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 United States

Fifth Air Force

Established Abolished
20 September 1941
Unit Code
Unknown Resource


Constituted as Philippine Department Air Force on August 16, 1941. Redesignated Far East Air Force in October 1941, and Fifth Air Force in February 1942. This air force lost most of its men and equipment in the defense of the Philippines after December 7, 1941. Later in December 1941 headquarters and some crews and planes moved to Australia, and in January 1942 they were sent to Java to help delay Japanese advances in the Netherlands Indies. The fifth did not function as an air force for some time after February 1942. Headquarters was renamed in September 1942 and assumed control of Army Air Force organizations in Australia and New Guinea. The Fifth participated in operations that stopped the Japanese drive in Papua, rocovered New Guinea, neutralized islands in the Bismarck Archipelago and the Netherlands East Indies, and liberated the Philippines. When the war ended in August 1945, elements of the Fifth were moving to the Ryukyus for the invasion of Japan.

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