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Nanumea Airfield

Seventh Air Force - Emblem (World War II).svg

Part of Seventh Air Force
Nanumea, Tuvalu
Nanumea Airfield 1943.jpg
F4F-4s of VMF-441 on alert at Nanumea 23 October 1943
Type Military Airfield
Coordinates Latitude:
Built 1943
Built by Seebees
In use 1943-5
Controlled by United States Army Air Forces
United States Marine Corps

Nanumea Airfield is a former World War II airfield on the island of Nanumea in the Ellice Islands.


World War II

On 5 September 1943 elements of the 16th Naval Construction Battalion arrived on Nanumea and on 11 September they started work on a 7,000 feet (2,100 m) by 200 feet (61 m) bomber strip. On 19 September F4F-4s of VMF-441 landed on the strip and continued to use the runway during the remainder of the construction period. The first bombers landed on 12 November. The Seabees also built the camp and operation facilities for the airfield, including an 8,000-barrel tank farm for aviation gasoline.[1]

USAAF units based at Nanumea included:

USMC units based at Nanumea included:

  • VMF-441 from 19 September–December 1943

On 11 November 1943 a Japanese air raid on Nanumea resulted in the destruction of one B-24.

On 19 November 1943 B-24 #42-72980 of the 27th Bombardment Squadron crashed on landing.

On 27 November 1943 SBD #38035 of VMSB-331 crashed due to undercarriage failure.

By September 1944 base roll-up and salvage operations had commenced and were completed by the end of March 1945.[1]

F4Fs of VMF-441 at Nanumea, 19 September 1943


The airfield is completely overgrown with vegetation.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 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. 236. 

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