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    Abel's Field (Gasari Airfield) Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Location
Located near Gasari (Fasari) in the upper Musa River Valley. To the north is the Musa River and to the south is the Owen Stanley Range. Also spelled "Abels Field" (no apostrophe).

Construction
Prewar, missionary Cecil Abel worked in the Gasari (Fasari) area and was aware the area was excellent for an airfield site due to the flat terrain covered only by kunai grass.

Visiting Port Moresby, Abel met with US Army officials including General MacNider and Col. Bradley. Impressed with his idea, Abel was taken to meet General Harding at Karekodobu (Kalamazoo) who was also receptive to the idea, realizing the difficulty of getting a sizable body of troops across the Owen Stanley Mountains on foot. Returning to Port Moresby the next day, Harding enlisted the aid of General Whitehead.

Abel was instructed to proceed to Gasari (Fasari) and enlisted the help of native labor to begin building an airfield at this location, using tools dropped by C-47 Dakotas. The natural kunai grass and small trees were cut down and burned, creating a flat landing area. By October 19, 1942 the landing ground was ready for use and the first C-47 landed the same day.

Naming
Within days of the first landing the new airfield was named "Abel's Field" in honor of Cecil Abel.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
On October 19, 1942, when Col. Leif Sverdrup and his men reached the upper Musa having crossed the Kapa Kapa Trail, they witnessed the first C-47 Dakotas landing at the new airfield which was immediately put into use by C-47 Dakotas landing troops and supplies.

Afterwards, three other airfields were developed in the area including Embessa Airfield located a few miles to the north, Kinjaki Barige Airfield twenty-five miles to the northwest and Pongani Airfield.

Used by C-47 Dakota transport to air lift troops and supplies to support the Allied advance to Buna-Gona-Sanananda, along with Embessa Airfield, Kinjaki Barige Airfield and Abel's Field (Gasari).

On November 8, 1942 the remainder of the U.S. Army 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Infantry Regiment that had not walked across the Kapa Kapa Trail was flown aboard C-47s to Abel's Field, then marched northward to Embessa and onward to Pongani. When Pongani Airfield opened on November 9, the remainder of the 126th Infantry Regiment were flown directly to Pongani Airfield.

References
HyperWar US Army in WWII - Victory in Papua pages 115-116, 122
Weekly Status and Operations Report (Form 34) November 8, 1942 - November 14, 1942
"11/9 7:40am take off P-40 screened Ables Field and patrolled"
"11/9 10:15am take off P-40 screened Ables Field. Nil enemy sightings."

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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