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    Emirau Airfield New Ireland Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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USN 1944

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US Army March 21, 1946
Location
Lat 1° 39' 14S 149° 58' 33E  Emirau Airfield is located at an elevation of 172' above sea level near the northern coast of Emirau Island. Today part of the Murat Rural LLG of New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Construction
On March 20, 1944 U. S. the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) 4th Marines, 1st and 2nd Battalions, with the 3rd Battalion in reserve made an amphibious landing on Emirau. There were no Japanese on the island.

On March 21, 1944 U. S. Navy (USN) Seabees began building two parallel runways with taxiways and ravetments. The area selected was naturally flat ground and construction consisted of simply clearing off the topsoil to expose the coral base below. The Seabees were aided by the U. S. Army 147th Infantry Regiment, the only infantry regiment ever utilized to build an airfield.

Northern Cape Airfield (Bomber Strip)
Northern Cape Airfield (Bomber Strip) is located on the center portion of the peninsula on Emirau Island. Also known as Northern Cape Airfield Aerodrome. Taxiway connected this runway to parallel Inshore Airfield (Fighter Strip) to the south. One end of the runway terminated at the edge of a high cliff.

Inshore Airfield (Fighter Strip)
Inshore Airfield (Fighter Strip) is located on the lower portion of the peninsula on Emirau Island. Also known as Inshore Aerodrome. Taxiway connected this runway to parallel Northern Cape Airfield (Bomber Strip) to the north.

Emirau Airfield was used by Allied bombers, fighters and transports from the U. S. Navy (USN), U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).

American units based at Emirau
U. S. Navy (USN)
ACORN 7
VB-148 (PV-1) Munda May 21, 1944–?
U. S. Marine Corps (USMC)
MAG-61 June 1944 - ? Hollandia
VMF 115 (F4U) May 2, 1944 - May 1945 to Mindanao
VMF-121 (F4U) September 4 - October 23, 1944 to Peleliu
VMD-254 (B-24) July 10, 1944 - Oct 8, 1944
VMF-122 (F4U) August 1944 - August 1945 to Peleliu
VMF-211 (F4U) Nissan April 1944 - December 1944 to Leyte
VMF-215 (F4U) Torokina / Barakoma Feb 1944 - April 1944 to Guadalcanal
VMF-222 (F4U) Barakoma circa September - May 1944 to Nissan (Green)
VMTB-232 (TBF) 1944
VMB-413 (PBJ) January 1945 - August 1945
VMSB-241 (SBD) May 13-14, 1944 - ?
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)
No. 1 Squadron (PV-1)

Between May 1944 to June 1944, Charles A. Lindbergh flew with U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) aviators based at Nissan (Green) and Emirau, flying combat missions as an "observer" with VMF-115, VMF-212, VMF-218 and VMF-222. During May 1944, Lindbergh flew at least four combat missions with Joe Foss and VMF-115 operating from Emirau Airfield. On May 22, 1944 he flew on a strafing mission over Rabaul and afterwards noted in his diary, "The more I see of the Marines the more I like them." His last mission with these squadrons was June 9, 1944 flying an escort mission over Rabaul. On June 10, 1944 he departed the combat zone for Espiritu Santo.

John Maclean adds:
"I served on Emirau, as a member if the Service Squadron, MAG 61,from the summer of 1944 (may be off by a month or two) until we left Emirau, to proceed to the Phillipines, where we were ti prepare for the invasion of Japan. Along the way, I recall that we stopped at Hollandia, and debarked for a short while (a day or so). On the way to Malabang Airfield we encountered a typhoon, which nearly swamped the LST that I was on. Every one under sergeant slept on deck, and as the waves would reach their highest points, they would come crashing down with a great, jarring force! We heard at that point that the war was over, and all with"points" for time in combat areas were to be sent home, soon."

Today
Still in use today as Emirau Airport. Airport code IATA: EMI.

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Last Updated
October 11, 2019

 

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