Saipan and TInian - Creaghe Family Historical Society
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Saipan and TInian

21 Nov Saipan and TInian

Saipan and Tinian

Stephen Creaghe (b.1947)

November 23,2016

 

The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands lies about 15 degrees above the equator in the western Pacific, just north of Guam and seven and one half hours from Hawaii. While not as lush as other tropical paradises such as the windward side of the Hawaiian Islands, today’s  Norther Marianas are none the less very beautiful – the sea is remarkably blue. Watching the sun set into the Philippine Sea with your feet in the sand, while sipping a cold beverage, while listening to music, while watching a dancer on the beach is delightful.

Micro Beach, Saipan

Micro Beach, Saipan

Banzai Point, Saipan

Banzai Point, Saipan

The two most interesting islands are Saipan and, three miles to the south, Tinian. But, why are they important to us? Well, let’s look. The invasions to wrest the Marianas from Japan in June and July 1944 played a very significant role in World War II in the Pacific. Firstly, these islands represented the inner line of defense for Japan: and when they were lost to the U.S., it became apparent that the situation was hopeless for Japan. Secondly, these islands, plus Guam, became the air bases from which B-29’s devastated Japanese cities and, ultimately, dropped the atomic bombs.

Airport, south end, Saipan

Airport, south end, Saipan

North Field, Tinian

North Field, Tinian

So, again, why are they important to us? Two members of the family were part of these invasions: first cousins, William (Bill) Corning (1920-1976) and Lawrence (Larry) B. Creaghe (1920-2011), both in the class of 1938, Lamar Union High School.

Bill Corning, ca1944

Bill Corning, ca1944

 

Larry Creaghe, ca.1942

Larry Creaghe, ca.1942

 

Bill, USMC, and Larry, USNR, were there at the same time, but they did not run across each other. Not surprising, even though it was a small island, tens of thousands of U.S. forces were ashore. Larry landed with the 24th Marines at Tinian after Saipan was secured. I don’t know if Bill went there also (he certainly made plenty of other landings), but it is possible.

 

Blue Beach 2, saipan

Blue Beach II, Saipan

Talking with Larry, in 2011, while standing within a hundred-yard radius of where he landed on Saipan in the early morning, June 16, 1944, was a remarkable experience.

 

Stephen Creaghe, November 23, 2016

1Comment
  • Patrick Creaghe
    Posted at 10:37h, 20 March Reply

    I appreciate that you literally went to the ends of the world to put this website together.

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