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Kadena Air Base
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1 April 1945
- The 10th U.S. Army stormed the Hijashi Beaches (today known as Sunabe) during Operation ICEBERG. The primary objective was to capture Kadena and Yontan airfield.
19 July 1945
- Lt. Gen. James Doolittle (USA) established the 8th Air Force Command Post at Kadena Air Base.
7 September 1945
- Conforming with the general surrender executed by the Japanese government five days earlier, the remaining commanders of Japanese forces in the Ryukyu Islands unconditionally surrendered the islands in a ceremony located at 10th Army Headquarters. A historical site at that location (Stearley Heights MFH) commemorates the event.
1 November 1954
- The 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing, including the 12th and 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadrons, arrived at Kadena Air Base.
15 July 1955
- The 44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron moved from the Philippines to Kadena Air Base.
25 December 1955
- "Tops in Blue" performed at Kadena Air Base for the first time.
2 January 1956
- The 313th Air Division Military Academy, a first on Kadena Air Base, started operations, beginning with a 48-hour course.
4 July 1956
- The Carnival of Carnivals, later to become Americafest, began on Kadena Air Base's athletic field.
31 August 1956
- The Kadena Kabs, the base's first taxi service, began operation.
18 January 1957
- The new $300,000 Non-Commissioned Officers open mess, the Rocker Club, opened for business.
12 February 1957
- The first altitude chamber placed in operation in the Far East was dedicated on this day.
30 March 1957
- The 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing converted to the F-100D Super Sabre aircraft.
2 October 1957
- Typhoon Faye caused thousands of dollars in damages to Kadena Air Base.
21 March 1958
- Over 60 Ryukyuan students from the Shimabuku Junior High School toured Kadena Air Base. The tour marked the first time Okinawa school age children visited the base. During their tour the children visited the base fire department, library, the air installations office, commissary, base exchange, and ate a meal at the dining facility.
26 May 1958
- The honorable James H. Douglas, Jr., Secretary of the Air Force and Gen. Laurence S. Kuter, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Air Forces visited the Air Force troops assigned to Okinawa.
26 August 1958
- The RF-101C Voodoo aircraft arrived at Kadena Air Base. The 1,000-plus mile-per-hour aircraft replaced the RF-84F Thunderstreak aircraft employed by the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. The Voodoo was the world's first supersonic photoreconnaissance aircraft.
1 November 1958
- The 12th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron broke three 18th Fighter-Interceptor Wing flying records. Utilizing the F-100 Super-Sabre aircraft, crews from the fighter squadron flew 725 hours (F-100), 967 jet pilot hours (F-100 & T-33), and 440 sorties during the month of October.
29 November 1958
- A combined effort by local Okinawan citizens, American military, Boy Scouts, and dependants fought a major brush fire near the housing area by the Kadena Elementary School. The fire burned for over five hours due to 35 mile per hour winds. No major property damage was reported.
10 April 1959
- Kadena Air Base Streets were officially named after deceased aviation heroes and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.
30 June 1959
- An 18th Tactical Fighter Wing F-100D aircraft crashed into the Miyamori Elementary School, Ishikawa. Eleven students died and 200 received injuries. The Air Force was instrumental in response and recovery operations.
19 June 1960
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived at Kadena Air Base. The president visited the Okinawan legislature to demonstrate the deep interest of the U.S. in the welfare of the Ryukyuan people.
21 November 1960
- The Kadena Youth Center opened, designed to interest children ranging in age from eight through 18.
24 July 1961
- Kadena Air Base's Credit Union officially opened its doors.
31 October 1962
- Col. George B. Simler, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing Commander, flew the first F-105 Thunderchief aircraft into Kadena Air Base. The faster F-105s replaced the F-100 Super-Sabre aircraft assigned to the wing. The 18th became the first fully operational F-105 wing in the Far East.
10 July 1963
- Bases on Okinawa began water rationing for the first time due to a sever drought.
12 December 1965
- The Kadena Air Base Aero Club, formerly Naha Air Base Aero Club, was formed with a Piper Tri-Pacer, a Piper Cub J-3, and two Aeronca Champion aircraft.
5 January 1967
- Kadena Air Base officials announced that traffic signal lights would be installed at seven locations around the installation.
12 January 1967
- The Tee-House opened near the base golf course.
8 June 1967
- Chapel 2 dedication ceremonies included a tri-faith service.
5 October 1967
- A 3,200-foot extension to runway "C" was completed. This gave Kadena Air Base two 12,000-foot runways.
4 April 1968
- The Four Diamonds softball fields opened.
5 September 1968
- The newly activated Women's Air Force Squadron accepted four female sergeants at Kadena Air Base. Their arrival marked the first of 100 females to be assigned to the squadron at Kadena Air Base.
20 July 1969
- Pacific Air Forces standardized command computer systems as Kadena Air Base units received the Burroughs B-3500 operating system.
10 March 1971
- Five F-4C fighter-bomber aircraft arrived at Kadena Air Base. The Phantom II aircraft became part of the newly activated 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron. This officially marked the transfer of operations from the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing to the 18th for the squadron.
21 April 1971
- Kadena Air Base became the only Air Force installation on Okinawa when the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, located at Naha Air Base, inactivated.
15 May 1972
- The Ryukyu Islands reverted to Government of Japan control. The office of the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyu's closed their doors forever.
16 September 1973
- A 44th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-4C aircraft crashed during a temporary duty assignment in Taiwan; the crewmembers safely ejected.
1 November 1974
- The Kadena Air Base bowling lanes formally opened; the original base bowling lanes had been built from temporary Quonset huts.
29 January 1975
- The popular singing group "A Taste of Honey" performed at the USO as the headline of the Hollywood Soul Holiday Special show.
25 February 1976
- A new 18th Combat Support Group regulation prevented all Air Force personnel stationed on Okinawa from remaining in, or entering any off-base bar or club past the legal closing time of midnight - the first restriction of its kind on Kadena Air Base.
1 January 1977
- Pacific Air Force command instituted its own Non-Commissioned Officer academy at Kadena Air Base, with the first class beginning on 8 March 1977.
22 February 1977
- For only the fifth time since records have been kept, a negligible amount of snow and ice fell from the sky on Kadena Air Base. At 1035, snowflakes began falling and lasted two minutes, followed by a mixture of snow, ice, and light rain for the next 20 minutes.
19 April 1977
- Construction workers uncovered two tombs on Kadena Air Base. One was located on a hillside by the old Kadena horse stable and the other was found by the Olympic theater.
15 May 1977
- Voice of America ceased operations on Okinawa after 24 years.
1 January 1978
- Due to a fatal traffic accident, the speed limit around the gate one area of Kadena Air Base on route 58 was dropped from 50 kilometers per hour to 40. The affected section of 58 extended from Oja Bridge south of Makiminato, to a point north of Kadena Circle.
9 May 1978
- Gen. Hiromi Kurisu, Chairman, Joint Staff Council, Japanese Self Defense Forces visited Kadena Air Base. General Kurisu was the highest-ranking Japanese military officer and held the position equivalent to the U.S. Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
30 July 1978
- The base modified exits on buses in preparation for the changeover of driving lanes on military installations to match the Okinawa traffic patterns.
12 June 1979
- The first two female technical sergeants graduated from Pacific Air Forces Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, here on Kadena Air Base.
4 September 1979
- A Civil Engineer self-help project was completed and dedicated in honor of SrA. Mark S. Rodrigues, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron, who died of injuries due to a back hoe accident. Airman Rodrigues helped create the park, which was located on a hilly mound near building 238.
29 September 1979
- The 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron became the first fully equipped squadron with F-15C/D Eagle aircraft in Pacific Air Forces.
15 April 1980
- Three MC-130E aircraft from the 1st Special Operations Squadron (SOS) based on Kadena Air Base flew from Kadena to Masirah Island off the east coast of Oman in preparation for their participation in the ill-fated Operation EAGLE CLAW.
11 February 1981
- The structure of the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing was reorganized. Staff Functions of the wing were transferred to the 313th Air Division, while the staff functions of the 18th Tactical Fighter Group were transferred to the Wing. The 18th Supply Squadron, 18th Transportation Squadron, and the 18th Combat Support Group were assigned to the 313th Air Division. The flying and maintenance squadrons formally assigned to the 18th Tactical Fighter Group were reassigned to the wing. Detachment 1, 18th Tactical Fighter Wing, activated at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.
6 April 1981
- An F-15 aircraft belonging to the 18th Wing crashed into the sea after experiencing rapid fuel loss. Capt. Rick Carrier, the pilot, safely ejected and was rescued in good condition.
1 May 1981
- Extreme fog at Naha International Airport caused 11 Japanese airliners to land at Kadena Air Base. This marked the first time Kadena Air Base hosted such a large number of commercial aircraft at one time.
14 December 1981
- The 18th Wing accepted the 'Hush House' from the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau. It was the world's largest enclosed sound suppressor.
12 February 1982
- The Kadena Family Support Center opened at Kadena Air Base, serving as a prototype for the Air Force.
29 December 1982 - Two F-15 aircraft crashed into the ocean. One of the pilots was rescued; however, the body of Capt. Edwin W. Cardin, 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron, was never found.
21 March 1983
- Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel made a sweep of the Bob Hope Elementary School playground. The following items were unearthed: three live .50 caliber rounds, 27 live 7.62-caliber rounds, 32 live .38 caliber rounds, and a .30-caliber corroded machine gun barrel.
25 August 1983
- An archeological find of burial tombs on Kadena Air Base was made public. Family housing units were scheduled to be built in the area where the tombs were located.
14 November 1983
- Some of the cast and crew of the television series "Happy Days" visited Okinawa. During their visit, they played other slow pitch softball teams and visited local schools. Henry Winkler, better known as "the Fonz" was the main attraction for kids of all ages.
1 February 1984
- Postage-free mail service between Aerial Post Offices in the Pacific Theater of operations began. Only personal mail was eligible for the new service.
15 November 1984
- The wing flew the last operational flight of the CT-39 Sabreliner aircraft.
1 July 1985
- Marek Park housing area with 388 units opened.
1 September 1985
- The wearing of automobile seat belts became mandatory on all roads in Okinawa.
10 January 1986
- The speed limit on several highways on Okinawa was raised to 60 kilometers per hour, and 80 kilometers per hour on the expressway.
7 May 1986
- Radiation from the damaged nuclear reactor at Chernobyl, USSR, reached Okinawa. Levels were too low to be harmful.
9 June 1986
- An F-15C aircraft belonging to the 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron crashed into the sea about 200 kilometers northeast of Kadena Air Base. The pilot safely ejected.
2 February 1987
- A record of low temperature of seven degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded on Okinawa.
6 February 1987
- The Risner Athletic Complex opened with namesake Brig. Gen. (retired) Robinson Risner, former 67th Fighter Squadron commander and Vietnam Prisoner of War, in attendance.
29 April 1987
- Left hand turn on a red light after a full stop became legal on Kadena Air Base.
22 July 1987
- The old bell from the Gokoku-ji Temple, presented to Commodore Perry during his 1854 visit to Okinawa, was returned to the island after an absence of 133 years. The bell had been on display at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.
8 October 1987
- Burger King opened for business on Kadena Air Base.
2 November 1987
- An RF-4C aircraft belonging to the 18th Wing crashed into the ocean 111 kilometers northeast of Okinawa. Both crewmembers ejected and two parachutes were observed, but the body of the pilot was never recovered.
10 November 1987
- A Soviet TU-16 Badger aircraft violated Japanese airspace flying directly over Okinawa, including Kadena Air Base and Futenma Marine Corp Air Station, for 11 minutes. A Japanese Self Defense Forces F-4EJ fired about 100 shots in warning, the first time that a Japanese Self Defense Forces aircraft fired a warning shot since assuming their air defense mission in 1958. The TU-16 was one of a flight of four Badgers enroute to Vladivostok from Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. The Soviet Ambassador expressed regret.
24 October 1989
- The Olympic Services Mall, formerly Olympic Theater, opened.
21 January 1990
- The last flight of the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft occurred as Detachment 1, 9th Strategic Wing inactivated.
27 August 1990
- The Kadena Middle School opened, easing the burden of overcrowded Department of Defense Dependents facilities.
1 February 1993
- The 33rd Rescue Squadron joined the 18th Wing.
7 March 1993
- Okinawa's first full marathon, Okinawa Marathon '93, was routed through Kadena Air Base.
27 September 1993
- The Air Force announced the permanent basing of the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base. The unit arrived from the Philippines following the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991.
3 August 1996
- Kadena Air Base's ground crew personnel discovered one dead and one unconscious Mongolian child (who later died) in the wheel well of a C-141 Starlifter.
16 May 1997
- The 18th Wing formally dedicated a monument containing the names of all the Air Force Medal of Honor recipients at the base flagpole.
18 September 1997
- Wing members and local Okinawan leaders gathered in the Stearley Heights housing area of Kadena Air Base for the rededication ceremony of the Peace Garden, the surrender site of Japanese forces to Americans that ended World War II on 7 September 1945.
19 January 1998
- Gen. Michael Ryan, Chief of Staff, Air Force, arrived at Kadena Air Base to discuss service issues.
4 March 1998
- Wing Commander Gen John R. Baker and Kadena town mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi unveiled a marker near the Kadena Marina in front of the tomb of Noguni Sokan, known in local history books as the father of the sweet potato.
15 May 1998
- Wing personnel and local Okinawan leaders gathered at the base flag poles to dedicate a monument honoring the men and women of the 18th Wing who died on active duty, both in war and peacetime.
16 November 1998
- Approximately 40 astronomers from the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA) utilized Kadena resources to stage an international airborne science mission to observe the Leonid Meteor Storm.
17 January 1999
- Explosive Ordinance Disposal flight members detonated a World War II bomb near the base perimeter road following its discovery by Civil Engineer personnel digging a ditch.
11 July 1999
- Wing personnel celebrated the grand opening of the $77 million medical clinic. The Government of Japan contributed $67 million to the construction of the facility.
19 August 1999
- Marine Staff Sergeant Eric Vance became the first Marine to graduate from the Pacific Air Forces Leadership School on Kadena Air Base.
7 September 1999
- A 44th Fighter Squadron F-15C aircraft surpassed the 6,000-flying hour mark, the first U.S. Air Force aircraft to surpass the milestone.
22 September 1999
- Super Typhoon Bart, the strongest typhoon to hit Okinawa since 1957, caused $5.7 million in damages.
4 November 1999
- The Wing held a "stand down" ceremony as the 12th Fighter Squadron moved to Alaska.
18 February 2000
- Kadena Air Base became the first Pacific Air Forces base to open a First Term Airmen's Center. The center provided a transitional program for first term airmen and young active duty airmen arriving in the operational environment of the installation.
3 March 2000
- The 18th Wing sent 450 people and 10 F-15 Eagle aircraft to Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The deployment supported Operation SOUTHERN WATCH and was the wing's initial participation in the new Air Force expeditionary program.
10 March 2000
- Secretary of Defense, William S. Cohen made a brief refueling stop at Kadena Air Base.
5 April 2000
- Keystone Theater, Kadena Air Base, held the "Voices of Rock" show. This free performance for the military members on Okinawa consisted of four stars from different '80s popular music groups. The artists included Mike Reno (Loverboy), Mickey Thomas (Starship), Jim Jamison (Survivor), and Bobby Kimball (Toto).
21 July 2000
- Wing and local Okinawan leaders, with the U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Foley, unveiled a plaque dedicating the Okinawa Friendship Plaza near Gate 2.
22 July 2000
- President Bill Clinton (D) arrived on Kadena Air Base to participate in the Group of Eight Summit.
1 April 2001
- An EP-3 Navy aircraft, flying from Kadena Air Base, was struck by a Chinese fighter jet and made an emergency landing on China's Hainan Island.
31 August 2001
- The 18th Transportation and Supply Squadrons merged under one commander to form the 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron.
8 March 2002
- A KC-135 from the 909th Aerial Refueling Squadron received new nose art, an eagle flying in front of an American flag with the words "Let's Roll" all inside a red circle, and the inscription "Spirit of 9-11."
23 August 2002
- The 18th Wing held a formal reorganization ceremony to mark the conversion from the Objective Wing format to the Combat Wing format. The 18th Component Repair, Aircraft Maintenance, and Equipment Maintenance Squadrons joined the wing under the 18th Maintenance Group.
22 November 2002
- The Secretary of the Air Force, the Honorable James Roche, visited Kadena Air Base.
9 January 2003
- The 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron activated under the 18th Maintenance Group.
19 March 2003
- The 67th Fighter Squadron began combat operations as part of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
26 September 2003
- The 18th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (AES) activated and was assigned to the 18th Operations Group.
16 November 2003
- Hon. Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, visited Kadena Air Base.
22 October 2
004 - Japan Air Self Defense Force and Maritime Self Defense Force aircraft were stationed at Kadena Air Base while a Naha Airport runway was being repaired.
1 February 2005
- Kadena Air Base's Gate 1 closed in order to allow for the construction of a new visitor center. The entrance was restructured, adding new lanes and widening existing ones.
25 February 2005
- Approximately 4,000 residents near Kadena Air Base were compensated ¥2.8 billion in the most costly redress ever for an aircraft noise pollution suit.
8 July 2005
- A 0100-0600 curfew was imposed on all SOFA-status people living and working on Kadena Air Base.
29 July 2005
- The Air Force at Kadena Air Base instituted a liberty card program for young airmen.
7 October 2006
- The first set of equipment for the new Patriot missile system arrived by ship in Naha where it would be delivered to Kadena Air Base and Kadena Ammunition Storage Area.
26 January - 28 January 2007
- Kadena Air Base hosted the Japanese American Basketball Tournament for sixteen teams who played at both Kadena High School and Kadena Middle School gymnasiums.
17 February 2007
- Twelve F-22 Raptors of the 27th Fighter Squadron from Langley AFB, Virginia, arrived at Kadena Air Base to take part in a joint exercise with Japanese Air Self Defense F-15s. This marked the first overseas deployment of what was then a brand new aircraft.
23 August 2007
- The new AAFES Concession Mall opened on Kadena Air Base.
21 November 2007
- Hundreds from the Zenchuro, an Okinawan workers union, walked away from their jobs on Kadena Air Base in protest of defense ministry plans to cut their pay.
20 February 2008
- All bases on Okinawa implemented a mandated "lockdown" by order of the Okinawa Area Coordinator and senior US military commander on Okinawa, Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer, effecting a "period of reflection" for all SOFA-status personnel, civilians and active duty.
10 April 2008
- Kadena's Rocker NCO Club hosted the 21st Birthday Ball for the Army's 505th Quartermaster Battalion.
4 July 2008
- AmericaFest was held on Kadena Air Base after a four-year hiatus.
25 August 2008
- Ryukyu Middle School was opened on Kadena Air Base.
11 September 2008
- An F-4 Phantom fighter made an emergency landing at Naha International Airport due to a blown tire. Since it was blocking the runway all incoming aircraft were diverted from the airport to Kadena Air Base.
30 January 2009
- "Meet the Raptor" Day on Kadena Air Base opened the F-22 stealth fighter to public viewing for the first time.
2 October 2009
- The new Kadena Shopping Center, labeled the second largest exchange in the world, had its grand opening.
31 March 2010
- After 65 years of maintaining radar control of air space over Okinawa Kadena Radar Approach Control transferred jurisdiction to Naha Entry Control Area, a Japanese Control agent.
2 August 2010
- The Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS) was instated for all bases on Okinawa including Kadena Air Base.
7 October 2010
- Brig. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach lifted restrictions on nighttime curfew and alcohol consumption outside of airmen's residences shortly after imposing them on September 27 of that year.
4 February 2011
- Japan's Supreme Court rejected appeals to block military flights at Kadena Air Base because of noise pollution.
28 February 2011
- Kadena's 18th Wing conducted a 5-day operational readiness exercise.
11 March 2011
- Air Force personnel, aircraft and equipment at Kadena Air Base were deployed to mainland Japan hours after the devastating Tohoku earthquake in its northeast region as part of Operation Tomodachi.
18th Wing History Office
Unit 5141 Box 20
APO AP 96368-5141
Air Force History
Air Education and Training Command History and Office
Air Flight Test Center Museum
Air Force Historical Research Agency
Air Force Historical Studies Office
Air Force Space Command History and Heritage
Air Mobility Command Museum
Hill Aerospace Museum
National Museum of Naval Aviation
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum