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Enewetak

Enewetak

Overview
Enewetak Atoll is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain
Ralik Chain
The Ralik Chain is a chain of islands within the island nation of the Marshall Islands. Ralik means "sunset". It lies just to the west of the country's other island chain, the Ratak Chain...

 of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

. Its land area totals less than 5.85 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi), surrounding a deep central lagoon, 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) in circumference. It is the second westernmost atoll of the Ralik Chain, and is located 305 kilometres (189.5 mi) west from Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll is an atoll, listed as a World Heritage Site, in the Micronesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, part of Republic of the Marshall Islands....

. The U.S.
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Encyclopedia
Enewetak Atoll is a large coral atoll of 40 islands in the Pacific Ocean, and forms a legislative district of the Ralik Chain
Ralik Chain
The Ralik Chain is a chain of islands within the island nation of the Marshall Islands. Ralik means "sunset". It lies just to the west of the country's other island chain, the Ratak Chain...

 of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

. Its land area totals less than 5.85 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi), surrounding a deep central lagoon, 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) in circumference. It is the second westernmost atoll of the Ralik Chain, and is located 305 kilometres (189.5 mi) west from Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll
Bikini Atoll is an atoll, listed as a World Heritage Site, in the Micronesian Islands of the Pacific Ocean, part of Republic of the Marshall Islands....

. The U.S. government referred to the atoll as "Eniwetok" until 1974, when it changed its official spelling to "Enewetak" (along with many other Marshall Islands place names) to more properly reflect their proper pronunciation by the Marshall Islanders.

History


Humans have inhabited the atoll for at least 2,000 years. Alvaro de Saavedra, a Spanish explorer discovered Enewetak Atoll in 1527. After him in 1794 the British merchant sloop Walpole, who called it "Brown's Range" (thus the Japanese name "Brown Atoll"). It was visited by only a dozen or so ships before the establishment of the German colony of the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 in 1885. Along with the rest of the Marshalls, Enewetak was captured by the Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 in 1914 during World War I and mandated to the Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 by the League of Nations
League of Nations
The League of Nations was an intergovernmental organization founded as a result of the Paris Peace Conference that ended the First World War. It was the first permanent international organization whose principal mission was to maintain world peace...

 in 1920. The Japanese administered the island under the South Pacific Mandate
South Pacific Mandate
The was the Japanese League of Nations mandate consisting of several groups of islands in the Pacific Ocean which came under the administration of Japan after the defeat of the German Empire in World War I.-Early history:Under the terms of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, after the start of World...

, but mostly left local affairs in hands of traditional local leaders until the start of World War II.

In November 1942, the Japanese built an airfield on Engebi Island, but since it was used only for refueling planes between Truk and islands to the east, no flying personnel were stationed there and the island had only token defenses. When the Gilberts fell to the United States, the Imperial Japanese Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

's 1st Amphibious Brigade, a unit formed from the 3rd Independent Garrison unit previously stationed in Manchukuo
Manchukuo
Manchukuo or Manshū-koku was a puppet state in Manchuria and eastern Inner Mongolia, governed under a form of constitutional monarchy. The region was the historical homeland of the Manchus, who founded the Qing Empire in China...

, was assigned to defend the atoll, arriving on January 4, 1944. Of the 3,940 men within the brigade, 2,586 were left to defend Eniwetok Atoll, supplemented by aviation personnel, civilian employees, and laborers, but were unable to finish fortifying the island before the American assault. During the Battle of Eniwetok
Battle of Eniwetok
-External links:* *...

 in February 1944, the United states captured Enewetak in a five-day amphibious operation, with major combat on Engebi Islet, which was the most important Japanese installation on the atoll. Combat also occurred on the main islet of Eniwetok itself and on Parry Island, site of a Japanese seaplane base.

Following its capture, the anchorage at Eniwetok became a major forward naval base for the U.S. Navy. The daily average of ships present during the first half of July was 488; during the second half of July the daily average number of ships at Eniwetok was 283. By the end of July Commodore Worrall R. Carter flew to Pearl Harbor to participate in planning the move of Servron 10 facilities from Eniwetok to Ulithi
Ulithi
Ulithi is an atoll in the Caroline Islands of the western Pacific Ocean, about 191 km east of Yap. It consists of 40 islets totalling , surrounding a lagoon about long and up to wide—at one of the largest in the world. It is administered by the state of Yap in the Federated States of...

.

Following the end of World War II, Enewetak came under the control of the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands
The Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands was a United Nations trust territory in Micronesia administered by the United States from 1947 to 1986.-History:...

 until the independence of the Marshall Islands in 1986.
The local residents were evacuated, often involuntarily, and the atoll was used for nuclear testing
Nuclear testing
Nuclear weapons tests are experiments carried out to determine the effectiveness, yield and explosive capability of nuclear weapons. Throughout the twentieth century, most nations that have developed nuclear weapons have tested them...

 as part of the Pacific Proving Grounds
Pacific Proving Grounds
The Pacific Proving Grounds was the name used to describe a number of sites in the Marshall Islands and a few other sites in the Pacific Ocean, used by the United States to conduct nuclear testing at various times between 1946 and 1962...

. Bodies of United States servicemen killed in the Battle of Enewetak and buried there were exhumed before testing commenced and returned to the United States to be re-buried by their families. Some 43 nuclear tests were fired at Enewetak from 1948 to 1958. The first hydrogen bomb test, code-named Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first United States test of a thermonuclear weapon, in which a major part of the explosive yield came from nuclear fusion. It was detonated on November 1, 1952 by the United States at on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Operation Ivy...

, was held in late 1952 as part of Operation Ivy
Operation Ivy
Operation Ivy was the eighth series of American nuclear tests, coming after Tumbler-Snapper and before Upshot-Knothole. Its purpose was to help upgrade the U.S. arsenal of nuclear weapons in response to the Soviet nuclear weapons program...

, and it vaporized the islet of Elugelab
Elugelab
Elugelab was an island, part of the Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands. It was destroyed by the world's first test of a hydrogen bomb on 1 November 1952, as part of Operation Ivy...

. This test included the use of B-17 Flying Fortress drones to fly through the radioactive cloud for the purpose of testing onboard samples. The drones were controlled by B-17 mother ships flying within visual distance of these drones. In all there were 16 to 20 B-17s taking part in this operation, of which half were controlling aircraft and half were drones. For examination of the explosion clouds of the nuclear bombs in 1957/58 several rockets (mostly from rockoon
Rockoon
A rockoon is a solid fuel sounding rocket that, rather than being immediately lit while on the ground, is first carried into the upper atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and automatically ignited...

s) were launched.
Local residents were permitted to return in the 1970s, and on May 15, 1977, the United States government directed the military to decontaminate the islands. This was done by mixing the contaminated soil and debris from the various islands with Portland cement
Portland cement
Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general use around the world because it is a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar, stucco and most non-specialty grout...

 and burying it in one of the blast craters. The crater was at the northern end of Runit 11°33′9.22"N 162°20′50.29"E, which is an island on the eastern side of the atoll. This continued until the crater became a spherical mound 25 feet (7.6 m) high. The crater was then covered with an 18 inches (457.2 mm) thick concrete cap, dubbed "Cactus Dome". Army, Navy and Air Forces services participated in this effort, with DOE monitoring. The United States government declared the islands safe for habitation in 1980.

In 2000, the Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands , , is a Micronesian nation of atolls and islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, just west of the International Date Line and just north of the Equator. As of July 2011 the population was 67,182...

 Nuclear Claims Tribunal awarded in excess of $340 million to the people of Enewetak for loss of use, hardship, medical difficulties and further nuclear cleanup. This award does not include the approximately $6 million annually budgeted by the United States for education and health programs in the Marshall Islands.

Operation Sandstone

Bomb Date Location Yield
X-Ray 18:17 am 14. April 1948 (GMT
Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich Mean Time is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It is arguably the same as Coordinated Universal Time and when this is viewed as a time zone the name Greenwich Mean Time is especially used by bodies connected with the United...

)
Engebi Islet 37 kT
Yoke 18:09 30. April 1948 (GMT) Aomon Islet 49 kT
Zebra 18:04 14. May 1948 (GMT) Runit Islet 18 kT

Operation Greenhouse

Bomb Date Location Yield
Dog 18:34 7 April 1951 (GMT) Runit Islet 81 kT
Easy 18:26 20 April 1951 (GMT) Enjebi Islet 47 kT
George 21:30 8 May 1951 (GMT) Eberiru Islet 225 kT
Item 18:17 24 May 1951 (GMT) Enjebi Islet 45.5 kT

Operation Ivy

Bomb Date Location Yield
Mike
Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first United States test of a thermonuclear weapon, in which a major part of the explosive yield came from nuclear fusion. It was detonated on November 1, 1952 by the United States at on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Operation Ivy...

|19:14:59.4 31. October 1952 (GMT) Elugelab Islet 10.4 MT
King
Ivy King
Ivy King was the largest pure fission nuclear bomb ever tested by the United States. The bomb was tested during the Truman administration as part of Operation Ivy...

23:30 15 November 1952 (GMT) Runit Islet 500 kT

Operation Redwing

Bomb Date Location Yield
Lacrosse |18:25 4 May 1956 (GMT) Runit Islet 40 kT
Yuma 19:56 27 May 1956 (GMT) Aomon Islet 0.19 kT
Erie 18:15 30 May 1956 (GMT) Runit Islet 14.9 kT
Seminole 00:55 6 June 1956 (GMT) Bogon Islet 13.7 kT
Blackfoot 18:26 11 June 1956 (GMT) Runit Islet 8 kT
Kickapoo 23:26 13 June 1956 (GMT) Aomon Islet 1.49 kT
Osage 01:14 16 June 1956 (GMT) Runit Islet 1.7 kT
Inca 21:26 21 June 1956 (GMT) Rujoru Islet 15.2 kT
Mohawk 18:06 2 July 1956 (GMT) Eberiru Islet 360 kT
Apache 18:06 8 July 1956 (GMT) Crater from Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike
Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first United States test of a thermonuclear weapon, in which a major part of the explosive yield came from nuclear fusion. It was detonated on November 1, 1952 by the United States at on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean, as part of Operation Ivy...

1.85 MT
Huron 18:12 21 July 1956 (GMT) Off Flora Islet |250 kT

Operation Hardtack I

Bomb Date Location Yield
Yucca 18:15 28 April 1958 (GMT) 157 KM N of Eniwetok-Atoll 1.7 kT
Cactus 18:15 5 May 1958 (GMT) Runit Islet 18 kT
Fir 17:50 11 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 1360 kT
Butternut 18:15 11 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 81 kT
Koa 18:30 12 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 1370 kT
Wahoo 01:30 16 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 9 kT
Holly 18:30 20 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 5.9 kT
Nutmeg 21:20 21 May 1958 (GMT) Bikini-Atoll 25.1 kT
Yellowwood 2:00 26 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok Lagoon 330 kT
Magnolia 18:00 26 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 57 kT
Tobacco 02:50 30 May 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 11.6 kT
Sycamore 03:00 31 May 1958 (GMT) Bikini-Atoll 3,5 m underwater 92 kT (5000 kT)
Rose 18:45 2 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 15 kT
Umbrella 23:15 8 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok Lagoon 8 kT
Walnut 18:30 14 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 1.45 kT
Linden 03:00 18 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 11 kT
Elder 18:30 27 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 880 kT
Oak 19:30 28 June 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok Lagoon 8.9 MT
Sequoia 18:30 1 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 5.2 kT
Dogwood 18:30 5 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 397 kT
Scaevola 04:00 14 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 0 kT
Pisonia 23:00 17 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 255 kT
Olive 18:15 22 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 202 kT
Pine 20:30 26 July 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 2000 kT
Quince 02:15 6 August 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 0 kT
Fig 04:00 18 August 1958 (GMT) Eniwetok-Atoll 0.02 kT

Enewetak Airfield


An 6800-foot airstrip was built on the atoll in February–March 1944 by U.S. forces for bomber missions in the area. It was later named for Lieutenant John H. Stickell. The airstrip is now abandoned and surface partially covered by sand.

External links