pacific air forces

pacific air forces

Pacific Air Forces, headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, is one of eight major commands of the U.S. Air Force and is air component of the U.S. Pacific Command.


PACAF's primary mission is to plan, conduct and coordinate offensive and defensive air operations in the Pacific and Asian theaters. The command provides advice on the use of aerospace power throughout the theater and carries out missions as directed by the commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command.

As a major command, PACAF is responsible for most Air Force units, bases and facilities in the Pacific and Alaska. The command ensures that Air Force units in the region are properly trained, equipped and organized to conduct tactical air operations.

PACAF's goals are to:

* Forge a fighting team second to none

* Make operations safe

* Continuously improve performance

* Maintain the highest standards of conduct and appearance

* Improve quality of life for all its people and

* Build quality partnerships with allies, other services and local communities

PACAF's area of responsibility extends across more than half the Earth's surface -- from the west coasts of the Americas to the east coast of Africa, and from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The area is home for some 2 billion people in 35 nations.

Personnel and Resources

The command has approximately 45,000 military and civilian personnel serving in nine major locations and numerous smaller facilities, primarily in Hawaii, Alaska, Japan, Guam and South Korea. Approximately 300 fighter and attack aircraft are assigned to the command.


PACAF's major units are 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan; 7th Air Force, Osan AB, South Korea; 11th Air Force, Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; and 13th Air Force, Andersen AFB, Guam.

Major units also include 3rd Wing, Elmendorf AFB; 8th Fighter Wing, Kunsan AB, South Korea; 15th Air Base Wing, Hickam AFB; 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan (Okinawa); 51st Wing, Osan AB; 343rd Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska; 432rd Fighter Wing, Misawa AB, Japan; 374th Airlift Wing, Yokota AB; and the 633rd Air Base Wing, Andersen AFB.

In Japan, U.S. air operations are controlled by 5th Air Force; for the Northern Pacific, by 11th Air Force; in South Korea, by 7th Air Force; and in the Southwest Pacific region, by 13th Air Force. At Hickam, 15th Air Base Wing operates and maintains Air Force installations, provides information management and logistics support to

Headquarters PACAF, and supports many small Air Force activities in the Pacific. Aligned under the 15th Air Base Wing, the 10th Air Defense Squadron directs the air defense of Hawaii and the 10-million-square-mile Pacific Islands Defense Region, including Wake, Midway, Guam, Johnston, Christmas, Marshall and Mariana islands.


PACAF traces its roots to the activation of Far East Air Force, Aug. 3, 1944, at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. FEAF was subordinate to the U.S. Army Forces Far East and served as the headquarters of Allied Air Forces Southwest Pacific Area. By 1945, three numbered air forces -- 5th, 7th and 13th -- were supporting operations in the Pacific. At that time, the Army Air Forces in the Pacific became part of the largest and most powerful military organization every fielded by any country in the world.

After World II, FEAF and 5th AF remained in Japan, while 7th AF operated from Hawaii, and 13th AF from the Philippines. In the post-war years, FEAF was designated the theater air force for the Far East Command. All air forces in the Far East and Southwest Pacific were placed under one Air Force commander for the first time.

When the North Koreans crossed the 38th parallel June 25, 1950, FEAF consisted of 5th, 13th and 20th AFs and the Far East Materiel Command. Four years after the Korean War armistice, FEAF was redesignated Pacific Air Forces and transferred its headquarters to Hickam AFB, Hawaii.

By 1960, PACAF maintained a combat-ready deterrent force of some 35 squadrons, operating from 10 major bases in a half-dozen countries. In the early 1960s communist military strength and firepower in Vietnam increased.

As a result, PACAF began a buildup in the area with the addition of troops and better arms and equipment. Combat aircraft of PACAF flew their last strikes in Cambodia Aug. 15, 1973, writing the final chapter to the long and costly history of active American participation in the Indochina War. The post-Vietnam era found the command focusing on improving its readiness.

PACAF's organizational structure saw a marked period of rapid and extensive changes. Andersen AFB, Guam, was reassigned from Strategic Air Command in 1989, and 11th Air Force became a part of the command in late 1990.

Following the volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, Clark AFB was closed and 13th AF relocated to Andersen in 1991.

In 1992, changes took place in force structure within PACAF as the command assumed control of theater-based tactical airlift wings, theater C-130 aircraft and crews, and associated theater C-130 support.

PACAF celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1994 -- commemorating five decades of defense to the nation. The command continues that tradition today prepared to bring air power quickly and decisively to the far reaches of the Pacific.

Point of Contact

Pacific Air Forces
Public Affairs Office; 25 E Street, Suite I-106; Hickam AFB, Hawaii 96853-5496
DSN 449-2490 or (808) 449-2490

October, 1995




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