Operation New Life

Operation New Life

In the spring of 1975 Wake Island’s population briefly soared to over eight thousand, the largest number of humans ever on the little coral atoll in the mid-Pacific. Operations Babylift and New Life evacuated tens of thousands of refugees in the closing days of the Vietnam War, and Wake Island became an overflow station for the New Life program. While the island had been home to a bustling community of over a thousand Americans and Filipino...

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Survivor Memoirs

Survivor Memoirs

In the decades after World War II, many civilian survivors of Wake Island took pen to paper to write recollections of their experiences on Wake as workers, the battle for the island in December 1941, and forty-four grueling months as prisoners of the Japanese. Some fleshed out their memoirs as autobiographies, including memories of their youth and postwar lives; others zeroed in on the war and how they faced the challenges that befell them from...

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Japanese Americans in WWII

Japanese Americans in WWII

Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II by Daniel James Brown (Viking, 2021) offers a deeply moving account of the stark challenges faced by Japanese Americans during WWII and the heroic service rendered by the army’s segregated 100th Battalion/442nd Regimental Combat Team in the European Theater. These second-generation (Nisei) Japanese Americans marched into daunting missions with such determination and...

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“Special Prisoners”

“Special Prisoners”

Recent work at the Center for Research: Allied POWs under the Japanese (Mansell.com) has uncovered two secret radio POW camps in Japan during the war. A few Allied prisoners were known to have worked in broadcasting for Radio Tokyo during the later years of the war, but details were vague. While the production of this camp was openly broadcast over the airwaves in Asia and the Pacific where Japan hoped to influence Allied troops, the second...

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The WWII Burial Program

The WWII Burial Program

[6/3/2023 revised WWI death statistics in third paragraph] Every Memorial Day Americans pay their respects at the graves of veterans and loved ones in well-kept cemeteries decorated with flags and flowers. Most are unaware of the history that brought over one hundred seventy thousand dead servicemen home from the far-flung battlefields and seas of the Second World War. In the fall of 1945, the U. S. Congress approved a program unprecedented in...

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Try, try again . . .

Try, try again . . .

The U. S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services recently announced that it is partnering with Parallel Flight Technologies to develop and test a drone-based system for aerial delivery of rat poison on Wake Island. Wake’s last rat eradication program took place in May 2012 and, during my visit there six months prior, preparations were well underway as authorities mapped bait stations and helicopter distribution routes and adopted strict...

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