Good evening. I apologize for the late entry. I'll try not to let so much time pass between updates. I've settled into the island life as much as I can. Had my first regular paycheck and was able to strike back at some lurking bills. I recently acquired a bike, and am riding it for exercise. We have a road the runs from down town to the marina and back that is about 13 miles, with the wind blowing makes for a good work out.
The overall tone of my entry today is rather drab as it focuses on the dark period in Wake's history. There are a number of memorials and plaques around the island that detail what happened here. The plaque to the right is dedicated to the defenders of Wake Island. The memorial describes the actions of the 1st Defense Battalion and Marine Fighter Squadron VMA-211. One inscription reads, "All hands behaved splendidly and held up in a manner of which the Marine Corps may tell well." On flat surface of the monument at the base of the spire are rank insignia and name patches left by Marines who have visited here. It is a symbol of respect and admiration for our fallen brothers who died in battle defending this place.
This is the memorial dedicated to the Morrison-Knudsen contractors who served on Wake. There were some 1200 civilian engaged in the construction of an airfield, submarine base and defensive positions before the outbreak of WWII. During the battle some volunteer contractors became casualties fighting in defense of the island.
After the fall of Wake, some 1500 Marines, Sailors and contractors became POWs of the Japanese. Eventually most of the service members and a majority of the contractors were shipped to POW camps in China or Japan. 98 remained behind to continue the construction of the Japanese defenses on the island. The photo to the right is a picture of an aircraft revetment built by the American POW contractors for the Japanese.
After a successful raid by U.S. aircraft and ships in late 1943. The Japanese commander predicted a imminent invasion by U.S. forces and ordered the remaining civilian contractors executed. The victim's names are immortalized on this plaque. Their detailed story is here. http://www.yorktownsailor.com/yorktown/massacre.html
One prisoner was able to escape the massacre. During his brief evasion the unidentified POW inscribed "98 US PW 5-10-43" on a large coral rock. He remained free for almost 3 weeks before he was re-captured and be-headed by the Japanese Admiral. This is the only physical evidence that remains of what happened here in October 1943.
Reading the events, viewing the memorials and personally seeing the inscription on that rock left me in an appalled state of awe. The memory and deeds of these men must not be forgotten by history.