EIELSON AFB

Post-World War II Through Southeast Asia

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The wing initially flew RF-80 aircraft, but by 1957 they became fully operational as the Air Force’s first F-100 Super Sabre wing. The 354th remained at Myrtle Beach until mid- 1968. During that span, the wing’s flying units deployed to major crisis locations around the globe, including Lebanon in 1958, Berlin in 1961, Cuba in 1962 and the Dominican Republic in 1965. They also deployed to Italy and Spain to fulfill NATO commitments and to replace units that rotated to Vietnam.

The 356th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) left the wing in 1965 to be assigned at Misawa, Japan. This started an exodus of sorts that ended with the 353rd TFS being assigned to Torrejon Air Base, Spain; the 352nd TFS at Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam; and the 355th TFS at Phu Cat Air Base, Vietnam.

The wing inactivated at Myrtle Beach AFB in 1968 and activated at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, where it served as host wing for rotating Air National Guard F-4 squadrons from mid-1968 until June 1970. It then returned without personnel or equipment to Myrtle Beach, and was charged with combat crew training in T-33s and with becoming proficient in A-7 aircraft. In early 1972, the 354th became the first operational A-7D unit in the Air Force.

In late 1972 the wing split into rear and advance echelons, the latter commencing combat operations from Thailand in October 1972, and achieving distinction as the last U.S. military unit to employ weapons in Southeast Asia. The 354th earned a Presidential Unit Citation for its service from October 1972 through April 1973. It recombined at Myrtle Beach in 1974.

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