Checkerboards over Wake
After an epic two-week battle for the remote island outpost of Wake, 449 Marines, 68 U.S. Navy personnel, and 5 U.S. Army soldiers, as well as a force of civilian contractors, surrendered to a 2,500-man force of Japanese infantry backed up by a 19-ship armada on this day in 1941– two days before Christmas.
While transiting the area, Navy aircraft fly conducted a heritage flight off the coast of Wake Island in the western Pacific Ocean, in October from the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt.
A Marine flight consisted of four F-18C’s from VMFA-312, a unit that first saw combat during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 and was credited with 59.5 Japanese kills during the war, also participated. As the “Checkerboards” C-model Hornets are a bit long in the tooth when compared with more current E-series Super Hornets, they are a good analogy to VMF-211’s F4F-3 Wildcats flown at Wake back in 1941.