Kadena AB, Okinawa – NEW

Kadena AB, Okinawa
In the Far East, the tactical nuclear missiles first deployed by the USAF were Matadors, in South Korea and Taiwan, but when the longer-range Mace missiles were available, a new installation at Kadena AB, on the island of Okinawa, was created to replace the earlier missiles. The tactical units were the 873d and 874th Tactical Missile Squadrons, and they were placed under the 498th Tactical Missile Group, activated at the same time. In 1965, for reasons not entirely clear, the two tactical squadrons were inactivated and the 498 TMG took direct control of the missiles those units had been responsible for and maintained it until Mace operations ended in 1969. Until 1964, support was provided by the 6313 ABW; after 1964 it was the 824 CSG. Some of the patches and much of the information about the Mace operation at Kadena were provided by retired SMSgt John W. Cook, who served in the 498th during the late 1960s and made available his copy of a 498 TMG yearbook that was published while he was there. Especially noteworthy are the many crew patches and emblems. A footnote here: Some people refer to Kadena AB’s location as Japan, and today that is true, but during the time Mace missiles were based there, Okinawa was still a U.S. possession. It was not returned to Japan until 1972.
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