Knowing that the rainy season would start in September, General
George Kenney, was looking for bases to support the campaigns in
reduction of the Japanese stronghold at
Kenny hoped a base could be established at Nadzab before the rains
came and his attention focused on an old landing field at Marilinan.
The 5th AF
fighter CG Paul 'Squeeze' Wurtsmith overflew the field in a
P-40, and determined that it would only be sufficient for C-47's.
Tsili Tsili would
be developed as a fighter strip.
A party of aviation engineers made a long
overland journey to reach the Marilinan strip. With the help of natives they cleared
enough ground to permit C-47 transports to land. Then an
air-borne engineer battalion
was ferried in. It required over 100 C-47 loads to accomplish
the transfer of the unit. An airborne antiaircraft company was
then brought in for protection of the field.
It was operational within a month.