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United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific

The United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF)[1] was a World War II command and control authority of the United States Army Air Forces in the Pacific theater of World War II.

United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific
ActiveJune - 6 Dec 1945
CountryUnited States of America
BranchUnited States Army Air Forces
RoleCommand and Control
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal ribbon.svg
  • World War II
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign (1945)
General Carl Spaatz


USASTAF was the Pacific counterpart of the United States Strategic Air Forces in Europe (USSTAF). Its mission was to coordinate strategic bombing of the Japanese home islands during the expected invasion of Japan.


The Joint Chiefs agreed to the established of the USASTAF on 2 July 1945, it would have a headquarters in Guam and be commanded by General Carl Andrew "Tooey" Spaatz,[2] and consisted of the combat commands (VII Fighter Command, XXI Bomber Command) of the Twentieth Air Force and the Eighth Air Force when redeployed from the European Theater of Operations (ETO) to Okinawa.[3] General Curtis E. Lemay was appointed Spaatz's Chief of Staff.[4]

Guam was the headquarters of the XXI Bomber Command and until the arrival of the Eighth Air Force would provide the bulk of men and equipment of the new command.[2] On 16 July the headquarters of the Twentieth Air Force was officially moved from Washington, DC to Harmon Field, Guam; the headquarters of the XX Bomber Command was inactivated, effective 18 July, and the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, XXI Bomber Command was redesignated Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Twentieth Air Force; thus the Bomber Commands were brought to an end as actual establishments and their wings passed to direct control of Headquarters Twentieth Air Force of which Major General Curtis E. LeMay took command on that date. On the same day the Eighth was reassigned to Okinawa, as a paper transfer as it arrived without men or equipment.[5] Spaatz arrived in theater on 29 July and began organizing his forces—a task he had not completed by the war's end.[2]

The primary combat missions carried out by USASTAF forces were the firebombing of Japanese cities and industrial targets during June and July 1945 by Twentieth Air Force. No Eighth Air Force combat missions were flown. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were carried out by direct order of USAAF Chief of Staff General Henry "Hap" Arnold" through the 509th Composite Group.


On 6 December 1945 USASTAF was abolished by the inactivation of its headquarters and headquarters squadron. Its personnel, equipment and aircraft were assigned to Pacific Air Command, United States Army (PACUSA) which was assigned to United States Army Forces, Pacific (AFPAC).[6]

PACUSA was reassigned to Tokyo, Japan on 17 May 1946. The USAAF Air Forces in the Pacific region were reassigned as follows:[7]

There was also the Pacific Air Service Command, later Far East Air Service Command which was attached to HQ PACUSA.[8]

The USAAF Air Forces in the Pacific region had a total of six very-heavy-bombardment groups, nine fighter groups, two light-bombardment groups, and two troop-carrier groups, along with three tactical reconnaissance, five air-sea rescue, five night-fighter, two liaison, two tow-target, and two very-long-range photographic-reconnaissance squadrons. Although by December 1945 most of these units were in the process of being reassigned to the United States or demobilzing in-theater and the personnel returning to processing centers for discharge.


  • Established as United States Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific, 2 July 1945
Activated and organized on 16 July 1945
Inactivated on 6 December 1945
Assets reassigned to: Pacific Air Command, United States Army,



  1. ^ Also known as United States Army Strategic Air Forces in the Pacific (USASTAF)
  2. ^ a b c Robert Frank Futrell. Ideas concepts doctrine : basic thinking in the United States Air Force. DIANE Publishing. p. 166. ISBN 978-1-4289-9319-8.
  3. ^ General Carl A. Spaatz, Retrieved 2008-09-08
  4. ^ Gen. Curtis E. Lemay Archived 2008-05-06 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 2008-09-08
  5. ^ U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II: Combat Chronology July 1945, Air Force History Office Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2008-09-08
  6. ^ Chronology of the Occupation
  7. ^ "USAF Historical Research Agency". Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  8. ^ Army Air Forces in World War II Vol. VII: Services Around the World CHAPTER 17 REDEPLOYMENT AND DEMOBILIZATION


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