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Funafuti International Airport is an airport located in Funafuti, capital of the island nation of Tuvalu. Funafuti Airport was built by United States Navy Seabee construction battalions in 1943 during World War II. The military airfield included an airstrip, control tower, facilities and radio station located at Tepuka, connected by cable to the airfield. The base Headquarters buildings were located at the present day Teagai Apelu's residence, and a bunker is still located there to this day. Naval air forces were based at the field, consisting of SBD Dauntless dive bombers. The airfield became the headquarters of the United States Army Air Forces VII Bomber Command in November 1943, directing operations against Japanese forces on Tarawa and other bases in the Gilbert Islands. The USAAF stationed two B-24 Liberator heavy bomber groups, the 11th and 30th Bombardment Groups on Funafuti and the first offensive operation was launched on 20 November with a twenty-two B-24 raid from Funafuti to Nauru. By the middle of 1944, as the fighting moved further north towards Japan, the Americans began to withdraw and by the time the war ended in 1945 nearly all of them, together with their equipment departed. After the war, the military airfield was developed into a commercial airport.
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