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    Apemama Airfield (O'Hare Field) Apamama Atoll Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands)
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USAAF c1944

Location
Lat 0° 29' 27N Long 173° 49' 44E  Apemama Airfield is located on Apamama Island in Apamama Atoll in Republic of Kiribati (Gilbert Islands). Apamama is also known as Abemama Airfield, O'Hare Field or Hopper. Located at an elevation of 8' above sea level.

Construction
On November 24, 1943 Marines landed on Apamama and overcame minor resistance from the Japanese. On November 28, 1943 the 95th Battalion Seabees landed and began building Apemama Airfield. A 4,000' x 150' runway was ready December 10, and the first plane landed on December 13, 1943. Neither the terrain nor the weather presented any obstacles to construction. By December 21, the runway was lengthened to 6,000' for bomber operations. The 95th Battalion continued the development of the field until March 1944, when CBMU 557 reported to relieve the battalion. Named "O’Hare Field" in honor of US Navy pilot "Butch" O'Hare.

Japanese Air Raids
During the construction period, there were four minor Japanese air raids, resulting in the loss of one B-24 and slight damage to taxiways and hardstands.

Wartime History
By March 1944, the airfield had a 7,700' x 200' coral-surfaced bomber strip, with an additional 1,950' sand strip; 21,000' of taxiways, with 100' coral-surfaced hardstands, 125' by 150'; and Quonset huts for ready rooms and repair ships.

American units based at Apemama
30th BG, HQ Nanumea January 4 - March 20, 1944 Kwajalein
30th BG, 27th BS (B-24) Nanumea February 26 - March 14, 1944 Nanumea / Kwajalein
30th BG, 392nd BS (B-24) Canton January 10 - March 17, 1944 Kwajalein
45th FS (P-40s) January 4 - April 5, 1944 (operated from Makin Jan 15 - 24 Mar 1944)
47th BS (B-25s) December 22, 1943 - April 20, 1944
48th BS (B-25s) December 22, 1943 - April 23, 1944
7th AF, 9th TCS (C-47) Hickam Field March 27, 1944 - August 4, 1944 Saipan
41st BG, 48th BS (B-25) ? - July 23, 1944 Saipan
41st BG, 47th BS (B-25) ? - July 23, 1944 Saipan

By May 1944, Apamama became a rear area base. Its mission of supporting the campaigns in the Marshalls was completed. CBMU 557 continued maintenance operations until the fall of 1944, when the base was decommissioned and closed.

Today
Still in use today as "Abemama Airport" or "Abemama Atoll Airport". Airport codes: ICAO: NGTB / IATA: AEA. There is the wreckage from an F4U Corsair and B-24 Liberator that were recovered from the airifeld and are displayed near the island's council offices.

F4U Corsair
Abandoned at the airfield

B-24 Liberator
Abandoned at the airfield

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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