80TH FIGHTER SQUADRON
8TH FIGHTER GROUP
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

 

80th Fighter Squadron and the rest of the 8th Fighter Group sailed to Australia on an old cattle boat called "Maui", leaving in about late January 1942.  They arrived in Brisbane on 6 March 1942.

The 8th Fighter Group were equipped with P-39's assembled at Eagle Farm airport.  These P-39's assembled at Eagle Farm were originally intended to go to the Philippines but the convoy was diverted to Brisbane. The 35th Fighter Group had earlier been equipped with P-39's assembled at Eagle Farm.

The 80th Fighter Squadron moved to Lowood airfield on 28 March 1942 (another source shows the date as 13 Mar 42).

By 10 May 1942, the 80th Pursuit Squadron had moved from Lowood airfield to Petrie airfield, just north of Brisbane where they trained for combat for 2 months. 

They moved to Port Moresby, arriving on 20 July 1942. They relocated to Milne Bay on 8 November 1942. They moved to Mareeba airfield on 6 February 1943 to re-equip with P-38 Lockheed Lightnings. They then moved to Kila airfield at Port Moresby on 21 March 1943.

 

Crash of a P-400 on 26 May 1942 at Petrie

 

Crash of two P-400's on 2 July 1942 at Redcliffe

 

Crash on 15 July 1942 into Moreton Bay at Sandgate

 

2nd Crash on 15 July 1942 into Moreton Bay at Sandgate

 

On 20 July 1942 twelve P-400's of the 80th flew to 7 Mile air field outside Port Moresby, New Guinea.  They participated in missions to Buna strafing Japanese barges, intercepting Japanese aircraft, escorting Douglas A-24 divebombers to Buna, and escorting transport and bombing missions in the Buna and Kokoda Trail areas, carrying out dive-bombing missions at Myola Lake.

On 15 May 1942 the designation of Pursuit Group changed to Fighter Group.

By 10 November 1942, the 80th Fighter Squadron moved from Seven Mile to Turnbull Field at Milne Bay where they escorted transports and shipping and made local patrols.

On 28 January 1943, the 80th Fighter Squadron was relieved by the 36th Fighter Squadron.  On 6 February 1943 the 80th moved to Mareeba in north Queensland.  Here they converted from their P-400's to P-38 Lightnings.

The 80th moved back to New Guinea in about March 1943, and eventually moved to Borneo, then the Celebes Islands, then the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines and finally Okinawa on 29 August 1944.

A few of the more well known Aces of the 80th Fighter Squadron were Major Jay T. Robbins (22 confirmed kills) and Major Richard I. Bong (40 confirmed kills). 

Captain Falletta was the commander of the 80th Fighter Squadron for a short while.

 

P-38 Lightning 80th Fighter Squadron Nose Art at Ie Shima 1945

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Bruce Graham for his assistance with this home page.

 

OTHER LINKS

The 80th Fighter Squadron - "Headhunters"
Origin and World War II History

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 20 February 1999

This page last updated 14 January 2017