The airfield was constructed by the 43rd Engineer Regiment (US Army) in March 1942 with further improvements undertaken by the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion between 11 May 1942 and 16 July 1942 and later by the Allied Works Council and No 1 Airfield Construction Unit RAAF.
Originally known as Burkholder Field, the runway was 6,000 feet (1,800 m) long and 100 feet (30 m) wide. Renamed MacDonald Airfield in honour of Wing Commander JRG McDonald of No. 13 Squadron RAAF who was killed at Laha on 10 December 1941.
The airfield became an Australian Army communication camp and was abandoned in 1945.
Units based at MacDonald Airfield
- 43rd Engineer Regiment (US Army)
- 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion
- No. 1 Airfield Construction Unit RAAF
- No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron RAAF (B-25) – (18 January 1943 till 7 May 1943)
- No. 54 Operational Base Unit RAAF
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