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    Nissan Island (Green Island) Green Island Atoll | Bougainville Province PNG
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New Zealand Army c1944

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USN January 30, 1944

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2006 via NZ Police

Location
Lat 4 32' 0S Long 154 13' 60E  Nissan Island is the largest island in in the Green Island Atoll bordering Green Island Lagoon to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. Nissan Island is approximately 60 nautical miles to the southeast is Buka Island. During the Pacific War, the Allies erroneously referred to Nissan Island as "Green Island". Also incorrectly spelled "Nissian" in some wartime references.

Prewar
During the late 1890s, Germans planted two copra plantation on Nissan that operated until World War I. After 1918, the plantations were operated by Australians until the start of the Pacific War. Also, Maris missionaries from the Catholic Church built a church, school and dispensary on Nissan Island. Tangalan Plantation was located where Nissan Airfield was built during 1944.

Wartime History
During early 1942, Nissan lagoon (Green Island) was used as a seaplane operating area by the Japanese. During March 1942 the Japanese occupied the Nissan Island. As the war progressed, it was used as barge station in the supply line from Rabaul to Bougainville. As American bombing increased, Japanese barges would hide in the Green Island area during daylight hours before moving southward at night.

Allied missions against Nissan Island (Green Island)
January 1942 - February 10, 1944

During the night of January 30, 1944 a raiding party of 300 soldiers, mostly from the New Zealand Army, 30 Battalion landed on Nissan Island. After reconnoitering for 24 hours, the group was withdrawn by sea having suffered five killed and ten wounded. Afterwards, from two US Navy combat demolition unit "frogmen" teams: NCDU 4 and NCDU 5 cleared obstacles from the landing area.

On February 15, 1944 American troops plus the 3rd New Zealand Division (less the 8th Brigade) landed on Nissan as part of Operation Square Peg. At the time of the landing, only about 500 Japanese base troops were on Nissan, the rest had withdrawn to Feni Island.  The remaining Japanese defenders fought to the death with none surrendering. On February 23, 1944 organized Japanese resistance ceased but mopping up operations continued until the end of the month.

Immediately afterwards, US Navy Construction Battalion "Seabees" developed Nissan Island into an airfield complex and base area to support aerial operations against Rabaul. Many famous Americans served or visited Nissan Island. U.S. Navy (USN) Lt. Richard M. Nixon, Officer in Charge of the Combat Air Transport Command (CATC) on Nissan (Green Island) who later became the 37th President of the United States (POTUS) during 1969-1974. During May 22 - June 10, 1944, Charles Lindbergh flew 13 combat mission with a U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) F4U Corsair squadron based at Green (Nissan) and Emirau and participated in combat mission to escort TBF Avengers over Rabaul and strafing ground targets. Bob Hope preformed on Nissan August 1-2, 1944 and Jack Benny on August 15, 1944.

Until early June 1944, New Zealand troops remained on Nissan before withdrawing to New Caledonia. During July 1945, the last Allied personnel departed the Green Island for Guiuan (Samar). Everything left on the island was destroyed or abandoned and the island was returned to the native inhabitants. After the war a vast quantity of supplies were dumped and thousands of drums of fuel were sold to locals for US $0.13 a liter.

Nissan Airfield (Green Island Airfield, Nissan Island Airfield)
Includes Lagoon Airfield (Fighter Strip) and Ocean Airfield (Bomber Strip) still in use today

Propeller
There is a large propeller under the large tree at 'the station' just near the working airfield. No significant damage or markings on the propeller which stands about four feet high.

Unexploded Aerial Bomb
During 2006, other members of the Royal New Zealand Police liaison team were escorted to another part of the island to view a WWII relic.  The relic was an unexploded bomb on top of the ground.  It was said to have no fins and appeared to be a large air bomb.  With no map or sense of direction in this new place no accurate record can be given of the location.

Green Island PT Boat Base (Nissan)
PT Boat base at Nissan Island (Green Island)

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Last Updated
January 11, 2018

 

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Map 1944

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