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Mosquitoes in Korea

The enemy quickly learned the importance of the Mosquito FACs and targeted them with rifle and anti-aircraft fire. This aircraft made it back safely despite major damage caused by an anti-aircraft shell. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The enemy quickly learned the importance of the Mosquito FACs and targeted them with rifle and anti-aircraft fire. This aircraft made it back safely despite major damage caused by an anti-aircraft shell. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Ground crewman repairing the same damaged Mosquito LT-6D. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Ground crewman repairing the same damaged Mosquito LT-6D. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A Mosquito crew consisted of a USAF pilot in front and an observer in back. The observer could be an Air Force officer, or a U.S. or UN soldier familiar with the local geography. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A Mosquito crew consisted of a USAF pilot in front and an observer in back. The observer could be an Air Force officer, or a U.S. or UN soldier familiar with the local geography. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The 6147th Tactical Control Group initially used light liaison aircraft but switched to hastily modified T-6Ds and T-6Fs. In 1952 they received factory rebuilt LT-6Gs like the ones pictured here. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The 6147th Tactical Control Group initially used light liaison aircraft but switched to hastily modified T-6Ds and T-6Fs. In 1952 they received factory rebuilt LT-6Gs like the ones pictured here. (U.S. Air Force photo)

USAF personnel developed a clever way to visually mark targets. They fabricated rocket rails to attach custom-made rockets -- these rockets were made from a 2.36-inch white phosphorus bazooka warhead attached to the front of a 2.25-inch aircraft practice rocket. (U.S. Air Force photo)

USAF personnel developed a clever way to visually mark targets. They fabricated rocket rails to attach custom-made rockets -- these rockets were made from a 2.36-inch white phosphorus bazooka warhead attached to the front of a 2.25-inch aircraft practice rocket. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Ground crews performed maintenance in crude field conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Ground crews performed maintenance in crude field conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Copy of the original artwork used to create the Mosquito patch. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Copy of the original artwork used to create the Mosquito patch. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Mosquito standing on a 5-inch rocket on the flight operations building at K-47 (Chunchon). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Mosquito standing on a 5-inch rocket on the flight operations building at K-47 (Chunchon). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Sign on the ready room at K-47 (Chunchon). (U.S. Air Force photo)

Sign on the ready room at K-47 (Chunchon). (U.S. Air Force photo)

During the Korean War, the personnel of the 6147th Tactical Air Control Group, known as the "Mosquitoes," created a large-scale, effective forward air control (FAC) system that included both airborne and ground-based FACs.

The primary FAC missions were to direct strike aircraft against enemy targets and conduct visual reconnaissance. Forward air controllers matched the most important targets with the limited resources available, significantly raising the efficiency of air strikes against the enemy.

Since the USAF did not have any airborne FAC units at the beginning of the war, pilots flew the first missions with borrowed Army liaison aircraft only two weeks after the war started. To perform these missions, Mosquito FACs flew "low and slow" over enemy positions so they could spot and mark targets, a practice that left them particularly vulnerable to anti-aircraft fire.

The value of these early Mosquitoes was readily apparent, and the hastily created, squadron-sized unit steadily grew in size while it developed the tactics of airborne forward air control. By the end of the war, the Mosquitoes flew over 40,000 sorties in support of United Nations ground forces. In spite of their success during the Korean War, the USAF disbanded the Mosquitoes and their mission in 1956, believing that slow flying airborne FACs were not practical in the supersonic jet age. Ironically, ten years later in Vietnam, the USAF reexamined the legacy of the Mosquitoes when it once again needed airborne FACs.

Click on the following links to learn more about the Mosquitoes.

North American T-6D Mosquito
Forward Air Control Communications
Mosquito Radios

Click here to return to the Close Air Support Overview.

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