474th Tactical Fighter Wing

474th Tactical Fighter Wing

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 474th Tactical Fighter Wing

dates= August 1943 - September 1989
country= United States
branch= United States Air Force
role= Fighter
notable_commanders= James B. Davis
Chuck Horner
The 474th Tactical Fighter Wing is an inactive United States Air Force unit. Its last assignment was at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada where it trained combat-ready aircrews and maintained a rapid-reaction capability to execute fighter attacks against enemy forces and facilities in time of crisis.

During its operational lifetime, the 474th was engaged in combat operations during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

The 474th TFW was deactivated on 30 September 1989.



* 474th Fighter Group (May 1943 - December 1945)
* 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing (July 1952 - July 1958)
* 474th Tactical Fighter Wing (July 1958 - September 1989)

Bases assigned

* Glendale, California, (May - October 1943)
* Van Nuys Metropolitan Aprt, California, (October 1943 - January 1944)
* Oxnard Flight Strip, California, (January - February 1944)
* RAF Warmwell, England (March - August 1944)
* France (Various ALGs) (August - October 1944)
* Florennes, Belgium (October 1944 - March 1945)
* Germany (Various ALGs) (March - June 1945)
* Schweinfurt, Germany, (June - October 1945)
* Stuttgart, Germany, (October - November 1945)
* Camp Kilmer, NJ, (November - December 1945)
* Misawa AB, Japan, (July 1952)
* Kunsan AB (K-8), South Korea, (July 1952 - April 1953)
* Taegu AB (K-37), South Korea, (April 1953 - November 1954)
* Clovis/Cannon AFB, New Mexico, (December 1954 - January 1968)
* Nellis AFB, Nevada (January 1968 - September 1989)

World War II

The 474th Fighter Group was activated on 1 August 1943 at Glendale, California on 26 May 1943. For the next several months the group trained for combat with P-38's. Moved to England, Feb-Mar 1944 where it was assigned to Ninth Air Force.

The grass airfield and sandy soil at RAF Warmwell was considered suitable to support the 80 aircraft of a fighter group without metal tracking support. The personnel of the 474th Fighter Group arrived on 12 March from Oxnard Flight Strip California flying Lockheed P-38 "Lightnings". Operational squadrons of the group were:

* 428th Fighter Squadron (F5)
* 429th Fighter Squadron (7Y)
* 430th Fighter Squadron (K6)

The 474th was a group of Ninth Air Force's 70th Fighter Wing, IX Tactical Air Command.

Probably because they detrained at Moreton railway station - the group often referred to the Warmwell as Moreton. Squadron markings on the vertical tail surfaces were a square for the 428th, a triangle for the 429th and it circle for the 430th. The 474th FG was the only one of the three Ninth Air Force groups equipped with the P-38 in England that had trained with the type in the United States.

The 474th carried out its first mission on 25 April with a sweep along the French coast. The P-38's ability to carry two 1,000 lb bombs with ease, and its heavy nose-mounted armament, made it an excellent ground attack aircraft, although it appeared to he far more vulnerable to light anti-aircraft and small arms fire than the redoubtable P-47. During 15 weeks of operations from Warmwell, 27 P-38s were missing in action, all but five known or suspected lost due to ground fire. Three of these were lost to a 'bounce' by FW 190Ds while escorting B-26s on 7 May.

On the night of June 5/6, the group flew patrols over the invasion fleet and the two aircraft lost are believed to have collided. On the credit side, during an armed reconnaissance on 18 July, a 474th formation led by Lieutenant Colonel Henry Darling surprised a force of bomb-carrying Focke-Wulf Fw 190s and shot down 10 Luftwaffe aircraft with the loss of only one P-38.

The 474th FG was the last of the Ninth Air Force's 18 fighter groups to move to an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in France, departing from Warmwell for St. Lambert, France (ALG A-11) during the first week of August 1944, the main body of aircraft departing on the 6th. The last mission from Warmwell, the group's 108th, was flown on the previous day.

The group continued operations on the continent providing tactical air support in support of U.S. First Army until V-E Day, being stationed at Bad Langensalza, Germany (ALG R-2) at the end of hostilities. The 474th FG returned to Camp Kilmer, New Jersey during November 1945 and was inactivated on 8 December 1945.

Korean War

The 474th FBW was reactivated at Misawa AB, Japan, taking over the personnel and Republic F-84G Thunderjets of the Air National Guard 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing in July 1952 when the ANG was returned to state control. The wing was immediately ordered to Kunsan Air Base (K-8). From Kunsan the wing entered combat in August 1952 and bombed and strafed bridges, bunkers, troop concentrations, artillery positions, and a host of other targets.

In March 16, 1953 FEAF put into effect a new concept of a fighter-bomber wing (reinforced) to ease maintenance and support problems. In April 1953, the 49th FBW was relocated to K-8 (Kunsan) -- in name only -- for two of its squadrons. The 428th of Kunsan became the 7th FBS; and the 429th became the 8th FBS. Its 9th FBS was relocated to Misawa Air Base, Japan. The 430th of Kunsan was physically relocated with all personnel, equipment and aircraft to Taegu to replace the 9th.

In the end, the 474th at Taegu had three squadrons, while the 49th at Kunsan had two squadrons. The 474th exchanged aircraft and personnel with the 49th Fighter Bomber Wing. In early summer l953, these two wings were combined into the 58th Fighter bomber Wing (Reinforced) and the 474th and 49th Wings were placed on inactive status. The 58th FB Wing then relocated to Tageu AB (K-2) South Korea.

For its actions in the Korean Conflict, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group received the Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation.

Operational Units:
* 474th Fighter-Bomber Group (July 1952 - April 1953)
** 428th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
** 429th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
** 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron

The wing was inactivated on 8 November 1954 along with its operational squadrons and all support units.

Cold War

On 8 November 1954, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group was reactivated and became a second flying component of the 312th FBW at Clovis AFB, New Mexico. Operational squadrons and colors of the 474th FBG were:

* 428th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (blue)
* 429th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (yellow)
* 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (red)
* 478th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (activated October 1957) (F-100D/E) (green)

At Clovis (later Cannon) AFB, the wing maintained proficiency in tactical fighter operations, deploying components, aircraft, and crews on a global basis in support of NATO, PACAF, AAC, and other organizations. Deployed three squadrons to Florida during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

The entire wing, except for a deployed squadron in Southeast Asia, reverted to "paper" status on 15 Sep 1965, the single detached squadron being reduced to "paper" status upon its return to the United States. Wing gained sparse manning on 1 Oct 1966 in anticipation of conversion to F-111 aircraft, and c. 30 Jun 1967 again reverted to "paper" status.

On 20 Jan 1968 the 474th TFW, 474th FMS, and the 428th TFS moved without personnel or equipment to Nellis AFB, Nev, and the 474th AEMS and 474th MMS inactivated. The units that moved to Nellis absorbed the resources of an inactivating wing. Gaining the 474th CSG, 474th Tactical Hospital, and 474th Supply Squadron, the 474th Wing became host unit for Nellis. There it acquired the F-Ill equipped 4527th CCTS. On 20 Jan 1968 the 428th TFS organized Detachment 1, which also received F-111 aircraft. This detachment deployed c. 18 Mar to 22 Nov 1968 to Southeast Asia. On 15 May 1968 the 429th TFS discontinued attachment to another wing and rejoined the 474th Wing without personnel or equipment. A former component, the 430th TFS, became part of the wing on 15 Sep 1968. Tactical components of the wing received their initial F-ills between Nov 1968 and Mar 1969 and began training for proficiency in the new weapon system. The 4527th CCTS trained F-111 aircrews for the wing and for other USAF units until replaced in Oct 1969 by the 442d TFTS, which assumed the mission. The 4474th TTS, assigned 1 Dec to 15 Jun 1970, was sparsely manned and never equipped with F-llls. Upon inactivation of the 474th CSG, 474th Tactical Hospital, and 474th Supply Squadron in Feb 1970, the 474th Wing became a tenant at Nellis AFB. Wing assumed an operationally ready status between 31 Jan and 8 Sep 1971, and from Sep 1971 initiated tactical exercises for the maintenance of tactical operational proficiency.

Over 1,600 tactical and support personnel of the wing deployed on 27 Sep 1972 to Takhli RTAFB, Thailand, to participate in combat operations in Southeast Asia. A rear echelon of wing headquarters remained at Nellis to control units not deployed. All F-111As of the 474th carried the tail code NA. From Takhli, the 474th participated in Operation Linebacker II when the United States resumed the large scale bombing of North Vietnam.

In early 1973, With the suspension of bombing in North Vietnam and the resumption of peace negotiations, inflight refueling requirements decreased markedly. As a result, in late January 1973 many of the augmentee tankers of the 11th Air Refueling Squadron, which has been rotating aircraft and aircrews from Altus AFB, returned to Oklaholma.

The 430th TFS returned to the 474th TFW Nellis on 22 March 1973 assuming a replacement training unit mission, while the 428th and 429th were assigned to the newly transferred 347th Tactical Fighter Wing from Mountain Home Air Force Base Idaho on 30 July 1973. On 6 Aug the last F-111 aircraft and crews were transferred to Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, and the 474th Wing absorbed the F-4D aircraft, crews, and resources of the inactivating Tactical Fighter Wing Provisional, 4474th.

With the end of hostilities in Southeast Asia, the 474th's mission was to train combat-ready force of aircrews and maintained a rapid-reaction capability to execute fighter attacks against enemy forces and facilities in time of crisis. The wing conducted this mission until September 1989, when the wing was inactivated to relieve congestion at Nellis. The F-16s assigned to the wing were transferred to ANG and AFRES squadrons.

ee also

* Ninth Air Force
* Pacific Air Forces
* Fifth Air Force
* USAF Organizations in the Korean War
* Tactical Air Command


* Futrell, Robert Frank (1983) The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950-1953, Maxwell AFB, Alabama Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0912799714
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
* Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
* [http://afhra.maxwell.af.mil/rso/rso_index.html] Air Force Historical Research Agency

External links

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