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At Suwon Air Base in South Korea during the Korean War, F-86E Sabre jets of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing’s 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, line the parking ramp. The wing, now known as the 51st Fighter Wing and based at Osan Air Base, was activated Aug. 18, 1948, and is marking its 60th anniversary with a yearlong round of observances.

At Suwon Air Base in South Korea during the Korean War, F-86E Sabre jets of the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing’s 25th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, line the parking ramp. The wing, now known as the 51st Fighter Wing and based at Osan Air Base, was activated Aug. 18, 1948, and is marking its 60th anniversary with a yearlong round of observances. (Courtesy of U.S. Air Force)

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — The 51st Fighter Wing is marking its 60th anniversary with a year of events that recall a heritage that includes extensive Korean War combat action.

During the war the wing was known as the 51st Fighter Interceptor Wing, and its pilots ranged the skies flying close support for United Nations ground troops, attacking ground targets, and later flying air-to-air combat that saw dogfights against communist MiG fighters.

Wing officials are working out details of what events to put on the calendar for the observance, which began Aug. 18 — the date the wing was activated in 1948, said John Okonski, 51st Fighter Wing historian.

A golf tournament that day was postponed due to rain and is now scheduled for Sept. 2, Okonski said.

The base post office got approval from the U.S. Postal Service to use a special cancellation stamp highlighting the anniversary, he said.

In addition, wing officials will gear this year’s October air show to the anniversary, as well as that of the creation of the South Korean armed forces, Okonski said.

The wing has two fighter squadrons — the 36th Fighter Squadron, which flies the F-16 Fighting Falcon, and the 25th Fighter Squadron, flying the A-10 Thunderbolt II attack plane.


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