Yokota Air Base
Published March 03, 2006
Yokota Air Base is one of three operational U.S. Air Force installations in Japan. The base opened in 1940 as Tama Army Airfield, a flight test center and aviation maintenance school for the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. The base received minor damage during the war and remained fully operational until the surrender of the Imperial Armed Forces on August 15, 1945. U.S. operations began September 4, 1945, when U.S. forces occupied the area. The base was renamed Yokota after a small village previously located in the northeast corner of the base.
As a result of many major construction projects, Yokota is one of the most modern bases in the Air Force. It serves as the primary U.S. military port on mainland Japan. The base is home to three headquarters units: U.S. Forces Japan, 5th Air Force, and the 374th Airlift Wing.
Headquarters U.S. Forces Japan is a joint service headquarters — coordinating matters affecting U.S. and Japanese defense relations. Fifth Air Force and its subordinate headquarters in Japan enhance the U.S. deterrent posture and should deterrence fail, provide tactical fighter and military airlift support to conduct offensive air operations. The 374th Airlift Wing is Yokota Air Base’s host unit and the airlift hub of the Pacific.
374th Airlift Wing
The 374th Airlift Wing is the only airlift wing in the Far East. The wing provides airlift support to all Department of Defense agencies in the Pacific area of responsibility. It also provides transport for people and equipment throughout the Kanto Plain and the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The wing includes the 36th Airlift Squadron, which flies C-130E “Hercules” aircraft; the 459th Airlift Squadron, which flies UH-1N helicopters and C-21A Learjets; and the 30th Airlift Squadron with C-9A “Nightingales.”
Reorganized April 1, 1992, the 374th Airlift Wing resulted from a restructuring of Air Force units at Yokota Air Base. The former host unit, the 475th Air Base Wing and its subordinate units were inactivated, the 374th Tactical Airlift Wing was redesigned the 374th Airlift Wing and transferred from the Air Mobility Command to Pacific Air Forces. As part of the Air Force’s objective wing plan, the unit includes four groups: operations, support, logistics and medical. During peacetime, the 374th Airlift Wing maintains a constant state of readiness by participating in joint training exercises. In addition to joint exercises, the 374th Airlift Wing provides airlift for the movement of passengers, cargo and mail throughout the Pacific.