Mapping Wake

Mapping Wake

When it comes to drawing a map of a place, Wake Island is about as easy as it gets. The small Pacific atoll is small, distinctive in shape, and practically begs the casual observer to try his hand at cartography. The familiar outline of Wake atoll has been variously described as a wishbone, horseshoe, or simply V-shaped, with the three islets – Peale, Wake proper, and Wilkes – flanking a shallow lagoon that opens wide to the west. During my...

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Wake 98 Hero

Wake 98 Hero

Among the ninety-eight Americans murdered by the Japanese on Wake Island in 1943 was the civilian doctor, Lawton Shank, who had provided and coordinated vital medical services during the siege and battle of Wake in December 1941. Numerous sources attest to Dr. Shank’s continuing medical services through the difficult transition to captivity on Wake and, after the majority of prisoners were shipped out in January 1942, for the nearly four...

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Wake Beaches

Wake Beaches

For a small atoll of less than four square miles total land mass, Wake Island has a lot of beach. Together Wake, Peale and Wilkes form a narrow wishbone-shaped coral island that opens wide to the west. Linear distance tip to tip to tip is about ten miles, but altogether the coastline – including both sea-facing and lagoon shores – exceeds twenty miles. Comprised entirely of bleached, broken coral and ledges, none of it is “barefoot...

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