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Last Updated: Jul 22, 2014     Views: 412

The Naval History and Heritage Command has some online information on Amapa:


Construction accomplished for the Navy dotted the entire coast of Brazil with air and naval bases which were vital to the anti-submarine campaign in the South Atlantic and provided stepping stones on the air route to Africa.

The northern coast of Brazil, an almost entirely flat coastal plain of low elevation, extends from the Brazilian-French Guianan border to the city of Natal. The eastern coast varies from the semi-arid and low-lying coastal region of Natal to the rugged mountain country from Victoria to Santa Cruz just south of Rio de Janeiro. The southern coast is composed of rugged mountain country as far as Rio Grande do Sul and thence develops into a flat, treeless plain extending to the Uruguayan border.

The coastal area, north of Rio de Janeiro, was the site for the major portion of construction. This region is sparsely populated, except in the vicinity of the ports, which are connected, for the most part, only by sea and airlines. Ship transportation became extremely difficult, as an appreciable amount of Brazilian coastwise shipping had been sunk by enemy action. The extremely poor roads between the ports were used during the construction only for the transportation of important strategic material which was too heavy for air cargo.

Most of the airport construction was accomplished by the United States Army, through a cooperative contract with the Pan American Airport Corporation.

With the authorization of additional facilities at the airfields and of the projects necessary for the Fleet Facilities Program, further arrangements were necessary. Change orders to the Pan American contract and Army engineer-management contracts were issued, and the Bureau of Yards and Docks awarded cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts, lump-sum contracts, and service requisitions on local contractors. Bases constructed formed an extensive chain along the coast from Amapa, near the border of French Guiana, to Santa Cruz.

Amapa. - Amapa, on the Amapa Grande River, was selected as the site for a naval air base to support the operation of two blimps and three patrol bombers. When naval construction was started on June 22, 1943, the Army had completed 3,000 feet of a proposed 5,000-foot runway, a grass runway about

5,000 feet long, and a portion of the accompanying permanent housing development. Construction for the Navy included housing and mess facilities for crews and maintenance personnel and a blimp take-off mat. All construction, both Army and Navy, was performed under the Airport Development Program. The base was fully utilized by lighter-than-air craft, but patrol bombers were based there only when the tactical situation required it.

The Amapa base was decommissioned June 30, 1945.

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