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Old 09-06-2021, 12:38 PM
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Arrow This Island in the Pacific that you Have Never Heard of is Vital to US Naval Power

This Island in the Pacific that you Have Never Heard of is Vital to US Naval Power
By: Caleb Larson - National Interest News - 09-06-21
Re: https://nationalinterest.org/blog/re...l-power-193000

Photo link: https://nationalinterest.org/sites/d...?itok=GFMtlk-B

Again: This Island in the Pacific that you Have Never Heard of is Vital to US Naval PowerTags: Region Pacific - Military - Technology - Weapons - War - Navy - China -Stealth -Defense

Note: If there were a war in the Pacific, Wake Island would be essential to American forces.

History: Here's What You Need to remember: In the event of a Pacific war, American bombers would have to carry out a high number of sorties against enemy missile and air defense outposts in the Western Pacific. In that conflict, Wake Island would be the last American outpost in the Pacific able to get bombers into the air and keep fighters alongside them fueled up and ready to go.

Wake Island is not particularly impressive. Made of coral, the atoll is a mere twelve feet or so above sea level at its lowest point. It is remote, too. It is twenty-three hundred miles or about thirty-seven hundred kilometers west of Honolulu, and about two thousand miles, or thirty-two hundred kilometers, southeast of Tokyo. Wake Island’s remote location is what makes the speck of rock so important to the United State’s presence in the Pacific Ocean region.

Currently: Wake Island was claimed by the United States in 1899, though European contact with the island had been made multiple times before then. The island remained mostly uninhabited, minus the occasional castaway or stranded ship’s crew until the late 1930s, when the United States placed a small Marine garrison on the coral outpost. During World War II, Wake Island was the scene of intense fighting between Marine elements defending the island against the Japanese, simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Wake Island Now:

Today, Wake Island remains one of the most remote islands in the world, protected by miles and miles of open ocean. The rocky outpost has been modified extensively since World War II and hosts a nearly ten-thousand-foot-long runway, which can accommodate all aircraft currently in United States service.

In the event of a war in the Pacific, American bases on remote outposts like Guam or Okinawa would likely have a very difficult time fending off hostile missile attacks, partly because of their proximity to Asia. Okinawa in particular is only around five hundred miles or so from the Chinese coast.

Even though both islands have missile defense systems—the Patriot surface-to-air missile system and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system—both could be overwhelmed by a large enough missile salvo. Losses at islands nearer to Asia at the outset of a conflict could be immense and next to impossible to prevent. Wake Island however is harder to hit—and it might just be out of reach.

Another factor besides sheer distance that would keep Wake Island better protected is the United States’ Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD), a missile intercept system. Whereas missile defense systems like THAAD or the Patriot missile defense system are shorter range and provide regional protection, the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense missile system has a much, much larger flight envelope.

The GBMD system is deployed in both Alaska and California and is specifically designed to counter longer-range missile threats against the entire United States and Canada. Wake Island is likely just inside the interceptor’s defense umbrella.

Postscript:

In the event of a Pacific war, American bombers would have to carry out a high number of sorties against enemy missile and air defense outposts in the Western Pacific. In that conflict, Wake Island would be the last American outpost in the Pacific able to get bombers into the air and keep fighters alongside them fueled up and ready to go. Bombs away!

About this writer: Caleb Larson holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics, and culture.

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More about Wake Island - Pacific Ocean
Re: https://www.britannica.com/place/Wak...-Pacific-Ocean

Wake Island, formerly Halcyon Island, atoll in the central Pacific Ocean, about 2,300 miles (3,700 km) west of Honolulu. It is an unincorporated territory of the United States and comprises three low-lying coral islets (Wilkes, Peale, and Wake) that rise from an underwater volcano to 21 feet (6 metres) above sea level and are linked by causeways. They lie in a crescent configuration on a reef 4.5 miles (7.2 km) long and 2 miles (3.2 km) wide surrounding a lagoon, the volcano’s crater; the total land area is 2.5 square miles (6.5 square km). The atoll receives little rainfall, which may explain the absence of inhabitants when it was first sighted (1568) by the Spanish explorer Álvaro de Mendaña. Large rainwater catchments and a distillation plant for seawater have alleviated the problem. The atoll was visited by the British mariner William Wake (1796) and was charted by a U.S. expedition under Lieut. Charles Wilkes (1841). It was formally claimed by the United States in 1899 for the site of a cable station and was placed under naval jurisdiction in 1934. The following year a commercial seaplane base and hotel were built for overnight stops on transpacific flights to Guam and the Philippines.

In 1939 the U.S. Navy began construction of an air and submarine base; this was half completed when Wake was attacked and occupied by Japanese forces in December 1941. The Battle of Wake Island resulted in the capture of more than 1,600 U.S. troops by the Japanese. U.S. personnel returned to the island after the Japanese surrender in 1945.

In 1962 the U.S. government placed Wake Island under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior; most administrative functions, however, are carried out by the Department of Defense. The atoll has no ports, but there is an airfield that is used by the U.S. military, which maintains a base there and restricts access to the atoll. The airfield can be used, however, by commercial aircraft for emergency landings. In 1975 Vietnamese refugees were housed on Wake Island before transport was arranged to the United States. A similar operation in 1995 ended with the repatriation of stranded Chinese refugees who had been en route to Hawaii by boat.

The U.S. National Weather Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operate research stations on the islands. Bridges link the islets. In August 2006 Ioke, a “super typhoon” (a tropical cyclone with sustained winds over 150 miles [240 km] per hour), caused severe damage to structures on the atoll; the inhabitants had been evacuated to Hawaii. In 2009 Wake Island was designated part of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. There is no permanent population except several hundred air force personnel and civilian contractors.

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Personal note: That would have to be some tough duty! And surrounded by ocean water 24/7 and hide tides and possible flooding on many occasion's. But I bet at night with low lights - looking up ( on moonless nights - it must feel like you're in a fishbowl - with the stars going from horizon to horizon.
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