South Africa

The Republic of South Africa contributed air force personnel during the Korean War.

The No. 2 Fighter Squadron of the South African Air Force was sent to Korea in the fall of 1950. The Fighter Squadron was attached to the U.S. Air Force 18th Fighter Bomber Group along with other air squadrons.
On September 5, 1950, 49 South African Air Force officers and 157 non-commissioned officers commenced the exams and administration for duty. They arrived in Japan on November 5, 1950 and began their conversion training on the P-51D Mustangs at U.S. Johnson Air Force Base. The pilots were issued American flying clothing and learned air tactics, navigation, and maps, while the ground crew became familiar with the technical aspects of the Mustang aircraft. On November 8, 1950, the first pilots took off from Johnson Air Force Base to begin their flying training program.
The squadron was known as the Flying Cheetahs and flew F-51D Mustangs and later, F-86F Sabre jets. Their responsibilities included escorting USAF aircraft and providing cover and interdiction missions. In addition they helped maintain UNC’s air superiority. The Flying Cheetahs provided aviation support from September 1950 to October 1953.
The Flying Cheetahs flew 12,067 sorties, 10,373 on Mustangs and 1,694 on Sabres. On October 29, 1953 the last of the South Africans left Korea to return home.
South African casualties included 34 pilots and two ground crew killed in action.