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2nd Kokutai (582nd Kokutai)
Imperial Japanese Navy Kokutai

Formed on May 31, 1942. Commanded by Commander Sakae Yamamoto. The air group was a composite air group which operated D3A dive bombers and A6M fighters. All aircraft bore tail code Q-XXX (three digit). The unit first operated under the Combined Fleet, then under the 8th Fleet at Rabaul.

On August 6, 1942 the Yawata Maru (Unyō) delivered fifteen A6M3 Model 32 Zeros to Lakunai Airfield near Rabaul. Their first interception was the next day against 5th Air Force B-17s. On August 22, a detachment flew to Buna Airfield.

The bomber section had sixteen D3A1 Val dive bombers led b Lt. Fumitô Inoue and was also based at Lakunai Airfield. On August 24, a detachment led by Lt. Inoue flew to Buna Airfield.

On November 1, 1942 redesignated the 582 Kokutai (part of the 26 Koku Sentai at Rabaul).

In the middle of November 1942, the main body of the air group was detached to Lae Airfield and aircraft made sorties escorting convoys and aerial operations over Buna.

During late January 1943 operated from Kahili Airfield (Buin) and Munda Airfield. During April 1943 participated in Operation I-GO mission against Tulagi, Milne Bay and Port Moresby.

On June 5, 1943 the unit's Zeros intercepted American aircraft attacking Japanese shipping between Shortland and southern Bougainville claiming seventeen victories and loosing three aircraft and two pilots missing: PO1c Satoru Ogawa (Hei 2) and PO2c Shigehiko Ito (Hei 3).

During the middle of 1943, their Zeros bore the tail code T3-XXX.

On August 1, 1943 the 582 Kokutai was disbanded with the personnel sent to Japan or transfered to the 201st Kokutai or 204th Kokutai.

The First Team And the Guadalcanal Campaign pages 44
Japanese Naval Aces and Fighter Units of WWII page 158
Japanese Naval Air Force Fighter Units and Their Aces, 1932-1945 pages 231-232

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