Orote Airfield is located at Orote Point on the Orote Peninsula on the western coast of Guam bordering Apra Harbor to the north, Sumay to the west and Agat Bay to the south. Known to the Japanese as Guamu Dai Ichi (Guam No. 1).
Built prior to the war, by the US Marine Corps detachment of 10 officers and 90 enlisted men when they arrived
in Guam on March 17, 1921. The Marine unit constructed an air station near the
water at Sumay village, including a hangar for their amphibious
aircraft. In 1926, a new administration office was constructed
which housed the squadron offices, sick bay, dental office,
aerological office and guardhouse. In early 1927, the squadron
departed for Olongapo.
a handful of men remained here until September 23, 1928,
when Patrol Squadron 3-M, consisting of 85 enlisted men and
4 to 6 officers, was assigned to Guam. Shortly thereafter,
the naval air station was closed on February 24, 1931, as
a cost-saving measure.
When the Japanese attacked Guam,
they did not bomb the abandoned naval air station. When they occupied the area, they constructed Orote Field,
using Korean and Guamian labor, and used the base until the liberation of Guam.
Used by the Japanese navy from April 1944 to June 1944. As of June 1, 1944, Japanese air strength
on Guam consisted of 100 Zeros and 10 J1N1 Irvings at Airfield No. 1 and 60 Ginga at Airfield
23, 1944, American carrier based airplanes attacked the field,
and other American raids soon followed. During the Battle
of the Philippine Sea the field was used by the Japanese
carrier-based airplanes to refuel and rearm. The Japanese
airplanes based at Orote Field were also used to attack the
American fleet. American raids on June 19, 1944 destroyed the
landing fields, the aircraft on the ground and such aircraft
that managed to take off. American pilots reported extremely
intense antiaircraft fire around Orote Field. Fifteen Japanese
airplanes crashed at Orote Field
on June 19, 1944.
On June 20, 1944, numerous actions occurred
in the immediate vicinity of Orote Field between American
carrier airplanes and Japanese aircraft seeking refuge
at Orote Field after flying from their carriers, or Japanese
refueling and rearming to attack American
carriers. Numerous dogfights took place in the air above
Orote Field and numerous strikes by American airplanes
destroyed Japanese facilities and airplanes on the ground.
This denied the Japanese extensive use
of this crucial airfield during the battle.
Land Battle at Orote
The Japanese assigned
the defense of Orote Peninsula to the 54th Independent Guard
Unit under command of Air Group Commander Asaichi Tamai.
After American invasion on July 21, 1944, the 1st Provincial Marine
Brigade under command of Lt. General Lemuel C. Shepherd fought
its way through the Agat village to the base of Orote
Peninsula. Here the Japanese had constructed an elaborate
interlocking system of pillboxes, strong points and trenches.
Regiments of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, the 4th
and 22nd, fought their way through the area. Shortly before
midnight on July 26, 1944, the Japanese trapped on the peninsula
staged a suicide attack and were completely wiped out. The
advancing Marines still met heavy Japanese resistance in
the vicinity of the airfield, where the Japanese fought from
caves and coconut bunkers. The peninsula was declared secure
on July 29, 1944. It is estimated that the Japanese lost
more than 3,000 men defending Orote Peninsula.
Several Japanese aircraft wrecks were captured at the airfield, including G4M2 Betty 2095 , G4M2 Betty 12013 and J1N1 Irving.
Immediately put into use by Marine air power for close support
missions during the liberation of Guam. This was accomplished
by Marine Air Group (MAG) 21.
By mid-November 1944, MAG-21, now commanded by Colonel Edward
B. Carney, was an oversized group, having 12 squadrons based
at Orote Field, 529 officers, 3,778 enlisted men and 204 aircraft.
MAG-21 was shifted to Agana Airfield in 1945, as Orote Field had always been hampered by adverse crosswinds.
The field was then used by the US Navy for repairing
American Units Base at Orote
VF-76 (F6F) September 1944
MAG 21 (F4U) July, 1944 - to Agana in
USS Santee (F6F) landed at Orote August 1944
Field was finally closed to all but emergency landings in
the cross-runway is used for C-130 touch-and-go flight training,
and for helio-ops by Navy Seals. Much of the time the airfield
is off-limits. The major runway
runs from NW to SE and the secondary runway crosses the first
and runs in a NE to SW direction. Limited tours of the airfield
Thanks to Jennings Bunn and Jim Long for additional information.
Abandoned at the airfield in a boneyard
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
January 9, 2018