In Unbroken, what places did Louie travel from Hawaii to Japan?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In this question, I assume that you are asking about the stops that Louie Zamperini made after leaving Hawaii on the fateful search mission that ended up with his plane crashing and him eventually becoming a prisoner of the Japanese.

Zamperini and his crewmates took off from Oahu, in the Hawaiian Islands.  They were supposed to search for a plane that had crashed near Palmyra Atoll, something like 200 miles south of Hawaii.  Zamperini’s plane crashed during the mission and he and the other survivors spent 47 days floating on life rafts. 

Eventually, they reached land.  On p. 180, they were told that they were “on an atoll in the Marshall Islands.”  The Marshall Islands had been part of a League of Nations mandate administered by the Japanese since after WWI.  In effect, they had been Japanese territory since then.  The Marshall Islands are now an independent country, the Republic of the Marshall Islands. The atoll is not named in the text of the book, but a footnote identifies it as the atoll of Wotje. 

Zamperini and the other survivors spent only a few days on Wotje.  On July 15, 1943, the men were put on a ship heading for Kwajalein Atoll, also in the Marshall Islands.  This atoll is now home to a US military installation used for missile testing.  The men arrived on Kwajalein the day after they left Wotje.  They were imprisoned there under harsh conditions and interrogated.  They remained on Kwajalein for 42 days, leaving on August 26. 

The trip from Kwajalein to Japan took three weeks.  We are only told of one stop along the way.  This was at “Truk Atoll.”  Truk Atoll is actually a large reef that encloses Truk Lagoon (now called Chuuk Lagoon), which has many high islands.  The islands were used by the Japanese for military purposes and the lagoon as a harbor.  This lagoon is now famous among divers because American air raids sank large numbers of Japanese ships there in 1944.  The wrecks make for very good diving.  Truk had also been part of the League of Nations mandate.  Truk Atoll is now part of Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia.

These are the only places mentioned in Unbroken as places where Zamperini travelled between Hawaii and Japan.

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