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    Aslito Field (Isley Field, Francisco C. Ada, Saipan Airport) Saipan | CNMI USA
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Click For Enlargement
June 1944

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Click For Enlargement
Bruce Petty 1995

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Peter Ording 1999

Location
Lat 15° 7' 8N Long 145° 43' 46E  Aslito Field is located near the southern coast of Saipan Island in the Southern Islands Municipality of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) in the United States of America (USA). Also known as Aslito Airfield, Isley Field, Isley Airfield. Today known as Saipan Airport or Saipan International Airport.

Wartime History
During December 1941, Aslito Field occupied by the Japanese. This airfield was an important land base during the Battle of the Marianas (Marianas Turkey Shoot). Used until the middle of June 1944.

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

American Liberation
During the night June 16-17, 1944 Aslito Field was liberated by the U. S. Army, 27th Infantry Division. During the battle, a A6M Zero from Guam Island actually landed at Aslito Airfield, the pilot was unaware the field had fallen to the Americans. As it landed it was fired upon and crashed at the end of the runway. The pilot survived and the plane was captured.

Captured Japanese Aircraft
At Aslito Field, several A6M5 Model 52 Zeros were captured largely intact including A6M5 Zero 1303 Tail 61-121, A6M5 Zero 4340 Tail 61-???, A6M5 Zero 5357 Tail 61-120 and A6M5 Zero 5350.

Naming Honors
After the American liberation renamed "Isley Field'" after a U. S. Navy (USN) 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 September 7, 1944 the ground echelon of the 498th Bombardment Group arrived and flew their first combat 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

Postwar
After the Pacific 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

Today
Still in use today as Francisco C. Ada Airport. Also known as Saipan Airport or Saipan International Airport. The single runway is oriented 25/07 measures 8,700' x 200' surfaced with asphalt with an elevation of 215'. Airport Codes: ICAO: PGSN and IATA: SPN.

References
Commonwealth Ports Authority - Francisco C. Ada/Saipan International Airport

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Last Updated
August 17, 2018

 

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