Lat 5° 53′ 0″ N Long 162° 5′ 0″ W Palmyra Island is located in Palmyra Atoll. Part of the Line Islands.
nautical miles north of the equator. It is about 120 miles northwestward
of Washington Island, 200 miles northwest of Fanning Island, 33
miles southeastward of Kingman Reef, and 960 miles southwest
On August 19, 1922, Leslie and Ellen Fullard-Leo, of Honolulu, acquired title
from Judge Cooper to all except two isles. After the death of Judge Cooper,
May 14, 1929, title to these two, known as Home Islets, passed to his heirs.
In the late 1930s, Palmyra Atoll was declared a U.S. Naval defense area,
and all foreign public and private vessels and planes were prohibited. The 76th
U.S. Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees) dredged a channel during the war so
larger ships could enter the protected lagoons and bulldozed coral rubble into
a long, unpaved landing strip for refueling transpacific aircraft.
By the time the war ended the military was
reluctant to lose its mid-ocean depot. The Fullard-Leos spent years
fighting for Palmyra's return. The U.S. Supreme Court finally
ruled in 1947 that they had title. The property remained in
the hands of this family until the year 2000. There had been many
offers to buy the island from people who wanted to turn it into something
useful such as a big resort, an offshore bank, a commercial fish
processing plant and an equatorial launch site for missiles and satellites.
Twenty years ago there were howls of outrage when the U.S. Government
sent a team of inspectors to scout the atoll as a possible site to
store nuclear waste. All these were rejected as the Fullard-Leos
chose to leave Palmyra exactly as it was. Today, The Nature Conservancy
concluded years of negotiations and finally took title to Palmyra
for $30 million dollars. Today, part of the Unorganized Incorporated Territory of the United States.
Palmyra Airfield (Lowe Field)
Built by US Navy prewar, used on the ferry route to the South Pacific
PBJ-1D Mitchell Bureau Number 35114
Pilot Sieben MIA August 6, 1943
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January 11, 2018