Monday, November 18, 2013
Turtle Bay Airfield, Espiritu Santo Island
Following up on the last post.
Also called Fighter Field #1. Former World War II airfield on the island of Espiritu Santo in the New Hebrides Islands. The first bases on Espiritu Santo were built to defend Efate and to support the Solomon Islands Campaign.
A group of SeeBees and a Marine anti-aircraft battery arrived at Turtle Bay 8 July 1942, to begin work on the airfield and were given twenty days to have the place up and running. Assisted by 296 infantry, 90 Marines and 50 islanders they had a 6,000 foot long runway cleared and surfaced with crushed coral.
They made their target date.
The first fighters arrived July 28, 1942, followed the next day by B-17 bombers from the 26th Bombardment Squadron. Planes were fueled from drums and the first attack against Guadalcanal was launched July 30th.
The base was disestablished 2 Jan 1945 and the same happened to NOB Espiritu Santo 12 June 1946. The airfield is now largely overgrown with vegetation.
According to the excellent Pacific Wrecks site, the airfeield was built in the middle of a coconut plantation with rows of plam tress lining both sides of the runway.
Never Heard of Turtle Bay Airfield Before. --GreGen