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    Pongani Airfield Oro Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)
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US Army Nov 7, 1942

Location
Located near Pongani on the north coast of New Guinea, inland from the Pongani River.

Construction
During October 1942, built by the US Army , 114th Engineering Battalion, Company C under the command of Col. Leif Sverdrup using native labor cleared the kunai grass and began developing a landing ground at this location.

On November 7, 1942 C-47 "Swamp Rat" 41-38601 was the first aircraft to land at Pongani Airfield but became temporarily bogged at the end of the runway.

By November 9, 1942 a single runway was completed surfaced with gravel from a nearby pit to surface the finished runway.

Wartime History
This airfield was used as a logistical base for transport aircraft flying supplies and troops over the Owen Stanley Mountains in support the Allied campaign against Buna-Gona-Sanananda.

On October 30, 1942 US Army General Harding proposed that the 32nd Infantry Division, 126th Infantry Regiment, 1st and 3d Battalions be flown across the Owen Stanley Mountains to Pongani Airfield and Kinjaki Barige Airfield. Australian Army General Blamey approved the plan, and at asked General MacArthur's concurrence for the transfer by air of the two battalions and their supplies.

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). Used by C-47 Dakotas and RAAF Hudsons in the early months of the campaign, primarily for transport flights, and for emergency landings.

After the fall of Buna this airfield was abandoned with the development of permanent Allied airfields in the Dobodura area.

Today
After the war, it reverted to a missionary airstrip. Today, it is overgrown and disused.

A-20A "Old Man Mose" Serial Number 40-101
Pilot Taylor force landed November 21, 1942

References
U. S. Army in World War II - Victory In Papua Chapter 7 pages 116, 122

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018

 

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