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502nd Tactical Control Group
Active 1950–1953
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Role Tactical Air Control

The 502nd Tactical Control Group was a United States Air Force unit that fought in the Korean War. The unit was attached to Far East Air Forces Fifth Air Force.

Operational Units:

  • 605th Tactical Control Squadron: duration.
  • 606th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron: duration.
  • 607th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron: duration.
  • 608th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron: 2 November 1951–.
  • 6132d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron: 9 October 1950 – 2 November 1951.
  • 1st Shoran Beacon Unit (later, Squadron): attached 27 September – 1 December 1950 and 6 September 1952–.

At the beginning of the Korean War, the U.S. Air Force's only tactical control group was the 502nd at Pope AFB, NC. To meet the emergency in the theater, the Fifth Air Force organized the 6132nd Tactical Air Control Squadron (later, Group), which established a full-scale Tactical Air Control Center (TACC) at Taegu, South Korea, on 23 July 1950. Less than three months later, the 502nd moved to Korea and in October 1950, replaced the 6132nd in the mission of directing tactical air operations in Korea. Through its 605th Tactical Control Squadron, the group operated the TACC and worked with the U.S. Army in a Joint Operations Center (JOC). Other squadrons operated tactical air direction centers (TADC), which used stationary and mobile radar and communications equipment to guide aircraft on close air support missions.

The group also deployed tactical air control parties (TACP), which accompanied ground units to communicate with USAF strike aircraft. The TACPs followed advancing UN troops into North Korea in October and November 1950, but the Chinese Communist offensive soon overran several of them. The 502nd headquarters and the TACC, which operated at Seoul in November and part of December, were forced to return to Taegu at the end of the year. During the spring and summer of 1951, the 502nd directed night bombing of enemy targets, including troop concentrations, supply dumps, and motor convoys. As UN ground forces drove the enemy back across the 38th parallel, the group, TACC, and JOC returned to Seoul in June. In October, the 502nd set up a communications station 100 miles behind enemy lines on Cho-do (Cho Island), three miles off the North Korean coast. From this location the detachment guided UN fighters against enemy airplanes in MiG Alley, bombers against strategic targets along the Yalu River, and search and rescue aircraft toward survivors who had ditched at sea. On 6 June 1952, the 502nd was instrumental in the destruction of nine MiG-15 aircraft through highly effective control procedures to maneuver F-86 Sabres into attack positions. The following month, the 502nd guided warplanes in devastating attacks on enemy troop formations, which blunted communist offensives until the s:Korean Armistice Agreement was signed in July 1953.


  • Pusan, South Korea, (September – October 1950)
  • Taegu, South Korea, (October 1950)
  • Seoul, South Korea, (October 1950 – July 1953)

See also[]


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website

  • Futrell, Robert Frank (1983) The United States Air Force In Korea, 1950–1953, Maxwell AFB, Alabama Office of Air Force History, ISBN 0-912799-71-4

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