Highlights from this week in USAF and PACAF history

American Heritage Association. Photos courtesy of Hickam African

American Heritage Association. Photos courtesy of Hickam African

Charles Nicholls

PACAF Historian

* On Feb. 26, 1945, Lt. Gen. Millard F. Harmon, commanding general, Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean areas, disappeared on a B-24 flight en route from the Marshall Islands to Hawaii. Despite an intensive search by aircraft and surface vessels, no trace of the plane was ever found. Brig Gen. James R. Andersen, Harmon’s chief of staff, was also on the flight. Andersen Air Force Base is named in his honor.

* From March 1 to 4, 1943, the Battle of the Bismarck Sea took place.

Crews of the Fifth Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force flying out of Port Moresby, New Guinea attacked a convoy of Japanese reinforcements and their main air base at Lae.

Allied bombers, including heavily armed B-25s with forward- and side-firing guns, used innovative skip-bombing to wreak havoc on the Japanese convoy of eight troop transports, eight destroyers and two cruisers.

Out of 6,900 Japanese troops who were badly needed in New Guinea, only about 800 made it to Lae. As Gen. George C. Kenney later reported, “In the space of 12 minutes, we had destroyed or damaged 114,000 tons of Japanese shipping, shot down or destroyed on the ground 85 airplanes.”

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Category: News