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    Bauer Field (Bauerfield, Port Vila Airport, Via) Efaté | Shefa Province Vanuatu (New Hebrides)
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USN June 1942

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USAAF April 20, 1943

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J. C. Tranape 2001
Location
Lat 17° 41' 57S Long 168° 19' 11E  Port Vila Airport (Via Airfield) is located at an elevation of 70' above sea level to the north of Port Vila on Efaté Island. After November 1942, renamed "Bauer Field". Today known as "Port Vila Airport" or "Port Vila Bauerfield" or simply "Vila Airport". Prewar and during World War II located in New Hebrides. Today located in Shefa Province in the Republic of Vanuatu.

Prewar
This area was a plantation owned by Henri Russet.

Construction
During early 1942, built by U. S. forces. During late March 1942, the U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) from the 4th Defense Battalion, 45th Marines began clearing the plantation area a single runway 2,000' x 200'. In early May 1942, the U. S. Navy (USN) 1st Naval Construction Battalion "Seabees" arrived and completed the airfield. Also involved in the construction were U. S. Army personnel.

Wartime History
During the Pacific War, used by the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF), U. S. Navy (USN) and U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) aircraft prior to moving northward to Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.

American units based at Bauer Field
11th BG, 26th BS (B-17) Hawaii July 25, 1942 - fwd echelon Sept 1 Henderson / Dec 22, 1942 Bomber 1
15th FG, 12th FS (P-39) Christmas Island Airfield November 19, 1942 - February 7, 1943 Guadalcanal
15th FG, 44th FS (P-40) 1942 - December 20, 1942 Guadalcanal
38th BG, 69th BS (B-26) New Caledonia December 7, 1942 - ?
VMF-212 (F4F) March 29, 1942 ground echelon, flight echelon June-July 1942

Naming Honor
Renamed Bauer Field in honor of Lt. Col. Harold W. Bauer, C.O. of VMF-212 who went Missing In Action (MIA) on November 14, 1942 piloting F4F Wildcat 03454 over Guadalcanal. Bauer was credited with 11 confirmed aircraft shot downs and earned the Congressional Medal of Honor. During 1943, also referred to as "McDonald Field".

Today
Still in use today as "Port Vila Airport" or "Port Vila Bauerfield" or "Bauerfield International Airport" or simply "Vila Airport" as a port of entry with two runways. The first is oriented 29/11 measures 8,530' x 148' surfaced with asphalt. The second is oriented 29L/11R measures 3,310' x 105' surfaced with grass. Airport codes: ICAO: NVVV IATA: VLI. During the early 2000s, upgraded to handle Boeing 737.

References
Sometimes listed as "Bauerfield".

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019

 

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