Located on Pityilu Island.
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 - ?
CASU 42 (also based at Ponam)
CASU 13 (also based at Ponam)
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,
"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."
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
December 30, 2013