It was announced in the New Year of 1945 that we would be moving to Morotai to stage while the convoys formed for action in Borneo, when Australian forces of the three services would combine for the first time under the Australian 9th Division Command.
INTO Morotai Island in the Halmaheras went the RAAF with the US infantry as at HOLLANDIA, WAKDE, and Noemfoor, the RAAF was, represented by a works unit. It went ashore to prepare landing grounds for the RAAF and U.S.A.A.F fighter squadrons. Commanded by Group Captain D. J. Rooney the RAAF went in on D day September 15. The Halmaheras were attacked at the same time as the Marines landed on Peleliu in the Palaus just after the Roosevelt, MacArthur, Nimitz, conference at Pearl Harbour. Both landings were stepping-stones to the Philippines. Morotai is only 300 miles by air, from Mindanao in the Philippines. The whole strategy of operations since we seized the Admiralties has been to secure air bases for a springboard into the Moluccas. Morotai is our base in the Moluccas, looking right into the Philippines.
Basically, Morotai was an engineer's landing. The Japs fought, but that was a sideshow. We went there to build airfields, not to fight.
The landing was an astonishing revelation of the US Navy's power in landing craft and protection. For the first time the RAAF saw aircraft carriers protecting landings. It was a beautiful sight and one that promises great things for the future.
To-day RAAF squadrons are operating from Morotai, further north than any other Australian serviceman.