Ching Chuan Kang Air Base

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Ching Chuan Kang Air Base
清泉崗空軍基地
中華民國空軍第三戰術戰鬥機聯隊.pngPacific Air Forces.png
Part of Republic of China Air Force
Located in Taichung, Republic of China (Taiwan)
Ching Chuan Kang Air Base-Airfield.jpg
Aerial image of CCK Air Base
Coordinates24°16′N 120°37′E / 24.26°N 120.62°E / 24.26; 120.62 (Ching Chuan Kang Air Base)
TypeAir Base
Site information
Controlled byFlag of the Republic of China Air Force.svg ROC Air Force
Flag of the Republic of China Army.svg ROC Army
 United States Air Force(1957-1979)
Site history
Built1954
Built by Taiwan
In use1957–present
Battles/warsVietnam Service Medal ribbon.svg
Vietnam War
Lockheed C-130E-LM Hercules 63-7825 345th TAS/374th TAW
McDonnell F-4C-23-MC Phantoms of the 44th TFS/18th TFW deployed at CCK
Main gate of Ching Chuan Kang Air Base
F-104 Starfighter next to the entry to Chuan Kang Air Base
Five F-CK-1s of the 427th Wing at Ching Chuang Kang Air Base

Ching Chuan Kang Air Base (Chinese: 清泉崗空軍基地, CCK) is a Republic of China Air Force (ROCAF) base located in Taichung, Taiwan. It is the home to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing, with three squadrons of AIDC F-CK-1 Ching-kuo fighter aircraft. It is also used by the army's airborne and special operations command.

ROCAF F-16A Flight Demonstration in Ching Chuan Kang Air Force Base

Ching Chuan Kang Air Base is shared with Taichung International Airport (IATA: RMQ, ICAO: RCMQ).

History[edit]

The forerunner to CCK Air Base was built in 1936, during Japanese rule, in the vicinity of Kōkan (Japanese: 公館), hence the former name Kōkan Airport. Construction of the airfield started in 1954, and was given the highest priority of several projects begun after the situation between Taiwan and Mainland China became tense in the mid-1950s. The air base was renamed Ching Chuan Kang Air Base on 20 March 1966 in memory of ROC Army Gen. Qiu Qingquan, and was thereafter known throughout the theater by its initials, CCK. As of the late 1990s, the longest runway at CCK was reportedly 12,000 feet (3,700 m) long.

Taiwan obtained an initial batch of American F-104 Starfighters in 1960–61, and eventually received over 200 of these aircraft, all of which were withdrawn from service in the early 1990s. The Starfighters were operated by the 2nd/499th Tactical Fighter Wing at Hsinchu, the 3rd/427th TFW at Ching Chuan Kang AB, and the 5th/401st Tactical Combined Wing at Taoyuan.

In May 1999 it was reported that China had built a replica of Ching Chuan Kang AB at a site near Dingxin airport (40°22′44″N 99°53′24″E / 40.379°N 99.89°E / 40.379; 99.89) in the northwest province of Gansu, presumably to train units assigned to attack the Taiwanese facility in the event of conflict.[1]

The base is also currently home to the AH-1W attack helicopters of the Army’s 602nd Brigade.[2]

USAF use[edit]

During the Cold War, CCK was used by the United States Air Force as a support installation of United States Taiwan Defense Command. At the same time, it was also the largest air base of the US military stationed in Taiwan, with about 8,000-10,000 US troops stationed.

USAF use of the base began in 1958 with the deployment of twelve Lockheed F-104 Starfighters from the 83rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron during the Quemoy crisis. The crisis was peacefully resolved, and the aircraft were returned to the United States.

In April 1965, the 479th Tactical Fighter Wing at George AFB California deployed two F-104C squadrons to CCK (434th and 435th TFS).

Tactical Air Command reassigned the 314th Troop Carrier Wing, with Fairchild C-123 Providers and Lockheed C-130 Hercules to CCK on 22 January 1966 from Sewart AFB, Tennessee. Known squadrons were:

  • 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (February 1966 – May 1971) (Tail Code DE)
  • 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (February 1966 – May 1971) (Tail Code DH)
  • 346th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (March 1969 – May 1971) (Tail Code DY)
  • 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (February 1966 – May 1971) (Tail Code DL)

These aircraft remained deployed to the base to provide passenger and cargo airlift throughout the Far East and combat airlift in Southeast Asia. The 314th TAW returned to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas in 1971. The 314th was replaced by the Pacific Air Forces 374th Tactical Airlift Wing on 31 May 1971, being reassigned from Naha AB, Okinawa, with CCK becoming a major depot support facility in Asia for theater-based tactical airlift aircraft. Known squadrons were:

  • 21st Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (May 1971 – November 1973) (Tail Code DY)
  • 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (May 1971 – November 1973) (Tail Code DE)
  • 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (May 1971 – November 1973) (Tail Code DH)
  • 776th Tactical Airlift Squadron (C-130E) (May 1971 – November 1973) (Tail Code DL)

The 374th remained heavily committed to support of operations in Southeast Asia, and also continued routine airlift in other areas. One of the wing's humanitarian missions-flood relief in the Philippines-earned it a Philippine Republic Presidential Unit Citation in 1972. The wing provided support in March 1973 for Operation Homecoming, the repatriation of American prisoners from Hanoi, North Vietnam.

The increase in the B-52 Arc Light sortie rates over Vietnam necessitated relocation of additional KC-135's which provided PACAF fighter support. In February 1968 the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command 4220th Air Refueling Squadron deployed to CCK, bringing KC-135 tankers formerly based at Takhli RTAFB, Thailand and Kadena AB Okinawa.

The KC-135s were redeployed to permit increased B-52 operations at U-Tapao and F-111 deployment at Takhli. The move of the KC-135's to Ching Chuan Kang increased their effectiveness since they would be based nearer to Vietnam refueling areas. In addition, five U-Tapao Royal Thai Navy Airfield based radio relay aircraft were moved to Ching Chuan Kang by February 1968, along with approximately 450 additional USAF personnel.

Two Martin EB-57 Canberras from the 347th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Yokota AB Japan deployed to CCK, between 29 November and 8 December 1968. These aircraft provided Republic of China Air Defense pilots an opportunity to detect and intercept enemy aircraft that used electronic countermeasure (ECM) equipment.

On 20 February 1972 a Lockheed HC-130 set a world record [that still stands] for a great circle distance without landing with a turboprop aircraft of 8,732.09 miles (14,052.94 km), flying from Ching Chuan Kang AB to Scott AFB, Illinois.

The 18th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Kadena AB, Okinawa maintained a detachment of McDonnell F-4C Phantom II aircraft from November 1972 until May 1975.

On 6 November 1972, the 18th Wing dispatched the McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II fighters of 44th Fighter Squadron and 67th Fighter Squadron to the Ching Chuan Kang Air Base until 31 May 1975, to assist Taiwan's defense against aerial threats from China.

The following are the units that the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing once stationed at Ching Chuan Kang Air Base in Taiwan:

  • 44th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (Tail Code: ZL) (6 November 1972 – 31 May 1975) (F-4C/D)
  • 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (Tail Code: ZG) (6 November 1972 – 31 July 1974) (EF-4C)

In March 1973, the number of US troops stationed at CCK was about 5,000.

On 13 November 1973, the 374th TAW was reassigned to Clark AB Philippines.

From 1 June 1975, the USAF stationed at CCK was the 6217th Air Base Squadron and 6213th Support Squadron under the 327th Air Division.

In April 1979, the US normalized relations with the People's Republic of China (PRC), which resulted in the lowering of the national flag by US Air Force personnel and their withdrawal from the base.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'HARA, CAROLYN. "China builds a mock Taiwanese air base". foreignpolicy.com. Foreign Policy Magazine. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  2. ^ Jiawen, Cheng. "Qingquangang Mysterious Reconnaissance Aircraft". udn.com. United Daily News. Retrieved 2 February 2020.

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

External links[edit]