2017 Reunion photos

2017 Reunion photos

Here are some photos from the final Wake Island Reunion in Boise, September 8-9, 2017. Many thanks to Pati Bradstreet and Polli Buzzini (Alice’s daughters), Seth Randal (creator of the documentary film “Workers of Wake”), Terry and Karla Barnes (grandson of Robert “Tex” Lancaster), and Ron Olson (my brother and the son of Ted Olson) for these photos. I will add more as they come...

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Final Wake Reunion 2017

Final Wake Reunion 2017

The final reunion of the Wake Survivors’ group was held on September 8-9, 2017, in Boise, Idaho, more than seven decades after the just-liberated survivors first met in Boise in December 1945. When the “Survivors of Wake, Guam, and Cavite” officially disbanded in 2003, Alice Ingham volunteered to keep the group connected. For thirteen years she wrote newsletters, held local coffees and luncheons, managed the growing memorabilia...

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Congressional Gold Medal

Congressional Gold Medal

The United States Senate is considering legislation to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Pacific defenders of World War II. Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) introduced the bill in February, 2017, and Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) have signed on to S. 450 as cosponsors. The legislation honors “members of the Armed Forces who fought in defense of Guam, Wake Island, and the Philippine Archipelago between December 7, 1941,...

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Guam Memorial Rededication

Guam Memorial Rededication

On June 8, 2017, the renovated Guam memorial was rededicated on Wake Island. Col. Frank Flores, Pacific Air Forces Regional Support Center commander, and Capt. Allen Jaime, Wake Island Detachment 1 commander, unveiled the new memorial stone during the rededication ceremony. The refurbished memorial had personal significance for Col. Flores, a proud native of Guam: “These men, with no military training, decided to take up arms and defend the...

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Wake WWII Volunteers

Wake WWII Volunteers

[See below for additional information on the Medal of Freedom] When war came to Wake Island suddenly and without warning on December 8, 1941, some of the civilian workers immediately volunteered to aid the defense of the island and many more stepped forward as the siege continued. Sixteen days later the island surrendered after a massive Japanese land invasion and final battle and survivors were taken as POWs. Japan’s designation of the...

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German POWs

German POWs

A couple of years ago I heard a Radiolab podcast titled “Nazi Summer Camp,” and the topic has stayed with me for several reasons. First, I (among many, apparently) was unaware that the United States maintained an extensive network of branch camps for Axis military prisoners of war during WWII. I also couldn’t help but compare the treatment of these POWs with those like my father who were interned in Japanese POW camps during the war. The...

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