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    Laoag Airfield (Gabu) Ilocos Norte Province | Luzon Philippines
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USAAF May 20, 1945

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US Army July 25, 1946

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Justin Taylan 2003
Location
Lat 18° 11' 0" Long 120° 32' 0"  Laoag Airfield is located at an elevation of 25' above sea level at Gabu in Ilocos Norte Province on Luzon in the Philippines. Also known as Gabu Airfield for nearby Gabu. Located between the Gabu River and the Laoag River and Laoag to the northeast. Today known as Laoag Airport or Laoag International Airport.

Construction
Built prewar with a single runway.

Wartime History
During December 1941, occupied and used by the Japanese Army and used as an airfield during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

On January 24, 1945 Major Simeon Valdez, 2nd Battalion leads a raid on the airfield, burning the headquarters, setting fire to a fuel dump. There are no casualties on the raider's side. Similar attacks follow in the succeeding days.

On February 15, 1945 the Japanese abandoned Laoag Airfield due to the guerrilla raids and soon afterwards occupied by the U. S. Army that began repairing and expanding the single runway for military operations. The runway was expanded to 5,100' x 100' with a 500' overrun at the southern end and a parallel taxiway measuring 150' wide surfaced with asphalt and gravel plus marston matting (PSP). The control tower call sign was "Night Club". The airfield included accommodations for transient personnel.

By April 1945, the first U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) fighters and transport squadrons began arriving from Mangaldan Airfield until all units moved northward in August 1945 to Ie Shima Airfield.

American units based at Laoag
3rd Air Group, 4th FS (P-51s) Mangaldan April 5, 1945–August 9, 1945 Ie Shima
3rd Air Group HQ & 3d FS (P-51s) Mangaldan April 19, 1945–August 9, 1945 Ie Shima
3rd Air Commando Group, 318th TCS (C-47's) Mangaldan April 29, 1945–August 25, 1945 Ie Shima

Today
Still in use today as Laoag Airport or Laoag International Airport as a civilian airport serving Ilocos Norte Province with domestic flights from around the Philippines and internationally from China and Taiwan. The single runway is oriented 19/01 measures 9,120' x 148' surfaced with concrete. Airport codes: ICAO: RPLI IATA: LAO.

References
Index to Air Bases - Research Report No. 85, I.G. No 9185 - July 30, 1944
Airdromes Guide Southwest Pacific Area - 1 July 1945

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Last Updated
February 13, 2020

 

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