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    14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer, Laloki) NCD Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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5th AF May 12, 1942
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5th AF c1942
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5th AF c1942
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5th AF c1943
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Jack Heyn c1943
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Justin Taylan 2004

Location
14 Mile Drome is located 14 mile north of Port Moresby. The Laloki River is to the south and Mount Lawes is to the northeast. Also known as "Schwimmer Drome" or "Laloki Drome".

Construction
During early 1942, the U. S. Army built a single runway at this location measuring 5,300' x 100'. During October 1942 surfaced with marston matting (PSP) by the 96th Engineers (Negro). No revetments were built at the airfield, but taxiway and parking areas were constructed to the north of the runway in a semicircle. Living quarters were pyramid tents a half mile from the strip among scrub trees.

Naming
Known as "14 Mile Drome" or "Laloki" after the nearby Laloki River. On November 10, 1942 officially named "Schwimmer Drome" in honor of P-39D Airacobra 41-6956 pilot Charles Schwimmer Missing In Action (MIA) May 3, 1942 while intercepting Japanese aircraft over Port Moresby.

Japanese missions against Schwimmer Drome (14 Mile Drome)
February 23, 1943

American units based at 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer)
3rd BG, 13th BS (B-25)
49th FG, 7th FS (P-40) Batchelor September 19, 1942 - ?
49th FG, 9th FS (P-40) Batchelor October 10, 1942 - March 6, 1943 Horanda (Dobodura No. 4)
35th FG, 39th FS (P-39, P-38) Garbutt Field 10-18-42 - 12-15-43 Nadzab
6th PRG, 8th PRS (F-4, F-5) Garbutt Field Sept 9, 42 - ? to Dobodura

Today
Disused since the war, there is little trace of the original strip, settlers have built houses along much of the former runway area. The rest is overgrown and abandoned. Some wartime debris litter the area. Weapons bays are visible from the road for bomb storage prior to loading.

Henry Mayer explored the area and adds:
"I found a dozen Australian military force buttons and noticed a few horse shoes, mouth bits, harness buckles lying around. This is where i found the Australian yoke & bull whip badge in collection.   I then took a walk up the south part of Mount Lawes and noticed two fox holes at different elevations quarter of the way up along with 303 shell casings. I took this shot of Schwimmer Drome area from a outcropping of Mt. Lawes which shows the road on the left flanking the Laloki River (dark green tree belt) and the Laloki mental hospital on the right alongside the main road. The runway would have been where the patches of houses are in the middle while the line along the bottom is a old road which has ordnance bays flanking it on the Lawes side. You can see twin peaks at the right and Jacksons Airport (7 Mile) in the distant background. I also found what seems to be a few human bones stashed under a rock formation at this point, probably an old Koiari burial ground going by the broken pottery along the way."

B-25D "Fair Dinkum" 41-29714
Destroyed April 12, 1943 during Japanese air raid

B-25D "Baby Blitz" 41-29705
Damaged April 12, 1943 during Japanese air raid, written off

B-25D "The Grim Reaper" 41-29719
Damaged April 12, 1943 during Japanese air raid

B-17E "R.F.D. Tojo" Serial Number 41-2627
Crashed on December 26, 1943 wreckage remained until 1970s

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Last Updated
May 26, 2017

 

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