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USN VC-20 c1944
Ponam Airfield was located on Ponam Island in the in the Admiralty Island Group (Admiralty Islands). Also known as US Naval Air Station on Ponam Island. Prewar and during the Pacific War part of the Territory of New Guinea. Today located in Manus Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Between June 1944 to August 1944, the U. S. Navy (USN) 78th Naval Construction Battalion (78th NCB) "Seabees" built the Ponam Airfield with a single runway surfaced with crushed coral. By early August 1944 the runway was operational. Facilities included an open air movie theater and a chapel built using bush materials. A shower and latrine was built on the southern side at roughly the center of the island.
By August 1944, the Seabees were relieved by the 140th Battalion, A Company that completed construction and undertook maintenance and improvement of the airfield until April 14, 1945 when replaced by Construction Battalion Maintenance Unit 587 (CBMU 587).
Starting in August 1944, used by the U. S. Navy (USN) aircraft including PV-1 Venturas for training and anti-submarine and shipping patrols. In late 1944, entertainer Bob Hope made an unscheduled visit to Ponam and a show was organized for personnel form the surrounding bases.
American units based on Ponam
During March-April 1945, Ponam was turned over to the Royal Navy (RN). On March 13, 1945 the MSR No. 4 arrived at Ponam aboard HMS Speaker and began unloading their supplies from SS Clan Macauley. The bulk of the MONAB IV (Mobile Naval Air Base No. 4) arrived aboard SS Empire Arquebus on March 25 under the command of Captain A. N .C. Bingley. Several Dorland transportable hangers were installed at the airfield to provide shade while servicing aircraft.
On April 2, 1945 Ponam Airfield was commissioned as Royal Naval Air Station Ponam and renamed HMS Nabaron. Six Corsairs were unloaded from HMS Unicorn. By the end of the month, the base undertook Avenger crew training. By the end of May 1945, forty reserve aircraft at Ponam. During April to June aircraft were delivered by HMS Fencer, HMS Begum, HMS Implacable, HMS Arbiter and HMS Ruler. These aircraft remained while the carriers were outfitted, or to make practice landings on the island.
Royal Navy units based on Ponam
On November 9, 1945, the base was returned to US Navy control, but was never used again and became overgrown.
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