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Wake Island (one of three islands that make up Wake Atoll, view map) is located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, about 2,200 miles west of Honolulu, Hawaii and 600 miles north of Kwajalein (view map). Wake is best known in history books as the location of fierce WWII battles between American and Japanese forces. Ninety-eight American construction workers were executed on Wake in 1943 by Japanese officers, who were later arrested for war crimes.

I've had the luxury of being on Wake three times. These pages are used to provide family and friends with pictures and tales from this tiny island.

December 8-16, 2006 Wake Pictures  

I was part of a 5-member team sent to Wake to survey damage sustained by Super Typhoon Ioke. Click the thumbnail below to view photographs of the damage.

December 2006 pictures
Typhoon Damage Photographs

August 20-29, 2006 Wake Island Pictures  

August 31, 2006: A few days ago, I was evacuated by the Air Force from Wake Island due to Super Typhoon Ioke, interrupting a two-week business trip. The eye of the monster storm is expected to pass directly over the tiny island tonight. I very much hope that at least the barracks and houses aren’t too heavily damaged. There are many people who have called Wake their home for over 20 years and were likely forced to leave most of their worldly possessions when we evacuated.

I've posted a few pieces of information on the Tropical Meteorology page, including a broadcast of me being interviewed by the CBS news affiliate in Honolulu.

September 6, 2006: Images from Coast Guard reconnaissance aircraft have begun to filter in (link1, link2) and although they show a number of buildings partially destroyed, it sounds like the island is surprisingly intact. Click the images below to view galleries from my recent trip to Wake.

August 2006 pictures
Diving pictures
February 14, 2004 Wake Island Pictures  

(Warning: I'm writing the following after receiving only a few fragmented hours of sleep during the past 38 hours, and frankly, I'm doubtful of my ability to construct a coherent sentence!) The trip began when we flew out of Kwajalein Island late yesterday afternoon on Continental Airlines. After a one-hour layover on Majuro (capitol of the Republic of the Marshall Islands), we continued to Honolulu, Hawaii, where we arrived at 2:30 AM. We immediately grabbed a taxi and headed over to Hickam Air Force Base. Check-in for the 8 AM flight to Wake Island was at 4:30 AM. Yup, almost FOUR hours before the scheduled departure time!

Our mode of transportation to Wake was a noisy four-prop C-130 Hercules military transport plane. ATI (Air Transportation International) normally provides flights to Wake with a 737. However, the runway on Wake is currently undergoing repairs and C-130's will be used until repairs are completed due to their ability to land on short runways.

The 8-hour flight was interesting to say the least! We sat alongside uniformed service members in uncomfortable canvas jump seats, leaning against parachutes strapped to the fuselage. The head was a small chemical toilet with only partial privacy offered by a makeshift shower curtain. There certainly were no flight attendants or in-flight movies, but we were offered large box lunches. It's kind of cool to be able to say that I've taken a flight over the Pacific Ocean in a military transport plane!

We arrived on Wake, dreary eyed, around 4 PM...almost 24 hours after leaving Kwajalein. After a quick tour around the island (Wake is about 4 miles in length), we ate dinner and called it an early night. Tomorrow we'll repair the weather radar and, given enough time, begin the process of dismantling it.

This beautiful cumulonimbus cloud was being lit by the setting sun as we approached the Majuro Atoll. The entrance to the Hickam Air Force Base passenger terminal in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Hickam AFB passenger terminal. After 8 grueling hours in the air, we could finally see Wake Atoll through the windows of our C-130 transport plane.
The northwest corner of Wake Island, where the barracks, dining hall, bar, and bowling ally are located. I have yet to confirm this, but I believe since Wake is a United States territory and is located just west of the International Date Line, it's the first piece of US land that sees each new day...hence the sign on the airfield terminal. The C-130 Hercules cargo plane we took from Hickam AFB to Wake.
This office, now utilized by 3D Research to provide meteorological support for missile test launches, was once occupied by the National Weather Service. This memorial rock is dedicated to the 98 American construction workers who were executed on Wake by the Japanese. These steel pylons are all that's left of the old wooden bridge that connected Wake Island to another island in the atoll, site of a bird sanctuary.  The bridge was destroyed in a fire in late 2003.
The setting sun reflects in the lagoon. All I need is an air conditioning unit, a fridge to keep my beer cold, and a phone line to dial into the internet!    

February 15, 2004 Wake Island Pictures  

After a rather sleepless night (thanks in part the noisy wall-mounted AC unit), we met in the cafeteria at 7:30 AM for breakfast. The first order of business was to head over to the radar building for repairs. We gave the radar a clean bill of health after replacing the main processor board, Intermediate Frequency Device (IFD), and Automatic Frequency Controller (AFC). This was some welcome news since we expected troubleshooting itself to take a couple of days.

After an excellent lunch of ravioli, deep-fried fish, and garlic Thai chicken, we drove to the weather forecast office, located on the first floor of the terminal building. Here we installed a GPS-driven network time server and inspected some roof-mounted equipment, including a satellite tracking dish, used to download weather images from polar orbiting weather satellites. Across the street from the forecast office is the balloon shelter, where weather balloons are launched during missile test missions. Also located across the street are bunkers dating back to WWII, all of which display signs of fierce gunfire.

We called it a day at 5 PM and Clint and I went for a quick swim in one of the channels leading from the open ocean to the lagoon. We were later treated a wonderful steak dinner, which we cooked ourselves on a large charcoal BBQ. After dinner we took our scraps of food and walked to the ruins of the old wooden bridge that used to connect Wake Island to nearby Peale Island before a fire destroyed the bridge late last year. The local fish are accustomed to people feeding them in the evenings. As we threw pieces of food into the air, the water appeared to boil with hundreds of small fish, literally leaping out of the water, fighting for their piece of the pie...literally. Bwahahaha, I kill myself. But then again, maybe it's the can of Coors I'm drinking?

The weather radar room.  From left to right: transmitter enclosure, radar processor and controller, and product display computers. The temporary weather radar dish and pedestal are mounted to a scaffolding above the radar room. This Thai gentleman is helping to build a boat completely out of metal. One of the many mud flats that appear twice a day at low tide.
The terminal building. Clint and I inspect the telonics satellite data receiver antenna on the roof of the terminal building. The Base Operations and Air Traffic Control room.  The forecast office is located on the first floor of this building. View of the American flag, runway, and lagoon from the roof of the terminal building.
Chester, Clint, and Ron inspect one of the many pieces of equipment we'll be dismantling this week.  Here’s a sodium-vapor lamp, powered by a solar-charged battery. Chester stands in front of a WWII bunker. The bunker is used to store weather balloon equipment. The rocky coral-lined ocean coast of Wake Island.
Yours truly in front of the remains of an old spotlight. And island flowe. The trail on the side of this hill leads to a number of hiding places for armed soldiers and was mostly likely built by American slave laborers during WWII. A WWII bunker.
Inside the bunker. Inside the bunker. Inside the bunker.  Notice the collapsing ceiling. A beautiful flowering bush, near the dinning hall.
Mmmmmmmm....steak! Fish furously fight for scraps of our dinner. Peace...harmony...tranquility.  

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