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Brady Air Base
福岡空港
Fukuoka Kūkō
IATA: FUK – ICAO: RJFF
Summary
Airport type Public / Military
Operator Civil Aviation Bureau
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Elevation AMSL 30 ft / 9 m
Map

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Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
16/34 2,800 9,186 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2015)
Passengers 20,968,463
Cargo (metric tonnes) 246,769
Aircraft movement 173,680
Source: Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism[1]

Brady Air Base, formerly known as Itazuke Air Base and now known as Fukuoka Airport, was a United States Air Force base located 1.6 NM (3.0 km; 1.8 mi) east of Hakata Station[2] in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.

History[]

The airport was built in 1944 by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force as Mushiroda Airfield.[3] After the war, the United States Air Force used the airfield as Itazuke Air Base from 1945 to 1972.[3] Itazuke actually comprised three installations: Itazuke AB, Itazuke (Kasuga) Administration Annex and Brady Air Base (Camp Brady). Itazuke and the Kasuga Annex were on the mainland while Brady was in Saitozaki; on the peninsula (Umi no Nakamichi) that forms Hakata Bay. Part of the confusion with the names stem from the days when the annex and Brady AB were Army installations before the USAF took command in 1956.

At its height, Itazuke AB was the largest USAF base on Kyūshū, but was closed in 1972 due to budget reductions and the overall reduction of United States military forces in Japan.

Japanese military base[]

Mushiroda was built on farmland that once grew bumper rice crops during 1943. The base was first used by trainer aircraft. The airfield soon proved unserviceable for the fledgling flyers because of the high water level of the former rice lands. Frequent rain showers flooded the runway making it unsafe for the novice aviators.

The Japanese Air Force's 6th Fighter Wing replaced the trainers and Mushiroda became an air defense base. The 6th Wing had 30 single engine fighters and several reconnaissance aircraft to patrol the Okinawa-Kyūshū aerial invasion corridor. In April 1945 the Tachiarai Airfield at Kurume was destroyed by American B-29's. Tachiarai's bomber aircraft were moved to Mushiroda and the base became very active until late in the war when B-29's attacked the airfield and destroyed most of the Imperial Japanese forces stationed here.

Postwar era[]

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|date= }} The first American units moved into the facility in November 1945, when the 38th Bombardment Group stationed B-25 Mitchells on the airfield. Moving to Itazuke from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, the mission of the 38th Bomb Group was to fly daily surveillance missions to monitor shipping traffic between Kyūshū and Korea in order to intradict smuggling of illegal Korean immigrants and goods. Along with the 38th, the 8th Fighter Group was assigned to the airfield on 1 April 1946 which performed occupation duties until April 1947. Due to the massive destruction of the facility during the War, the only available buildings to house personnel was the Kyūshū Airplane Company's complex in Zasshonokuma. Designated Base Two, the former aircraft company was converted to barracks, dining halls, a post exchange, and BOQ. Additional facilities and billets were housed in a tent city at the airfield.

The 38th Bomb Group remained at Itazuke until October 1946 also during with time several reconstruction units worked on the former IJAAF base rebuilding and constructing new facilities. Headquarters, 315th Bombardment Wing moved into the base during May 1946, spending most of the postwar occupation years at the new American Air Force base.

When the 38th Bomb Group moved to Itami Airfield, it was replaced by the P-61 Black Widow-equipped 347th Fighter Group that moved from Nagoya Airfield. The 347th's mission was to provide air defense of Japanese airspace with the long range former night fighter. the 347th Fighter Wing, All Weather, was established at Itazuke in August 1948 when the unit was reformed under the new United States Air Force "Base-Wing" reorganization. The 347th moved to Bofu Air Base in October. It was replaced by the 475th Fighter Wing which brought with it the new F-82 Twin Mustangs, replacing the wartime Black Widows for air defense missions. Once up to full strength, it was moved to Ashiya Airfield in March 1949.

By early 1949, reconstruction of Itazuke was complete along the construction of long jet runways. The 8th Fighter Wing moved in during March with the F-80C Shooting Star jet, which provided air interceptor defense of Japan.

Korean War[]

The flightline at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, 1950. The F-82 in the foreground belongs to the 69th All Weather Fighter Squadron, and the F-80s are assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group

Itazuke played a key role in the Korean War and the defense of the Pusan perimeter in 1950.

On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting a war that would last three years. Being the closest USAF base to the Korean Peninsula, the 8th Fighter Wing at Itazuke initially provided air cover for the evacuation of Americans from Korea on June 26, the day after the invasion. In these early operations, Itazuke Air Base supported F-80C Shooting Star jet fighters of the 8th Fighter Wing, along with propeller driven aircraft such as the F-82C Twin Mustangs of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather, and P-51D Mustangs which were shipped from the United States for ground support missions in South Korea. The first aerial victory of the Korean War went to 1Lt William G. Hudson, of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather in an F-82.

During the Korean War, Itazuke was a major combat airfield for the USAF. The 8th Fighter Wing moved to a forward base in South Korea in late Fall of 1950. With the move the support element that remained at Itazuke was redesignated the 6160th Air Base Wing. The USAF moved several of its combat units to the base for operations over Korea, these being the 49th Fighter Group, the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing; the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing; the 452d Bombardment Wing; the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing and the Texas Air National Guard 136th Fighter Group. A wide variety of aircraft operated from the airfield from twin-engined B-26 Invader tactical bombers, F-80 Shooting Stars, F-84 Thunderjets, F-82 Twin Mustangs and F-94 Starfire jet interceptors.

Cold War[]

After the 1953 Armistice in Korea, the wartime combat units were slowly withdrawn back to the United States or reassigned to other airfields in Japan and South Korea. The base settled down to another era of peace to become the key base in the defense of Western Japan. The 8th Fighter Wing returned to Itazuke from its forward airfield at Suwon AB (K-13), South Korea in October 1954, being the host unit at the base for the next ten years.

During the 1950s, the 8th flew the F-86 Sabre for air defense of Japan and South Korea, being upgraded to the new F-100 Super Sabre in 1956. In 1961 the wing received Air Defense Command F-102 Delta Daggers, specifically designed for the air defense mission.

The 8th was reassigned back to the United States in July 1964 to George AFB, California where it was equipped with the new F-4C Phantom II and eventually became a major USAF combat wing in Thailand during the Vietnam War. With the departure of the 8th TFW, the 348th Combat Support Group became the host unit at Itazuke, with the Pacific Air Forces 41st Air Division becoming the operational USAF unit at the base. During the 1960s and numerous rotational units from the United States deployed to the base. The F-105 Thunderchief-equipped 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron was the major flying organization until 1968, when it was moved to Thailand for combat operations over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, a detachment of the 552d Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing which operated C-121 Constellation AWACS aircraft operated from Itazuke, but the stable situation in South Korea led to the gradual phase down of the base and personnel were withdrawn for other duties.

In 1970 it was announced that Itazuke would be returned to Japanese control,[3] and the USAF facilities were closed on 31 March 1972. It is now known as Fukuoka Airport.

Current Japan Self-Defense Force Units[]

Commanded from the nearby Kasuga Air Base:

References[]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Fletcher, Harry R. (1989) Air Force Bases Volume II, Active Air Force Bases outside the United States of America on 17 September 1982. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
  1. "Fukuoka Airport". Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Archived from the original on 21 October 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20161021205147/http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001141840.pdf. Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  2. AIS Japan
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Archived copy". http://www.fuk-ab.co.jp/english/sp/cont.php?page=gaiyou. 

External links[]

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