474th TACTICAL FIGHTER WING Patch – Plastic Backing
A 3.9″W x 4.1″H squadron patch of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing with plastic backing.
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 world-wide in time of crisis. During its operational lifetime, the 474th was engaged in combat operations during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The 474th Wing was inactivated on 30 September 1989.
Maintenance on a 430th FBS F-84E at Taegu Air Base, 1954.
The 474th Fighter Bomber Wing was established on 25 June 1952 assigned to Tactical Air Command (TAC). On 10 July 1952, the wing was activated at Misawa Air Base, Japan, taking over the personnel and F-84G Thunderjets of the 116th Fighter-Bomber Wing. The number ‘474’ recalled the World War II history of the 474th Fighter Group which included the 428th, 429th, and 430th Fighter Squadrons. Corresponding to this legacy, the 474th Wing included, as a component, the 474th Fighter-Bomber Group which included the 428th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, 429th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, and 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron as combat components. It was assigned to TAC, but attached to 5th Air Force until 1 April 1953 for duty in the Korean War. On 10 July 1952, in what was one of the largest air deployments of its kind, the 474th moved to Kunsan Air Base, Korea on the western side of the Korean peninsula, while the 474th Maintenance Squadron moved to Itazuke Air Base, Japan and integrated into the rear-echelon maintenance combined operations for Thunderjet fighters. Other support units remained at Misawa, attached to the Japan Air Defense Force while the tactical components at Kunsan included the 474th Fighter-Bomber Group.
The 474th Fighter-Bomber Group, as a component of the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing, initiated combat operations in the Korean War on 1 August 1952. Fighter-bomber operations included night interdiction missions and targeted supply, transportation, and troop concentrations. Specific accomplishments included devastating strikes against troop concentrations near Pyongyang, disruption of a MiG attack, and major strikes against a munitions factory and destruction of a political/military instruction center. Missions included night interdiction missions against supplies and lines of communications, escorting Douglas B-26 Invaders on bombing operations in MiG Alley; air defense suppression; armed reconnaissance; and strafing and bombing troops in trenches, bunkers, and shelters, and heavy weapons positions. In January 1953 targeting shifted to communications, training complexes, and rebuilt North Korean assets, including: the Sinanju rail facilities, the Kyomipo industrial area, the Pyongyang Tank and Infantry School, the munitions processing plant near Sunchon, and enemy troop concentrations near Wonsan.
On 1 April 1953, the 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing was attached to the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing. As part of the move, the 474th Fighter Bomber Group was detached from the 474th FBW and assumed the personnel and equipment of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Group at Taegu. It was attached to the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing as a reinforced wing, and the 474th Fighter Bomber Wing was reduced to paper status. The 474th FBW was subsequently inactivated on 8 November 1954. This made the 58th the largest fighter-bomber wing in Korea. Only the 430th Squadron actually moved to Taegu. With the coming of spring the 474th contributed significantly to Operation Spring Thaw, a Fifth Air Force program to disrupt communist efforts to move supplies to the front in bad weather. The 474th FBG knocked out supply lines and inhibited their repair. During peak efforts, the 474th FBG pilots often flew four or five missions per day. The 474th Fighter Bomber Group participated in a total of 2207 close support strike. The 474th FBG participated in the destruction of North Korean airfields to prevent a last minute influx of enemy planes and material. “On 22 July 1953, in one mission led by Lt. Col. Douglas Montgomery, who was then executive officer of the 474th FBG, 30 out of a total of 40 bombs were placed along the entire length of a runway at the airfield at Sunchon.” On the 27 July, just prior to the signing of the truce, the 474th attacked Chunggangjin Airfield in what was one of the last and one of the deepest penetrations of the War. When hostilities stopped, the Armed Forces Assistance to Korea program was launched and the men of the 474th FBG volunteered their off-duty time to work with local villagers in constructing and replenishing a new school building.