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Palmyra

The War Years

A soldier’s initials from World War II inscribed in concrete, Cooper Island, Palmyra Atoll.  © The Nature Conservancy

Aerial of Palmyra Atoll, 1941. © National Archives

Airfield, Palmyra Naval Air Station, 1943. © National Archives

Meng Island, Palmyra Naval Air Station, 1942. © National Archives

Palmyra airstrip with barracks and mess hall in the background, 1941. © National Archives

Camouflaged ammunitions dump, Palmyra Naval Air Station, 1943. © National Archives

One Navy company, four companies of U.S. Marines and a band were on hand to honor a navy captain shot down in flames at the battle of Midway. The captain, who survived, received the Navy Cross at this 1942 ceremony. © John W. Bustard Collection

Platoon of U.S. Marines marches along the causeway, 1942. © John W. Bustard Collection

Marine 1st Lt. John W. Bustard holds school on the volleyball court for the men of the second platoon. © John W. Bustard Collection

Marine quarters, Palmyra, 1942. The hut slept eight men and was made out of “scrap lumber and what we could steal off the Navy.”  © John W. Bustard Collection

On the day of the big game, Lt. Bustard and members of the second platoon gather around the radio. Bustard uses a stethoscope to improve reception. © John W. Bustard Collection

Marine sergeants Polk and Morby draw water from a lister bag. © John W. Bustard Collection

Sergeants Polk and Morby enjoy a brew outside their quarters—“the NCO quarters.” © John W. Bustard Collection

Marines from the second platoon enjoy a game of volleyball. © John W. Bustard Collection

Marine Ken Sona (left) was Palmyra’s light heavyweight champion in 1942. Red Cochran, welter weight champion of the world (and at that time in the Navy), served as the ref and is shown raising Sona’s hand. © John W. Bustard Collection

Men of the second platoon enjoy at swim after a long hike. © John W. Bustard Collection

A group of marines pose on one of Palmyra many ground-hugging coconut trees. © John W. Bustard Collection

Marines from the second platoon cradle a white tern, one of many bird species found at Palmyra. © John W. Bustard Collection

Even during World War II, giant coconut crabs were one of the natural wonders found at Palmyra. © John W. Bustard Collection

Radio and communications group, Palmyra Naval Air Station, 1942. © National Archives

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