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5th AF Oct 14, 1943
17th TRG Jan 25, 1944
38th BG January 25, 1944
Young March 5, 1944
RAAF March 23, 1944
David Paulley 1982
Jeff Hutchingson 2003
Lat 2° 3' 43S Long 147° 25' 27E Momote Airfield was located in a coconut grove at the eastern side of Los Negros Island. The runway spanned from Hyane Harbor in the north to the Bismarck Sea to the south. To the west is jungle and mangrove swamps. Known to the Japanese as "Hyane Airfield".
This area was planted as a coconut plantation harvesting copra.
The Japanese built single runway running roughly north-northwest (NNW) to south southeast (SSE) surfaced with crushed coral. The single runway measured 4,100' x 300' with three taxiways and twelve revetments under construction (as of October 14, 1943).
During late 1943 until early 1944, used by the Japanese as a fighter and bomber base.
Japanese units based at Momote (Hyane)
63rd Sentai, 3rd Chutai (Ki-43) January 44 Hollandia
Lost twelve fighters on the ground on January 24, 1944
14th Sentai (Ki-21) 1943
American missions against Momote
January 25, 1944–March 2, 1944
After the February 29, 1944 U. S. Army 1st Cavalry Division landing on Los Negros, Momote Airfield was captured on March 2, 1944.
At the airfield, at least eight Ki-43 Oscars were surveyed by ATIU including: Ki-43 5807 (5907), Ki-43 6132, Ki-43 6139, Ki-43 6145, Ki-43 6150, Ki-43 6153, Ki-43 6155, Ki-43 6150 (had old style leak proofing). The others had more modern self-sealing tanks.
Immediately, Momote Airfield was repaired for use American. By March 16, 1944 Momote was in use and further expansions were underway and by by May 18 fighters were operating from this location. The runway was surfaced with coral and connected to taxiways, hard stands and storage areas including over 7,000 barrels of bulk petroleum for flight operations. A causeway was built over a swampy area and created a link between Los Negros and Manus Island. By 1945, the runway measured 7,000' in length.
Momote Airfield was used by American aircraft including the 13th Air Force, 7th Air Force bombers flying via Kwajalein for bombing missions against Guam that landed at Los Negros to refuel and rearm before returning to bomb again then return to Kwajalein. Also used by United States Navy (USN) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). During 1945, NATS (Naval Air Transport Service) operated R4D's and C-54s at the center of the airfield, with flights to Southern Philippines.
Allied units based at Momote
USAAF 13th Air Force (13th Air Task Force)
5th BG HQ Guadalcanal / Munda April 12, 1944 - Aug 17, 44 Wakde
5th BG, 72nd BS (B-24s) Munda April 15 - Aug 19, 44 Wakde
5th BG, 23rd, 31st BS (B-24s) Munda Apr 16 - Aug 20, 44 Wakde
5th BG, 394th BS (B-24s) Guadalcanal April 13 - Aug 25, 44 Wakde
VR-13 (R4D) spring 1945 - ?
76 Squadron (P-40, Spitfire)
79 Squadron (Spitfires) Kiriwina March 16 - Nov 24, 44 Darwin
19 Squadron (F4Us) ? - mid July 45 to Jacquinot Bay
VR-13 (R4D) NAS Oakland, CA April 1945 - ?
Other units based at Los Negros (unsure if Momote or Mokerang)
403rd TCG, 63rd TCS, 70th TCS (C-47) ? - Oct 1, 1944 Hollandia
403rd TCG HQ (C-47) Espiritu Santo Aug 30 - Oct 4, 1944 Biak
403rd TCG, 13th TCS (C-47) Espiritu Santo Aug 16 - Oct 4, 1944 Wakde
13th AF, 868th BS Munda (B-24 snooper) March 20, 1944 - Aug 29, 44 Noemfoor
18th FG, 419th NFS (P-61 det) Guadalcanal June 27, 44 - Aug 18, 44 Guadalcanal
Richard Dunn adds:
"Interestingly Japanese documents contradict this evidence somewhat. They show 6131 left at Hyane but 6132 turned into the Branch Depot at Hollandia. Looks like either the Americans or Japanese made a typo. Ki-43 6136 being turned into the 209 Branch Depot salvage dump "completely damaged" in Jan 44. Another interesting tidbit the 28 (apparently) fighters arrived by January 44 were equipped with one "fixed machine cannon model 3" and one 'experimental 12.7mm."
Still in use today as "Momote Airport" or "Momote Manus Airport". The runway measures 1,870m x 45m with an orientation of 16/34 at an elevation of 5'. Airport codes: ICAO: AYMO and IATA: MAS.
1st Calvary Division Memorial
Located near the airfield is a simple white monument with a brass plaque and inscription made of 50 caliber shell casings built during the war.
NAC - Momote Airport
View on Google Earth
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