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On December 18, 1941 a Japanese reconnaissance plane located this airfield. Realizing Del Monte Airfield had been located, the rest of the day was spent camouflaging aircraft with palm fronds.
On December 19, 1941 at 4:00pm Japanese aircraft attacked, including A6M2 Zeros that strafed claiming two B-17s and three B-18s destroyed. At the airfield was six B-17 Flying Fortress bombers and four B-18 Bolo bombers that had just arrived from Clark Field. Destroyed on the ground was B-17D 40-3093, Tash's bomber, which was already disabled previously. That evening from 10:00pm until December 20, 1942 at 1:00am, the remaining B-17s departed for Darwin, evacuating the last remaining bombers and personnel.
On December 20, 1942 Del Monte Airfield was bombed by fifty-four Japanese bombers.
Although the B-17s had withdrawn from Del Monte Airfield, it was used as a staging base for bombing missions and evacuations until the middle of April 1942.
Evacuation of General MacArthur
On March 16, 1942 three B-17s from Australia flew to Del Monte: B-17E 41-2408, B-17E 41-2429 and B-17E 41-2447. A fourth B-17E 41-2434 was unable to start its engines and did not participate. MacArthur, his family and staff were flown from Del Monte Airfield to Batchelor Field near Darwin, Australia and successfully evacuated from the Philippines.
On March 23, 1942 Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon, his family and senior staff arrived at Del Monte to await evacuation by B-17s. During these days, Quezon stayed at nipa house.
On March 26, 1942 three B-17s from Australia flew to Del Monte to rescue Philippines President Manuel L. Quezon and his family plus his aide General Valdes, Vice-President Osmena, Dr. Trepp and other personnel departed at 1:20pm.
Royce Mission #1: April 12, 1942
Royce Mission #2: April 13, 1942 (Morning)
Royce Mission #3: April 13, 1942 (Afternoon)
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