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374th Airlift Wing - History

History of Yokota

Imperial Japanese Army opened Yokota AB in March 1940. It was then called Tama Army Airfield, the name used from April 1940 to Sept. 4 , 1945 because of its location in the Tama Prefecture (County). 

Local residents referred to it as Fussa Army Airfield due to close proximity of Fussa Village.

United States intelligence sources that viewed the base from the air and unfamiliar with the actual name, called the base Yokota for nearby Yokota Village to the northeast of Tama Army Airfield, in an area now absorbed by Murayama City. However, "to the victor go the spoils", and Yokota was the name the Americans used for the base.
 
Under the Japanese, the base had two primary missions: test flying newly designed Army aircraft and training all Army Air Force maintenance personnel. 

What is now the side parking lot for the Yokota Officers' Club, the only facility at Yokota that carries on the mission it had under the Japanese, was the location of the Maintenance School and the Air Operations Center located off to the side of the runway were the two center pieces of then Tama Army Airfield. 

On Sept. 4, 1945, American forces arrived and took charge of all weapons, and base security. The members found nearly 200 aircraft including a reconstructed B-17 with the then classified Norden bombsight. 

On Sept. 6, 1945 after the arrival of a small detachment of the U.S. Army 1st Calvary Division the base was peacefully turned over to the American Occupation Forces. It was then that Yokota became an air cargo installation-until its dirt runway was worn to the point it became unusable.

To bring the runway back into service the runway was closed for construction from Dec. 31, 1945 to Aug. 15, 1946 to construct a 10,000-foot runway and other new facilities. 

From 1946 to 1950 Yokota, AB supported bomber, reconnaissance, and air defense missions during the occupation of Japan. From 1950 to 1953 Headquarters, Far East Air Forces Bomber Command and 98th Bomb Wing flew combat operations over Korea from Yokota. 

In 1951, The Treaty of Peace with Japan changed U.S. forces from occupiers of Japan to partners with the nation. 

From 1954 to 1971 units at the bases flew air defense, bomber, and in flight refueling missions. They also supported Southeast Asian operations until 1971 when all flying units were withdrawn from Yokota AB, the 1970 to 1974 the Kanto Plain Consolidation Plan. 

The plan called for the Government of Japan to construct new facilities at Yokota AB. As USAF personnel accepted new facilities, it withdrew from several military installations on the Kanto and returned the property to the GOJ. The base then became the "Pacific Hub" for strategic airlift. 

In August 1974, USFJ/5AF headquarters moved from Fuchu AS to Yokota AB. In 1978 the 316th Tactical Airlift Group, a component of the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing arrived at Yokota AB to supervise C-130 intra theater airlift. In 1989 the 374 TAW transferred from Clark AB to Yokota AB. 

On April 1,1992 374 TAW redesignated to the 374th Airlift Wing, transferred from AMC to PACAF, and became host unit at Yokota AB. The 374th Airlift Wing  activated Nov. 12, 1942 at Brisbane, Australia. 

From 1942 to 1945 the wing provided island-hops to MacArthur's forces from Australia to Japan. 

From 1945 to 1950 wing personnel provided intra theater airlift for U.S. occupation forces. 

From June 25, 1950 - 1953 Evacuated civilians from Korea then flew combat airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuations in Korea and the Pacific. 

In April 1953 Flew first of several groups of repatriated POWs from Korea to Japan and subsequent UN POWs. 

In 1954 Flew into Indo-China with observers, maintenance personnel, and liaison officers. Evacuated wounded French soldiers. Trained C-46 pilots for JASDF.

In 1957 Inactivated. 
 
In 1966 Activatedat Naha AB, Okinawa. Flew combat airlift missions to SEA and throughout Western Pacific. Then in 1971 transferred to Ching Chaun Kang AB, Taiwan, with the same mission 

During March 1973 Repatriated American POWs from Hanoi, transferred to Clark AB, P.I. 

From 1975 to 1989 participated in Operation Baby Lift and New Life; dropped a 15,000-lb bomb on Koh Tang Island to create a helicopter landing area for the SS Mayaguez recovery operation. Also, flew intra theater airlift and aeromedical evacuations throughout the Western Pacific; transferred to Yokota in 1989, redesignated an airlift wing, transferred to PACAF, and became host unit at Yokota on April 1, 1992. 

From 1992 to 1998 Supported Desert Shield/Desert Storm, JTF-Full Accounting, JTF-Pacific Haven, Kobe earthquake relief, and Sakhalin Island earthquake relief. On Sept. 12, 2003 the C-9 Nightingale flown by the 30th Airlift Squadron and supported by the 374 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron was given a sendoff ceremony at Yokota's Hangar 15. The aircraft was retired by the Air Force due to age, and was flown to the Air Force aircraft storage for retired aircraft in Arizona. 

The 374 AES moved to Kadena Air Base, Japan and the 30 AS was inactivated on 24 September 2003.


History Timeline of Yokota AB and the 374th Airlift Wing

YOKOTA AB
  • March 1940 - Imperial Japanese Army opens Tama Army Airfield, located in Tama Prefecture (County). Local residents referred to it as Fussa Army Airfield due to close proximity of Fussa Village. It was renamed Yokota AB for a nearby village in 1946 by Americans.
  • April 1940 - Sept. 4, 1945 - The base had two primary missions: test flying newly designed Army aircraft and training all Army Air Force maintenance personnel.
  • Sept. 4, 1945 - American forces arrive, took charge of all weapons, and base security. Nearly 200 aircraft including a reconstructed B-17 with Norden bombsight were discovered.
  • Sept. 6, 1945 - The base is given to the American Occupation forces and became an air cargo installation-until the runway was destroyed.
  • Dec. 31, 1945 - Aug. 15, 1946 - Construction of a 10,000 foot runway and new facilities.
  • 1946 - 1950 - Yokota AB supported bomber, reconnaissance, and air defense missions during the occupation of Japan.
  • 1950 - 1953 - Headquarters Far East Air Forces Bomber Command and 98th Bomb Wing flew combat operations over Korea from Yokota AB.
  • 1954 - 1971 - Base units flew air defense, bomber, and inflight refueling missions. Base units supported Southeast Asian (SEA) operations until 1971 when all flying units were withdrawn from Yokota AB.
  • 1970 - 1974 - Kanto Plain Consolidation Program. GOJ constructs new facilities at Yokota AB. As USAF accepts new facilities, it withdraws from several military installations on the Kanto Plain and returns the property to the GOJ. The base becomes the "Pacific Hub" for strategic airlift. In August 1974, USFJ/5AF headquarters moved from Fuchu AS to Yokota AB.
  • 1978 - The 316th Tactical Airlift Group, a component of the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing (TAW) arrived at Yokota AB to supervise C-130 intra theater airlift.
  • 1989 - 374 TAW transfers from Clark AB to Yokota AB.
  • April 1, 1992 - 374 TAW redesignated 374th Airlift Wing, transferred from AMC to PACAF, and becomes host unit at Yokota AB.
374th AIRLIFT WING
  • Nov. 12, 1942 - Activated at Brisbane, Australia.
  • 1942 - 1945 - Island-hopped MacArthur's forces from Australia to Japan.
  • 1945 -1950 - Intra theater airlift for US occupation forces.
  • June 25, 1950 - 1953 - Evacuated civilians from Korea then flew combat airlift, airdrop, and aeromedical evacuations in Korea and the Pacific.
  • April 1953 - Flew first of several groups of repatriated POWs from Korea to Japan and subsequent UN POWs.
  • 1954 - Flew into Indo-China with observers, maintenance personnel, and liaison officers. Evacuated wounded French soldiers. Trained C-46 pilots for JASDF.
  • 1957 - Inactivated.
  • 1966 - Activated at Naha AB, Okinawa. Flew combat airlift missions to Southeast Asia and throughout Western Pacific.
  • 1971 - Transferred to Ching Chaun Kang AB, Taiwan, with the same mission
  • March 1973 - Repatriated American POWs from Hanoi, transferred to Clark AB, P.I.
  • 1975 - Participated in Operation Baby Lift and New Life; dropped a 15,000-lb bomb on Koh Tang Island to create a helicopter landing area for the SS Mayaguez recovery operation.
  • 1975 - 1989 - Flew intra theater airlift and aeromedical evacuations throughout the Western Pacific; transferred to Yokota in 1989, redesignated an airlift wing, transferred to PACAF, and became host unit at Yokota on 1 April 1992.
  • 1992 - 1998 - Supported Desert Shield/Desert Storm, JTF-Full Accounting, JTF-Pacific Haven, Kobe earthquake relief, and Sakhalin Island earthquake relief.
  • 2001 - Supported Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism airlifting cargo and personnel throughout the Pacific theater of operations.
  • 2003 - On 12 September ended the C-9 Nightingale aeromedical evacuation mission flown since July 1989, when the mission moved under the wing from Clark Air Base, in the Philippines.
  • 2004 - 2005 - Deployed to Utapao, Thailand, and provided humanitarian relief as part of Unified Assistance after a 26 December 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia left some 300,000 people dead or missing, and upwards of a million more displaced.