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    Ondonga Airfield Western Province Solomon Islands

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USN c1943

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RNZAF c1943

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USN 1944

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Solomon Airlines 1998

Location
Ondonga is located on the Ondongo peninsula on New Georgia. In the local language, Ondongo means "the place of death." To the south and southwest is the Diamond Narrows connecting to the Hathorn Sound to the north and west. Further to the west is Arundel Island. To the north was the prewar Piru Plantation planted with coconut palms for copra.

Construction
Ondonga Airfield was built in in record time from dense jungle and muddy ground to completion in only 25 days by the U. S. Navy (USN) Seabee from the 82nd and 37th Battalion. During the construction, the area was subjected to Japanese air raids and shelling from nearby Kolombangara.

The runway was completed on October 23, 1943 and measured 4,500' x 200'. It was immediately put into use supporting the landings at Torokina. On October 24, RNZAF P-40s of 15 Squadron and 18 Squadron arrived at the airfield, making up the 'New Zealand Fighter Wing'.

During October and November 1943, docking facilities and the base area were improved by the 20th Battalion and 47th Battalion. In November, a second runway was completed parallel to the first, 4,000' x 300' and several miles of taxiways and hardstands, revetments, a control tower and quonset-hut camp areas.

By February 1944 the 24th Battalion joined them, and 20 miles of roads were built in the area. Also, a 12,000 barrel tank farm with submarine filling line was built

American Units Based at Ondonga
VMF-216
VF-33 (F6F) - Nov 29, 1943 - ?
VF-17 (36 x F4U C. O. Tom Blackburn) October 27 - December 2, 1943 Espiritu Santo
VP-12 (PBY-5A) Guadalcanal Feb 17 to May 17, 1944 to Emirau
MABS-1 from Henderson Nov 43 - May 26, 44 to Munda
RNZAF
15 Squadron (P-40) C.O. SL S.G. Quill Oct 24, 1943 - ?
18 Squadron (P-40) October 24, 1943 - ?
14 Squadron (P-40) C.O. SL J. H. Arkwright
16 Squadorn (P-40)
17 Squadron (P-40)

Tom Blackburn (C.O. VF-17) recalled about Ondonga:
"Clean, virtually bugless, free of snipers, and above all, near the enemy."

Today
Disused since the war.

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

Map
October 17, 1943

Map
November 15, 1943

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