Kwajalein Atoll

Kwajalein Atoll consists of 97 islands with a total land mass of just 6.5 sq miles (17 sq km) that surround an immense 1100 sq mile (2850 sq km) lagoon. This makes it the biggest coral atoll in the world. It’s not much of a tourist draw; the biggest island is owned by the US Army the smaller islands are not particularly intersting either. The closest thing to a tourist attraction is the possibility to dive for WW II ship wrecks.
The atoll is used by the US Army for testing intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) fired from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California, 4200 miles (6700km) away. The tests generally occur at night, often lighting up the sky with a brilliant display of explosions, burning debris and sonic booms.

About 1200 Americans live on Kwajalein Island, the biggest island of the atoll, as well as Roi-Namur and Meck. The island is off limits to unofficial visitors except as a transit point to neighboring Ebeye Island, home to about 10000 Marshallese laborers who work on Kwajalein but aren’t allowed to live there.

Bikini Atoll natives now reside on the NE end of Kwajalein Atoll where the EPA gives them annual physicals.

Leave a Comment