Del Monte (124.85E
8.35N) was an airfield on
the island of Mindanao in the Philippines
constructed on a former pineapple
plantation. (Yes, that Del
Monte.) Finished just before war broke out,
the field was well stocked with munitions and fuel (including 600,000
gallons of aviation gasoline), was capable of servicing heavy bombers, was
range of Japanese
bases on Formosa,
was overlooked by Japanese intelligence.
(The Japanese did not discover the field until 19 December 1941.)
MacArthur intended to base all the B-17 bombers of the Far East Air Force here, but only about half the 35 bombers in the islands had been relocated here when war broke out (14 and 93 Heavy Bomber Squadrons). The remaining heavy bombers in the Philippines were to have joined them there, but the move was delayed, apparently by Brereton so that the bomber crews could attend a party in Manila on 7 December. The others were destroyed by a Japanese raid on Clark Field eight hours after war broke out.
Del Monte became the headquarters of Visayan-Mindanao
Force (Sharp) after war broke out, and it fell only with the general surrender of American forces in the Philippines on 10 May 1942. The airfield was recaptured on 12 May 1945 by 108 Regiment.
Cagayan Del Oro
"The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific" (1966; accessed 2012-8-4)
Morton (1952; accessed 2012-4-4))
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