Airlift During the Korean War

Airlift, aeromedical evacuation, and aerial refueling, the three elements of modern Air Mobility, were used together in combat for the first time during the Korean War.
Airlift moved, inserted, and resupplied equipment and personnel throughout Korea despite constantly shifting battle lines.

Aeromedical evacuation allowed the swift transport of battle casualties to medical centers, resulting in the lowest death rate from wounds suffered U.S. forces in any war to date.

Aerial refueling provided the means to move large quantities of fighter aircraft from the United States to the Pacific and allowed them to remain over enemy territory longer.

Military Air Transport Service’s (MATS) fleet of C-47s, C-54s, C-97s, C-119s, and C-124s airlifted 214,000 passengers and 80,000 tons of cargo from the U.S. to staging areas in Japan.

Within the combat area, Combat Cargo Command, under the control of the Far East Air Force (FEAF) flew 210,343 sorties with an average of 210 aircraft, carried 391,763 tons of cargo and 2.6 million passengers, and airdropped 15,000 tons of supplies and equipment. About 386,000 patients were airlifted to medical treatment centers.

Air Mobility—delivering anything, anywhere, any time—came of age during the Korean War and continues in today’s Air Force.

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