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USN February 24, 1942
Kirby Crawford 1967
Wake Island is the largest island in Wake Atoll, connected by causeway to Peale Island and Wilkes Island.
Before the start of the Pacific War, Wake Island was developed with defenses in anticipation of a Japanese attack. Contractors Morrison-Knudsen Company, one of of eight construction companies that formed the Contractors Pacific Naval Air Bases (CPNB) built Wake Island Airfield. Defended by U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) personnel from the 1st Defense Battalion.
On December 23, 1941 during the early morning hours, the second Japanese invasion force arrived off Wake and the Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) made an amphibious landing. After a short battle, the Americans surrendered and 1,603 Americans become Prisoners Of War (POWs). Among them were 1,150 civilian contractors employed by Morrison-Knudsen Company / Contractors Pacific Naval Air Bases (CPNB).
Japanese missions against Wake Island
During the Japanese occupation, Wake Island was renamed "Otorishima". On June 26, 1943, the first American bombing mission against Wake was flown by four B-24. USS Yorktown aircraft attacked on October 5, 1943. After these air raids, Japanese commander Admiral Sakaibara saw these air raids as an indication that an invasion was imminent. He ordered the execution of the 98 American prisoners "to eliminate any threat they might pose". No American landing was ever attempted but U. S. aircraft attacked Wake Island until the end of the Pacific War.
American missions against Wake Island
Wake Island Airfield
Command Posts and Fortifications
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