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5th AF 1943
60th NCB July 23, 1943
Warren Cabral 1943
C.C. McFadden 1943
C.C. McFadden 1943
Lat ° 13' 33S Long 152° 56' 40E Narewa Airfield is located at 10' above sea level parallel to Guasopa Bay on the southeast of Woodlark Island. Also known as "Guasopa Airfield" or "Woodlark Airfield". Prewar and during the Pacific War located in the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
On June 30, 1943 U. S. forces landed on Woodlark Island and met little opposition. On July 2, 1943 the first echelon of the U. S. Navy (USN) 60th Naval Construction Battalion (60th NCB) "SeaBees" began clearing and grading the area. In only twelve days, they built a single 3,000' x 150' coral surfaced runway. Some Japanese air raids occurred during the construction but caused no casualties. By the middle of September the runway was expanded to 6,500' x 225'. A parallel runway of 6,000 x 60' was also built. By October 12th, 110 hardstands were completed, then moved to Finschafen.
Starting in late July 1943, Narewa Airfield was used by U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as a forward military airfield. On July 23, 1943 a detachment of Airacobras from the 67th Fighter Squadron (67th FS) arrived from the South Pacific (SOPAC) and flew patrol missions and in October 28, 1943 returned to New Georgia and the remainder departed on January 1944 to the Russells.
American units based at Woodlark
347th FG, 67th FS (P-39s) New Caledonia July 23, 1943 detachment to New Georgia Oct 28-Dec 16, 1943 remainder departs January 23, 1944 Russells.
Japanese missions against Woodlark
July 28, 1943 Japanese bomb Woodlark
Pat McFadden adds:
"My Dad, C. C. McFadden Chief Petty Officer USNR, was with the 20th US Naval Construction Battalion on Woodlark between July 30, 1943 to April 14, 1944. Dad recalled the first arrival of the P-39, he said also they were much happier with the arrival of the P-38. One photo does give some orientation as to location of wrecks as you can see the airfield through the coconut palms and the shoreline. By the way, there should be at least one wreck of a Japanese aircraft on the island, not far from the airfield, as we own a small piece of turbocharger cooler pipe from a downed Japanese aircraft on the Island. Dad told us that they were not allowed to shoot back for many weeks, and the Japanese had a field day with daylight bombing ( 27 bombers on one sortie) and after dark harassment raids. Possible explanations were lack of ammunition, disclosing AAA positions too early so as to be easy targets, also hitting friendly CAP air cover. When they ( the Army AAA Batteries) were finally given authority to shoot back with 90mm they with the combined aircraft consisting of P-38s, P-39 and P-400 and other types shot down 24 of the Japanese bombers on their return flight to Rabaul. Morale on the Island soared."
Still in use today as Guasopa Airport. Airport code IATA: GAZ.
Ray Fairfield adds:
Charles Darby visited in the 1970s:
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