Hawaii – Air Force Community
The Air Force Arrives in Hawaii
With the formation of the Air Force as a separate branch of the Department of Defense in 1947, Air Transport Command and its successor, Military Air Transport Service, assumed control of Air Force activities in Hawaii. The Pacific Air Force was activated in 1954, and in 1955, the 7th Air Force was activated at Wheeler. In 1956, the Pacific Air Force was redesignated Headquarters Pacific Air Forces/Far East Air Forces (Rear) in preparation for the move of FEAF from Japan to Hickam. Concurrent with the relocation to Hawaii, FEAF was redesignated Headquarters, Pacific Air Forces and HQ. PAF/FEAF (Rear) was inactivated.
Today, the PACAF serves as the air component for the U.S. Pacific Command. The PACAF commander advises the unified command leadership on the use of aerospace power throughout the theater and carries out missions as directed by the commander in chief of Pacific Command. Missions are often performed in conjunction with Army, Navy and Marine Corps forces. The PACAF also participates regularly in combined exercises with forces of Asia and Pacific nations.
PACAF’s primary mission is to plan, conduct and coordinate offensive and defensive air operations in the Pacific and Asian theaters. The command maintains combat capability and security in the region with more than 400 aircraft, including air-superiority F-15C/Ds, F-15Es, multirole F-16s, OA-10s, KC-135s, C-130s, E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and C-17s. More than 40,000 Air Force military and civilian people are assigned primarily at the major installations in Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
The command’s area of responsibility extends from the United States’ west coast to the east coast of Africa and from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Major PACAF organizations include the 5th Air Force in Japan, 7th Air Force in Korea, 11th Air Force in Alaska, 13th Air Force at Hickam and the 15th Air Base Wing in Hawaii.