Detailed Map of
Facilities on Nissan Island: 93rd
NCB, April 1944
Courtesy: NAVFAC Historian's Office and Seabee Historical Foundation Hueneme, CA
All of us involved with www.seabees93.net and with the reconstruction of the wartime Green Islands are profoundly grateful to Carol Marsh, the staff historian for the NAVFAC Historian’s office in Hueneme, CA, and her assistant who located this map, and to Ken Bingham, a Seabee veteran and volunteer at the Seabee Historical Foundation, who generously scanned it for us. He found that details not visible on the original appeared as he scanned.
It shows in remarkable detail the eastern section of Nissan Island at the peak of activity when some 17,000 US and New Zealand troops were on the Island.
And we are grateful to our Kiwi collaborator, Warwick Hughes, for posting this "heavy" map files on his website for the New Zealand Third Division. Scroll down to the series of map sections that comprise the eastern side of Nissan Island.
We had anticipated that determining the layout of the various units and facilities on Nissan, Barahun, and Sirot would be simple. The atoll is narrow atoll with two air strips and a network of roads on the east side of the lagoon, a couple of channels on the west; native villages at the north and south. Here and there are impassible ravines, striking cliffs, and a handful of abandoned or wrecked Japanese war relics and encampments.
But, in fact, men couldn’t even tell us whether their own camps were north or south of the air strips. A pilot notes Bob Hope’s impromptu performance under the wing of a plane for the “handful” of island residents, unaware that after he flew off, Hope’s troupe would provide two more full scale performances - one there at the strip - before audiences of thousands.
It appears the Seabees had performed their wartime development well. Arial views show nothing but a solid canopy of trees, save for the air strips and a lagoon beach on Barahun which may be the PT Base. Pilots hadn’t even a clue how many men they were flying over during landing and take-off. Where were three 1,100 man Seabee Battalions? They should be visible, even if the multitude of smaller units, supply areas, and roads, outdoor theatres and ball fields were obscured by the dense foliage.
The encompassing brush was still impeding navigation whenJosh McDade, visiting Nissan on a peacekeeping mission in 2001, could not offer locations for various landmarks he encountered.
Facilities shown in each of the 6 map segments
Green Island Scholar Milton Bush, Jr., son of Milton Bush, Sr., a lawyer with PATSU, has provided the following commentary on each of the 5 segments. Within these segments, intricate details are visible, even to the number for each dwelling.
Photo 3. North end of base
Just off the north end of the airbase, in the jungle, is the fuel tank farm, about 12 tanks, and 6 water storage tanks.
North of the runways are aircraft parking areas. Between the runways are the PATSU administration Quonsets for Units 1-3; a windsock; a BAR station. Oceanside, are PATSU Air Operations; intelligence; mess hall; fuse tent; 13th Airdrome Squadron H.Q.; a loading dock and gas pump.
Photo 4. Center of Base
Lagoon side are SCAT operations and storage; repair shops; tank farm by the beach. East side are torpedo unit; repair shop; storage; mess hall; ammunition supply; hydraulic shop; electrical shop; prop metal shop; dispensary; stills; MAG 14 H.Q.; mess hall; 33rd CB H.Q.
Midfield are antenna; generators; radio operations; field operations; meteorology; parachute tents; MAG 14 ordinance; repair shops; intelligence; fighter command; mess hall; radio; radar; freight dock; 37th CB camp; big coral pit near lagoon.
South end of field, in the jungle are the bomb dumps, about 8 acres.
Photo 5. Narrow strip south of airbase.
Lagoon Road, Kiwi Camp; stills; water tanks; showers; laundry; generators; library, gas tanks; “Officers' Country” near the lagoon beach, and EM camp inland. Acorn 10 area; well and 5,000 gal. tank.
On the Oceanside are Pilots’ Road; Pilots’ Camp, having about 80 tents; radar camp; laundry; generators; gun emplacements – BAT 208; transmitter; Comm. Building;
Photo 6. Near south end of island:
Island Services Command (probably the Aussie Administration H.Q.); FMAW; Argus 7 Road. The 93rd CB Camp is inland, theater, water tanks, showers, mess, laundry. Hospital is near lagoon beach, Wards A and B. Somewhere in the area was the water storage cistern, about 75 by 100 and 10 feet deep. Radar station; one 40 mm gun and five 50 mm guns., oceanside.
On south end is Service Command Road, the 33rd CB Camp, well and water tanks.
Lagoon Road; Halis village camp; three warehouses, cold storage building; food dump; big lagoon dock; hospital, garage, store room, mess hall and carpenter shop. Dock Road, Dump Road and Port Director’s Road. NZ Camp. East side is main communications center, tower, generators.
South Point Road, South Point and NZ Camp.