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
Click here to return to the Close Air Support Overview