Map of Kwajalein Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll – Kwajalein Atoll is made up of approximately 100 small islands on the encompassing reefs with a total land area of about 5.6 square miles.  The lagoon, the world’s largest, stretches 75 nautical miles from the northwest to the southeast and has a total surface area of 1,100 square miles.  The two main islands in the atoll are Kwajalein Island at the southern tip, and the twin islands of Roi-Namur at the northernmost point.  Kwajalein was ceded by Germany to the Japanese in 1914 and quickly became a major center for Japanese naval activity in the Marshall Islands.  Due to its strategic importance to the Japanese as well as its large deep-water lagoon, its seizure became of prime importance to U.S. Naval planners.  During February 1944 the islands of Roi and Namur were assaulted and captured by elements of the 4th Marine Division, while the island of Kwajalein was captured by the U.S. Army’s 7th Infantry Division.  Following their capture, SeaBees improved and extended the runways on both Roi and Kwajalein in order to make them usable for fighter, dive-bomber and medium bomber aircraft.  In 1945 Kwajalein became the home base for VMB-613 and remained such through the end of the war.    

Map: Office of Planning and Statistics, 1989

Updated: 03 Jan 2016    Top of Page    Previous Page    Print this Page

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