May 18, 1944
Following gunfire support from US Army gunners (who landed on Insoemanai island the previous day), USS Wilkes (DD 441) and USS Roe (DD 418), the 1st Battalion, 163rd Infantry landed on Wakde, off Dutch New Guinea. Rear Admiral William M. Fechteler commanded the naval attack force. On 21 May, the island was declared secure, and Army engineers immediately began to make the airstrip operational. Wakde became a key airfield in the Southwest Pacific offensive, as it supported two heavy bomber groups, two fighter groups, a B-25 reconnaissance squadron and part of a Navy PB4Y squadron.
Theater: Pacific Theater
Source: Naval History & Heritage Command