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
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
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
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
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
August 15, 2015