Jeeps used by TACP (Tactical
Air Control Party) units
were easy to distinguish in
Korea by their long antennae in the back.
photo: U.S. Air Force
rons) F-82 Twin Mustangs were dispatched for
patrol flights over Seoul and Inchon. They were
attacked by pairs of North Korean fighters (either La-7s or Jak-9Us), but not authorized to
fire, they were able to take advantage of their
performance to refuse the combat.
Eleven C-47s and two C-54s were able to take-off in the face of a worsening situation from
Itazuke on the morning of June 27. Their protection was the job of Twin Mustangs, while
top cover was also provided by F-80 Shooting
Stars. The air evacuation was carried out from
the bases at Kimpo and Suwon, and by the time
the sun came down, 851 personnel had been
Seoul became a point of North Korean attention on June 28, and at that point, so far hesitant
American president Harry S. Truman ordered
the 5th AF to gain air superiority and to provide
direct air support to ground forces. With that,
he opened the door to the use of American air
power in the Korean War. The same day, General Partridge and his deputy Edward J. Timberlake came to the conclusion that further operations would require aircraft with long range
abilities capable of taking off from unprepared airfields in Korea and would be capable
of conducting attacks against ground targets
with high levels of precision and effectiveness.
This led to the first instance of suggesting the
deployment of Mustangs and all units in the
5th AF were that same day asked to secure
volunteers to finish training of the Korean pi-
lots and ultimately train more ROKAF pilots in
country. At the same time, they were to provide
some limited air support to UN ground forces.
The request for these pilots came to Col. Virgil
L. Zoller, Commanding Officer of the 35th FIW.
The FEAF specified that they were looking for
ten qualified Mustang pilots, four security officers and a hundred groundcrew to begin the
project named Bout one, which fell to the command of major Dean Hess.(3
Urgent: looking for Mustangs!
With the exception of Twin Mustang all weather
units, all combat units at the time of the invasion were stationed in Japan and were already
equipped with jets. Some Mustangs in Japan
still could be found, but they were gradually being scrapped or sent back to the United States.
About thirty examples were at the Tachikawa
AB, while others were found at Johnson AB (today Iruma), and some units used them as target
tugs or for pilots to maintain a level of proficiency, who did not want to part with the aircraft
despite flaying jets already. (4
These aircraft were hurriedly prepared for
their final service call due to the given circumstances. In some cases, they needed to go
through a major overhaul with their engines
and airframes “nulled” (receiving new logbooks that included zero flight hours logged),
because in many cases, there were no longer
available any records of individual aircraft.
Many of the aircraft lack parts of their radio
equipment, and other items. There were cases
North Korean Air Assets at the
Beginning of the War:
Total Combat Aircraft:
Note: these figures were supplied by a North Korean
pilot who defected just prior to the war.