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Lat 33° 35' 9N Long 130° 27' 3E Mushiroda Airfield is located at an elevation of 32' above sea level to the east of Fukuoka in Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyūshū Island in southern Japan. Postwar known as Itazuke Air Base (Itazuke AB). Today known as Fukuoka Airport.
The airfield area was farmland planted with rice.
During 1944, the Japanese Army built a single runway at this location.
Initially, Mushiroda Airfield was used for flight training but the wet ground proved poor for new pilots. Afterwards, based the Japanese Army Air Force (JAAF) 6th Fighter Wing for aerial defense and for patrols southward to Okinawa. After April 1945, bomber aircraft from Tachiarai Airfield were moved here.
During the American occupation of Japan used as an American base to provide air defense and surveillance. The only surviving building was the Kyūshū Airplane Company's complex in Zasshonokuma was converted into a barracks, mess hall PX and POQ for American personnel plus a tent city at the airfield for additional personnel.
In November 1945, the 38th Bombardment Group arrived with B-25 Mitchells flying reconnaissance mission over shipping lanes to prevent illegal shipments of Koreans or supplies and remained active until October 1946. On April 1, 1946 the 8th Fighter Group was assigned to the airfield. Next, the 347th Fighter Group arrived with P-61 Black Widows for longer range air defense of western Japan.
Used by the U. S. Army, U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) and later the U. S. Air Force (USAF) and known as Itazuke Air Base (Itazuke AB) with three installations: Itazuke AB, Itazuke (Kasuga) Administration Annex and Brady Air Base (Camp Brady) in Saitozaki on the Umi no Nakamichi peninsula surrounding Hakata Bay. By 1949 the runway was upgraded for use by jets.
American units based at Itazuke Air Base (Itazuke AB)
38th Bombardment Group (B-25) Yontan November 1945-October 1946 Itami
8th Fighter Group Ie Shima April 1, 1946- April 1947
347th Fighter Group (P-61) Nagoya October 1946-October 1947 Bufu
475th Fighter Group (F-82) October 1947-March 1949 Ashiya
8th Fighter Wing (F-80C) March 1949-1950 Suwon AB (K-13) returns October 1954
6160th Air Base Wing 1950
In 1950 at the start of the Korean War, Itazuke Air Base was the nearest Japanese airfield to the Korean peninsula and the 8th Fighter Wing provided air cover for early operations, evacuations of of Americans and defense of the Pusan perimeter. From Itazuke, 1st Lt. William G. Hudson from the 68th Fighter Squadron claimed the first aerial victory of the Korean War.
Between 1950-1953, many USAF units were based at Itazuke operating a variety of aircraft including the B-26 Invader, F-80 Shooting Stars, F-84 Thunderjets, F-82 Twin Mustangs and F-94 Starfire jet interceptors. Units included the 49th Fighter Group, the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing; the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing; the 452d Bombardment Wing; the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing and the Texas Air National Guard 136th Fighter Group. At the end of the Korean War in 1953 most units were withdrawn with the 8th Fighter Wing returning in October 1954 and remained until July 1964.
In 1956, the U. S. Air Force (USAF) took command of the entire installation and was the largest USAF base on Kyūshū Island. In 1970 plans were announced to return this airbase to Japanese control, due to budget reductions and the draw down of American military in Japan. On March 31, 1972 the base was closed and turned over.
In 1951, the first civilian flights began at the airport with Japan Airlines flights to Osaka and Tokyo. In 1961, civilian jet service began with flights to Busan starting in 1965 and other international flights.
Still in use today as Fukuoka Airport 福岡空港 as a dual military airfield used by the Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) and as a civilian airport and port of entry. The single runway is oriented 34/16 measures 9,186' x 197' surfaced with asphalt. Airport codes: ICAO: RJFF IATA: FUK.
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