Tinian

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Tinian

Tinian in area map, southwest of Saipan, showing waters around islands, and deeper Pacific section.
Geography
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates15°00′N 145°38′E / 15°N 145.633°E / 15; 145.633
ArchipelagoMarianas
Area101.01 km2 (39 sq mi)
Country
United States
Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands
Largest citySan Jose
Demographics
Population3,136 (as of 2010)
 
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Tinian

Tinian in area map, southwest of Saipan, showing waters around islands, and deeper Pacific section.
Geography
LocationPacific Ocean
Coordinates15°00′N 145°38′E / 15°N 145.633°E / 15; 145.633
ArchipelagoMarianas
Area101.01 km2 (39 sq mi)
Country
United States
Commonwealth Northern Mariana Islands
Largest citySan Jose
Demographics
Population3,136 (as of 2010)

Tinian (play /ˈtɪniən/ or /ˌtniˈɑːn/) is one of the three principal islands of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Contents

Geography

Saipan, Tinian & Agiguan.

Tinian is about 5 miles (8 km) southwest of its sister island, Saipan, from which it is separated by the Saipan Channel. It has a land area of 39 sq.mi. (101.01 km²). Together with uninhabited neighboring Aguijan Island (2.74 sq mi, or 7.09 km²), it forms Tinian Municipality, one of the four constituent municipalities of the Northern Marianas. The total area of the municipality is 41.74 sq mi (108.1 km²). Tinian's largest village is San Jose. The island has a variety of flora and fauna, and limestone cliffs and caves. The Tinian Monarch is the island's only endemic bird species and it is threatened by habitat loss. There is a variety of marine life and coral reefs surrounding the island. Its clear, warm waters are ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving and sport fishing.

Tourist destinations

Tinian has two gas stations and a casino. The village of San Jose has several smaller hotels and restaurants and bars. The airport is small and serviced by two airlines, Freedom Air, which operates daily scheduled flights, and Star Marianas Air, which operates by charter. The ferry boat service that operated twice daily between Tinian and Saipan ran at a loss estimated to be US$1 million a year, and has now ceased. The island has the only intact Shinto shrine on the Mariana Islands.

Much of the local economy is dependent on tourism. The largest employers on the island are the government and the casino. As of March 2006, the island has plans to put in four new casinos.[citation needed] The 2010 census showed a population of 3,136[1] for the island.

House of Taga

The House of Taga is a Latte stone site, one of the largest such structures in the Marianas. The stones are quarried limestone, each approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) in length. Of the twelve large Latte structures, only one is still standing.

World War II

Tinian, with its sister islands, passed through Spanish and German hands prior to becoming a protectorate of Japan after World War I. Under Japanese administration, Tinian was largely a sugar plantation.[2]

The island was lightly populated but heavily garrisoned by Japanese forces in WW II. It was captured by US forces in July 1944 in the Battle of Tinian. The island was transformed into the busiest airbase [3] of the war, with two B-29 airfields (West and North) having six 8,500 foot (2700 m) runways. The four runways at the North Field are now overgrown and abandoned. The West Field runways are still in use as the Tinian International Airport.[4]

West Field

Airfield construction was originally by the Japanese, built with two parallel runways. It was repaired by the Americans, and then called West Field.[5] From here seven squadrons of the 58th Bombardment Wing flew combat and reconnaissance missions throughout Southeast Asia and finally into the heart of the Japanese empire, striking at the core of the enemy’s industrial cities, aircraft factories, steel mills, electronic facilities, ball bearing manufacturers, and merchant shipping centers.[5][6]

West Field, Tinian, 8 July 1945

When the US turned the entire island, excepting its three highland areas, into a 40,000-personnel installation, Navy Seabees (107th NCB ) laid out the base in a pattern of city streets resembling New York's Manhattan Island, and named the streets accordingly. The area south of West Field was developed from the main Japanese installation at Sunharon. This was nicknamed "The Village" because its location corresponded to that of Greenwich Village. A large square area between West and North Fields, used primarily for the location of the base hospitals and otherwise left undeveloped, was called Central Park.

After WWII, West Field was Tinian's airport called Gurguan Point Airfield;[5] and today is Tinian International Airport.

North Field

This North Field (Ushi Point Airfield) is not to be confused with the prior name of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.

The Japanese had constructed three small fighter strips[2] on Tinian, but none were suitable for bomber operations. Under the Americans, nearly the entire northern end of the island was occupied by the runways, almost 11 miles (18 km) of taxiways and the airfield area, designed to accommodate the entire 313th Bombardment Wing of B-29 Superfortress bombers.[2]

It was from Tinian that the bombers from the 509th Composite Group carrying the atomic bombs Little Boy and Fat Man were launched against Hiroshima and Nagasaki.[4] The bomb components were delivered to the island by the USS Indianapolis and aircraft of the 509th Composite Group.

Remains of the US bomber base and Atom Bomb Pits,[4] and the remains of Japanese fortifications, can be found at North Field. There is a memorial on the old airfield at the loading pits, which are filled in for safety. Both pits were reopened in conjunction with the 60th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battles of Saipan and Tinian. The pits were originally constructed to load the bombs, since they were too large to be loaded in the conventional manner. The planes were maneuvered over a pit with their bomb bay doors open to facilitate loading.

Education

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Public School System operates public schools.

See also

References

Census data

External links

Coordinates: 15°00′N 145°38′E / 15°N 145.633°E / 15; 145.633