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    7 Mile Drome (Jackson Airport) Central Province Papua New Guinea (PNG)

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USAAF Sept 9, 1941

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USAAF Dec 8, 1942

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43rd BG c1943

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43rd BG c1943

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USAAF February 1943

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USAAF June 1945

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October 17, 1947

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Albert Cross 1962
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Justin Taylan 2003

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Justin Taylan 2005

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Justin Taylan 2006

Location
Lat 9° 26' 36S Long 147° 13' 12E  7 Mile Drome (Jackson) is located to the north of Port Moresby. Known as "7 Mile" because it was roughly seven miles from town. Also known as "Jackson Drome" or "Jackson Airport".

Construction
A prewar airstrip with two parallel runways. American B-17 Flying Fortresses used the airfield en route to Clark Field on September 9, 1941. During the war, it was further expanded and improved by the Australians and Americans.

World War II Pacific Theatre History
This airfield was one of the primary airfields at Port Moresby at the start of the Japanese bombing campaign, and one of their principal targets. It based the first fighters that flew in defense of Port Moresby, RAAF 75 Squadron from March - May 1942.

When American forces arrived in April 1942, the airfield was further developed. Revetment were constructed to protect parked aircraft and defenses. A network of taxiways between 7-Mile Drome (Jackson) and 5 Mile Drome (Wards) made it possible to taxi between the two airfields.

On October 21, 1942 torrential rains, ahead of the "wet season" washed out the shale base of 7 Mile Drome and several nearby roads and bridges. The rain damaged was not repaired until late in October, forcing B-17s to temporarily divert to nearby 17 Mile Drome.

The airfield then consisted of three parallel runways, running roughly north-west to south-east. In the middle was the original runway, a fighter strip 3,000' x 100' surfaced with martson matting (as of December 9, 1942). To the north-east side was a new bomber strip 3,000' x 150' surfaced with marston matting (as of December 9, 1942) later expanded to 3,750'. On the south-west side was a crash strip 7,500' x 100' (as of December 9, 1942).

Japanese air raids and missions against Port Moresby
February 2, 1942 - September 20, 1943

Australian RAAF units based at 7 Mile (Jackson)
75 Squadron (P-40s) March 21 - May 1942
American USAAF units based at 7 Mile (Jackson)

43rd BG HQ Mareeba Jan 43 - Dec 10, 1943 Dobodura
43rd BG 63rd BS (B-17) Mareeba Jan 20, 43 - Oct 29, 43 Dobodura
43rd BG 64th BS (B-17) Mareeba Jan 20, 43 - Oct 29, 43 Dobodura
43rd BG 65th BS (B-17) Mareeba Jan 20, 1943 - Dec 11, 43 Dobodura
43rd BG, 403rd BS (B-24) Mareeba May 11, 1943 - Dec 13, 43 Dobodura
35th FG, 40th FS (P-39 / P-400) Antil Plains June 1, 1942 - end July Antil Plains
35th FG, 41st FS (P-39 / P-400) Bankstown July 20 - Aug 16, 43 Tsili Tsili
8th Service Group July 30, 1942 - 1944
348th FG, HQ USA June 23 December 16, 1943 Finschafen
348th FG, 340th FS (P-47) USA June 23 - December 13, 1943 Finschafen

Naming
The strip was named 'Jackson' on November 10, 1942 in honor of RAAF pilot John Jackson shot down and killed in action April 28, 1942 flying P-40E A29-8. To Americans, the airfield was known as '7 Mile'. The Japanese code named this airfield "RZR".

Today
Still in use today, known as "Jackson Airport" or "Port Moresby Jacksons International Airport" or "Port Moresby International (Jacksons)". The main runway measures 9,022' x 148' oriented 32R / 14L surfaced with asphalt. The second runway measures 6,777' x 148' oriented 32L / 14R surfaced with asphalt. Both at an elevation of 146'. Airport codes: ICAO: AYPY and IATA: POM. Jacksons is Papua New Guinea's international airport, and the air hub for all Air Niugini flights in and out of the country and used by smaller regional airlines and helicopter companies.

Jackson Memorial
RAAF memorial for John Jackson killed in action while flying P-40E A29-8. The memorial is shaped like a wing with a bronze plaque reads: "Erected in the memory of Squadron Leader John Francis Jackson, D.F.C. 75 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force, killed in action 28th April, 1942 aged 34 for whom this airfield is named."

PNG Defense Force Memorial
Located on the northern side of the strip outside the PNGDF base, this memorial is not related to WWII history, rather PNGDF.  But, the memorial is made from the tail rudder of a C-47 and there is a wartime 50 caliber machine gun displayed there.

Bomber Revetments
At the western end of the airport are several large revetments for B-17 and B-24 bombers, still in excellent condition.

Air Depot Hangers
Two hangers built by the American forces near 7-Mile Drome. These had concrete bases, and Quonset hut type coverings, near the bomber revetment area. In 1980, the undercarriage of Ford Trimotor and G4M1 Betty wing wreckage were recovered to PNG Museum from this location by Bruce Hoy. Today, all that remains is the concrete base inside the Moitaka Wildlife Preserve.

DC-3 Bureau No 27110 (DC-3 "Larry Blackman")
Displayed on a pole near the old terminal building

C-47A Dakota Serial Number 42-24139 (DC-3 P2-ANN)
Stored in PNG Defense Force area

C-47B Dakota Serial Number 44-76545 (DC-3 P2-002)
Displayed at the Airways Hotel as "Balus Bar"

P-400 Airacobra Serial Number AP 347
Recovered from Bulldog in 1984 displayed outdoors in the yard of the South Pacific Aero Club

Tent City
On the SE of Jackson is exactly as it was during the war, and is littered with wartime debris, of 55 gallon drums and rusted drop tanks. This area was abandoned in 1944, and today is covered by bush and shrubs. This area was known as 'tent city' were troops were billeted, huts and mess halls constructed for the pilots and ground crews. When the kunai grass is burned off, there are some bits of aluminum and other wartime relics visible, including metal and drums.

Enlisted Men's Club
Behind Jackson, on top of a small hill, is the slab for the 65th Enlisted Men's Club.  Portion of concrete engraved with this has been up-turned.  In the valley below, away from the strip is the slab for the 64th Enlisted Men's club. Thanks to Bruce Hoy for this information.

65th Enlisted Men's Club Concrete Slab
A concrete slab for the 65th Enlisted Men's Club is reported to still remains, in pieces, behind Jackson. Thanks to Bruce Hoy for this information.

Fort Nub (John's Gully)
Located to the north-west of 7-Mile Drome. In or near a feature know as John's Gully. The wartime road from 7-Mile northward, towards Sogeri, Owen's Corner and the start of the Kokoda Trail ran past this location. A wartime quarry was present to the west.

Fort Nub was a base that was the nerve center for forward spotters, before they moved to Rouna. Warnings would be received at Fort Nub and relayed around the Port Moresby area to alert gun crews and sound alarms. The base was manned by Americans, and Australian were camped across the road. Ft Nub was the HQ for the 101st Light Anti-Aircraft unit from Georgia. The was a Australian Battalion there also that was responsible for coastal patrols around Port Moresby shoreline on a 24 hour basis.

References
NAC - Port Moresby International Airport (Jacksons)
Engineer Aviation Units in the Southwest Pacific Theater during WWII by Natalie M. Pearson, 2005 [PDF] pages 45-46.

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Last Updated
March 31, 2017

 

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