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    Aslito Field (Isley Field) Saipan Marianas
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June 1944

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Click For Enlargement
Bruce Petty 1995

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Peter Ording 1999

Location
Aslito Field is located near the southern coast of Saipan. Also known as Aslito Airfield.

Japanese Usage
Occupied by the Japanese in December 1941, and used until mid-June 1944. This airfield was an important land base during the "Battle of the Marianas" (Marianas Turkey Shoot).

Japanese units based at Aslito
261 Kokutai (A6M5) ? - June 1944
265 Kokutai (A6M5) ? - June 1944

American Liberation
Aslito Field was recaptured by the U. S. Army 27th Infantry Division during the night on June 16-17, 1944. During the recapture, a Zero from from Guam actually landed at Aslito Airfield, the pilot was unaware that the field had fallen to the Americans. As it landed it was fired upon and it crashed at the end of the strip. The pilot survived and the plane was captured.

Captured Zeros
Several A6M5 Zero Fighters were captured largely intact at Aslito Field including A6M5 1303 Tail 61-121, A6M5 4340 Tail 61-???, A6M5 5357 Tail 61-120 and A6M5 5350.

Naming Honors
After the American occupation, renamed "Isley Field'" after a U. S. Navy pilot killed while bombing this location. Also known as Isley Field No. 1 after the construction of Isley Field No. 2 further to the west. By early September 1944, the 498th Bombardment Group arrived at the airfield, and flew their first mission on October 28, 1944.

Isley Field No 1
As of December 1944, the single runway measured 8,500' x 200' with extensive taxiways and ravetments located to the north and south of the runway. The control tower was code named 'Blue Grass'.

Isley Field No 2
As of December 1944, a second runway measuring 7,300' x 200' was under construction with extensive taxiways and ravetments to the north and south of the runway. The control tower was code named 'Gardenia'.

American units based at Isley Field
498th BG HQ from USA September 6, 1944
498th BG 873d BS (B-29) from USA Sept 7, 1944
498th BG, 874th BS (B-29) from USA Sept 7, 1944
498th BG, 875th BS (B-29) from USA Sept 7, 1944
497th BG, 869th BS, 870th and 871st BS (B-29) from USA Sept 17, 1944
497th BG, 870th BS (B-29) from USA Sept 17, 1944
497th BG, 871st BS (B-29) from USA Sept 17, 1944
499th BG HQ from USA September 18, 1944
499th BG, 877th BS (B-29) September 22, 1944
499th BG, 878th BS (B-29) September 22, 1944
499th BG, 879th BS (B-29) September 22, 1944
500th BG HQ from USA September 18, 1944
500th BG, 881st BS (B-29) September 19, 1944
500th BG, 882d BS (B-29) September 19, 1944
500th BG, 883d BS (B-29) September 19, 1944

Between September 1944 until February 1945, Japanese aircraft from Pagan and Iwo Jima conducted air raids against Isley Field. Altogether about 80 Japanese aircraft attacked and nearly 40 were shot down. As a result, 11 B-29s were destroyed and 43 damaged on the ground.

Japanese missions against Isley Field
November 2, 1944 - December 25, 1944

Today
Since the war it has reverted back to being called Aslito Field, and is the main port of entry to the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. It is still in use today, airport code: SPN.

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

MapDecember 1944

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