Located on Wake Island running roughly east to west, spanning the length of the island. Also known as "Naval Air Station Wake Island", "NAS Wake Island", "Wake Island Airfield" or "Wake Airfield".
Built by Morrison-Knudsen Company, one
of of eight construction companies called the Contractors Pacific
Naval Air Bases (CPNB). Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, Morrison-Knudsen
was contracted to build an airfield, seaplane and submarine
base on the island. Also, to dredge a channel into the lagoon to allow submarine access.
On December 2, 1941 USS Enterprise CV-6 delivered U. S. Marine Corps (USMC) VMF-211 F4F Wildcats to Wake Island Airfield. The squadron defended Wake until it was disbanded on December 23.
American units based at Wake Island Airfield
VMF-211 (F4F Wildcats) USS Enterprise CV-6 December 2, 1941 - December 23 disbanded
Japanese and American missions against Wake
December 8, 1941 - August 6, 1945
Facing Fearful Odds by Gregory Urwin:
"After the fall of the island, the American POWs were marched
to the runway and seated in rows facing a line of Japanese
machine guns. The men were certain that they were to be executed. Indeed,
this was the plan of the Japanese Special Naval Landing Force
troops who held them. Only the intervention of Rear Admiral
Sadamichi Kajioka, who commanded the invasion force, prevented
the slaughter. After Kajioka arrived, an interpreter read a
proclamation to the prisoners that said, in part: "The
Emperor has gracefully presented you with your lives."An
unknown voice bellowed from the crowd of Americans: "Well,
thank the son-of-a-bitch." With the exception of a
handful of senior military officers and contractors held
indoors, the captives remained three days and two nights
on the rocky runway."
Occupied by the Japanese and used as an airfield for the remainder of the war.
During September 1945, occupied by American forces and repaired. Several Japanese aircraft were abandoned at the airfield including a G3M2 Nell and A6M Zero Tail Y2-1??.
Today Wake Island Airfield has restricted access.
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October 23, 2019