Roger Sykes US Army 491st Port Battalion
Japanese Air Raids
I remember the great air field at Dubodura. The head quarters of the 5th Air Force. Hundreds of fighters and cargo planes were there. There were many different strips made of metal marston matting. There was a small landing strip at Embi, about 3 miles from beach. I do not remember much activity on it.
I visited the Buna battlefield [after the battle]. There was an American cemetery there. Later it was removed to the States. Also, a Japanese cemetery. Many old burned out landing barges and various equipment were left there. I went to Pongani by boat. All i remember there was an Angelican Mission School. Local people were assigned to labor camps by 'ANGAU' they in turn assigned workers where needed. My contact was limited to seeing them working in the area. I never got to know any local people during the war.
End of the War
I was at Oro Bay until the end of the war. After the war was ended, most buildings built by Americans were burned down. Ammo dumps were burned. Our camp on Chinamens Ridge was completely destroyed the day we left for Manila. Oro Bay was pretty well deserted in October 1945.
Returning to Oro Bay
I returned to Oro Bay with my wife in 1975. We got acquainted with some Angelican Hospital and school people. Went back several times through 1990 to help maintain the hospital and school. Not much changed from what I remembered. In the 1970s went there by road to within about a mile of the Pongani Mission. Then went through man high kunai grass to get there. As for me i am now a retired building contractor, moved from elmira New York to Sarasota Florida in 1994.
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