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Lat 1° 22' 54N Long 173° 8' 49E Bonriki Airfield is located at an elevation of 9' above sea level on Bonriki Island at the eastern edge of Tarawa Atoll (Betio) in the Gilbert Islands. Also known as Mullinnix Field. Today, known as Bonriki International Airport or Bonriki Airport in the Republic of Kiribati.
During late November 1943, after U. S. Marines captured Betio (Tarawa), Bonriki Island was occupied by U. S. Naval Construction Battalion (NCB) "Seabees" began building a Bonriki Airfield as a single runway oriented east to west. A second runway was oriented northeast to southwest. This airfield had a longer runway than Tarawa Airfield (Hawkins) and was better suited for use by bombers.
Bonriki Airfield was used by 7th Air Force (7th AF) B-25 Mitchells and B-24 Liberators before moving forward to Makin Airfield (Butaritari).
Bonriki Airfield was renamed "Mullinnix Field" after Rear Admiral Henry M. Mullinnix Killed In Action (KIA) November 24, 1943 aboard USS Liscome Bay (CVE-56) sunk off (Makin) Butaritari during the U. S. Army landing that took place simultaneous to the U. S. Marines landing on Tarawa.
Still in use today as Bonriki International Airport or Bonriki Airport. This airport is a port of entry and is classified as a small airport as the only international airport in the Republic of Kiribati. The single runway oriented 27/09 measures 6,598' x 135' surfaced with asphalt. Airport codes: ICAO: NGTA / IATA: TRW. There are two terminals, one for passengers and one for cargo. Serviced by Air Kiribati, Air Marshall Isles, Air Nauru, Air Pacific and Fiji Airways.
Stan Gajda reports:
"At Bonriki, many large revetments for B-24's were built. Even to this day there is still a lot of debris of operations there, like bomb transport rings, bomb tail fin cases etc. In the revetments it is easy to find fired .50 and .30 cal mg cases thrown out of planes when they were cleaned during operations."
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