American Memorial Park - SaipanJanuary 5, 2020 on the Northern Mariana Islands ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C
I visited the American Memorial Park here in Saipan today.
Over the years, I have read most of the history of the US Marine Corps, including Saipan . . . but just like visits to Iwo Jima, Incheon, and Belleau Wood, until you actually walk the ground, it is hard to get the full picture. Historically, Saipan was a key location during WWII. Saipan had been granted to Japan by Germany in 1914, and was considered part of the Japanese homeland by the 1920s, with nearly 30,000 Japanese civilians immigrating and living here. By 1939, Japan realized its strategic location, and had stationed 30,000 troops here for defense. The Marines landed on 15 June 1944, suffering over 2000 casualties the first day. After 3 weeks of bitter fighting, the island was taken and the US Flag was risen on 9 July. To the south of Saipan, is Tinian, also a very historical and key island, The battle of Tinian occurred from 24 Jul to 1 Aug 1944, and soon became the largest US airbase in the Pacific (and the world at that time). This would become the primary base for the new B-29s that could reach the main islands of Japan, and later launched the Enola Gay and Bockscar, that dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki . . . thus ending the war in the Pacific.
Additional pictures are from the northern end of the island. Looking down from Suicide Cliffs (the final stand of the Japanese troops) looking down on the old runways (and the National Military Cemetery), a view of the Suicide Cliffs, and a photo at the cemetery).Read more