Wake Island

Wake Island (Marshallese: Ānen Kio, lit.'island of the kio flower'; also known as Wake Atoll) is a coral atoll in the western Pacific Ocean in the northeastern area of the Micronesia subregion, 1,501 miles (2,416 kilometers) east of Guam, 2,298 miles (3,698 kilometers) west of Honolulu, 1,991 miles (3,204 kilometers) southeast of Tokyo, and 898 miles (1,445 kilometers) north of Majuro. The island is an unorganized, unincorporated territory belonging to, but not a part of, the United States that is also claimed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Wake Island is one of the most isolated islands in the world. The nearest inhabited island is Utirik Atoll in the Marshall Islands, 592 miles (953 kilometers) to the southeast.

Wake Island
Ānen Kio
"Where America's Day Really Begins"
Anthem: "The Star-Spangled Banner"
Map of Wake Island
Wake Island
Location in the North Pacific Ocean
Coordinates: 19°17′43″N 166°37′52″E
CountryUnited States
StatusUnorganized, unincorporated territory
Claimed by the United StatesJanuary 17, 1899
  BodyUnited States Air Force (under authority of U.S. Department of the Interior)
  Civil AdministratorThomas E. Ayres, General Counsel of the Air Force
  Total5.35 sq mi (13.86 km2)
  Land2.85 sq mi (7.38 km2)
  Water2.5 sq mi (6.48 km2)
  Lagoon2.00 sq mi (5.17 km2)
  EEZ157,237 sq mi (407,241 km2)
Highest elevation
21 ft (6 m)
Lowest elevation
(Pacific Ocean)
0 ft (0 m)
  Non-permanent residents
c. 100
Time zoneUTC+12 (Wake Island Time Zone)
APO / Zip Code
CurrencyU.S. dollar (US$)

The United States took possession of Wake Island in 1899. One of 14 U.S. insular areas, Wake Island is administered by the United States Air Force under an agreement with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The center of activity on the atoll is at Wake Island Airfield, which is primarily used as a mid-Pacific refueling stop for military aircraft and as an emergency landing area. The 9,800-foot (3,000 m) runway is the longest strategic runway in the Pacific islands. South of the runway is the Wake Island Launch Center, a missile launch site. The island has no permanent inhabitants, and approximately 100 people live there at any given time.

On December 8, 1941 (within a few hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wake Island being on the opposite side of the International Date Line), American forces on Wake Island were attacked by Japanese bombers. This action marked the commencement of the Battle of Wake Island. On December 11, 1941, Wake Island was the site of the Japanese Empire's first unsuccessful amphibious attack on U.S. territory in World War II when U.S. Marines, with some U.S. Navy personnel and civilians on the island, repelled an attempted Japanese invasion. The island fell to overwhelming Japanese forces 12 days later, and remained occupied by Japanese forces until it was surrendered to the U.S. in September 1945 at the end of the war.[1]

The submerged and emergent lands at Wake Island comprise a unit of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Wake Island is one of nine insular areas that comprise the United States Minor Outlying Islands, a statistical designation defined by the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 3166-1 code.