Wishbone-shaped Atoll comprising three coral islands (Peale, Wake and Wilkes) Surrounded by a coral-reef Enclosed central lagoon Surface is disintegrated coral with boulders, trees, shrubs Area = 2.5 Sq. Miles 12 Mile Coastline Large 9,800 Foot Runway Max Elevation: 12 feet 19 deg N of Equator Tropical climate. Avg 80-85 °F United States Air Force Highly restricted access Wake Atoll – Quick Facts
Wake Atoll During World War II First settled in 1935 – Pan Am Airways built “PAAville” + 48-room hotel to service Trans-Pacific China Clipper flights between San Francisco and Hong Kong January 1941: US Navy begins construction of military base August 19, 1941: 1 st Garrison = 449 Marines, 68 Navy, 1221 Civilians December 7, 1941: Japanese attack Pearl Harbor December 8, 1941: Simultaneously, Japan attacks Wake Atoll During the fierce battle, the small Garrison held their position sinking two Japanese destroyers, a submarine, severely damaging several other ships. >1000 Japanese forces were killed. December 23, 1941: Japanese overwhelm Wake and take control. All US military and civilians sent via ship to POW camps in Asia, except for 98 Civilian Contractors – The Forgotten 98
Wake Atoll During World War II For two years as POWS, the “Forgotten 98” civilians constructed barricades, bunkers, tunnels, ditches, runways, etc. October 5, 1943: USS Yorktown Leads fierce air raid October 7, 1943: Fearing imminent invasion, the remaining 98 contractors executed. A tragedy since the US had no intention of a forced landing on Wake Next 2 Years: Isolated from supplies remaining JA soldiers suffered badly Wake served as refueling stop, emergency landings and staging ground: Korean War, Vietnam, Desert Storm Wake is one of the most well-preserved military battlefields in the world Wreckage of several sunken Japanese warships sit off the coast Numerous bunkers and battle remnants remain Wake Atoll is truly an island “frozen in time”
Genesis of the Wake Atoll Commemorative DXpedition Where do we go next!? ClubLog, Internet research (Lou, N2TU) Forgotten 98- 70 th Year Commemoration 1943-2013 Forgotten 98 -Employed by Morrison-Knudson (Boise, ID). “Phished” for leads! US Dept of Interior, Insular Affairs, USAF. Initial correspondence with USAF 15-October 2012 Support by Gen. Hawk Carlisle – Commander, Pacific Air Forces 13 February 2013. Delayed by shutdown of US Government late. Travel orders finally approved on 28-October 2013.
Primary Goals First and foremost: Honor and preserve the memory of the Forgotten 98- Civilian Contractors who lost their lives on October 7, 1943 – 70 years ago – During World War II. Have FUN ! Major Target- Europe! Put a very rare DXCC entity on the air Maximize our # of “Good” QSOs – ideally 100,000 contacts Minimize Busted Calls = Manage The Pileups Maximize # of Unique callsigns for an “All Time New One” Create some great memories