Lat 8° 31' 30S Long 179° 11' 46E Funafuti Airfield is located on Fongafale Island on the eastern side of Funafuti in Tuvalu (Ellice Islands). The runway spans the length of the island from northeast to southwest at an elevation of 9' above sea level. Sometimes misspelled "Funifuti Airfield" in wartime accounts.
During 1942, built by U. S. Navy (USN) 2nd Naval Construction Battalion "Seabees".
Funafuti Airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and radio
station at Tepuka, connected by a cable to the airfield.
By late 1942, Funafuti Airfield was in use for reconnaissance missions against Tarawa, Mili and Jaluit before
the conclusion of 1942. The first offensive operation from
Tuvalu was launched on April 20, 1943 with a twenty-two
B-24 Liberators taking off Funafuti on a bombing mission against Nauru.
During 1943, Japanese aircraft bombed Funafuti Airfield.
The raids killed one
local man and a dozen Americans but did little damage. A total of eight Japanese
planes were lost attacking Funafuti.
Japanese missions against Funafuti and Funafuti Airfield
March 27, 1943–November 17, 1943
American units based at Funafuti
307th BG, 371st BS (B-24) Wheeler April 18, 1943 - ? returns July 27, 1943 - August 1, 1943 Espiritu Santo
307th BG, 372nd BS (B-24) Wheeler April 18, 1943 - April 23, 1943 Kahuku
307th BG, 424trh BS (B-24) ? - February 1, 1943
7th AF, Advanced HQ Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - December 30, 1943 Tarawa
7th AF, Service Command Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - December 30, 1943 Tarawa
7th AF, VII
Bomber Command Hickam Field November 6, 1943 - January 1, 1944 Tarawa
11th BG, HQ (B-24) Hickam Field November 9, 1943 - January 20, 1944 Tarawa
11th BG, 431st BS (B-24)
Hickam Field November 11, 1943 - January 16, 1944 Tarawa
Still in use today as Funafuti International Airport. Airport codes: ICAO: NGFU, IATA: FUN. Teagai Apelu's residence is the former headquarters building and includes a wartime bunker.
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April 7, 2020