One of the few numbered air forces that never served on American soil, the Fifth was constituted as Philippine Department Air Force on August 16, 1941. It was activated in the Philippines on September 20, 1941, and re-designated Far East Air Force on October 28, 1941, as 5th Air Force on February 5, 1942, and finally as Fifth Air Force on September 18, 1942. This air force lost most of its men and equipment in the defense of the Philippines after December 7, 1941. Later in December 1941 headquarters and some crews and planes moved to Australia , and in January 1942 they were sent to Java to help delay Japanese advances in the Netherlands Indies. The Fifth did not function as an air force for some time after February 1942 (the AAF organizations in the Southwest Pacific being under the control of American-British-Dutch- Australian Command and later Allied Air Forces). Headquarters was re-manned in September 1942 and assumed control of AAF organizations in Australia and New Guinea . The Fifth participated in operations that stopped the Japanese drive in Papua, recovered New Guinea , neutralized islands in the Bismarck Archipelago and the Netherlands East Indies, and liberated the Philippines . When the war ended in August 1945 elements of the Fifth were moving to the Ryukyu Islands for the invasion of Japan .
COMMANDS: V Bomber: 1941 - 1946. V Fighter: 1942 - 1946.
STATIONS: Nichols Field, Luzon, September 20, 1941; Darwin, Australia, December 1941; Java, January - February 1942; Brisbane, Australia, September 3, 1942; Nadzab, New Guinea, June 15, 1944,Owi, Schouten Islands, August 10, 1944; Leyte, c. November 20, 1944; Mindoro, January 1945; Clark Field, Luzon, April 1945; Okinawa, July 1945; lrumagawa, Japan, c. September 25, 1945 - end.
COMMANDERS: Brig. Gen. Henry B. Clagett, September 20, 1941; Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton, October 7, 1941 - February 23, 1942; Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, September 3, 1942; Lt. Gen. Ennis C. Whitehead, June 15, 1944 - end.
CAMPAIGNS: World War II: Philippine Islands; East Indies; Air Offensive, Japan; China Defensive; Papua; New Guinea; Northern Solomons; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon; Southern Philippines; China Offensive.
DECORATIONS: Distinguished Unit Citations: Philippine Islands , December 8 - 22, 1941; Philippine Islands , 7 December 1941 - May 10, 1942; Papua, [September] 1942 - January 23, 1943. Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
INSIGNE: On an ultramarine blue disc, the Southern Cross consisting of five stars - in white between a flaming comet, the head consisting of a white five pointed star, charged with a red roundel, within a blue disc outlined in white, its tail consisting of three white streamers; all surmounted by an Arabic numeral "5," golden orange. (Approved March 25, 1943.)
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