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    Mangaldan Airfield (Honey) Pangasinan | Luzon Philippines
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41st FS c1945

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Justin Taylan 2005

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USMC c1945

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Justin Taylan 2005
Location
Lat 16° 3' 0" N Long 120° 23' 0" E  Mangaldan Airfield was located at 15' above sea level to the north of Mangaldan near Lingayen Gulf on the north coast of Luzon in the 4th District of Pangasinan Province in the Philippines. Pronounced "Ma-ngal-dan". Also known as Mangaldan Airdrome, Mangaldan Drome or by the code name "Honey". To the north is Lingayen Gulf and to the west is Dagupan.

Construction
Built after the American liberation in early January 1945. Two parallel runways were built, running east to west parallel and south of the road running that runs through Mangaldan.
The airfield was code named "Honey". It based both US Army Air Force and USMC aircraft. At its height, the strip included Army A-20s, B-24s P-51s, P-47s, C-47s, and USMC and Navy PBYs and SBDs.

American units based at Mangaldan
U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) units based at Mangaldan
HQ 35th FG Morotai January 20, 1945 - ?
35th FG, 39th FS (P-47, P-51) Morotai Jan 22, 1945–April 10, 1945 Lingayen
3rd Air Commando Group, HQ (C-47) - Leyte Jan 26–April 30, 45 Laoag
3rd Air Group, 3rd FS (P-51) Leyte January 26 - April 15, 45 Laoag
3rd Air Group, 4th FS (P-51) Leyte January 26 - April 15, 45 Laoag
3rd Air Group, 160th Liaison Squadrons (L-5) Leyte Jan 31, 1945
3rd Air Group, 157th, 159th Liaison Squadrons (L-5) Leyte Jan 31, 1945
312th BG, 386th BS (A-20) Tanauan February 10 - April 16, 1945 Floridablanca
312th BG, 387th BS (A-20) Tanauan February 10 - April 16, 1945 Floridablanca
312th BG, 388th BS (A-20) San Jose February 1 - April 20, 1945 Floridablanca
312th BG, 389th BS (A-20) San Jose February 11, 1945 -,April 20, 1945 Floridablanca
35th FG, 41st FS (P-47, P-51) Wama January 21, 1945 - April 16, 1945 Lingayen
35th FG, 40th FS (P-47, P-51) from Wama January 1945 - ?
58th FG, HQ San Jose April 5, 1945 - ?
58th FG, 310th FS (P-47) from San Jose April 6, 1945 - April 18, 1945 Porac
58th FG, 311th FS (P-47) from San Jose April 7, 1945 - April 17, 1945 Porac
58th FG, 68th FS (P-47) from San Jose April 7 , 1945 - April 17, 1945 Porac
U. S. Navy (USN) units based at Mangaldan
Air Wing 17
U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) units based at Mangaldan
Marine Air Group 31 (MAG-32) 1945
Marine Air Group 24 (MAG-24) 1945
Marine Scout Bomber Squadron 244 (VMSB-244) (SBD)
1945

Japanese Raids Against Mangaldan Airfield
January 29, 1945 - March 1, 1945

Gregoia "George" A. Soriano adds:
"I was houseboy for pilots of the 41st Fighter Squadron at Mangaldan. I remember Captain Beamer, and Captain Royal S. Kay. They were all very nice to me."

Jorge Torralba adds:
"It was an impromptu airbase with steel matting as the 'an reinforcement. It houses Mustang P-51 fighter planes, double-bodied P-38 fighter planes, B-29 bombers and Navy bombers. Pilots and maintenance crews littered the surrounding fields with their tents and quarters. I applied as room orderly in the pilot's section. During their flying missions, I took care of their Laundry to be distributed to the laundry women and to keep the camp in order. I received a salary of P4.00 a day."

Travis Smith, 41st FS P-51 pilot recalls:
"I was only at Mangaldan a few weeks, before moving to Lingayen but took photos at Mangaldan, of out tent and people."

Joe Potts, 40th Fighter Squadron recalls:
"Mangaldan was wide enough to take off as an entire flight. When the wet season came, the rice paddies would flood and we would have to taxi around puddles on the strip!"

Post War
Disused since the war, the town of Mangaldan has absorbed traces of the airbase, the runway area has reverted to rice paddy planting area and irrigated pools for fish farms and open space. In past decades farmers reported finding bullets and other remains, but not many traces of the airbase remain today.

Today
The former airfield spans four barangays - Poblacion, Bari, Malibago and Anolid (going westward towards Dagupan on the northern side of the road).

In the Poblacion [center of town], it is where the Mangaldan National High School is situated now. The residents nearby confirmed that the area where the school is located was the 'landing area' (tarmac) of the old airstrip. Few in Mangaldan or the surrounding area are even aware that there was an airfield at this location during WWII.

Bautiste House (MAG 32 HQ Building 32)
This structure was built in 1935, along the north side of the east-west road through Mangaldan. After the American landing, it was rented by Marines and used as their HQ Building for MAG 32. The building survived until sometime in the post war, when it was torn down. Today, only the concrete posts from the exterior fence remain, although the property is still owned by the Bautise family as the original building.
Then & Now Bautiste House (MAG 32 HQ Building 32)


References
Airdromes Guide Southwest Pacific Area - 1 July 1945

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January 22, 2020

 

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