Anniversary of the fall of Wake

Wrecked Grumman F4F-3 "Wildcat" fighters of Marine Fighting Squadron 211 (VMF-211), photographed by by the Wake airstrip sometime after the Japanese captured the island on 23 December 1941. The plane in the foreground, "211-F-11" was flown by Captain Henry T. Elrod during the 11 December attacks that sank the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi. Damaged beyond repair at that time, "211-F-11" was subsequently used as a source of parts to keep other planes operational. (National Archives photo)

70 years ago, Japanese troops overwhelmed the heavily outnumbered Marine garrison on Wake Island, which lays about 2,000 miles west of Pearl Harbor. The defenders had valiantly held out since the first attack on Dec. 8 and inflicted heavy casualties on the Japanese.

Leatherneck magazine’s article on the Battle of Wake is a great read.

Note: the plane pictured above belonged to Capt. Henry T. Elrod, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the defense of Wake Island. His citation can be read here.

Author: Chris Carter

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