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    NAS Midway Islands Midway Atoll USA
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USN November 24, 1941

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USN June 1942

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Naval Air Station Midway Islands (NAS Midway Islands) was located at the southern edge of Midway Atoll. During Postwar, known as Naval Air Facility Midway Island (NAF Midway) or Midway Naval Base.

The shore facilities were located on both Sand Island with Sand Island Seaplane Base and later Sand Island Airfield plus Eastern Island with Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield, Henderson Field). The seaplane operating area included the Inner Harbor west of Sand Island with a seaplane ramp and another seaplane ramp at the northern edge of Sand Island in Midway Lagoon.

During 1939 the U. S. Navy (USN) contracted several construction firms, which formed Contractors Pacific Naval Air Base to build facilities for NAS Midway Islands on Eastern Island and Sand Island.

On Eastern Island, nearly the entire island was developed into Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield, Henderson Field) completed by 1941 with three intersecting runways in an "A" shape with supporting facilities. During 1945, closed as an airfield.

On Sand Island, the western end was developed into Sand Island Seaplane Base. Later, Sand Island Airfield (Henderson Field) was built on the southern portion of the island. Inner Harbor was developed into an anchorage with several piers and ramps for boats and seaplanes.

Wartime History
During Pacific War, NAS Midway Islands was an important base used by U. S. Navy (USN), U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) and U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) aircraft, culminating in the Battle of Midway during June 4-7, 1942.

Japanese missions against Midway Atoll
December 7, 1941 - June 4, 1942

During 1943, Sand Island Airfield was the second airfield completed in Midway Atoll. By 1945, Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield) was closed while Sand Island Airfield remained in use. Both were named "Henderson Field" in honor of Major Lofton R. Henderson pilot of SBD Dauntless 2129 Missing In Action (MIA) June 4, 1942

At the end of the Pacific War until 1947, Sand Island Airfield (Henderson Field) was used by Pan Am as a stopover point for transcontinental flight by Boeing 377 Stratocruiser airlines crossing the Pacific. From 1947-1950 operated by the Civil Aeronautics Authority (CAA). On August 1, 1950 deactivated as a Naval Air Station and placed into caretaker status instead.

During middle 1960s reactivated as a Naval Air Station Midway and Midway Airfield (Eastern Island Airfield) was used as a transit airfield for refueling aircraft flying to or from Vietnam. Closed in 1970 and designated a wildlife sanctuary and became overgrown.

On April 22, 1988 designated a National Wildlife Refuge under the jurisdiction of the U. S. Navy. On October 1, 1993 the U. S. Navy closed NAS Midway Islands as a military installation. Between August 1996 until 2002 the general public could visit Midway Atoll.

On October 31, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 13022 that transfered transferred the jurisdiction and control of the atoll to the United States Department of the Interior, administered by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). On September 13, 2000 designated the "Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and Battle of Midway National Memorial".

On June 15, 2006 President George W. Bush designated Midway part of the  Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument. In 2007, renamed Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument administered by both the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of Hawaii. A visitor program began in March 2008 but was suspended in 2013 due to budget cuts.

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Last Updated
April 7, 2020


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