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AirSols was a joint command for Allied air units in the Solomon Islands campaign of World War II, from April 1943 to June 1944. It was subordinate to the Allied Pacific Ocean Areas POA Command. AirSols superseded and absorbed Cactus Air Force, which controlled Allied air units in the Solomons during 1942–43. AirSols units came from elements of the United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) and the Thirteenth Air Force, United States Army Air Forces (USAAF).
|Active||April 1943 to June 1944|
|Branch||Navy, Marines, Air Force|
|Part of||Allied Pacific Ocean Areas Command|
"Commander, Aircraft, Solomons" (ComAirSols) directed the combat operations of all land-based air in the Solomons during the major Allied offensive of 1943–44, Operation Cartwheel. Discussing the initial command structure of AirSols, Marine Corps historians Henry I. Shaw & Douglas T. Kane, wrote:
- Rear Admiral Charles P. Mason was the first officer to hold the title ComAirSols; he assumed command on 15 February 1943 at Guadalcanal. Actually, Mason took over a going concern, as he relieved Brigadier General Francis P. Mulcahy, who had controlled all aircraft stationed at the island during the final phase of its defense. Mulcahy, who became Mason's chief of staff, was also Commanding General, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. The fact that a general headed the staff of an admiral is perhaps the best indication of the multiservice nature of AirSols operations. Since Mason brought only a few officers with him to help run the new command with its enlarged scope of activity, he kept Mulcahy's veteran staff. Experience, not rank, seniority, or service, determined the assignments. Vice Admiral Aubrey W. Fitch, as Commander, Aircraft, South Pacific (ComAirSoPac), was Admiral Mason's immediate superior.
On 15 June 1944, AirSols was replaced by AirNorSols (Air North Solomons), which would have 40 squadrons (including 23 USMC squadrons). That same day, responsibility for Allied units west of 159° East Longitude and south of the Equator passed from POA to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). However, seven USAAF squadrons in AirNorSols were transferred, as part of the Thirteenth Air Force, to the U.S. Far East Air Forces (SWPA) and eight USN and RNZAF squadrons were moved to garrison duty in South Pacific.
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- 18th Fighter Group
- 347th Fighter Group
- 4th Reconnaissance Group
- 5th Bombardment Group
- 42nd Bombardment Group
- 307th Bombardment Group
- 419th Night Fighter Squadron
- Rear Admiral Charles P Mason
- RAdm. Marc A. Mitscher (USN): 1 April 1943.
- Major General Nathan Twining
(A full list of commanders can be seen at James A. Winnefeld, Joint Air Operations: Pursuit of Unity in Command and Control, 1942-1991, 34, drawing on Sherrod, 1952.)
- Shaw 1963, Isolation of Rabaul, Chapter 2: Approach March
- Shaw 1963, ibid.
- Shaw 1963, 455
- McGee, William L. (2002). The Solomons Campaigns, 1942–1943: From Guadalcanal to Bougainville—Pacific War Turning Point, Volume 2 (Amphibious Operations in the South Pacific in WWII). BMC Publications. ISBN 0-9701678-7-3.
- Morison, Samuel Eliot (1958). Breaking the Bismarcks Barrier, vol. 6 of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Castle Books. ISBN 0-7858-1307-1.
- Sakaida, Henry (1996). The Siege of Rabaul. St. Paul, MN, USA: Phalanx. ISBN 1-883809-09-6.
- Sherrod, Robert (1952). History of Marine Corps Aviation in World War II. Washington, D.C.: Combat Forces Press.
- Craven, Wesley Frank; James Lea Cate. "Vol. IV, The Pacific: Guadalcanal to Saipan, August 1942 to July 1944". The Army Air Forces in World War II. U.S. Office of Air Force History. Archived from the original on 26 November 2006. Retrieved 20 October 2006.
- Mersky, Peter B. (1993). "Time of the Aces: Marine Pilots in the Solomons, 1942–1944". Marines in World War II Commemorative Series. History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved 20 October 2006. Account of U.S. Marine involvement in air war over Solomon Islands and Rabaul.
- Miller, John, Jr. (1959). "CARTWHEEL: The Reduction of Rabaul". United States Army in World War II: The War in the Pacific. Office of the Chief of Military History, U.S. Department of the Army. p. 418. Retrieved 20 October 2006.
- Shaw, Henry I.; Douglas T. Kane (1963). "Volume II: Isolation of Rabaul". History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II. Archived from the original on 20 November 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2006.
- "Title: THE ASSAULT ON RABAUL. Operations by the Royal New Zealand Air Force December 1943 – May 1944". Archived from the original on 27 May 2006. Retrieved 30 May 2006.
- Air War Against Japan, 1943–1945 (RAAF)
- The Pacific