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    Fighter 2 (Kukum Field) Guadalcanal Province Solomon Islands

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IJN May 1942

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USMC Dec 9, 1942

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USN Oct 18, 1943

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USN c1943

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1975

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Peter Flahavin 2004

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John Innes 2005

Location
Located at Kukum along the north coast of Guadalcanal bordering the Sealark Channel and Iron Bottom Sound, Kukum is located roughly 1.5 miles west of Henderson Field and two miles south-west of Lunga Point. Also known as "Figher 2 Airfield", "Fighter 2 Field" or "Kukum Field".

Construction
Built by American forces. Initially, a single inland runway was built surfaced with Marston Matting (PSP) running roughly east to west. Later a second parallel runway was built nearer to the the sea. Extensive taxiways and revetments were built along each runway and further to the south. A second runway was built close to the sea of crushed coral. The base was surrounded by coconut palms, with servicing and living areas located to the south of the runways.

Wartime History
Fighter 2 (Kukum) was primarily used as a fighter airfield. During the Guadalcanal Campaign, Fighter 2 (Kukum) was preferred by pilots, as the landing approach and take off were the sea, exposing them to the least chance of fire from the Japanese. Used by by U.S. Navy and U. S. Army Air Force fighter aircraft during the Solomons campaign. During "Operation Peacock" on April 18, 1943 the "Yamamto Mission", P-38 Lightnings of the 339th Fighter Squadron took off and landed at Fighter 2 . Also used by the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during 1943.

Units based at Fighter 2 (partial list)
USAAF 13th AF
347th FG, 68th FS
18th FG, 12th FS (P-39, P-38) Efaté February 7, 1943 - Feb 19, 44 Stirling, returns Aug 1, 1944
347th FG, 339th FS (P-38) October 2, 1942 (det) - December 1, 1943 New Caledonia returns Decemember 29 - January 15, 1944 Stirling Airfield
Nov 12, 1942 - [April 12, 1943 to Fiji Feb 4, 1944 to Bougainville]
USN
VMF-124 (F4F) February 12, 1943 - ?
RNZAF
15 Squadron (P-40) April 26, 1943 - ?
14 Squadron (P-40) June 10 from Espiritu Santo - July 24, 1943
16 Squadron (P-40) July 25, 1943 - September 1943
17 Squadron (P-40)

Stan Jersey adds:
"A sailor who was part of ACORN ( Red) One and was with the 14th NCB reaching Guadalcanal on November 12 1942. In his email to me the VFM-124 (F4Fs) landed at Fighter 2 on February 12, 1943 and was the first squadron to arrive"

Post War
Postwar, Kukum Airfield used as Guadalcanal's main airport until 1969 when Henderson Field was reopened as the national airport, and Kukum was closed.

Today
The airfield now the Honiara Golf Course, and an industrial area of warehouses.
The palm trees that used to be behind the beach are now gone and replaced by the Honiara Brewery. In 1995 they were re-grading the road between Matanikau and Kukum and constantly finding bits of bone.

John Innes adds, February 5, 2005:
"They are constructing a soccer academy about 500 yards inland from Kukum strip. As they are digging, the foundations they are uncovering what would have been part of that Kukum (Fighter Two) complex.
In these pictures you can see the metal base that the crushed coral was put on, with metal base underneath. Also the amount of coral which quite clearly contrasts to the natural soil."

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Last Updated
February 14, 2014

 

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