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    Funafuti Airfield (Funafuti International Airport) Fongafale Tuvalu
Click For Enlargement
Bill Barrett 1943

Click For Enlargement
November 6, 1943

Click For Enlargement
Bill Barrett 1943

Click For Enlargement
USN 1945

Location
Lat 8° 31' 30S Long 179° 11' 46E  Funafuti Airfield is located on Fongafale Island on the eastern side of Funafuti in Tuvalu (Ellice Islands). The runway spans the length of the island from northeast to southwest at an elevation of 9' above sea level. Sometimes misspelled "Funifuti Airfield" in wartime accounts.

Construction
During 1942, built by U. S. Navy (USN) 2nd Naval Construction Battalion "Seabees". Funafuti Airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and radio station at Tepuka, connected by a cable to the airfield.

Wartime History
By late 1942, Funafuti Airfield was in use for reconnaissance missions against Tarawa, Mili and Jaluit before the conclusion of 1942. The first offensive operation from Tuvalu was launched on April 20, 1943 with a twenty-two B-24 Liberators taking off Funafuti on a bombing mission against Nauru.

During 1943, Japanese aircraft bombed Funafuti Airfield. The raids killed one local man and a dozen Americans but did little damage. A total of eight Japanese planes were lost attacking Funafuti.

Japanese missions against Funafuti and Funafuti Airfield
March 27, 1943–November 17, 1943

American units based at Funafuti
VS-65 (SBD)
307th BG, 371st BS (B-24) Wheeler April 18, 1943 - ? returns July 27, 1943 - August 1, 1943 Espiritu Santo
307th BG, 372nd BS (B-24) Wheeler April 18, 1943 - April 23, 1943 Kahuku
307th BG, 424trh BS (B-24) ? - February 1, 1943 Mokuleia
7th AF, Advanced HQ Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - December 30, 1943 Tarawa
7th AF, Service Command Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - December 30, 1943 Tarawa
7th AF, VII Bomber Command Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - January 1, 1944 Tarawa
11th BG, HQ (B-24) Hickam Field November 9, 1943 - January 20, 1944 Tarawa
11th BG, 431st BS (B-24) Hickam Field November 11, 1943 - January 16, 1944 Tarawa

Today
Still in use today as Funafuti International Airport. Airport codes: ICAO: NGFU, IATA: FUN. Teagai Apelu's residence is the former headquarters building and includes a wartime bunker.

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Last Updated
May 31, 2018

 

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