United States Army Air Forces in the Central Pacific Area


During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces fought the Empire of Japan in the Central Pacific Area. As defined by the War Department, this consisted of most of the Pacific Ocean and its islands, excluding the Philippines, Australia, the Netherlands East Indies, the Territory of New Guinea (including the Bismarck Archipelago) the Solomon Islands and areas to the south and east of the Solomons.

Airfields of the United States Army Air Force
in the Central Pacific Area
Seventh Air Force - Emblem (World War II).svg Eighth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png Twentieth Air Force - Emblem (World War II).png
Part of World War II
Central pacific wwII.jpg
Central Pacific Area of World War II
Result Allied victory over the Empire of Japan (1945)
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

The initial USAAF combat organization in the region was Seventh Air Force, which was originally formed in Hawaii as the Army Air defense command for the islands. After the Pearl Harbor Attack on 7 December 1941, Seventh Air Force retained the mission of its predecessor of the defense of the Hawaiian Islands and until the closing months of the war it maintained its headquarters at Hickam Field. The command however, deployed most of its combat units to the Central Pacific.

As the war progressed, some Seventh Air Force units moved into the South West Pacific theatre and coordinated their activities with Fifth and Thirteenth Air Force units in New Guinea, Netherlands East Indies and Philippines during 1944 and 1945.

In 1944, Twentieth Air Force was reassigned from the China Burma India Theater to bases in the Marianas chain of islands, consisting primarily of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam. The Marianas airfields were considered as being ideal bases from which to launch B-29 Superfortress operations against Japan. The islands were about 1500 miles from Tokyo, a range which the B-29s could just about manage. Most important of all, they could be put on a direct supply line from western United States ports by ship.

In September 1945, just after the Surrender of Japan, a few advance elements of Eighth Air Force arrived on Tinian and Guam. Eighth Air Force was transferred from England to be a second strategic air force in the Pacific War, with a mission to carry out B-29 attacks on the Japanese Home Islands during the planned Invasion of Japan beginning in November 1945. These advance units were reassigned to other stations in December 1945.

Seventh Air Force operations focused on supporting Army and Naval forces in the tactical campaigns against Japanese forces in the Central Pacific, while Twentieth Air Force performed strategic bombing missions directly against the Japanese home islands.

Airfields and unit assignmentsEdit


See alsoEdit


  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website https://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Maurer, Maurer, ed. (1982) [1969]. Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II (PDF) (reprint ed.). Washington, DC: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-405-12194-6. LCCN 70605402. OCLC 72556.