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    Pitu Airfield (Pitoe) North Maluku Province Indonesia
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US Army September 1944

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Robert Laessig 1944
Lat 2° 2' 46N 128° Long 19' 29E  Pitu Airfield is located on the Doroeba Plain parallel to the southern coast of Morotai Island (Moratai) in the Maluku Islands (Moluccas Islands). Also known as Pitoe Airfield or simply Moratai (Morotai). To the south roughly 1,200 yards away was Wama Airfield (Guama) and beyond the southern coast. To the west was Pitoe Airfield (Pitoe Crash Strip). After the U.S. Army landing, engineers first built Wama Airfield (Guama) to the south. Prewar and during World War II located in the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Today located in North Maluku Province (Provinsi Maluku Utara) in Indonesia. Still in use today as Pitu Airport.

After the U.S. Army landing on September 15, 1944 this area was surveyed by engineers for development into the second Allied airfield constructed on Morotai Island. By October 5, 1944 they completed Wama Airfield (Guama). By October 17, 1944 Pitu Airfield was completed with a 7,000' runway parallel to the southern coast. Afterwards, taxiways and revetments were added with a connecting road.

Wartime History
Pitu Airfield was primarily used by medium bombers and heavy bombers but also used by fighter aircraft when fully loaded with fuel and bombs. Designated U.S. Army Post Office 719 (APO 719). Also used by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) bombers. Used by the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) Far East Air Force (FEAF) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Allied units based at Pitu Airfield on Moratai
13th Air Force (13th AF)
5th BG, 72nd BS (B-24) Noemfor arrives October 24, 1944–March 20, 1945 departs Guiuan (Samar)
42nd BG, 390th BS (B-25) Sansapor arrives February 24, 1945–March 20, 1945 departs Sansapor
42nd BG, 70th BS (B-25) Sansapor arrives February 22, 1945–March 26, 1945 departs Puerto Princesa
307th BG, 371st BS (B-24) Wakde arrives November 10, 1944September 1, 1945 departs Clark Field
307th BG 372nd BS (B-24) Wakde arrives November 10, 1944September 1, 1945 departs Clark Field
307th BG, 424nd BS (B-24) Wakde arrives November 10, 1944September 1, 1945 departs Clark Field
13th AF, 868th BS (B-24 snoopers) Noemfoor arrives March 22, 1945July 3, 1944 departs Leyte
U.S. Navy (USN)
VPB-146 (PV-1) arrives October 1944–November 1944 departs Mokerang
Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
1st Tactical Air Force arrives December 11, 1944–September 1945
No. 22 Squadron (Boston, Beaufighter)
No. 30 Squadron (Beaufighter) Tadji arrives November 1944–May 1945 departs Tarakan

Japanese air raids against Morotai
The Japanese made a total of 82 air raids against the Morotai airfields between September 15, 1944 until February 1, 1945. reaching a peak in November 1944 with a raid every day. Tokyo radio dubbed Morotai the "graveyard of the 13th Air Force". In reality, most were only nuance raids, but some had disastrous effects. On November 22, 1944 before midnight ten Ki-21-II Sallys from 12th Sentai and 14th Sentai bombed Morotai and destroyed fifteen parked planes (including four A-20G Havocs from RAAF No. 22 Squadron) and damaged eight other, the most damaging air raid they experienced during the Pacific War.

On September 9, 1945 Japanese Army Lt. General Fusataro Teshima was flown aboard a RAAF C-47 Dakota to Morotai for the official surrender ceremony. Meanwhile, the rest of the Japanese surrender delegation were flown aboard a Ki-49 Helen and Ki-21 Sally painted white with green crosses that landed at Pitu Airfield. On September 11, 1945 the Japanese delegation flew back to Malimpoeng Airfield (Pinrang) on Celebes to put the surrender into effect.

By the end of the Pacific War, many surplus Allied planes were abandoned on Morotai Island. By the late 1940s most were scrapped.

Still in use today as Pitu Airport as a small airport. The single runway is oriented 27/09 measures 7,880' x 95' surfaced with asphalt. Airport code: ICAO: WAMR IATA: OTI. The control tower and terminal are located at the center of the south side of the runway. Many of the World War II era taxiways are still visible from the air.

In the 1980s, the only historical aircraft was a North American AT-6/Harvard wrecked in the airport area but was offlimits to visitors. The identity of this plane and location today are unknown.

Robert Dunn visited in 1997:
"I visited Moratai: Wama Strip and Pitue Strip. The locals showed us around we found a pile of Australian broken beer bottles next to Wama . The hot mix is still ok on Pitue."

U.S. Army in World War II The Approach to the Philippines Chapter XIX The Palaus and Morotai: Strategic and Tactical Planning pages 476 (map)
U.S. Army in World War II The Approach to the Philippines Chapter XX The Morotai Operation pages 491

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Last Updated
January 13, 2023



Sept 15, 1944


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