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    Marcus Island 南鳥島 Ogasawara Subprefecture Japan
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Lat N 24°16'  Long E 154°00'  Marcus Island is a small island located in the northwest Pacific Ocean in Ogasawara Subprefecture and is the the most easterly island of Japan. Located 1,148 miles east of Tokyo. The nearest land is East Island in the Maug Islands in the Mariana Islands. In Japanese, known as "Minamitorishima", "Minami Tori Shima" or "Minami-Tori-shima", meaning southern bird island.

On July 19, 1898 Marcus Island was initially claimed by Japan. In 1935, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) established a meteorological station and built Marcus Airfield. A channel was cut through the reef on the northwest side of the island.

Wartime History
At the start of the Pacific War the garrison included the 742 man Minamitorishima Guard Unit, under the command of Rear-Admiral Masata Matsubara and the 2,005 man 12th Independent Mixed Regiment, under the command of Colonel Yoshiichi Sakata.

At the height of the war, over 4,000 Japanese soldiers were stationed on the island. Defended by trench system and beach defenses around the perimeter of the island plus light and heavy anti-aircraft batteries.

Between March 1942 until July 1945 Marcus Island was attacked by American carrier aircraft and bombers and was bypassed, leaving the garrison isolated and cut off from resupply, aside from submarine or rescue.

American missions against Marcus
March 4, 1942 - July 4, 1945

On August 31, 1945 Rear Admiral M. Matsubara officially surrendered the surviving garrison of Marcus aboard USS Bagley DD-386 to Rear Admiral F. E. M. Whiting.

In 1951, the Treaty of San Francisco placed the island under American jurisdiction. In 1964 the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) established a LORAN-C navigation station on Marcus, whose mast was until 1985 one of the tallest structures in the Pacific until 1985. In the 1980s the Loran station was maintained by twenty-three US Coast Guard personnel.

In 1968, Marcus Island was returned to Japan. Today. the island is administratively considered part of Ogasawara, Tokyo.

Marcus Airfield (Minamitorishima Airfield)
Japanese built airfield that spanned the length of the island

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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