Coincidence . . . or not

Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Coincidence . . . or not

Coincidence . . . or not

A few weeks ago I received a link to a story about a midair collision of fighter jets over the Pacific, about 250 miles west of Wake. Gregory Roberts of the Voice Observer reported that two F-18 Hornets had collided and fallen into the Pacific on Thursday, December 17. One pilot was rescued quickly and returned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, but the other pilot was still missing. Multiple ships and helicopter crews were engaged in the effort to locate the missing pilot. I searched the internet over the coming days, hopeful of a...

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Perpetual Threat

Posted by on December 8, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Perpetual Threat

Perpetual Threat

Yesterday the nation observed the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor: December 7, a date that has lived in infamy for seventy-four years now. Flags flew at half-staff, news media featured recollections of elderly survivors, groups with common bonds to WWII gathered to commemorate the day, schools held assemblies, and thousands attended the ceremonies on Oahu. I understand the significance of the day and honor those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor, as well as the victims of the coordinated Japanese attacks across the Pacific that...

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Ready, Aim, Fire

Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Ready, Aim, Fire

Ready, Aim, Fire

Wake Island was the center of action last week when it anchored a test of the U.S. military’s multi-layered, integrated ballistic missile defense system. The irony is inescapable. Wake Island, where the absence of even the most rudimentary radar in 1941 doomed hundreds of Americans to devastating surprise attacks by undetected Japanese bombers, became the base of operations seven decades later for state-of-the-art missile detection and interception technology. The U. S. military confirmed the successful $230 million test on Sunday, November...

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One Got Away

Posted by on October 20, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on One Got Away

One Got Away

Recently Doug Miller, webmaster at the excellent Pan Am Historical Foundation website, shared a very interesting story with me. Miller was contacted by the son of a Wake Island civilian contractor who had in fact escaped the island aboard the Philippine Clipper following the initial attack by the Japanese on December 8, 1941. In all my research I had never come across any mention of a contractor seizing the opportunity for a ride out that fateful day. But young Tom Cleary did. Mike Cleary shared his recollections of the family story, as well...

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Not Forgotten

Posted by on September 21, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

Last week President Barak Obama proclaimed September 18, 2015, National POW-MIA Recognition day, reinforcing our national commitment to those defenders who never came home. “We rededicate ourselves to our ironclad commitment to never leaving one of our own behind,” the proclamation reads, “and we pay tribute to those patriots known to God and never forgotten.” The quest to locate, identify, and return the remains of our nation’s war dead remains daunting even with the recent reorganization of the agencies responsible for the task...

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Manhattan Project Proposal

Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Manhattan Project Proposal

Manhattan Project Proposal

Plans are underway for a Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a joint effort of the Department of Energy and Department of the Interior to link the three sites that developed the atomic bomb during World War II: Hanford, WA; Los Alamos, NM; and Oak Ridge, TN. The two federal agencies are consulting with local political and tribal leaders and community members as they work toward a December 19, 2015, deadline to formally establish the park and present a joint plan for its operation. A draft agreement is open for public review and...

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Typhoon Halola

Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Typhoon Halola

Typhoon Halola

Wake Island dodged a bullet earlier this month. On July 11 a tropical storm formed south of Hawaii near Johnston Atoll and rapidly gained strength as it tracked west toward Wake. The storm packed typhoon-force winds as it approached the atoll and predictions called for a close pass on July 16, prompting a Tropical Cyclone Condition of Readiness 2 on Wake. On July 15 Hawaii Air National Guard evacuated all Wake base personnel to Anderson AFB on Guam via C-17 Globemaster aircraft to wait out Typhoon Halola. The Stars and Stripes website offered...

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Sorry

Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Sorry

Sorry

A few days ago the Associated Press announced that Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation apologized to American POWs used as forced labor during World War II. In a ceremony held at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles on July 19, 2015, Mitsubishi senior executive Hikaru Kumura apologized to California veteran James Murphy, 94, the only living survivor able to make the trip, and by extension to all ex-POWs subjected to forced labor by the company during the war. The public apology marks the first time any Japanese company has admitted its...

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Easter Island

Posted by on June 19, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Easter Island

Easter Island

I recently attended a thought-provoking lecture by Terry Hunt titled “Rethinking Easter Island’s Mysterious Past.” Dr. Hunt, formerly of the University of Hawaii and currently dean of the Clark Honors College and professor of anthropology at University of Oregon (my alma mater), has done extensive research in the archeology and environmental history of the Pacific Islands. For a dozen years Hunt has directed archeological research on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) where his team developed the astonishing theory that the famous giant stone...

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Blue Book

Posted by on May 19, 2015 in Blog | Comments Off on Blue Book

Blue Book

Anyone connected to the Wake Island civilian contractors’ story either has or wants to have a copy of the “Blue Book,” officially titled A Report to Returned CPNAB Prisoner of War Heroes and their Dependents. The slim volume recounts measures taken to extend wartime relief to dependents and the passage of several public laws during the war to ensure compensation for the captured employees from Wake, Guam, and Cavite, and their families. The enduring appeal of the book, however, is in the nearly eight hundred prewar photographs of the...

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