The Johnston Atoll is certainly pushing its way up on the travel list. Located westward of the Hawaiian Islands, the atoll looks like any normal atoll, an island encased by a coral reef causing a lagoon effect on the inner waters. However this tropical beauty housed an array of US Military Secrets and Blunders over its history.
Discovered in the late 18th century, Johnston didn’t become overly interesting until the onset of World War II. The Island came out of the war rather unscathed, only a slight peppering from a Japanese Submarine eight days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. With WWII’s completion, the island became home for nuclear testing. While “Operation Fishbowl” did render some positive data on the missal front, Johnston launch pad became well accustomed to charred cement and range safety officers. Numerous misfiring and ground explosions occurred in the 1950’s. “Starfish,” as the bomb was called, was the first tainting misfire, leaving the waters infected with plutonium. The many missal mishaps left the Island contaminated for decades.
With the Cold War and Space Race at hand, Johnston found new purpose housing Program 437, the second US anti-satellite action of the US. The missals were capable of taking down low orbiting satellites at an altitude of 700 nauts. Sadly the Vietnam War happened and funding stopped. Compounded by Hurricane Celeste destroying the guidance computers, the atoll ceased to be home of cold war antics.
From 72’ to 77’ Johnston became a wasteland of thousands of leaky Agent Orange barrels, once again pillaging the lagoon’s environment.
Shutting down its airways in 2004, Johnston Atoll holds a solid population of zero, inhabited only by the rare passing vessels that are enticed by Johnston’s secretive past. The only exception was in 2010, when US Wildlife services sent out the “Crazy Ant Strike Team” to the atoll for nine months to destroy an apparently infectious population of ants that were detrimental to the islands natural habitat. As if 1.8 million gallons of Agent Orange and Plutonium contaminants hadn’t already destroyed what little habitat the island had!
So the next time you’re watching the sunset on the beaches of Maui, just think: out there across the glimmering golden waters is an island, overrun with invasive radioactive ants with a herbicidal vengeance!