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Buildup on Kwajalein

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Construction in and around Kwajalein Atoll began as soon as the Americans landed. The 121st Construction Battalion landed on Roi-Namur with the Fourth Marine Division, and the 109th arrived on February 9th. They quickly built the existing Japanese runway into a fighter base. The 7Fourth and 107th Battalions reported on Kwajalein Island in March 1944, the 7Fourth setting up headquarters on near-by Berlin, or Gugegwe Island. They used a captured Japanese coral crushing plant to build a 6,300 foot (1920 meter) airstrip that was utilized by theEleventh and 30th Bomb Groups of the Seventh Air Force. They attacked Eniwetok and other targets. During March 1944, the Americans took over Wotho, Ujae, and Lae Atolls in the West Marshalls; Namu, Ailinglapalap, Namorik, Ebon Atolls, and Kili Island in the south; Bikini, Rongelap, Ailinginae, and Rongerik Atolls in the north; Bikar, Utirik, Taka, Ailuk, Likiep Atolls, Jemo and Mejit Islands in the northeast; and Lib Island in a separate operation. Other bases in the Gilberts and the Marshalls were bypassed. This meant that Kwajalein became a large base of operations to keep pressure on the Japanese throughout the war. The First, 15th, and 52nd Defense Battalions provided security, garrison, and antiaircraft artillery. The 52nd was a segregated unit.
Image Filename wwii1257.jpg
Image Size 1.57 MB
Image Dimensions 1956 x 2640
Photographer Kerlee, Charles
Photographer Title United States Navy Photographic Unit
Caption Author Jason McDonald
Date Photographed March 01, 1944
Location Kwajalein
City Kwajalein
State or Province Kwajalein
Country Marshalls
Archive National Archives and Records Administration
Record Number
Status Caption ©2007, ©2024 MFA Productions LLC
Image in the Public Domain

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