Naval History and Heritage Command

National Museum of the U.S. Navy

Invasion of the Kwajalein Atolls: January 31-February 7, 1944

(Codename: Operation Flintlock)

Not unlike Operation Galvanic, the overall command of the invasion of Kwajalein, Majuro, and Roi-Namu Island Atolls on January 31, 1944 was with Commander Fifth Fleet, Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance, USN.  The Joint Expeditionary Force was led by Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner, USN, and Major General Holland M. Smith, USMC, commanded V Amphibious Corps.  Three landing forces assaulted the islands.  The Northern Attack Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Richard L. Connolly, USN, led the attack on Roi-Namur Island; the Southern Attack Force, commanded by Rear Admiral Turner, led the attack on Kwajalein; and Rear Admiral Harry W. Hill, USN, commanded the Majuro Attack Group, which was initially part of the Reserve Force commanded by Captain D.W. Loomis, USN.   Upon landing, the Majuro Attack Group quickly discovered the Japanese departed the island in November 1942.  Utilizing the lessons learned at the Battle of Tarawa, both Kwajalein and Roi-Namur Island Atolls were secured by February 7, with "mopping-up" operations lasting until a few days later. 

Image:  80-G-205924:  Raid on Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands, December 4, 1943.  Japanese transport Asakaze Maru blows-up in Kwajalein lagoon after U.S. Navy carrier planes attack.   Official U.S. Navy Photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.