This month in 35th Fighter Wing and Misawa Air Base history: November
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Traditionally, November has been a slow month for Misawa Air Base and the 35th Fighter Wing. However, the events that occur tend to be very important and depict the Air Force's emphasis on innovation and the United States' evolving relationship with Japan. Here are a few anniversaries for the month of November:
November 1, 1942: The Japanese Imperial Navy redesignated the 26th Air Combat Group, commonly known as the Misawa Air Group, as the 705th Air Group of the Naval Air Training Division.
November 1, 1943: The 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron received its first combat capable Spitfires while stationed at Mount Farm, England. The unit had received five Spitfire Mark Vs in June for the purpose of training maintainers and pilots, but only in November did the 14th receive mission-capable Mark XI Spitfires. The unit's Historian wrote:
On November 1st, 1943, the department got a real surprise when our 'CO,' Major Marshall Wayne taxied a new Mark XI Spitfire into our area and informed us that two more were on the way. This time, the Spitfires would be used for operations and not training.
The 14th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron formed a single Spitfire flight while the units existing aircraft, variant P-38s, remained in two separate flights.
November 1943: The 39th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group, transitioned from the P-38 Lightning to the P-47 Thunderbolt. The 39th Fighter Squadron Historian, Capt Edward F. Graham, wrote:
(The) transition training was carried out at Port Moresby and at bases in Australia. By early December, the squadron was completely equipped with the new "Thunderbolt," and began moving by air and water to Nadzab to join the other squadrons of the 35th Fighter Group.
From Nazab, the unit began air patrols of northeastern New Guinea.
November 12 1949: The United States Air Force renamed Misawa Air Force Base as Misawa Air Base.
November 25, 1965: The first Wild Weasels arrived at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The Air Force tasked the five-ship detachment with proving the ability of specially equipped fighter aircraft to identify and destroy enemy surface-to-air, radar-guided missile emplacements.
November 28, 1978: The first Cope North Exercise was held at Misawa Air Base. This joint exercise involved Dissimilar Air Combat Tactics scenarios between aircraft from Japan Air Self-Defense Force's 3rd Air Wing (Misawa Air Base, Japan), the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing (Clark Air Base, Philippines), and Japan Air Self-Defense Force's 2nd Air Wing from (Chitose Air Base, Japan). It marked the first large-scale joint aerial exercise between the United States Air Force and the Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
November 30, 1982: The Misawa Air Base Fire Departments and Misawa City Fire Department held the first bilateral fire and emergency response exercise.
November 1, 1988: Contractors completed construction on the first high-rise apartment tower in the main base housing area.
November 4, 1990: Following a severe rainstorm, the Base Communications Center experienced catastrophic flooding, which completely disabled the base telephone system.
November 4, 1996: As part of Operation Desert Strike, the 13th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron destroyed an Iraqi mobile short-range surface-to-air missile system with an AGM-88 High-speed Anti-Radiation Missile.
November 10, 2000: The United States Marine Corps inactivated Company E, Marine Support Battalion, at Misawa Air Base as part of a Marine Corps reorganization. The few remaining Marines at Misawa were assigned to Subunit 2, Company I, Marine Support Battalion.