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Kunsan Ab Airport

Kunsan Air Base

Part of United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

F-16 Fighting Falcons Falcons in flight over Osan Air Base near Kunsan Air Base in April 2006

Kunsan Air Base
Location of air base in South Korea
Airport type Military
Operator United States Air Force
Republic of Korea Air Force
Location Gunsan, South Korea
Built 1938
Occupants 8th Fighter Wing (USAF)
38th Fighter Group (ROKAF)
Elevation AMSL 29 ft / 9 m
Coordinates 35°54′13″N 126°36′57″E / 35.90361°N 126.61583°E / 35.90361; 126.61583Coordinates: 35°54′13″N 126°36′57″E / 35.90361°N 126.61583°E / 35.90361; 126.61583
Website www.kunsan.af.mil
Direction Length Surface
m ft
18/36 2,743 9,000 Concrete
Source: DAFIF

Kunsan Air Base (IATA: KUV, ICAO: RKJK), is a United States Air Force base located on the western side of the South Korean peninsula bordered by the Yellow Sea. It is at the town of Gunsan approximately 150 miles (240 km) south of Seoul. The town (군산시 in Korean) can be romanized as both Gunsan and Kunsan. The United States Air Force uses Gunsan to refer to the town, and Kunsan to refer to its base located there.

Kunsan Air Base is the home of the 8th Fighter Wing, "The Wolfpack," assigned to the Pacific Air Forces Seventh Air Force and the 38th Fighter Group of the Republic of Korea Air Force. It is one of two major Air Force installations operated by the United States in Korea, the other being Osan Air Base.


The following major units are stationed at Kunsan Air Base:

  • 8th Fighter Wing
    • 8th Operations Group (Tail Code: WP)
      • 35th Fighter Squadron (35 FS) (F-16C/D, Blue tail stripe)
      • 80th Fighter Squadron (80 FS) (F-16C/D, Gold tail stripe)
    • 8th Maintenance Group
    • 8th Mission Support Group
    • 8th Medical Group
  • 1st Air Defense Artillery
  • Area Defense Council
  • Armed Forces News Network
  • Army and Air Force Exchange Service
  • Defense Commissary Agency
  • Office of Special Investigations


Major Commands

  • US Army Pacific Air Command, (1946–47)
  • Far East Air Forces, (1947–57)
  • Pacific Air Forces, (1957—present)

Base operating units

  • 27th Fighter-Escort Wing, (April - May 1951)
  • 931st Engineering Aviation Group (May - August 1951)
  • 3d Bombardment Wing (August 1951 - September 1954)
  • 6170th Air Base Group (September 1954 - April 1956)
  • 6170th Air Base Squadron (April 1956 - March 1959)
  • 6175th Air Base Group (March 1959 - August 1968)
  • 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (August 1968 - June 1970)
  • 6175th Air Base Group (June 1970 - March 1971)
  • 3d Tactical Fighter Wing (March 1971 - September 1974)
  • 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (September 1974 - present)

Major USAF units assigned

  • 27th Fighter-Escort Wing (April 1951)
  • 3d Bombardment Wing (August 1951 - October 1954)
  • 474th Fighter-Bomber Wing (July 1952 - April 1953)
  • 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing (April - November 1953)
  • 354th Tactical Fighter Wing (July 1968 - June 1970)
  • 54th Tactical Fighter Wing (June - October 1970)
  • 3d Tactical Fighter Wing (March 1971 - September 1974)
  • 8th Tactical Fighter Wing (September 1974–present)

Kunsan has provided support for F-84G Thunderjet, B-26 Invader, F-86 Sabre, RF-100 Super Sabre, RB-57 Canberra, F-100 Super Sabre , F-4 Phantom II, and F-16 Fighting Falcon operations.

Operational history

Seventh Air Force Bases
Seventh Air Force Bases

F-84Gs of the 522d Fighter-Escort Squadron (27th FEW). When flying from short runways the heavily-loaded F-84s had trouble gettnig off the ground. To overcome this problem, Jet-Assisted Takeoff (JATO) bottles were attached to the bottoms of the fuselage.
F-84Gs of the 522d Fighter-Escort Squadron (27th FEW). When flying from short runways the heavily-loaded F-84s had trouble gettnig off the ground. To overcome this problem, Jet-Assisted Takeoff (JATO) bottles were attached to the bottoms of the fuselage.

B-26Bs of the 3d Bomb Wing
B-26Bs of the 3d Bomb Wing

F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet AF Serial No. 52-3249 of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing being refuled over Korea, 1953
F-84G-25-RE Thunderjet AF Serial No. 52-3249 of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing being refuled over Korea, 1953


The history of Kunsan Air Base dates back to 1938, when Japanese forces occupying Korea built a base near Kunsan for fighter-interceptor aircraft.

The United States first used the base in 1945, but on a very small scale. From 1945 to 1950, the Army and later the Air Force intermittently operated small detachments from Kunsan, with these detachments maintaining liaison aircraft. At most these detachments contained a handful of people. When the United States pulled its combat units out of the Republic of Korea in 1949, it left only a Military Assistance Advisory Group in the country, and the periodic detachments at Kunsan became even more infrequent.

Korean War

When the Korean War broke out on 25 June 1950, Kunsan Air Base had no United States flying units assigned. In their rapid advance, the invading North Koreans captured Kunsan Air Base on 13 July 1950.

The 24th Infantry Division retook Kunsan in October 1950, and the Chinese Communist Forces (CCF) Intervention Campaign that winter failed to push far enough south to put Kunsan in jeopardy. United States forces first operated in significant numbers from the base in 1951.

The first Air Force unit to be assigned to the base was the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing, which arrived on 1 April 1951. The 27th Fighter Escort Wing was one of the first F-84 units to see combat action in Korea and earned numerous honors and awards for their combat record during the Korean War.

Improvements to the base were needed, however, to accommodate jet fighers. The 27th FEW was reassigned at the end April and The Army's 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion built a 5,000-foot runway to replace the sod runway constructed by Japanese. This runway is now known as Taxiway Charlie (06/24). By August, construction had progressed to the point that heavier units could be based at Kusan and the Air Force assigned the 3rd Bombardment Wing to Kunsan.

The 3rd Bomb Wing flew the Doublas B-26 Invader bomber during the war, remaining at Kunsan from August 1951 until October 1954. A Marine aviation squadron, VMF(N)-513, arrived in April 1952, and a few months later the base added the 474th Fighter-Bomber Group, which included three squadrons of F-84 fighters, bringing the total size of the operation to one wing, one group, and a Marine fighter squadron. The 474th bombed and strafed such targets as bunkers, troops, artillery positions, bridges, vehicles, airfields, and power plants, and sometimes escorted bombers that attacked munitions factories and other objectives.

In April 1953, the 474th Fighter-Bomber Group returned to the United States and was replaced by the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing, also flying the F-84.

During the Korean War, the large number of locations used for bases and the similarity of some geographical names prompted the Air Force to use alphanumeric identifiers for bases in addition to their proper designations. Under this system, each base in Korea received a "K number," simplifying positive identification when referring to the various bases. Kunsan received the number K-8, while Osan Air Base was also known as K-55.

Cold War

After hostilities ceased, the base began to draw down. The F-84 forces of the 49th Fighter-Bomber Wing left in November 1953, and by October 1954 the host unit of the base, the 3rd Bombardment Wing, also departed. This left the base with a much-reduced mission. From 1953-1954, the 808th and 841st Engineering Aviation Battalions constructed what is today’s main runway. For the next several years Kunsan merely hosted periodic rotations of fighter and light bomber squadrons, with base facilities maintained and operated by an air base group. In 1957 and 1958, the 6170th Air Base Group began to upgrade base facilities, increasing the runway from 5,000 to 9,000 feet and building new dormitories.

Until the late 1960s, though, Kunsan remained relatively dormant, hosting temporary deployments of flying units and serving as a safe haven base for aircraft evacuated from Okinawa and Guam during typhoons. In 1965, the Republic of Korea Air Force assigned a squadron of F-86 fighters to the base. This ROKAF unit was the only permanently assigned flying contingent at Kunsan until after the Pueblo incident in 1968.

McDonnell Douglas F-4E-34-MC Phantom AF Serial No 67-0231 of the 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron on TDY from Eglin AFB Florida - Attached to 354th TFW at Kusan AB South Korea - April 1, 1970. In 1980, this aircraft was sold to the Egyptian Air Force.
McDonnell Douglas F-4E-34-MC Phantom AF Serial No 67-0231 of the 16th Tactical Fighter Squadron on TDY from Eglin AFB Florida - Attached to 354th TFW at Kusan AB South Korea - April 1, 1970. In 1980, this aircraft was sold to the Egyptian Air Force.

The 354th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying the F-100 Super Sabre, arrived at Kunsan in July 1968, as part of the buildup of forces in Korea in the wake of the February 1968 seizure of the USS Pueblo by the North Koreans. In 1969 the wing began a transition from the F-100 to the F-4 Phantom. The 354th remained until June 1970, when the base again returned to hosting temporary deployments, such as the four-month activation of the 54th Tactical Fighter Wing from June through October 1970.

The 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, previously known as the 3rd Bombardment Wing, stationed at Kunsan in the early 1950s, arrived in March 1971 to assume control of the base. Like the 354th and 54th, the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing flew the F-4 Phantom. When it first arrived in May, the wing contained the 35th and 36th Tactical Fighter Squadrons. In September, the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron replaced the 36th.

In September 1974 the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, the "Wolf Pack," was transferred from Ubon Air Base, Thailand to replace the 3rd at Kunsan. The move took place in name only, as the 8th moved without personnel or equipment, absorbing all assets of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing. This included the two flying squadrons, which continued to operate as the 35th and 80th Tactical Fighter Squadrons, reuniting the wing with two of its original squadrons.

Since then, the 8th has continued to serve as host unit of Kunsan Air Base, continually improving the base’s facilities over the years.

Emblems of units stationed at Kunsan

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General Info
Country Korea, Republic of
Time UTC+9
Latitude 35.903756
35° 54' 13.52" N
Longitude 126.615906
126° 36' 57.26" E
Elevation 29 feet
9 meters
Type Military
Magnetic Variation 007° W (01/06)
Beacon Yes
Operating Agency U.S.AIR FORCE
Alternate Name K 8
Operating Hours 24 HOUR OPERATIONS
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

TWR 126.5
PTD 132.25
GND 123.5
DEP 124.1
CLNC DEL 133.75
ATIS 120.225
APP 124.1
Communications Remarks  
POST HAVE QUICK timing avbl.
GND All tran acft ctc prior to eng start.
APP VFR svc avbl at or before 25 NM out. SEE RADAR SVC PROGRAM IN SECTION C.
PMSV METRO svc ltd. Remote wx briefing/phone patches avbl H24 fr 17th Wx Sqdn at DSN 315-449-7924/8333/8335.

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
18/36 9000 x 150 feet
2743 x 46 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VORTAC KUZ KUNSAN 075X 112.8 At Field -

Oil O-133, 1010, jet Engine Oil (MIL l 6081)

O-148, MIL L 7808 (Synthetic Base), Turboprop/Turboshaft Engine

O-156, MIL L 23699 (Synthetic Base)Turboprop/Turboshaft Engine

SOAP Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program
Other Fluids SP, Single Point Refueling

LOX, Liquid oxygen servicing

OX, Indicates oxygen servicing when type of servicing is unknown

HPNIT, High pressure nitrogen servicing
AIR: 150+/-5lb/min (2055+/-68cfm) at 51+/- psia, AC: 120/208v, 400 cycle, 3 phase, 75kva, 0.75pf, 4 wire, DC:28v, 200 amp, 5.6kw

AC:115/208v,400 cycle, 3 phase, 37.5kva,0.8pf, 108 amp, 4 wire, DC: 28v, 500 amp, 14kw

15 cfm, 200 psia

A-GEAR Nml configuration is dep BAK-13 and BAK-12/14 in raised posn. BAK 12/14 will be in lowered for all non ftr acft arr. BAK-13 on Charlie East 3400' from entrance.
CAUTION Portions of VFR overhead pat Rwy 18/36 over water and hilly terrain. Strong and variable crosswinds with potential for wind shear on short final to Rwy 36, exp large corr. Do not mistake lgtd road lctd approx 3 NM N and .5 NM W for rwy. Unlgtd 150' hill 1500' SW of Rwy 36 thld. Tran acft ramp not vis fr twr. Bird haz (Phase 1) Jan-Feb and Jun-Aug, (Phase 2) Mar-May and Sep-Dec. Cloud ceiling/vis rapid drastic change due to sea fog (Mar-Jul) and snow showers (Nov-Feb). Unctl veh on ramp/twy. Pilots ldg at ngt/poor wx use caution, nstd rwy apch lgt Rwy 18.Numerous unlit obst sur afld. Inst apch minima chg in eff dur OPS SR to SS, see NOTAMs. Nstd overrun length Rwy 18-999'. Jet blast turb may occur on the rwy adj to twy C when acft are parked/opr on DV S and/or DV N Ramps.
CSTMS/AG/IMG IMG opr 2300-0900Z wkd, acft rqr support should be sked btn these hr. All acft rqr CSTMS/IMG, ctc PTD 40 min prior to ldg with crew/PAX info.
JASU 3(MB-1) 5(MC-1A) 18(MC-2A Air Compressors) 1(AM32A-60 Air-Electric Compressors) 32(AM32A-60A Electric) 5(MD-4 Electric Units).
MISC Rwy grooved. All acft arr with haz cargo will provide PTD, TWR, or APP CON with info IAW AFJI 11-204. AMC msn aircrews ctc AMCC, with arr/dep info. HF fone patch to AMCC thru Yokota AWY. Air trml and gnd handling svc opr 2230-0730Z, clsd wkend and hol. Acft rqr air trml and gnd handling svc, incl CSTMS/IMG, exc Channelacft are rqr to provide 72 hr advanced ntc DSN 315-782-4737 or delays in svc may be experienced. Acft rqr svc must make prior coord with HQ AMC TACC and Afld Management. AM OPS ltd classified stor avbl, alt storage at Comd Post. WX avbl when ATC is open. SFC vis NW-NE-SE obstructed by bldgs. ATC and WX pers practice acooperative wx watch. When TWR and/or SFC vis are less than 4 miles and differ,lower value is reported as prevailing. H24 remote WX briefing svc avbl fr 17 OWS Hickam AFB, Web https://17ows.hickam.af.mil (select 'operations', 'Request Briefing') DSN 449-8333, coml 808-449-8335 DSN Fax 449-8336.
NS ABTMT Avoid ovft of coml trml E of DER 36.
OIL O-133-148-156 SOAP
RSTD PPR except AMC. All hvy acft ldg Rwy 36 must execute 180 turn twd E for back taxi to Twy B. Ctc Afld Management DSN 315-782-4422/4707. Fone C011-82-63-470-4422/4707 24 hrs prior but no earlier than 5 days in advance. Acft must adhere to +/- 30 min of block time. DV acft/helos ctc apch control 10 min prior to ldg. See AP/3, KOREA, SOUTH, Supplementary Airport Remarks for afld Wg span, wt brg, gnd,and BASH haz rstd.
TFC PAT Rectangular, rgt tfc Rwy 18, left tfc rwy 36. Convl 1000', Copter 500' - coptersapch fr E will rpt to twr over the reservoir. Overhead 1500'. Radar pat alt 3000'. Wg ftr type acft inbd fr VFR rpt pt maintain 2500' MSL til 6 DME for Rwy 36or 5 DME for Rwy 18, then descend to 1500' MSL. Exp climb out pro: maintain 1000' MSL til DER, at 3 DME turn in the shortest dct to 090 , climb and maintain 4000' MSL.
TRAN ALERT Opr 2200-1200Z dly. Ltd de-icing cap for C5, C17, C141 and KC10 acft, aircrews must provide de-icing supervisor, ctc Kunsan Tran Alert DSN 782-4815 for details. No fleet svc avbl. 24 hr Crash Recovery svc avbl. Acft rqr arm/dearm support rqr 72 hr PN.

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