The 35th Fighter Wing brings a vivid and distinguished history to Misawa Air Base, Japan. It originally activated at Johnson Air Base, Japan, on Aug. 18, 1948, under the command of Col. Edgar M. Scattergood. The 35th Fighter Wing’s original mission was to fly air defense over Japan. Flying F-51 fighters, it carried out this mission until Jan. 20, 1950, when the wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing and assigned F-80 aircraft.
In April 1950, the wing moved to Yokota, Japan, where the 35th Fighter Interceptor Group was stationed. Three months later, the wing deployed a tactical group and two squadrons to Yonpo, North Korea, and Pusan, South Korea, to support United Nations ground forces during the Korean War. The rest of the wing continued to fly air defense missions over Japan and moved back to Johnson Air Base in August 1950.
After the Korean War, the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing added aerial reconnaissance to its air defense mission. It returned to Yokota Air Base, Japan in October 1954 along with the 35th Fighter Interceptor Group, and they served together until they inactivated Oct. 1, 1957. From 1951 until its inactivation the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing flew several aircraft, including the RC-45, RF-51, F-86 and F-94.
On March 14, 1966, the 35th Fighter Interceptor Wing was redesignated the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. Two weeks later, it activated at Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, to replace the 7252nd Tactical Fighter Wing. While at Da Nang Air Base, the wing had five flying squadrons assigned or attached to it. The 390th and 480th Tactical Fighter Squadrons flew F-4Cs while assigned to the wing. The wing included elements of the 64th Fighter Interceptor Squadron and its F-102 aircraft along with the 8th and 13th Tactical Bomb Squadrons and their B-57 bombers.
In October 1966, the wing transferred to Phan Rang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, to replace the 366th Wing. With the transfer, the 35th became the parent wing at Phan Rang Air Base and began flying F-100 aircraft with Detachment 1 of the 612th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The 8th and 13th Tactical Bomb Squadrons followed the 35th to Phan Rang Air Base, while the wing gained an attached organization: the Royal Australian Air Force Squadron No. 2 and its MK-20 Canberra bombers.
In September 1970, the wing gained the 8th Special Operations Squadron, which flew A-37B aircraft. On March 15, 1971, the 612th moved from Japan to Phan Rang Air Base to replace the detachment. A month later, the wing began phasing down for inactivation and stood down operations June 26, 1971. The 35th transferred its remaining resources to the 315th Tactical Airlift Wing on July 31, 1971, when it inactivated.
The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing activated at George Air Force Base, Calif., on Oct. 1, 1971, where it replaced the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing. Once at George, the wing took over the mission of training F-4 flight crews. With the arrival of F-105 aircraft in July 1973, the wing began training aircrews for radar detection and suppression or "Wild Weasel" missions in addition to other F-4 training. By 1975, with the arrival of new F-4C aircraft, the wing was training aircrews exclusively in Wild Weasel operations for deployment to operational units in Okinawa and Germany. In 1978, the wing received the new F-4G and its advanced Wild Weasel system. By July 1980, the last F-105G left George Air Force Base, leaving the 35th with F-4s in its inventory.
Operations at George Air Force Base were reorganized by mission requirements March 30, 1981. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing retained control of the 20th and 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadrons and gained the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron. The new 37th Tactical Fighter Wing assumed the 561st and 562nd Tactical Fighter Squadrons active Wild Weasel missions. With the inactivation of the 39th Tactical Fighter Squadron in 1985, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Tactical Training Wing. However, the wing kept its air defense augmentation responsibility. It provided operations and maintenance support for the close air support portion of Army training exercises conducted at the U.S. Army National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., from 1981 to 1990. Also, the wing advised specific Air National Guard units on F-4 operations from 1981 to 1991.
Operations at George Air Force Base were reorganized again Oct. 5, 1989. The 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and the 35th Tactical Training Wing consolidated all operations under the newly redesignated 35th Tactical Fighter Wing. Under the reorganization the 35th gained control of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron and the 562nd Tactical Fighter Training Squadron.
In August 1990, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing mobilized in support of Operation Desert Shield. On Aug. 16, 1990, 24 F-4Gs of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron left George Air Force Base enroute to Shaikh Isa Air Base, Bahrain. Once in the Middle East, its deployed people established operational, maintenance and living facilities for the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional). These facilities eventually housed more than 60 active duty and Air National Guard F-4s and more than 2,600 military members.
During Operation Desert Storm, which started Jan. 17, 1991, the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron flew 1,182 combat sorties for a total of 4,393.5 hours. The 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) was credited with flying 3,072 combat missions for 10,318.5 hours. U.S. Central Command relied heavily on the wing's Wild Weasels to suppress enemy air defense systems. The F-4G aircrews were credited with firing 905 missiles at Iraqi targets, while the RF-4C aircrews shot more than 300,000 feet of vital reconnaissance film. During operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) suffered no casualties. The wing’s people began returning to George Air Force Base March 23, 1991, with its aircraft and pilots following three days later.
The 35th became the host unit for George Air Force Base when the 831st Air Division there inactivated March 31, 1991. As a result, the wing gained several support agencies, including the 35th Combat Support Group and associated squadrons. In support of the Air Force’s force reduction programs, the 21st Tactical Fighter Training Squadron inactivated June 28, 1991. That October, as part of the Air Force’s reorganization plan, the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Fighter Wing. A month later, the wing's tactical fighter squadrons were redesignated fighter squadrons.
In 1992, the 35th began downsizing in preparation for the closure of George Air Force Base. On June 5, 1992, the 20th Fighter Squadron moved to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., and by the end of June, the 561st and 562d Fighter Squadrons inactivated. On Dec. 15, 1992, the 35th Fighter Wing inactivated and George Air Force Base closed bringing an end to 21 years of continuous service and more than 34 years of total service for the 35th.
Less than six months after its inactivation, the 35th was again called to service. On May 31, 1993, the 35th Fighter Wing was redesignated the 35th Wing and activated at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland. The 35th replaced Air Forces Iceland, which had served as a wing equivalent for more than 40 years. It’s new mission was to deter aggression, stabilize the North Atlantic region and protect the sovereign airspace of Iceland through the use of combat capable surveillance, air superiority and rescue forces.
The wing’s 57th Fighter Squadron protected the northern airspace with its F-15C/D fighters. Its surveillance mission was handled by the 932nd Air Control Squadron through the Iceland Regional Operations Control Center and four remote radar sites located on the four corners of the island. The 56th Rescue Squadron’s four HH-60G helicopters flew combat rescue and reaction force insertion missions.
The 35th Wing inactivated at NAS Keflavik, Iceland, on Sept. 30, 1994. The following day, it activated as the 35th Fighter Wing at Misawa Air Base, where the wing assumed the missions and responsibilities previously performed here by the 432nd Fighter Wing.
Note: In 1948, the Air Force transitioned to a wing organization concept in which numbered fighter or combat groups were placed under the command of a wing. Combat groups eventually inactivated and replaced by squadrons. In 1954, a committee appointed by Headquarters Air Force decided to retain the history and identity of combat groups as separate and distinct from those of the wings which replaced them. However, the committee also decided the honors of the combat groups should be bestowed upon the present day wing that carries the same numerical designation. As a result, when the 35th Fighter Wing activated, it carried the honors of the 35th Fighter Group. With the advent of objective wings in 1991, combat groups were redesignated and activated as operations groups. While the operations groups inherited the complete lineage and honors of their parent combat groups, wings were authorized to continue displaying the honors earned by the combat groups prior to the wing's activation.