Motobu’s WWII Abandoned Airfield


During the Battle of Okinawa most of the island was a battlefield. Both the Japanese and American forces stretched throughout the island in various ways to include underground tunnels, bases and airfields. This included 11 airfields, 10 of which were located on the main island with the 11th on Ie Island off the coast of Motobu.

Some of these airfields are still in use today and you may be familiar with them such as Kadena Air Base or MCAS Futenma. Others had limited function and were decommissioned and abandoned after The Battle of Okinawa. One of those abandoned airfields is the Motobu Airfield.

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The Motobu Airfield is located on the Motobu Peninsula which is near the East China Sea. It was built in April of 1945 by the Unites States Army Corps of Engineers and the Navy Seabees as a means to support the Army and Marine Corps ground forces during the Battle of Okinawa. The single runway airfield was mainly used for bombers which is why it had a size of 7,000 feet by 100 feet. The airfield was used from August until October 1945 at which time it was decommissioned.

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Today the airfield is for all intended purposes abandoned but is still easily accessible through some country roads. The tarmac is battered and broken. On either side are fields being farmed by those who live in the area. The runway is no longer it’s full length either as some areas are now overgrown. One area  actually seemed to have been dug out and a farmer had planed some crops.

The area is quiet and out of the way although there is some construction happening in the area. The future of the Motobu Airfield is still undermined although after all these years I imagine that it is not going anywhere.

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