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    Yokota Airfield (Tama, Fussa, Yokota AFB) Tokyo Metropolis | Honshū Japan
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USAAF late 1945

PacificWrecks.com
PacificWrecks.com
USAAF March 1946
Location
Lat 35° 44' 55N Long 139° 20' 55E  Yokota Airfield is located at an elevation of 463' above sea level at the edge of the Kanto Plain at the entrance to the Tama River Valley (Tama Valley) roughly a mile from Fussa in the Tokyo Metropolis on Honshū in Japan. To the north is Yokota and beyond is Tokyo. During World War II, known to the Japanese as "Tama Airfield". In September 1945 renamed Fussa Army Airfield or Fussa Airfield by the U. S. Army then was renamed Yokota Airfield. Postwar, known as Yokota Air Force Base (Yokota AFB) and today known as Yokota Air Base (Yokota AB).

Construction
Prior to construction, the area were small villages, farms, forested areas and undeveloped land. During 1939, the Japanese Army surveyed this location and purchased 2,000 hectares of land for a military airfield that was completed during 1940 and known as Tama Airfield with a single 3,937' / 1,200m runway. Also known to the Japanese as Fussa Airfield. At the center of the airfield was Seimei Gakuen reform school and to the south was an Army fuel depot area.

Wartime History
During August 1940, personnel from Tachikawa Airfield transfered to Tama Airfield and was used as a flight testing center and evaluation department and maintenance division. Due to the top secret nation of this airfield, passing trains on the north-south Hachiko rail line were required to close their window blinds while passing the base.

During 1944, Emperor Hirohito visited Tama Airfield and a large maroon colored rock dubbed "Kofu Rock" was placed at Tama Airfield to commemorate his visit and remains at the base today. In late 1944 used as a base for fighters to intercept U. S. aircraft attacking the Tokyo area until the end of the Pacific War.

During November 1944, a photographic reconnaissance F-13 Superfortress photographed Tama Airfield that was unknown to the Americans. The newly discovered airfield was designated "Yokota Airfield" for Yokota village to the north. American photographic intelligence mistakenly identified it as associated with the nearby Musashino-Nakajima Factory. Although B-29 Superfortresses bombed the nearby factory during the spring of 1945, Tama Airfield was never directly targeted and survived the Pacific War undamaged.

Postwar
On September 4, 1945 a detachment from the U. S. Army, 1st Cavalry Division led by a Lieutenant arrived in jeeps to occupy the airfield and took control without opposition or incident. On September 6, 1945 Major Benjamin Hayes accepted the surrender of Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) Major General Yamaguchi Tsuchio commander of Tachikawa Air Training Division.

In the middle of September 1945, Colonel William Bell became the first commander of the base. Initially known to the Americans as "Fussa Army Airfield" or "Fussa Airfield". By the end of the month, renamed "Yokota Army Airfield" for Yokota. Immediately, Yokota became an important logistical base for flights by U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) C-47 Skytrains and C-46 Commando transport aircraft tasked with ferrying supplies and troops to Japan. The control tower was dubbed "Reno Tower".

Captured at the airfield were roughly 200 Japanese aircraft of various types. Three aircraft were transported to the United States for technical evaluation. During late 1945 or early 1946, Ki-61-II Tony 5070 was displayed outside the control tower. The other Japanese aircraft were scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

During the early phases of the U. S. occupation of Japan, Yokota became an important logistical base. Consequently, the runway was so heavily used, it became unservicable. Overflowing with American personnel, all the barracks buildings were occupied and extra personnel had to sleep inside hangers. After repairs, Yokota Army Airfield based medium bombers and fighters.

During the Korean War, used by U. S. Air Force (USAF) fighters, B-29 bombers and reconnaissance aircraft. During the Vietnam War, Yokota remained in use as an important logistic base.

USAAF units based at Yokota (1945-1950)
2nd Combat Cargo Group (C-46, C-47) ? - Dec 1945 to Atsugi
20th Combat Mapping Group (F-7) October 1945 - April 1946
8th Reconnaissance Group (F-7) June 1946 - October 1947
71st Reconnaissance Group February 1947 - April 1949
6th Night Fighter Squadron (P-61) 1946–47
3d Emergency Rescue Squadron (SB-17G) July 1947 - April 1950
US Army, Pacific Air Command September 1945 - January 1947
USAF units based at Yokota (1950-1954)
27th Fighter-Escort Wing (F-84E) November - December 1950
35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing (F-80) April - August 1950
41st FS (P-51, F-86) Irumagawa March 25, 1950 - August 13, 1954 to Anderson
339th Fighter-All Weather Squadron (F-82) April - August 1950
92nd Bombardment Group, 325th Bombardment Squadron (B-29) July - October 1950
92nd Bombardment Group, 326th Bombardment Squadrons (B-29) July - October 1950
92nd Bombardment Group, 327th Bombardment Squadrons (B-29) July - October 1950
98th Bombardment Wing (B-29) Spokane / Fairchild (B-29) August 1950 - July 1954
31st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, July–August 1950
91st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, (SB-29) December 1950 - December 1954
512th Bombardment Squadron (WB-29) January - August 1950
421st Air Refueling Squadron (KB-29) 1953-1965
3rd Bombardment Wing (B-57) August 1948 - April 1950
USAF units based at Yokota (1954-present)
67th Reconnaissance Wing (RF-80, RF-84, RF-101) 1956–60
35th Fighter-Interceptor Wing 1954-1957
40th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron (F-102) December 1961 - May 1962|
6102nd Air Base Wing 1964
6144th Air Base Wing 1964
610th Military Airlift Support Squadron 1966–1978
6441st Tactical Fighter Wing January 1964 - January 1968
347th Fighter Wing January 1968 - May 1971
475th Air Base Wing November 1971 - April 1992
5th Air Force, HQ Fuchu November 11, 1974
345th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) 1975
556th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
1956th Communications Group/Information Systems Group
20th Operational Weather Squadron
30th Airlift Squadron

Today
Still in use today as Yokota Air Base (Yokota AB) used by the U. S. Air Force (USAF). The single runway is oriented 36/18 measures 11,000' x 200' surfaced with concrete. Airport Codes: IATA: OKO – ICAO: RJTY. During 2005, the Japanese government announced that the headquarters of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JSDF) would move to Yokota. During March 2011, Yokota Air Base was used during the earthquake and tsunami and disaster recovery and relief efforts for air lifts and logistics.

Ki-61-II Kai Tony Manufacture Number 5070
Displayed at Yokota Airfield until 1969 today displayed at Chairan Kamikaze Museum

References
Yokota Air Base official website
Yokota History Part 1: Yokota during WWII (photos)
Yokota History Part 2: Occupation Period, 1945-51 (photos)

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Last Updated
September 4, 2020

 

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