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    Fighter 1 (Lunga Field) Guadalcanal Solomons

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1942
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1943
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February 1943
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October 18, 1943
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Peter Flahavin 2004

tion
Located on the north coast of Guadalcanal, to the west of the Ilu River. Located about 500 yards inland to the east and parallel to Henderson Field. Also known as Fighter 1, Lunga Field or "The Cow Pasture".

Construction
Completed in September 1942, this was a single grass strip runway running roughly north-east to south-west.

Developed into a 4,000' long runway 150' wide completed February 9, 1943. Although plagued with drainage problems, it allowed Allied aircraft to operate even when Henderson was disabled by bombardment or bombing. It was the primary base for USMC and USN aircraft.

At its peak it had 110 hardstands for light planes and 36 revetments. Ravetments and taxiways spread to the north and south of the runway, and a taxiway connected it to Henderson Field.

Units based at Fighter 1
67th Fighter Squadron (P-39, P-400) October 17, 1942 - ?
VMF-123 (F4F) May 10 - July 1943 Banika
VMF-124 (F4U) May 10, 1943 - June 6, 1943 had during its 2nd tour
VMF-212 (F4U) September 5, 1943 - December 9, 1943
VMF-124 (F4U) July 23, 1943 - September 7, 1943 3rd tour.
VF-38 (F6F) September 1943 - ?

Bob Fish adds:
"VMF-124 placed in tents in the main "campsite" among the palm and rubber trees in the plantation between Henderson and the beach. However, there was a major bombardment that night that raised hell with the pilots and ground crew so they relocated their camp right next to Fighter 1. Major Bob Weissenberger. Now Bob went back in 1981 and looked over the "old field" as best he could by driving along the main Henderson Field. With his background knowledge of what the camp looked like, he found several key "mounds" in the grass. One of these was the bore sighting revetment still there, still semi-circular, but overgrown. When he left in 1943, there were thousands of 50 caliber gun casings in and around this revetment and more than a few live rounds from misfeeds, etc.

Not far from it was another mound which surprised him that is was still there - it was the main ammunition dump for the Corsairs! He couldn't get close enough to see if anything was left in or around it in 1981 but when he left the island in 1943, it was packed with enough bombs, and ammunition to "blow the island off the map.

In the main camp work area, and also in the overnight tent area, the Seabees had built some bomb shelters. The one in the sleeping area was dug out of earth with a palm logs and sandbags on the roof and he couldn't spot this in 1981. However, he did see the mound which corresponds to the concrete shelter in the work area, right at the intersection of the taxiway and the Fighter 1 strip. He said its highly likely there are lots of things lying around and inside it from spare plane parts to personal items (guys would clean rifles, sharpen bayonets, play cards, etc during an air raid)."

Later War
The field was closed on December 16, 1944 except for emergency landings. By January 1945 it was used for emergency landings only.

Today
Disused since the war, it is overgrown. The outline can still be seen from the air.

References
Thanks to John Innes, Peter Flahavin and Stan Jersey, for additional information.

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Last Updated
December 30, 2013

 

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January 1945

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