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Naval Air Station Port Lyautey
Located near Kenitra, Morocco
Type Naval Air Station
Coordinates 34°17′56.10″N 006°35′42.84″W / 34.298917°N 6.5952333°W / 34.298917; -6.5952333
Built 1919 (French)
In use 1942-1977
Controlled by French Naval Air Station
United States Navy

Naval Air Station Port Lyautey is a former United States Navy Naval Air Station in Morocco, about 5km north-northwest of Kenitra (Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen); about 120km northwest of Casablanca. The Naval Air Station was turned over to the Royal Moroccan Air Force and the last of US military personnel departed the base in 1977. The airport was later reopened as Kenitra Airport after it was closed.

History

See also: Battle of Port Lyautey

The faculty was established as an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) shortly after the Operation Torch landing at the former Vichy France airfield at Mehdiya-Port Lyautey. The facility was captured by one American destroyer and an U.S. Army Raider team. The destroyer USS Dallas (DD-199) came up the Sebou River, silenced the shore batteries with its guns and landed the Raider team which in turn captured the airfield.

Naval Air Station Port Lyautey is located in Morocco
Naval Air Station Port Lyautey
Location of Naval Air Station Port Lyautey, Morocco

After being secured, the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Force Twelfth Air Force 33d Fighter Group, Flying in P-40 Warhawks. The group took part in initial landings in French Morocco, arriving with the invasion force on 8 November. Remaining aircraft and ground echelon arrived shortly afterward. Moved to: Casablanca Airfield on 13 November. Other Air Force units stationed at the airfield were:

  • 1st Troop Carrier Squadron (10th Troop Carrier Group), 11 Mar-25 Nov 1943, C-47 Skytrain
Operated from Agadir Airfield, Jul 1943

Later, the facility was used by the 2037th Antisubmarine Wing (Provisional), later being redesignated as the 480th Antisubmarine Group of Army Air Forces Antisubmarine Command. The Air Force units used the airfield to patrol the Atlantic Ocean approaches to the Straits of Gibraltar for German U-Boats along with two United States Navy PBY Catalina squadrons. The units were assigned to the Northwest African Coastal Air Force for administration and placed under the operational control of the United States Navy Fleet Air Wing 15, which answered to the commander of the Moroccan Sea Frontier.

In addition, the airfield was used by Air Transport Command. It functioned as a stopover en-route to Tafarquay Airport, near Oran, Algeria or to Casablanca Airfield, on the North African Cairo-Dakar transport route for cargo, transiting aircraft and personnel.[1] After the end of the war in Europe, Air Transport Command was assigned several heavy bombardment squadrons by HQ USAFE XII Tactical Air Command to transport key personnel back to the United States. Known units assigned were:

After the war, the airfield was expanded to a major US Naval Air Station in 1951.

See also

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

  • Maurer, Maurer. Air Force Combat Units of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History, 1983. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
  • Mauer, Mauer (1969), Combat Squadrons of the Air Force, World War II, Air Force Historical Studies Office, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. ISBN 0-89201-097-5
  1. ^ File:Atcroutes-1sep1945.jpg
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