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Cape Gloucester Airport
is an airport in West New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea , officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea, is a country in Oceania, occupying the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and numerous offshore islands...
. . The airport is a single runway general aviation facility, at the present time, there is no scheduled commercial service to the airport.
Construction of Cape Gloucester Airport was originally began in 1942 by the Australians. When the area was seized by the Japanese, it was improved into a two-runway airfield. Later, the area was liberated by the United States Marines on 30 December 1943. Three American aviation engineer battalions were sent to the airfield where they found their work impeded by heavy rains. Marine L-4 aircraft (military versions of the Piper Cub) began operating from a road near the airfield as early as 2 January, and other aircraft made emergency landings. The available engineering forces planned to have the airfield operational for fighters by 1 February but American aircraft did not start operating from the strip until February 1944, but moving out by the end of March.
Cape Gloucester was later developed as an American and an Australian air base but it was never a particularly significant one. After the war, the airfield remained in use for civilian aircraft to service the Cape Gloucester area. It is not used by larger commercial flights, and is occasionally closed due to volcanic activity in the area.
Major USAAF units assigned
- 8th Fighter Group
The United States Air Force 8th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea and is assigned to Seventh Air Force...
(20 February-14 March 1944)
- Headquarters, 35th Fighter Squadron, P-40 Warhawk; 80th Fighter Squadron, P-38 Lightning
The Lockheed P-38 Lightning was a World War II American fighter aircraft built by Lockheed. Developed to a United States Army Air Corps requirement, the P-38 had distinctive twin booms and a single, central nacelle containing the cockpit and armament...
- 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron (6th Photo Reconnaissance Group) (dates undetermined)
In addition, the 12th Defense Battalion (USMC) was assigned to the airfield between December 30, 1943 - late May 1944
Australian RAAF Units Based at Cape Gloucester consisted of the 78 Squadron, equipped with P-40 Warhawks. The facility, however, was not very usable, as the mud during the winter rainy season was so bad most aircraft could not use the airfield.
- USAAF in the Southwest Pacific
During World War II, the United States Army Air Forces engaged in combat against the air, ground and naval forces of the Empire of Japan in the South West Pacific Theatre....