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US Army c1941
312th BG Jan 24, 1945
Lat 14° 27' 0" N Long 120° 30' 0" E Mariveles Airfield was located at southern tip of the Bataan Peninsula in Bataan Province in the Philippines. To the east is Mariveles and north of the Pucot River. Also known as Mariveles Field. At the eastern end of the runway is Mariveles Harbor. A prewar seaplane ramp and quarantine station were located at this location.
A prewar landing ground was located at this location, adjacent to the road. When American forces withdrew to the Bataan Peninsula, the old airfield was abandoned as inadequate. Starting on January 7, 1942, Contractors Pacific Naval Air Base personnel worked to widened the existing runway. By February 14, 1942 the single runway measured 3,800' x 65' oriented roughly WNW to ESE surfaced with dirt.
Meanwhile, U. S. Army personnel aided in the construction of revetments in the hills to the west and add camouflage. Some revetments were made large enough to accommodate the 105' wingspan of B-17 Flying Fortress. Also, emplacements for anti-aircraft guns and dugouts for defense. Contractors Pacific Naval Air Base also began construction of two tunnels M-1 and M-2. The airfield was built for the expected reinforcements bound for the Philippines that never arrived. Expansion was underway until American forces surrendered.
Used by the U. S. Army during early 1942 for missions in defense of the Philippines. Mariveles Airfield was given call sign "Palafox Red". The 20th Pursuit Squadron established a tent camp roughly two miles from the airfield. By the end of February 1942 they relocated to the town of Mariveles.
After the airfield was completed, on February 23, 1942 two of the five remaining P-40E Warhawks of the 5th Interceptor Command, 20th Pursuit Squadron departed Bataan Airfield piloted by Obert and Donaldson at 4pm on a patrol over Subic Bay, then at 5:30pm landed at Mariveles Airfield at 5:30pm.
On February 27, 1942 the two P-40s piloted by Moore and Stinson took off at 6pm on a cover mission and returned at 7:10pm without incident.
On March 2, 1942 the two P-40s piloted by Moore and Lunde took off at 10:50am flying south over Lubang Island, over Paluan Bay and observed a burning ship, then to eastern Mindoro over Calapan and Puerto Galera then returned at 12:15pm. On the ground the P-40s were armed with six 30 lbs fragmentation bombs. Both took off at 1pm piloted by White and Crellin and attacked Japanese cruiser in Subic Bay off Grande Island and experienced intense anti-aircraft fire. The P-40 piloted by Crellin was lost on the mission, White landed at 2:15pm.
On March 3, 1942 a strafed J2F Duck whose engine was above water was salvaged with block and tackle, patched and towed to the quarantine station and lifted out of the water and towed into a revetment at Mariveles Airfield for repair. The Duck was airworthy by March 24 and used for flights to Mindanao for medical supplies and other emergency needs for the garrison on Bataan. Finally, this aircraft was flown by Carlos P. Romul to escape Bataan.
Overnight on April 7-8, 1942 vehicles and trucks were parked on the runway. On April 8, 1942 the remaining pursuit pilots on Bataan drove to Mariveles Airfield to meet three B-17s that would ferry them south to Mindanao, but they never arrived. American and Filipino forces began displaying white flags in accordance with the terms of surrender. Still, Japanese dive bombers bombed the airfield.
As Japanese forces occupied the area, the Americans were ordered them to assemble at Kilometer Post 192 west of Mariveles Airfield to officially surrender, assembling at the airfield until April 10, when they began the Bataan Death March.
During the Japanese occupation from 1942-1945, it is unclear if Mariveles Airfield was used by any Japanese aircraft. During early 1945, Mariveles Airfield was bombed by American supporting the liberation of Luzon.
American missions against Mariveles
February 8-17, 1945
Disused since the war.
Doomed at the Start (1995) pages 262, 321-328, 338-339, 346, 374-375
Thanks to Tony Feredo for additional information
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