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    Nanumea Airfield Nanumea Tuvalu

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December 15, 1943

Located on Nanumea Island.

Built by USN Seabees, it was completed in October 1943. The airfield took up one sixth of the land area, and included a mile long bomber runway was completed and a service force of 2,300 personnel.

Operational just in time to aid aid in the battle for Tarawa. The airfield here was used to stage reconnaissance and early bombing missions into the Gilberts and Marshalls. Japanese aircraft bomb Nanumea

7th AF American Units Based at Nanumea
30th BG, 27th BS (B-24) Mokuleia Nov 10, 43 - Feb 26, 44 Abemama
30th BG HQ (B-24) Hickam Nov 11, 1943 - Jan 4, 44 Abemama
30th BG, 28th BS (B-24) Kahuku Nov 12, 43 - March 13, 44 Kwajalein
15th FG, 45th FS (P-40N) Baker Nov 28, 1943 - ?

Japanese Air Raid
Japanese attacked the airstrip twice in November of 1943. On the 11th they hit the airfield and destroying or damaging several airplanes, including 1 B-24. Later raid destroys
several landing craft.

Postwar, there were many unexploded bombs and shells that were abandoned and used by local people. They were later rendered safe by a New Zealand bomb disposal team, and the airfield is abandoned.

Robert Stitt reported in 1975:
"Nanumea boasted a variety of interesting aviation artifacts including B-24 and C-47 fuselage sections used as kitchens and as shelters for dried pandanas leaves which are used for roofing thatch. The most conspicuous still had their USAAF star-and-bar markings on the side."

B-24D "Raunchy" Serial Number 42-72980
Pilot Orr crashed November 19, 1943

SBD-5 Dauntless Bureau Number 38035
Crashed November 27, 1943

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Last Updated
May 3, 2016


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