Scores of abandoned airfields and other military establishments sit atop small atolls littering the North Pacific Ocean. These edifices were built by the Americans and while they were short-lived and with most of the infrastructures gone, the runways and dispersals left behind are silent witnesses to their great and vital contributions in history especially at war.
Among the remaining abandoned island airfields of the Americans, the one found on Johnston Atoll is arguably, the most impressive looking. The island being a military post had long been over and since the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reclaimed it, nature has also changed what used to be its splendid-looking military base.
Though now a research center used by scientists to study the effects of global warming, Palmyra Atoll used to be a primary staging post for planes which flew between Hawaii and Australia during the Second World War.
The atoll was once owned privately by a number of American citizens. But when the island was placed under the US Navy, the latter built an air base there in 1941 with three large runways. While most of the buildings that make up one of the lost airfields of the Americans are now overgrown by the forest, the main runway is still in use until now.
Tern Island, French Frigate Shoals
Who would have thought that which now is a wildlife reserve was once a majestic, in fact could be the most majestic among the island airfields throughout the globe appearance-wise?
If viewed from air, Tern Island of the French Frigate Shoals has the look of an aircraft carrier. The runway built on it had taken almost every inch of the land. Built way back in 1943, the purpose of this base was to be a reserved landing ground for Pearl Harbor’s Naval Air Station. However, a tidal wave in 1946 wiped it out.
After the said incident, the US Coast Guard used the island.
Continued on page 2…