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Palmyra Airfield was located on Palmyra Island, spanning nearly the entire length of the island. Also known as "Lowe Field" or "Palmyra Field".
During 1938, the U.S. Navy (USN) made preliminary surveys for an airfield on Palmyra Island. The first U.S. Navy construction party departed Honolulu on November 14, 1939 and arrived to begin building the airfield. The singe runway was made from crushed coral. During the Pacific War years, the airfield was expanded.
On January 17, 1942 B-17 Flying Fortresses supporting U. S. Navy (USN) Task Group 8.9 (TG-8.9) arrived at Palmyra then departed for Canton Airfield to fly patrols. During the Pacific War, Palmyra was used by American aircraft on ferry flights transiting from Hickam Field, Oahu as the first stop before proceeding southward to Canton Airfield on ferry flights to the South Pacific (SOPAC) and Southwest Pacific (SWPA) or return flights back to Hawaii.
PB4Y-1 Liberator 32144
Pilot Pennebaker crashed November 28, 1944
Palmyra Airfield was renamed 'Lowe Field', in honor of USMC Sgt William A. Lowe, 436533 a member of VMD-254, who was killed in the crash of PB4Y-1 32144 landing at the airfield on November 28, 1943.
Clarance Le Mieux recalls:
"[Arrived in early January 1942] I was assigned to a B-17 going to Australia with gun chargers they had ordered. The group of B-17s we were going with landed at Christmas Island, and they could not accommodate us there because the airfield was too small. We went to Palmyra instead. It was a base still under construction, by a Coast Guard civilian contractor. It rained, when we landed they said there was a submarine spotted off the end of the runway and to get out of there. By the time we went back to the plane we were wading through water it had rained that much. One engine would not start, I took off the magneto to dry it off but that did not work."
The runway has been disused and is partially overgrown.
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