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    Torokina Airfield (Cape Torokina) Bougainville Province Papua New Guinea

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USMC Dec 23, 1943

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USMC December 1943

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Stan Cannon 1944

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John Williams 1944

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USN c1944

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USN September 8, 1945

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David Paulley 1982

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Harumi Sakaguchi 2003

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Justin Taylan 2007

Location
Located at Torokina (Cape Torokina) on Bougainville, parallel to the Torokina Road along the western coast of Bougainville at Empress Augusta Bay. Further inland to the north is Piva. Also known as Cape Torokina Airfield. Rabaul is roughly 200 miles to the northwest.

Allied Missions Against Torokina
November 8, 1943 - March 29, 1944

Construction
Built by US Navy Seabees in forty days, and surfaced with Marson Matting. It officially opened on December 10, 1943 when VMF 216 landed seventeen Corsairs together with four or five SBD Dauntless dive bombers. After January 1, 1944 Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) aircraft also began operating from Torokina Airfield.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
Used as a fighter airfield, Torokina based aircraft from the United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC) and Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

Allied Units Based at Torokina
USN
VC 40 (TBF)
ACORN 13
VF(N)-75 (F4U night fighter) Munda December 1943
USMC
VMTB-233 (TBF) 6 MIA on Feb 14 1944 to Rabaul
VMTB-242 (TBF)
VMF-211 (F4U)
VMF-216 (F4U) December 10, 1943
VMF-215
VMF-212 (F4U) September 1943
VMF(N)-531 (PV-1 night fighter) Munda December 1943
RNZAF
19 Squadron (F4U) March 1944
18 Squadron (P-40) February 1944
A Marine-manned New Zealand ground control radar unit was set up, and reached operation about the time the airfield was completed.

On March 8, 1944 in conjunction with the Japanese counterattack against the American beachhead area around Torokina, Japanese Army artillery bombarded Piva Airfield. During the early morning of March 9, 1944 Torokina Airfield was shelled, forcing aircraft to immediately depart to avoid being damaged on the ground.

John Williams of ACORN 13 adds:
"Our unit operated the tower we fed and quartered the American pilots, we armed and fueled the planes and any other duties necessary to operate an airbase. Sorties of F4Us, TBF torpedo bombers and SBD dive bombers were flown off the strip.  Our main target was Rabaul.  Also the Aussies flew the old P40s from there.  Boyington took off from that field the day he was shot down over Rabaul."

A swimming beach was located on the beach parallel to the runway.

Postwar
Bougainville and Torokina was one of nine Pacific Island bases recommended by the US Navy to be retained as bases. The recommendation was made to the Navy Affairs Committee to both houses of Congress on September 5, 1945.

Today
The airfield is disused since the war. Most of the length is overgrown. The edge nearest to Cape Torokina is still clear, used as a playing field with the church and school nearby. The top photograph shows Torokina in 1944 from the swimming beach side, and strip in upper right. The bottom photograph shows looking south to Motufena Point from the strip this time the beach is on the right and the strip on the left.

References
Thanks also to Bob Marshall for assistance with this profile.

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Last Updated
December 30, 2013

 

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October 1944

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