Air Force

Accounts of the Korean War

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502nd Tactical Control Group

This information was supplied to The Korean War Educator by Fred Gorsek. He received the information from Maxwell AFB Historical section. Be sure to visit the Maxwell Air Force Base web site. It is outstanding!

Argent, a disk Sable divided into five concentric rings and eight segments by division lines Vert, in dexter chief on and over the disk an aircraft Gules fimbriated of the first, in base on the disk a radar screen of the like and second mounted on a mountainWhite and of the third, a lightning flash pointed at both ends Or outlined in Black forming an increscent on and over the edge of the disk. Submitted for approval in February 1953 and approved on August 25, 1953.

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 July 23, 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 June 6, 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 Korean truce in July 1953.

Mission Components

  • 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: November 2, 1951-.
  • 6132d Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron: October 9, 1950-November 2, 1951.
  • 1st Shoran Beacon Unit (later, Squadron): attached September 27-December 1, 1950 and September 6, 1952- .


  • 6132nd:
    • Taegu, South Korea, July 23, 1950
    • Pohang, South Korea, July 28, 1950
    • Pusan, South Korea, July 30, 1950
    • Taegu, South Korea, September 24-October 10, 1950.
  • 502nd:
    • Pusan, South Korea, September 24, 1950
    • Taegu, South Korea, October 3, 1950
    • Seoul, South Korea, October 11, 1950
    • Taegu, South Korea, December 20, 1950
    • Seoul, South Korea, June 15, 1951- .


  • 6132nd:
    • Unknown.
  • 502nd:
    • Col. William P. McBride, -February 18, 1951
    • Col. Henry Riera, February 18, 1951
    • Col. Francis R. Delaney, May 3, 1952
    • Col. Ernest J. White, Jr., July 25, 1952
    • Col. Hugh C. Moore, June 15, 1953- .

Campaign Streamers

  • 6132nd:
    • UN Defensive
    • UN Offensive.
  • 502nd:
    • UN Offensive
    • CCF Intervention
    • First UN Counteroffensive
    • CCF Spring Offensive
    • UN Summer-Fall Offensive
    • Second Korean Winter
    • Korea, Summer-Fall 1952
    • Third Korean Winter
    • Korea, Summer 1953


  • Two Distinguished Unit Citations for actions November 3, 1950-April 21, 1951 and May 1-November 30, 1952.
  • Three Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citations for periods September 16, 1950-January 25, 1951, January 25, 1951-March 31, 1953, and October 1, 1952-July 27, 1953 .

Fred Gorsek
5th Air Force502nd TCG
605th TCS
Air Police assigned to them July 1952---July 1953

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