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Middle of nowhere with a runway: Wake Island

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  • Middle of nowhere with a runway: Wake Island

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    Wake Island is a tiny island in Micronesia, located 2/3 of the way from Honolulu to Guam, best known for its role in World War II. It is an unorganized United States territory, with no permanent residents, just members of the U.S. military and civilian contractors who manage the facility. Positioned just a few hundred miles west of the International Date Line (UTC +12), Wake Island is "in the future" from most of the world, and the rest of the United States.

    1) Discovered by a Spanish explorer who named it "San Francisco". Re-discovered by a British ship captained by Samuel Wake. The later name stuck.
    2) Pam Am "put it on the map" when they build "PAAville", a 48 room hotel, in 1935.
    3) On the day that Pearl Harbour was attacked, Japanese forces staged an attack only hours later. Out gunned and outnumbered the American forces fought and killed almost 1000 Japanese invaders and sank two of their destroyers.
    4) It had served as a refueling stop during the Korean War, Vietnam War, and Operation Desert Storm.
    5)Served as a waystation for 92,000 Vietnamese refugees in 1975, and evacuees of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.
    6)"98 Rock" is a memorial for 98 US Prisoners of war who were forced by the Japanese to re-build the airstrip as slave labour. They were then blind-folded and shot. One escaped and inscribed "98 US POW 5-10-43". He was later found and killed.

    The island is a paradise in the sense of the word. It has a shark-free lagoon where you can swim. The water is only a couple of meters deep at high tide.

    The island is off-limits to the public.

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