4th Fighter Wing History

Seymour Johnson AFB was established five months after the United States entered World War II when the War Department approved the establishment of a technical school two miles southeast of Goldsboro. Seymour Johnson Field was activated on June 12, 1942, as Headquarters, Technical School, Army Air Forces Technical Training Command.

The base is named in honor of U.S. Navy Lt. Seymour A. Johnson, a native of Goldsboro. Johnson, a test pilot, was killed in an aircraft crash near Norbeck, Md., March 5, 1941.

In June 1943, a secondary mission was added which included preparation of officers and men for overseas duty. The unit was known as the Provisional Overseas Replacement Training Center.

Seymour Johnson Field received a third mission in September 1943: to provide basic military training for cadets preparing to become technical officers in the Army Air Corps. The 75th Training Wing was established to conduct the program through its Aviation Cadet Pre-Training la k- School.

The 326th Fighter Group arrived in October 1943 and in January 1944 began training replacement pilots for P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. In April of that year, basic training of P-47 pilots became the primary mission of Seymour Johnson Field.

The 326th Fighter Group arrived in October 1943 and in January 1944 began training replacement pilots for P-47 Thunderbolt aircraft. In April of that year, basic training of P-47 pilots became the primary mission of Seymour Johnson Field.

At the end of WWII in Europe, Seymour Johnson was designated as a central assembly station for processing and training troops being reassigned in the continental United States and Pacific theater of operations. This function was discontinued in September 1945 and the field became an Army-Air Force Separation Center.

Seymour Johnson Field was inactivated in May 1946.

In late 1952, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived and demolished old buildings and began construction of new ones. Led by Goldsboro mayor Scott B. Berkeley Sr., local community leaders began a campaign to have the installation reopened. The efforts were successful, and on April 1, 1956, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was reactivated as a Tactical Air Command base. Three months later, the 83rd Fighter-Day Wing was assigned to the base as the primary unit. The 4th Fighter Wing replaced the 83rd on Dec. 8, 1957 and a few months later in early 1958 took ownership of the F-105 aircraft.  The 4th remains the host organization at Seymour Johnson to this day.

Seymour Johnson also hosted a strategic bomber wing, the 68th, from 1958 to 1982, when the bomber mission was replaced with an air refueling mission, which continued to the mid-1990s, when the relocation of the 68th and its absorption into other units as part of the post-Cold War reorganization. Today, the air refueling mission is still performed at Seymour Johnson by the 916th Air Refueling Wing, an Air Force Reserve unit.

In the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, the 482nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron, stationed at Seymour Johnson, was one of the first units deployed to quarantine Cuba and prevent the delivery of Soviet nuclear warheads.

During the early part of the Vietnam War, the F-105 flew over the skies of Seymour Johnson until the arrival of the F-4 in 1967.  Base personnel deployed to Kunsan Air Base, South Korea, following the Pueblo crisis in 1968 and rotated tactical squadrons to Ubon TRAFB, Thailand, for combat operations from 1972 until the end of the Southeast Asian conflict when Seymour Johnson became a base for arrival of POWs.

The F-15 arrived at Seymour Johnson in 1988 and the F-4 retired in 1991.

During Operation Desert Shield in 1990 and later Operation Desert Storm in 1991, the F-15 Strike Eagle from Seymour Johnson provided outstanding service, mainly in night missions.

Throughout the 1990s, base personnel continued to deploy elements to Southwest Asia taking part in no-fly zones in Iraq known as Operations Southern Watch and Northern Watch.

Immediately following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, crews from Seymour Johnson provided coastal homeland defense, flying sorties in support of Operation Noble Eagle.

In December 2001, base personnel deployed to Al-Jabber Air Base, Kuwait flying missions over Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  In March 2002, personnel from Seymour Johnson flew close air support missions in support of Operation Anaconda and flew strafing runs on al-Qaida at the Battle of Robert Ridge, when an army Chinook helicopter crashed and Seymour Johnson pilots assisted in the rescue of personnel.

From March to April 2003, aircrews from Seymour Johnson flew more than 3,500 missions and dropped more than three million ordnance during the combat operations phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom successfully liberating the citizens of Iraq.

Throughout the 2000s until 2021, Seymour Johnson continued to support operations in Afghanistan and Iraq during OEF, OIF, and later Operation Inherent Resolve.

Extremely busy, in 2010 another Air Force Reserve unit, the 414th Fighter Group arrived at Seymour Johnson to help train aircrews and assist in maintaining the F-15 aircraft.

In 2021, base personnel from Seymour Johnson went to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, in support of Operation Allies Welcome, to provide a home for Afghan refugees.

Today, Seymour Johnson continues to train and fly the F-15E and remains a premier air defense base for the United States.

Historical Photos

Visit the SJAFB Digital Archive to see a collection of forgotten photos about the 4th FW including shots from the Korean War, Vietnam War, and more!