Kwang Ju Air Base, South Korea
Origin of current name: Named after a city in the Republic of Korea. (Alternate designation Kwang Ju Airfield K-57.)
Date current name was assigned to base: December 26, 1968
Previous Names: Kwang Ju Aux Airfield, 30 June 1957; Kwang Ju Liaison Anx, 12 June 1963.
Date Established: February 3, 1968
Date Occupied: June 1, 1968
Construction Began: February 1, 1968
Base Units: Det, 6146th AF Advisory Gp, c. 1950-3 Feb 1968 (intermittently stationed, atchd to Korean AF); 6171st AB Sq, 3 Feb 1968; 107th Cmbt Spt Sq, 1 Aug 1968; 6171st Cmbt Spt Sq, 1 May 1969 (rdsgd 6171st AB Sq, 1 Jul 1975)-.
Changes in Capability: The USS Pueblo crisis of Mar 1968 impelled the USAF to prepare facilities at Kwang Ju AB for a tactical fighter squadron; from 1970-1973 base accommodated rotating fighter squadrons deploying to the Far East and supported the COLLEGE EYE Task Force; no aircraft were assigned permanently at the base after 1972; base converted to a forward operating location in Apr 1973; concurrently, base experienced a drastic personnel reduction resulting in conversion to caretaker status on 1 Sep 1975; supported C-130 exercises and served as deployment site of USMC Harrier AV-8s and F-4s, and as a "safe haven" for hurricane-evacuated aircraft from various PACAF bases 1973-1974; base designated a deployment installation for "various forces" to support tactical missions of USAF and Allied units operating from or through Kwang Ju in the event of hostilities after 1976; Kwang Ju converted from caretaker status to a "readiness base," 1976-1977; facilities improved with completion of AGM-45 missile shop and storage area Jan 1977; facility and airfield improvement projects undertaken to support forces deploying to this "bare base," 1977.
Changes in Status: Republic of Korea AF owned and administered Kwang Ju, where it operated the 1st Ftr Wg (ROKAF); PACAF operated a portion as co-host and housekeeper; activated on 3 Feb 1968; assigned as off-base installation of Osan AB 26 Dec 1968; converted to a forward OL, Apr 1973; reduced to caretaker status on 1 Sep 1975; converted to a "readiness base" in 1977. Closed in 1991.
Base was Decommissioned on
Kawngju (also written Kwang Ju or Gwangju) is 150 miles south of Seoul. It was an active-duty US Air Force base until the ownership of it was turned over to the Republic of Korea in 1991. The ROK subsequently used the airfield as a base and airport in Kwang Ju City, the 5th largest city in the South Korea. The US Air Force continued to maintain nearly 250 acres of the base. The continued US presence was part of the potential forward deployment of US military personnel and equipment in a wartime scenario. In peacetime the base was normally used for training by South Korean Air Force units and US Air Force units on a regular basis.
In 1992 the US government changed the status of 3 US air bases in Korea. Kwang Ju Air Base, Suwon Air Base and Taegu Air Base had previously been announced as ending operations, but would instead operate at reduced levels. 15 USAF personnel were assigned to the the Kwangju site. Personnel resided in former Officer quarters, which was basically a small apartment. JTR was 20 percent for the site.