Eight Air Force in the Pacific Theater during WWII
Following the end of the war in Europe in May 1945 plans were made to transfer some of the B-17/B-24 heavy bomber groups of Eighth Air Force to the Pacific Theater of Operations and upgrade them to B-29 Superfortress Very Heavy (VH) bomb groups. As part of this plan, Eighth Air Force headquarters was reassigned to Sakugawa (Kadena Air Field), Okinawa, on July 16, 1945, being assigned to the U.S. Strategic Air Forces In The Pacific without personnel or equipment.
On Okinawa, Eighth Air Force derived its headquarters personnel from the inactivated XX Bomber Command, and Lt. Gen. Jimmy H. Doolittle assumed command, being reassigned from England on July 19. The command controlled three airfields on Okinawa, Bolo, Futema, and Kadena Airfield. The Eighth received its first B-29 Superfortress on August 8, 1945.
Eighth Air Force’s mission in the Pacific was initially to organize and train new bomber groups for combat against Japan. In the planned invasion of Japan, the mission of Eighth Air Force would be to conduct B-29 Superfortress raids from Okinawa in coordination with Twentieth Air Force operating from airfields in the Mariana Islands.
Units assigned to Eighth Air Force in the Pacific were:
The atomic bombings of Japan led to the Japanese surrender before Eighth Air Force saw action in the Pacific Theater. Eighth Air Force remained in Okinawa until June 7, 1946