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    Sand Island Airfield (Henderson Field) Midway Atoll | Minor Outlying Islands USA
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USN November 24, 1941

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USN June 1942

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USN 1945

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Google Earth 2016

Location
Lat 28°12′05″N Long 177°22′53″W  Sand Island Airfield is located in the southern portion of Sand Island in Midway Atoll.

Construction
During 1939 the U. S. Navy (USN) contracted several construction firms, which formed Contractors Pacific Naval Air Base for the construction of facilities on Sand Island and the construction of Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfiel) on Eastern Island.

By 1943, Sand Island Airfield was completed with three intersecting runways forming an "A" shape: runway 6/21, runway ?/31 runway 3/21. During the remainder of the Pacific War was further expanded with fill to expand the island and improvement of facilities.

Wartime History
During September 1940, a U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) 3rd Defense Battalion detachment was assigned to Midway and began constructing defenses. In September 1941, replaced by the 6th Marine Defense Battalion.

Japanese missions against Midway Atoll
December 7, 1941 - June 4, 1942

Later in the war, US Navy (USN) Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) operated a small detachment at this airfield, to service two round trip flights by R5D Skymasters per week, with service between Honolulu Airfield (John Rodgers) and Sand Island Airfield.

Naming
During 1945 after Midway Airfield (Henderson Field) was closed, Sand Island Airfield became the sole airfield servicing Midway Atoll and became known as "Henderson Field", this was the third airfield named in honor of Major Lofton R. Henderson pilot of SBD Dauntless 2129 Missing In Action (MIA) June 4, 1942. Two other airfields were also named "Henderson FIeld" are Midway Airfield (Henderson Field) on Eastern Island plus Lunga Point Airfield (Henderson Field, Bomber 1) on Guadalcanal.

Postwar
At the end of the Pacific War until 1947, Sand Island Airfield (Henderson Field) was used by Pan Am as a stopover point for transcontinental flight by Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airlines crossing the Pacific. From 1947-1950 operated by the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA).

During July 1958, reactivated as a Naval Air Facility Midway (NAF Miway) operating Lockheed EC-121 Warning Star aircraft flying airbone early warning barrier combat air patrol (BARCAP) missions.

Today
This airfield remains in use known as Henderson Airfield. The single runway is oriented 6/24 and measures 7,800' x 150' and is surfaced with asphalt. The airport is uncontrolled airport with no control tower provides the only air service for Midway Atoll. Airport codes: IATA: MDY, ICAO: PMDY. During November to June, flights are limited to night when albatross birds are present.

Between 2011 to 2014 several aircraft including a Boeing 747-400 Delta Flight 277, a pair of F-18D Hornets and Boeing 777-200 United Airlines Flight UA-201 made landings at this airfield due to emergencies.

References
National Parks Service - World War II Facilities at Midway
AirNav - Henderson Field Airport Midway Atoll, US Minor Islands

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Last Updated
January 9, 2018

 

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