Segi Airfield is located at Segi (Seghe) on the southern tip of New Georgia Island
mouth of the Morovo Lagoon. Borders Panga Bay and the Njai Pass to the northeast. Located 40 miles from Munda.
1943 a survey party from U. S. Navy (USN) ACORN 7, 47th Seabee Battalion landed and began construction of a single crushed coral runway at this location.
By July 10, 1943 the Seabees completed a single runway measuring 3,000' x 300' oriented roughly east to west for use as an emergency landing strip and limited operations. Afterwards, taxiways and revetments were built to the north and south of the runway. This airfield became the main
American airfield on
New Georgia until Munda Airfield was liberated during the middle of August 1943.
American units based at Segi Airfield (partial list)
925th AAA AW
47th Construction Battalion, C company
VF-38 (12 x F6F) October 1943 - ?
VF-40 (12 x F6F) October 1943 - ?
VF-33 (24 x F6F) Nov 1 - Nov 29, 1943
44th FS (P-40s)
Frank Ruscavage recalls:
"I served on Segi point in 1944. Navy
Seabees constructed the airbase, I was with the 925th AAA AW
BN. The Navy planes that flew from Segi were SBD bombers & Grumman
Corsairs, I believe there were called 'the flying duck'. The
Japs on Bouganville made a
counter push to recapture the air field, they got pretty close
of doing so, all planes were ordered to different airfields in
the region, the P-38's to Segi, the airfield on Segi was long
enough to land the plane but they had to touch down at the very
beginning of the strip, the 1st three planes didn't and went
the water, the other planes (about 12) landed safely. The month
was I think was in June 1944."
Earl F. Long recalls:
"I was based at Segi Point In 1944, I was in a C.A.S.U. outfit and we serviced SBD's, we were later transfered to Munda Airfield and was attached to a TBF Squadron."
Don Anderson reports:
“My father [47th Construction Battalion, C Company]
helped build the airstrip at Seghe Point in WWII, all the veterans
call Segi Point, pronouncing it 'Seegee'. I visited there in the summer of 1993.
I left a plaque with a picture of the landing, CB Logo, info, and papers on the
back with the names of the 47th Seabees at the small police outpost by the end
of the strip. I landed on the strip and went to Uepi. I came
back in motorized canoe and dove on the P-38. It was right where
my dad said it would be. However, the said the P-38’s were
trying to land and the runway was short for them. The first made
it but the second ran into the back of it and pushed it into
the water. I think this can be verified. Look at the back of
the P-38. It is bent under. This would be where the other plane
hit it. My dad said the planes were running out of fuel trying
to get back to Henderson Field on Guadalcanal.
The tower told them the runway was too short for them. A P-38
radioed back that
it was try or land in the ocean. The tower told them to come
on. I have many photographs my dad took, but no scanner. The
pilot quarters were down by the water. The rest were up on the
hill along with the guns. I found some buried barrels on the
hill. I took pictures and video. I got laughed at when I got
home. They would put an outhouse over these buried drums. When
they got full, They put the top on it and moved the outhouse
somewhere else. You will notice that there is a dugout area closed
to the strip. This was a dug officer swimming pool. I notice
canoes are docked inside it now to get off the ocean. I think
they used marston mat on a hole in the side for the water to
go in and out. My dad said this was so an officer didn't
get attacked by a shark. He said they swam and bathed in the
ocean. A shark wouldn't eat an enlisted man.”
Segi Airport is still in use today. The runway is overgrown with grass. Served by Solomon Airlines (Fly Solomons) for domestic flights to Honiara Airport. During 2013, the New Zealand Government funded the resurfacing of the runway. A memorial plaque dedicated August 15, 2013 was placed at the terminal building.
History of the U. S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II - Chapter 2 pages 59, 63, 64, 65, 67, 69, 70, 71, 73, 78, 79
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October 23, 2019