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    Pityilu Airfield Manus Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Located on Pityilu Island.

Construction
Built by US Navy Seabees, a single runway 5,500' x 150' running roughly northwest to southeast. A taxiway and hardstand area was located on the western side of the runway. The control tower was located at roughly the center of the runway.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
Used by the US Navy for a brief period while we were there to practice carrier landings in early eve and after dark. Later turned over the the Royal Navy, and along with nearby Pityilu Airstrip were their only airbases in the South West Pacific area.

American units based on Pityilu
VPB-146 (PV-1) Manus late September 1944 - ?
ACORN 28
VJ-2 (JM-1)
CASU 42 (also based at Ponam)
CASU 13 (also based at Ponam)

William Strong, 140th CB recalls:
"One time it accepted some large number of aircraft which stopped for service. I presume they were replacement aircraft. The planes were the Grumman TBF. type - some F6F's. Other aircraft were twin engine planes, B-25's I think . Not numerous but they did fly patrols in the area. I went on one of these flights as a 'guest' pretty boring as visibility from within was not good."

Robert Downer, ACORN 28 adds:
"I was stationed on Pityilu from May 1944 to June 1945 then on Los Negros."

H.R. Langeishe adds (via Aeroplane Monthly, June 2005):
"I served on the Fleet Air Arm on Naval Air Stations in Australia from 1944 - 1946. The task [of dumping aircraft] was huge and involved the clearance of of reserve aircraft held at Ponam and Pityilu, the two forward Royal Navy airstrips of Manus Base.  The two airstrips were cleared using lighters to ships anchored offshore and the aircraft were dumped into the ocean there. This went on through March or April 1946. Not only were complete aircraft consigned to the deep, but engines and spares too."

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Last Updated
December 30, 2013

 

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February 1945
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