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    Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield) Midway USA

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The Battle of Midway
June 4, 1942

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78th FS c1943

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USN 1945

Location
Midway Airfield is located on Eastern Island at Midway Atoll. Also known as "Eastern Island Airfield".

Construction
Built prewar. During the Pacific War, Midway Airfield was expanded.

Wartime History
On September 5, 1941 B-17 Flying Fortresses departed Hickam Field and landed at Midway Airfield to refuel before proceeding across the Pacific Ocean to the Philippines. The formation included: B-17C 40-3095 and B-17C 40-2072.

On December 17, 1941, 17 SB2U-3 Vindicators of VMSB-231, led by a PBY of Patrol Wing 1, arrived at Midway from Oahu, completing the longest mass flight by single-engine aircraft then on record: 9 hours, 45 minutes. It was the same squadron that was en route to Midway on December 7th, aboard USS Lexington when reports of the attack on Pearl Harbor forced the carrier to turn back.

On May 17, 1942 the 7th Air Force was placed on alert in anticipation of a possible attack on Midway. For the next 10 days B-18 Bolos were used used on sea search missions to supplement B-17's. During this period, 7th Bomber Command receives an influx of B-17's and the 5th Bombardment Group (Heavy), 72d Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) converted from B-18's to B-17's.

During the Battle of Midway, U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) bombers used Midway Airfield including B-17 Flying Fortresses and four B-26 Maruders: two from the 38th Bombardment Group, 69th Bombardment Squadron plus two from the 22nd Bombardment Group, 408th Bombardment Squadron. USAAF aircraft at Midway during the battle included: B-17E 41-2397, B-17E 41-2403, B-17E 41-2404, B-17E "Ole Sh'asta" 41-2428, B-17E 41-2437, B-17E 41-2463, B-17E 41-2524, B-17E 41-2525, B-17E 41-2635, B-17E 41-9212 and B-17E 41-9213. Two B-17s were lost on June 5, 1942: B-17E 41-9212 (MIA) and B-17E 41-2524 (rescued, 1 missing). Written off due to battle damage was B-26 "Suzy-Q" 40-1391.

American units at Midway
USN
VT-8 (TBF)
VP-137 (PV-1 detachment) Kaneohe August 22, 1944 - October 15, 1944 Mokerang
USMC
VMF-221 (F2A Buffalo)
VMSB-241 (SBD)
7th Air Force
318th FG, 73rd FS (P-40E) USS Saratoga Jun 42 - Jan 26, 43 Kaneohe
307th BG, 371st BS (B-24) Wheeler Jan 20 - Jan 26, 1943 Wheeler
15th FG, 78th FS (P-40K) Hawaii Jan 23 - April 23, 43 to Barking Sands

Late in the war, US Navy NATS (Naval Air Transport Service) operated a small detachment at this airfield, to service two round trip flights per week from Honolulu Airfield (John Rodgers).

References
The Battle of Midway (1942) directed by John Ford includes combat footage during the Battle of Midway

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Last Updated
May 22, 2017

 

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