Return to Tinian

A Marine Corps C-130 landed at North Field on the island of Tinian in the Marianas on May 30, becoming the first US military aircraft to touch down there since the United States abandoned the airfield in 1947, reported Guam’s Pacific News Center. The North Field was the busiest airfield in the world at the height of World War II and was also the launching pad for the B-29s that carried the atomic bombs to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945, according to PNC. The C-130 landing took place as part of Exercise Geiger Fury 2012, led by a marine aircraft group out of Iwakuni, Japan. Over the past 65 years, Tinian jungle has reclaimed the airfield, reported the Saipan Tribune May 30. Marines pushed back vegetation from the flight line and repaired asphalt to make the C-130 touchdown possible, according to the newspaper. (For more on Tinian’s role in World War II, see Atomic Mission from Air Force Magazine’s archives.)