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Lat 9° 5' 60S Long 152° 49' 60E Woodlark Island is located in Milne Bay Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Surrounded by the Solomon Sea. Known as Muyua in the local language. To the southwest is Milne Bay on the eastern tip of New Guinea. To the west is D'Entrecasteaux Islands. To the northwest is Kiriwina Island.
On June 30, 1943 U.S. forces landed on Woodlark and Kiriwina during a surprise landing by Army and Marine troops and the 60th Construction Battalion "Seabees". Afterwards, the Japanese attacked with sporadic harassing air raids that did minor damage. Quickly, the island was developed into a base area by U.S. Navy (USN) 20th Construction Battalion (20th CB) "Seabees" building thirty miles of roads on the island, housing facilities, eight wooden buildings, nine quonset huts, a small hospital, and a saw mill. Meanwhile, the 60th Naval Construction Battalion (60th NCB) "SeaBees" began building Narewa Airfield in a record twelve days. By November 1, 1943 all construction projects were completed. A detachment of the 60th Construction Battalion "Seabees" remained to perform maintenance until March 1944.
Veteran R. E. Spicer recalls:
"I spent about 6 months at Woodlark Island as a Marine in 1943. I still remember the big bay with the coral reef breakers about half mile out. We would swim in this bay area and the water was so clear you could see the shells on the bottom in 12 feet of water. We were there when the CBs built the air strip. Although we went to many islands after that this most beautiful place remains in my memory. I even remember a cave that had human bones in it at end of this long beach where the land extended further out into the bay. Would you be able to supply any pictures of this area today?"
Located on the southeastern edge of Woodlark Island. Guasopa Bay is the principal harbor on Woodlark Island, accessible through two passages. LSTs could enter the bay. Later, pontoon barges were established for a PT Boat pier and repair work on landing craft and picket boats were preformed here. During July 1943, Narewa Airfield (Guasopa Airfield, Woodlark Airfield) was was built parallel to Guasopa Bay.
Narewa Airfield (Guasopa Airfield, Woodlark Airfield)
American built airfield, still in use today as Woodlark Island's only airfield
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