Tuvalu is composed of nine coral atolls spanning 360 miles of Polynesia. Part
of the former Gilbert and Ellice Island Group colony.
|| Wartime airfield Northwestern
most island & SBD Wreck
|| Wartime airfield and Tuvalu's
|| Operation loss of 22 aircraft due to
weather in January 1944
|| Lagoon used by the US Navy as an anchorage
|| Largest island developed into Motulalo Airfield
|| Located to the southwest with the largest village
hoped to occupy Tuvalu from Kiribati, but losses at Midway delayed
them, enabling American forces to reach the atoll first. American forces arrived on October 2, 1942. Secrecy was so well maintained that the Japanese did
not learn of the occupation of Funafuti until March 1943 when they flew
over the area.
Quickly, the Americans developed the area into an important Navy anchorage and important airfields with over 6,000 American personnel at its height
in 1943. By the middle of 1944, as the war moved further to the north,
American forces began withdrawing. By the end of the war, nearly all
the American presence had departed.
government of Tuvalu was established in January, 1976, ending its status
as a colony and part of the Gilbert and Ellice Colony and gained independence in 1978.
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January 24, 2012