Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, is home to the 8th Fighter Wing, known as the “Wolf Pack.” Located seven miles west of Gunsan City, the base is on the west coast of the peninsula near the Kum River estuary. The 8th Fighter Wing is the base’s host unit and is assigned to the Seventh Air Force at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. The numbered Air Force falls under Pacific Air Forces headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.
Defend the Base, Accept Follow-On Forces, [and] Take the Fight North
The vision for the 8th Fighter Wing is to be “a resilient warfighting wing ready to deliver combat airpower at a moment’s notice; honoring our legacy by fostering an environment of teamwork, dignity, and respect; enhancing the Wolf Pack culture of innovation, compliance, and excellence…1-year tour with a 10 year vision.”
Personnel and Resources
Kunsan Air Base has approximately 2,800 Air Force members, Army soldiers, U.S. civilians and local national and non-appropriated employees working on the installation.
The base is known as one of the Air Force’s last “warrior bases,” and an assignment to the installation is typically a one-year unaccompanied tour. This means members are assigned to the base without their families. All military members live on base in dormitories.
The 8th Fighter Wing includes four groups, each responsible for carrying out the wing’s maintenance, medical, support and operations functions, respectively.
The 8th Maintenance Group is responsible for daily flying and maintenance operations, intermediate level aircraft maintenance, component repair and maintenance training for the wing’s assigned aircraft.
The 8th Medical Group manages the medical clinic that offers flight medicine, general medicine, dentistry, bioenvironmental and military public health service.
The 8th Mission Support Group supports the base with civil engineering, communications, base defense, services, logistic readiness and mission support.
The 8th Operations Group equips and trains the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons [nicknamed the Pantons and Juvats, respectively] to conduct air-to-ground and air-to-air missions.
The base is also home to the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery, which is equipped with Patriot Advanced Capability—or PAC-3—missiles. The battalion’s one battery helps protect the base against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and advanced aircraft.
Other associate units include the Air Force Judiciary Area Defense Counsel, American Forces Network-Korea, American Red Cross, Army Air Force Exchange Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Army Contracting Command Korea, Contract Air Terminal Operations, Air Force Office of Special Investigations Detachment 613 and the U.S. Army 25th Transportation Battalion.
Originally built by the Japanese as a fighter-interceptor base in 1938, Kunsan became the home of the U.S. Military Assistance Advisory Group in Korea at the end of World War II. In 1949, U.S. forces left Korea, turning the base over to the then-fledgling Republic of Korea Air Force.
In July 1950, at the outset of the Korean Conflict, North Korean forces occupied Kunsan Air Base. The U.S. Army’s 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry recaptured the base and Kunsan City on Sept. 30, 1950. In April 1951, the 27th Air Base Group became the first Air Force unit assigned to the base. The group oversaw the base’s rehabilitation. The Army’s 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion built a 5,000-foot runway to replace the sod runway built by the Japanese. The 3rd Bombardment Wing moved to the base Aug. 22, 1951, as Kunsan’s first assigned aircraft wing.
Following the 3rd Bombardment Wing’s return to Japan at the end of the Korean Conflict, Kunsan became the home to several Air Force units. The 6170th Air Base Group and the 6170th Air Base Squadron operated and maintained the base from 1954 to 1968. From 1968 to 1970, the 354th and later the 54th Tactical Fighter Wing ran the base. The 6175th assumed responsibility for the installation in the mid-1970s until the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing returned to Kunsan in March 1971. In September 1974, the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing was assigned to Kunsan Air Base. As a part of an Air Force-wide reorganization, the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing was re-designated the 8th Fighter Wing on Feb. 3, 1992.