Cape Torokina Airfield
Aerial view of Torokina Airfield in December 1943
|Controlled by||United States Marine Corps|
|Materials||Marsden Matting over sand|
World War II
The 3rd Marine Division landed on Bougainville on 1 November 1943 at the start of the Bougainville Campaign, establishing a beachhead around Cape Torokina. Small detachments of the 25th, 53rd, 71st and 75th Naval Construction Battalions landed with the Marines and the 71st Battalion was tasked with establishing a 5,150 feet (1,570 m) by 200 feet (61 m) fighter airfield that would become Torokina Airfield. The airfield became operational on December 10, 1943 when VMF-216 landed with 18 F4U Corsairs.
On 9 March 1944, the Japanese shelled the airfield and forced the squadrons that were based there to take off to avoid damage to their aircraft. Royal New Zealand Air Force squadrons also began operating from the airfield from January 1, 1944. Units assigned to the airfield included:
- United States Navy
- United States Marine Corps
- VMTB-233 operating TBF Avengers
- VMF-211 operating F4U Corsairs
- VMF-212 operating F4U Corsairs
- VMF-215 operating F4U Corsairs
- VMF-216 operating F4U Corsairs
- VMF(N)-531 operating Lockheed PV-1 Ventura night-fighters
- Royal New Zealand Air Force
- No. 19 Squadron operating F4U Corsairs
Today the airfield is no longer used and most of the runway is overgrown with vegetation.
- Building the Navy's Bases in World War II History of the Bureau of Yards and Docks and the Civil Engineer Corps 1940-1946. US Government Printing Office. 1947. p. 268.