5th AF c1944
1° 3' 0S Long 134° 54' 0E Noemfoor Island is an oval island that is part of the Schouten Island Group. To the east is Biak Island. Most of Noemfoor is surrounded by a coral reef. Also spelled: Numfoor, Numfor and Noemfoer. Borders Bree Bay to the east and Reamber Bay to the west.
During December 1943, occupied
by the Japanese and three airfields were constructed on the island: Kornasoren Airfield (Yebrurro), Kamiri Airfield and Namber Airfield. To aid with construction, the Japanese imported Formosan labors plus approximately 3,000 Indonesians men, women and children from cities including Soerabaja. The laborers were given little food, clothing or tools and no medical treatment. Many suffered starvation, disease or were tortured or executed by the Japanese for attempting to steal food. Dead were buried in mass graves and some weak were buried alive.
American missions against Noemfoor Island
April 20 - July 28, 1944
On July 2, 1944 at dawn a Naval and aerial bombardment the U. S. Army 158th RCT (Arizona National Guard) began landing from LCT and LCM landing craft at 5:00am on "Yellow beach" parallel to the western end of Kamiri Airfield over an area of 800 yards long at roughly 8:00am.
On July 3, 1944 the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment
made a paratrooper jump over Kamiri Airfield. The Japanese garrison was largely defeated after
a suicidal counter-attack by the Japanese on July 5, 1944. The
island was secured on August 31, 1944. The island had been
a major stop for the 'Hurricane' task force of WWII.
Veteran Glenn Shankle adds:
"I waded ashore from the reef as part of the third battalion, 158th RCT. We landed directly on the beach parallel to Kamiri. With the help of tanks, we crossed the runway and cleared the bunkers on the opposite side of the runway. My regiment occupied the entire airfield before the 503rd paratroops landed. The 503rd landed late that same day. Because of an onshore wind, they made a low altitude jump onto the airfield after we had secured it. They suffered numerous casualties from the low jump, but proceeded to secure our right flank. Both units dug in for the night with the airport secure in our possession. The next morning, engineers marked the mines along the roadway, but did not remove them until later. We successfully drove our jeeps and weapons carriers through the mine field without hitting a single one. The mines were actually aircraft bombs with sensitive 4 pound detonators. We later used the bomb casings for ash trays."
Dena "Thumper" Huitt, 41st
"We moved to Noemfoor until August 16, 1944 according to my
diary. We did have a plane burn on Noemfoor during preflight and never
did know the real cause. I don' think we lost any planes by bombing
raids on Noemfoor."
American units based at Noemfoor (unclear of which airfield they were based)
5th Air Force
4th PG, 17th PRS, (F-5s detachment) October 8, 1944 -
35th FG, 39th FS (P-47) Nadzab August 7, 1944 - Sept 12, 1944 to Owi
403rd TCG, 64th TCS (C-47) from Biak October 29, 1944 - Jan 3, 1945 to Biak
403rd TCG, 63th TCS (C-47) ? - Dec 31, 44 Biak
307th BG, 424th BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 26 - Nov 8, 1944 to Wakde
307th BG, 370th BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 20 - Nov 12, 44 to Wakde
307th BG, 371st BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 18 - Nov 21, 44 to Morotai
307th BG, 372nd BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 20 - ?
309th BW HQ Saidor July 28 - Nov 9, 1944 to Owi
58th FG, 69th FS, 310th FS, 311th FS (P-47) Saidor Aug 30 - Nov 19, 44 to San Roque
13th Air Force
13th AF HQ Hollandia Sept 23 - October 29, 1944
18th FG, 419th FS (P-61) Guadalcanal July 26 - Nov 27, 44 to Morotai
42nd BG, 868th BS (B-24 Snoopers) Los Negros Aug 29 - March 22, 45 to Morotai
5th BG, 23rd BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 30 - October 16, 1944 to Morotai
5th BG, 31st BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 26 - October 16, 1944 to Morotai
5th BG, 72nd BS (B-24) Wakde Sept 27 - October 24, 1944
5th BG, 394th (B-24) Wakde Sept 27 - November 1, 1944 to Morotai
Denver B. Northrip adds:
I was with 487th AntiAircraft Artillery Bn. We had quad 50 and 40mm. No big guns. One time, the B24's and B25's had a long mission north, it was raining really bad. Some of the B25's were directed to land at our airfield because of the "low on fuel" and stack up at the bomber airfield. One B25 landed....blew a tire and ended up sideways on the landing strip.....rain was so bad that the next bomber to land T-boned the first."
Russ Nelson adds:
"My father (Russell E Nelson, 403rd TCG, 64th TGS) flight log shows these flights to and from Noemfoor. Too many to transcribe, but they start 11-4-1944 and continue through 1-3-1945. Most of his flights were to/from Biak. On August 19th 1945 he moved to the Philippines, on September 15th, he landed on Okinawa, and on September 19th he landed in Yokohama."
Noemfoor Island is
part of the Biak Numfor Regency of Papua Province (Irian Jaya).
Kamiri (Kamirt, Kamiri)
Located on the northwest coast of Noemfoor including Kamiri Airfield
Located on the northern coast of Noemfoor including Kornasoren Airfield (Yebrurro)
Located on located on the western coast of Noemfoor including Namber Airfield (Namber Drome)
Located on the coast of Noemfoor
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May 22, 2017