Tontouta Airfield is located in the municipality of Païta roughly 52 km northwest of Nouméa on New Caledonia. Pronounced "La Ton-Two-Ta". Today known as La Tontouta International Airport or Nouméa - La Tontouta International Airport or in French Aéroport de Nouméa - La Tontouta.
Built prior to the war.
In 1942, it was a 5,000' runway, used extensively
by the Americans during the early stages of the war. Tontouta Airfield was the final refueling stop on the aircraft
ferry route from Hawaii to Australia. During the middle of 1943 a U. S. Army Air Force Service Command Unit and the 13th Air Depot were based at Tontouta Airfield.
American units based at Tontouta
U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF)
347th FG 67th FS (P-39) February 27, 42 - April
24, 43 to Kila and Milne Bay
403 TCG, 13 TCS (C-47) ? - November 2, 1943 Espirtu Santo
USAAF Service Command
13th Air Depot (13th AD)
United States Marine Corps (USMC)
VMF-212 (F4F) May 11, 1942 - July 2, 42 Efate
Marine Aircraft Group 25 (MAG-25), Headquarters (C-47) - 1944
Roy Wooten adds:
"I was drafted May 25, 1942. I spent approximately two years at Tontouta Airfield. I have no idea what date we arrived but I was a high speed radio operator for the radio (cw) station WYVC, which was the headquarters for the 179 Air Squadron, of the AACS, which was the Army Airways Communication Squadron, of COMSOPAC. I have no concrete dates except in December, 1945 we received orders to report to Nouméa to be sent back to the States to be discharged. I was a radio operator at the headquarters of the 179th air squadron of COMSOPAC. I certainly know when I left , it was the first part of December, 1945, we received orders to report to Nouméa to be sent back to the States to be discharged."
After the war, the airfield was used by the French military, known as New Caledonia Air Force Base. Squadron l'Aeronavale 9S (French Navy) was based at the airfield, flying Avro Lancaster bombers as late as 1960.
Still in use today, known as La Tontouta International Airport or Nouméa - La Tontouta International Airport (In French: Aéroport de Nouméa - La Tontouta). Airport code: NOU / NWWW. It is the main international airport on New Caledonia, serving the city of Nouméa. In 2006, 415,813 passengers used the airport.
B-17E "Fiji Foo" Serial Number 41-9217
crash landed October 27, 1943
C-53E Skymaster Serial Number 44-9148
Pilot Celton crashed January 21, 1982
Do you have photos or additional information to add?
November 21, 2020