. With the great Chinese human wave attacks the UN forces again were forced to relinquish the field to the enemy and the 8th FBW had to move out.

In the early part of January 1951 the Chinese were again holding the base and Seoul. After a few months of fierce fighting between Chinese troops and the U.S. 8th Army and other UN elements, again the UN troops came into Seoul.

Around April of '51 the 8th FBW, for the second time, flew combat missions out of this field. The 8th FBW stayed around until August of 1951 when they moved to another K-site and the 4th Fighter-Interceptor Wing took its place here.

Names like Maj. Jabara, Col. Davis, Capt. Fernandez and many others were to be flashed across the headlines of newspapers all over the world as the "MIG Killers of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing."  And so this Air Base, which had its beginning way back in 1935, came to be known the world over as "The Home of the MIG Killers". With the signing of the truce in July 1953 the "Fourth but First" settled down to the responsibility of guarding the skies of Korea-prepared and ready for any event. Not only has this base been a big cog in the wheel of alertness for possible aggression from the Communists, but also as a training center for hundreds of ROK Air Force personnel who are being molded into a fighting force very much like our own Air Force.

All is quiet now; no shooting, no bombing, none of those noises which are associated with war, but you can still see and hear the 86s take off on training missions all over Korea.

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