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Invasion of Eniwetok Atoll:   February 17-22, 1944

(Codename:  Operation Catchpole)

The invasion of Eniwetok, a circular atoll, began on February 17, 1944 and was commanded by Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN, with the landing U.S. Marines commanded by Colonel John T. Walker, USMC.   The main objective was the Engebi airfield.  Taking advantage of the Truk Aircraft Carrier Raid on February 17-18,  the plan was to take the atoll in four stages:  the invasion of the two islets adjoining Engebi, Eniwetok and Parry islands to the south, Engebi to the north, and the remaining small islets.    The heaviest Japanese resistance was on Eniwetok and Parry Islands.   The atoll was declared secure on February 22.  

Image:  80-G-216033:   Operation Catchpole, February 1944.  U.S. Marines and Coast Guardsmen proudly display a Japanese flag on Engebi Island, February 19, 1944.   Official U.S. Navy Phototgraph, now in the collections of the National Archives.