History of Johnston Atoll
Johnston Atoll is located in the North Pacific Ocean at Latitude 16°44’ North. Longitude 169°31’ West. It is 717 nautical miles west-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, 780 nautical miles northwest of Palmyra, 1,170 nautical miles north of Canton Island, 1,400 nautical miles northeast of Kwajalein, and 820 nautical miles southeast of Midway. The nearest island is Tern of the French Frigate Shoals, 460 nautical miles to the northeast. See Tab B-1.
Ship logs dating from the 18th century are the earliest records of the discovery and exploration of Johnston Atoll. The most detailed information is from scientific expedition publications and military histories dating from 1934 when this United States possession was designated a Naval Defense Sea Area and Airspace Reservation. A chronological record of the more important historical events of Johnston Atoll follows:
September 2, 1796. The Atoll was sighted by the captain of the American brig Sally out of Boston. Joseph Pierpont described the circular reef as follows: "The main island is a guano-covered patch of sand, which is 1,000 yards long and about 200 yards wide. The highest elevation is 44 feet at the northern end. Approximately a mile and one quarter to the northeast of the larger island is a smaller island of about 200 yards in diameter, reaching to a height of 8 feet."
December 14, 1807. Captain Charles James Johnston of the HMS Cornwallis recorded in his ship log the sighting of the Atoll. Originally, the islands were called Cornwallis. Eventually, Captain Johnston's name was given to the larger of the two islets and, subsequently, to the entire Atoll.
1840. Commodore Wilkes described Johnston Atoll in his ship log and reported two islets as being covered with bushes but no trees.
March 1856. The U.S. Guano Act was passed. Two owners of the schooner Palestine formed a partnership to develop the guano deposits on Johnston Atoll. On March 19, 1858, the captain of the Palestine planted a United States flag on both islands. Crosses were erected bearing the inscription that the entire area was claimed for the United States by the owners and charterers of the schooner.
July 27, 1858. A proclamation by Kamehameha IV of Hawaii declared the annexation of Johnston Atoll to the Kingdom of Hawaii.
1892. Great Britain abandoned plans to use the Johnston Atoll area for a cable station. British negotiations with the Hawaiian government were aborted when it was decided to run the communications cable via Fanning Island.
1898. Hawaii, by annexation, became an integral part of the United States at this time. Hawaii still maintained Johnston Atoll was rightfully hers; however, by the annexation of Hawaii, Johnston Atoll became an American possession.
July 29, 1926. Partially as a result of Dr. Wetmore's report on birdlife, Executive Order No. 4467 placed Johnston Island (Johnston Atoll and Johnston Island are used interchangeably throughout this narrative) under the control and jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture as a breeding ground and refuge for native birds.
December 29, 1934. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, by Executive Order No. 6935, placed Johnston Island under the Department of the Navy. This action was the result of Japanese aggression in the Pacific Area. The following year Johnston Atoll was included in Naval maneuvers. Sand Island remained a bird sanctuary under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture.
1939-1941. A weather and communications facility was established on Sand Island. No records exist of the precise date of establishment. A channel from Johnston Island to Sand Island, for shallow draft vessels, was in use at this time. In the fall of 1939, the U.S. Navy awarded a contract for the construction of a small Naval Air Station on Johnston Island. Sand Island was the location for the construction camp and all Navy air and sea activities. Because of the requirement for additional space, new facilities were placed on Johnston Island beginning in 1941. During this period, Pan American Airways used Johnston Atoll facilities for their flights between Hawaii and Asia. In February 1941, by Executive Order No. 8682, the airspace above and the waters within the three-mile marine boundary were designated as the Johnston Island Naval Airspace Reservation and the Johnston Island Naval Defense Sea Area, respectively.
August 15, 1941. The Naval Air Station was commissioned ahead of schedule.
December 15, 1941. Japanese vessels shelled Johnston Island. No casualties were reported, but considerable damage was done to temporary and permanent support facilities and the power station.
December 21-22, 1941. Johnston Atoll was again subjected to Japanese shelling. The only damage was the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Homing Tower. Civilian workers were evacuated, and military personnel were assigned to construction activities. During April 1941 to April 1942, bombproof shelters, CAA living quarters, landplane runways, storage sheds, and gun emplacements were constructed, and channel approaches and seaplane landing areas were dredged.
1943-1944. In addition to use as an air station by both the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Navy, Johnston Atoll served as a supply and refueling point for submarines on patrol in the Pacific. Following capture of the Gilbert Islands in late 1943 and the Marshall Islands in early 1944, the longer routes to the west by way of Palmyra and Christmas Islands were abandoned in favor of the more direct route through Johnston Atoll. Johnston Atoll became an indispensable link in air traffic from the Hawaiian Islands to Tarawa, Majuro, Kwajalein, and points beyond. Communications equipment was installed on Sand Island while the larger island served all air and sea traffic. The main runway was increased in length to 6,100 feet, and the aircraft parking areas were increased to 278,000 square feet.
February 27, 1947. After the conclusion of World War II, the Navy continued to maintain, at reduced strength, the Naval Air Station at Johnston Island. As activity decreased, the status of the installation was changed to that of a Naval Air Facility on this date.
July 1, 1948. By order of the Secretary of the Navy, the U.S. Naval Air Facility, Johnston Island, was transferred from the U.S. Navy to the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and was assigned to the Pacific Air Command (PACAIRCOM), formerly the Seventh Air Force. This transfer included Sand Island by definition.
June 1, 1949. Upon inactivation of PACAIRCOM, personnel and responsibilities were assigned to the Pacific Division of the Military Air Transport Service. During this postwar period, small Military Air Transport Service detachments of Air Rescue, Air and Airways, and Air Weather were stationed on Johnston Atoll.
1951-1952. During the Korean War, the airfield was enlarged with dredged fill to accommodate the increasing traffic of troops, critical cargo, medical evacuees, and priority passengers. A major construction program was completed with the addition of permanent quarters, expanded utilities, and other support facilities.
January 25, 1957. The Treasury Department was granted a renewable five-year permit to construct, operate, and maintain a long-range aid to navigation (LORAN) transmitting station on Johnston Island to be manned by U.S. Coast Guard personnel. This permit was terminated in 1962.
September 13, 1957. The U.S. Weather Bureau obtained a renewable five-year permit for operating a weather station on Johnston Island.
April 22, 1958. A classified Memorandum of Agreement designated the Commander of Joint Task Force SEVEN as Commander of Johnston Atoll for the duration of Operation HARDTACK, which was concerned with atomic tests from April 22 to August 19, 1958. At the conclusion of Operation HARDTACK, command of Johnston Atoll reverted back to the U.S. Air Force Military Air Transport Service.
December 1959. The Secretary of Defense approved the Secretary of the Treasury's request to use Sand Island for U.S. Coast Guard LORAN A and C station sites.
June 1960. A program for enlarging Johnston Island with coral fill dredged from the ocean bottom was completed. Approximately 25 additional acres were added to the island by the dredging operation.
January 1962. In 1962, a series of atomic test, known as Operation DOMINIC, was conducted in the Pacific. Joint Task Force EIGHT (JTF-8) and the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) assumed operational control of Johnston Atoll from the Department of the Air Force on January 17, 1962. Between July 8 and November 3, 1962, four high altitude tests and five low altitude air drop tests were successfully completed within the Johnston Atoll Danger Area. Complications during unsuccessful missile launches for STARFISH (June 1962), BLUEGILL PRIME (July 1962), and BLUEGILL DOUBLE PRIME (October 1962) led to the destruction of missile and warhead and resulted in radioactive contamination of Johnston Atoll, particularly in the launch area. The Commander, JTF-8 (CJTF-8), as the designated Commander of Johnston Atoll, supervised the roll up of DOMINIC in December 1962.
December 1962. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) message number 7654, 011648Z, of December 1962 directed CJTF-8 to retain operational control of Johnston Atoll.
1963. JCS (Paper SM-758-63, June 11, 1963) instructed CJTF-8 to maintain operational control of Johnston Atoll until further notice. This decision was probably motivated by ongoing negotiations for the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT) which was subsequently approved by Congress on September 24, 1963. President Kennedy assured Congress that the four safeguards recommended by JCS to keep the United States from falling behind in nuclear technology would be maintained. Safeguard C required the development of a capability to resume testing promptly in environments prohibited by the treaty. Under the National Nuclear Test Readiness Program (NNTRP), which was developed to support Safeguard C, Johnston Atoll was established as the principal overseas test base; extensive planning was initiated; and host-tenant agreements were negotiated with the Commanders of the Air Defense Command (ADC), Space Systems Command, and Pacific Missile Range Command.
1963-1965. A dredge and fill program was completed which increased the acreage of Johnston and Sand Islands and included the construction of two manmade islands and two scientific platforms within the lagoon. In addition to the increase in land area, extensive construction was accomplished to meet NNTRP response requirements. An AEC-Department of Defense (DoD) agreement on Responsibilities for Planning for the Support of Readiness and Conduct of Atomic Weapon Test Operations Outside North American Continental Limits and Related Budgeting and Funding was signed during September 1965. Another 1965 agreement between AEC and DoD provide the necessary contractual arrangements for the use of a single contractor to support test preparations and operations in the Pacific. Holmes & Narver, Inc. (H&N), the principal AEC contractor in the area at that time, continued to serve Johnston Atoll by providing engineering, construction, maintenance, and support services. The Department of the Interior approved the naming of the Johnston Island complex as Johnston Atoll. It was also proposed that the two manmade islands be named Akou and Hikina, Hawaiian words meaning north and east. On May 20, 1965, these names were officially assigned to the two islands. By the end of this period, most of the facilities required for pre-GO (prior to decision to resume tests) were completed to gain a capability for satisfying the required response.
1966-1967. A High-Order Horizontal Control Survey of Johnston Atoll was performed by H&N. The purpose of the survey was to establish a permanent horizontal control network of sufficient strength to provide accuracies in the relation between any two stations of 1:25,000 or better throughout the Atoll. Survey results were approved by CJTF-8 in September 1967 and are contained in H&N Report 942.12-96080.00, dated October 1967. Data pertaining to the official records of this survey may be obtained from the Defense Mapping Agency, Washington, D.C.
1967-1970. The use of facilities on Johnston Atoll was in accordance with the AEC-DoD agreements and the responsibilities and relationships outlined in the JTF-8 Charter, dated January 5, 1967. National support for the NNTRP was reduced in late 1969. This decision resulted in inactivation of JTF-8, with responsibilities assumed by the Defense Atomic Support Agency (DASA), soon after redesignation Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA); inactivation of some facilities at Johnston Atoll; and transfer of operational control to USAF on July 1, 1970. In September 1970, an AEC-DNA High Altitude Development Test was executed with the successful launch of a THOR missile mated with an AEC-developed, non-nuclear High Altitude Test Vehicle. By the end of 1970, the population which had averaged approximately 1,200 was reduced to some 600 persons.
1971. During July of 1971, an Inter-service Support Agreement was developed by the U.S. Army and Air Force to provide 41 acres of on the southwest shore of Johnston Atoll for use by the Army as a chemical agent and munitions storage area. Army chemical maintenance and storage operations (called Red Hat) were in place by mid-November 1971. Due to recommendations by the Surgeon General, the Secretary of Defense issued instructions to terminate missile launches and all essential military flights prior to arrival of Red Hat (see resumptions in 1973-1975).
1972. Early in 1972, Herbicide Orange, a defoliant spray mixture used in Vietnam, was moved to Johnston Atoll and stored on the northwest corner of the main island pending disposal. Hurricane Celeste struck Johnston Atoll on August 19, 1972, with winds exceeding 100 knots. In preparation for the hurricane, the Atoll was evacuated for the first time since 1939. Damage was assessed at approximately 3.2 million dollars.
1973-1975. Following safety studies and implementation of appropriate on-island constraints, restrictions on aircraft flight within the Johnston Atoll area were revised to allow resumption of commercial flight on April 29, 1973. Effective July 1, 1973, host-management of Johnston Atoll was transferred to DNA. Real property accountability and reporting responsibility were retained by USAF 15th Air Base Wing, and a use permit was issued granting DNA use and occupancy of Johnston Atoll, together with all facilities and improvements thereon. DNA command was executed through the Commander, Field Command DNA (FCDNA), and the Commander, Johnston Atoll (FCJ). By late 1973, the Pacific Missile Range tracking, control, and range safety capability which had been operated from Akau (North) Island was inactivated and removed. The program to cope with radiation contamination at Johnston Atoll progressed during 1974 with measurements and identification of "hot spots" using gamma-based detectors. Manual pickup of the transuranium contamination (plutonium and americium) was initiated during 1975. Following necessary safety studies, preparations for range safety, and approvals, two THOR missile launches to support an Army requirement were accomplished in 1975. Upon completion of the THOR launch program, the launch equipment was transferred to Vandenberg AFB, California.
1976. By Presidential action in January 1976, Safeguard C was redefined to remove the requirement for the capability to promptly return to atmospheric testing. Johnston Atoll was placed in caretaker status on the premise that "at least one year would be available for rehabilitation or construction of required structures prior to any use of Johnston Atoll as a test base." Base support contractor personnel were reduced by one-half, test support equipment was disposed of, and many scientific and support facilities were inactivated or mothballed.
1977-1981. In 1977, the ADC satellite tracking station was closed. The Herbicide Orange stocks were removed from Johnston Island and incinerated at sea aboard the Dutch ship Volcanus. A 1977 Memorandum of Understanding between DoD and the Energy Research and Development Administration (hereafter referred to as the Department of Energy [DOE]) documented DoD responsibility to maintain Johnston Atoll and DOE responsibility for retention of other test facilities in the Pacific. Johnston Atoll was used in 1979 for optical measurement of barium clouds released by rockets launched from the Kauai Test Facility (KTF), Hawaii. A major rehabilitation of the main wharf was also accomplished. A comprehensive radiological survey was completed in 1980 to record transuranium contamination remaining from 1962 THOR missile aborts. Contaminated structures were dismantled and isolation within the former THOR Launch Emplacement No. 1 (LE-1) as a start for the cleanup program. USAF initiated research on methods to remove dioxin contamination from soil which resulted from the leakage of stored Herbicide Orange defoliant on the northwest corner of Johnston Island, Preparations for the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) started under funding by the U.S. Army Toxic and Hazardous Materials Agency. Plans were being made to reactivate almost every facility on the Atoll to support increased activity. At the end of 1981, the population was approximately 320 military (FCDNA, Army Red Hat, and Coast Guard), support contractor, and other civilian personnel.
1982-1983. During June 1982, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) personnel used the optical station on top of the Joint Operations Center (JOC) as a primary ground station to support Project MERLA, a joint DoD/DOE missile test launch from Vandenberg AFB, California. On November 24, 1982, ocean bottom activity near Oahu, caused by Hurricane Iwa, broke the undersea communications cable linking Johnston Atoll and Oahu, Hawaii. The Military Affiliated Radio System (MARS) on Johnston Atoll proved the only off-island communications for an extended period. The southwest peninsula was selected as the JACADS site to keep Army activities together, maintain the disposal plant upwind of the Red Hat area and downwind from the containment area, and minimize encroachment on land areas reserved for Safeguard C and other technical activities. Satellite television was added to augment and improve services by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. The Johnston Atoll Master Plan (JAMP) was updated for the first time since 1970. Population peaked at 374 persons assigned (387 actually on Johnston Island) during November 1983.
1984. A Memorandum of Agreement between DNA and the Department of the Army for Planning, Development, Construction, Operations, and Disposition of the JACADS was accomplished during January. This agreement specified that JACADS operation would be halted in a timely manner, if necessary, to permit the use of Johnston Atoll as a base for nuclear testing and the return of the site to a mutually acceptable configuration upon completion of disposal operations. During August, Hurricane Keli moved toward Johnston Atoll with sufficient threatening force to warrant evacuation of all personnel. The storm turned, and minimal shoreline and facility damage was experienced. The Memorandum of Understanding between DOE and DoD for Planning and Support for Safeguard C and Conducting Nuclear Weapons Tests Outside North American Continental Limits was revised during September. A long-range review for shoreline protection was initiated, and personnel of the U.S. Army Waterways Experiment Station inspected the shoreline. Some sea wall problems adjacent to the south (Red Hat) shore were identified. The Defense Communications Agency sponsored the installation of remote, unmanned equipment on Johnston Island to record the effects of meteor bursts on communications. Mobile radar and instrumentation were also installed by Sandia National Laboratories to track and receive telemetry data from Sandia Winged Energetic Reentry Vehicle Experiment payloads launched from KTF. An earlier visit by Air Force Engineering and Service Center personnel was followed by an extensive EG&G, Inc. survey of the northwest corner of Johnston Island to determine the extent of the dioxin contamination. Major rehabilitation of facilities and utilities started the preparations for JACADS. The National Weather Service closed their operation of the Weather Station at Johnston Atoll. Limited weather reporting was continued on a contract basis. Population peaked at 411 persons assigned (424 actually on Johnston Island) during October 1984.
1985. Following a study of the underwater communications cable which connects the Atoll and Hawaii (approaching its 20-year design life), it was determined that the cable should be maintained as long as possible. A satellite communications system was programmed, with provisions for delay as long as the cable remained operational. A decision to replace the cable would depend upon test/technical requirements. The cleanup of transuranium contamination progressed when the contaminated LE-1 THOR missile shelter and stored materials were relocated to the Nevada Test Site. A program to relocate and consolidate contaminated soil within LE-1 was continued. LANL used the optical station on top of the JOC to observe space shuttle tank reentries. The U.S. Army Chemical Activity-Western Command (USACAW) was established to manage Army operations at Johnston Atoll. Significant physical security upgrades were accomplished, a military police company was assigned, and other security improvements were achieved including the installation of sea and air surveillance radar on top of the JOC and procurement of an MK-12 patrol boat for Atoll defense. Rehabilitation of almost all housing, support facilities, and utilities was accomplished or scheduled for completion early in 19886 in preparation for further buildup of personnel and Atoll activity. A Comprehensive Billeting Plan was published to determine billeting requirements and accommodate the future buildup. Population peaked at 610 persons assigned (609 actually on Johnston Island) during November 1985.
1986. A Disaster Preparedness Plan was developed to cover a wide range of potential situations. The plan called for the assumption of operational control by a senior Army officer in the event of an attack or chemical accident. One reverse osmosis (RO) unit was installed in the Fresh Water Treatment Plant (No. 45). This replaced saltwater distillation as the primary means of freshwater production. The construction of nineteen munitions storage igloos was completed. Construction of the JACADS facilities was initiated. The demonstration of a pilot "mining" plant to remove transuranium elements from Johnston Atoll soil was completed with outstanding results. Project THUMPER, an LANL project to collect data on the depth of the coral head atop the volcanic cone supporting the Atoll, was accomplished. The results of this project indicated that the coral head is approximately one mile thick. Population peaked at 756 persons assigned (751 actually on Johnston Island) during July 1986.
1987. A small arms firing range (No. 981) was constructed on the southwest end of Johnston Atoll. The Disaster Preparedness Plan was expanded, and a complementary Physical Security Plan was completed. An ASR-8 radar system (Nos. 400 and 402) was installed to improve sea and sir surveillance capability. A new 1,200-line digital telephone switch was installed in the JOC. The Corps of Engineers completed a shoreline protection study of all Johnston Atoll islands. The addition of a 10,500-square-foot Health Clinic, part of a major JOC modification, was completed. Population peaked at 1,066 persons assigned (972 actually on Johnston Island) during July 1987.
1988. The remaining parts of the JOC modification project were completed, including the addition of an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and changes to make the JOC a Chemical Protective Shelter with a full positive-pressure system and personnel decontamination area. A second RO unit for production of fresh water became operational. Rehabilitation of the outdoor theater was completed. Water lines leading to the JACADS facility were replaced. An additional satellite television antenna was installed. A full-scale soil separation plant was set up and checked out in preparation for operations to separate transuranium elements from contaminated soil. The former THOR missile payload assembly building (No. 795) was used as part of the plant. New recreation facilities, the Soldier's Place (No. 703) and the Boat House and Dive Shop (No. 123), were completed. Five miles of new water lines were installed in support of JACADS. A Johnston Atoll Comprehensive Plan (JACP) was published to cover areas of planning, programming analysis, facility enhancements, and capital improvements which are not addressed in the JAMP. Population peaked at 1,066 persons assigned (981 actually on Johnston Island) during November 1988.
1989. Rehabilitation of the Dining Hall (No. 519), which included the addition of air conditioning, was completed. Two barracks (Nos. 416 and 418) were upgraded. Other efforts included the construction of a Hazardous Waste Storage Facility (No. 780) and Fire Training Pit (No. 902) with a simulated aircraft to add realism during fire-fighter training. Electric power generation was switched to temporary generators pending replacement or repair of units in the old system. The Johnston Atoll Baseline Plan (JABP) was published to identify and validate firm requirements for Atoll host and tenant needs so that adequate planning and budgets can be developed. Population peaked at 1,223 persons assigned (1,042 actually on Johnston Island) during December 1989. The added population put an increased strain on billeting space and related facilities.
1990. JACADS, the Army system for disposal of chemical agents, achieved operational status in June. Fifteen rockets containing toxic chemicals were destroyed in the initial activity. To provide additional housing necessitated by the buildup of JACADS personnel, nine apartment units (Nos. 208-210 and 382-387) which had been used during the oil spill cleanup at Valdez, Alaska, were sited on JA to provide housing for 216 persons. The JACADS start-up and around-the-clock operations also necessitated the requirement for 24-hour medical support. The services of a full-time dentist were also added to reduce the necessity of referring personnel off island for routine dental care. Increased water consumption due to JACADS resulted in the installation of new reverse osmosis water purification units (RO II and RO III). Additionally, four monitoring station (Nos. 12, 733, 900, and 996) were installed on the Atoll to monitor the environmental impacts of the JACADS operation. A Fitness Center consisting of a recreation office, a basketball court (No. 324), racquetball courts (No. 322), and a weight room (No. 323) was constructed on the island; and a Cold Storage Plant (No. 517), Vehicle Maintenance Facility (No. 37), and Sewage Treatment Plant (No. 740) were also completed. During the year, DNA proposed that host-management at Johnston Atoll should be transferred to the Army until the Army chemical demilitarization mission is completed. The Deputy Secretary of Defense decided during October that host-management would be retained by DNA. During August, the principal JA tenant changed its name from USACAW to U.S. Army Chemical Activity Pacific (USACAP). The telephone switch capability was increased by 300 lines, resulting in a 1,500-line capability. Following a competitive bid process, the Department of Energy replace Holmes & Narver, Inc., the Management and Operations contractor on JA for over 30 years, with Raytheon Services Nevada, effective November 5, 1990. Population peaked at 1,321 persons assigned (1,208 actually on Johnston Island) during July 1990.
1991. Additions and upgrades to telephone cables 05 and 06 were made to provide additional phone line capacity for the modular housing units, the 250 series dormitories, the new Fitness Center, and the new Vehicle Maintenance Facility. Responsibility for contracting communications services at Johnston Atoll was transferred from the U.S. Air Force to the Defense Nuclear Agency. Phase I of the Power Plant alterations was completed and accepted June 26. Power plant configuration was changed to four 2,500-kw Caterpillar generators (three on-line, one spinning reserve) and two 1,400-kw Enterprise generators (back-up). A study to define the JA Safeguard C baseline was accomplished by RSN/Logistics Planning Group. A Safeguard C baseline of 5 military and 161 contractor full-time equivalents was established as the minimum required to maintain JA at a basic level of Safeguard C readiness. Work began on the renovation of the 250 series dormitories. The water supply was increased substantially by drilling four new saltwater wells in October. A third reverse osmosis unit capable of producing 150,000 gallons per day of fresh water was installed in November, bringing the Water Plant's rated capacity to 400,00 gallons per day. Population peaked at 1,364 persons assigned (1,198 actually on Johnston Island) during April 1991.
1992. The Department of Labor conducted the first Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspection of JA on January 7-9. JA was determined to be a Department of Defense workplace, and no exceptions to OSHA are applicable. Announced or unannounced inspections of a contractor must be permitted. Three military construction projects, a $4.1M Community Center, a $4.5M Consolidated Maintenance Facility, and the $1.6M Reach V Sea wall Repair, were begun. The U.S. Coast Guard LORAN C Station on Sand Island ceased transmitting on June 30 and was disestablished on July 1. All Coast Guard personnel, electronic equipment, and property departed JA in July. Buildings on Sand Island were transferred to other activities. LORAN whip antennas on Johnston and Sand Islands were removed, and the 625-foot LORAN tower and antenna were demolished on December 3. To simplify fuel demands, all diesel-powered motors, including the Power Plant diesel generators, were converted to burn JP-5 fuel. On December 18, gust fronts, associated with the collapse of several tropical thunderstorms, stalled in the JA general vicinity. During the most intense part of the storm, a wind gust (peak) was recorded at 85 mph. The cleanup and repair of damages to island facilities cost approximately $2M. Population peaked at 1,357 person assigned (1,139 actually on Johnston Island) during December 1992.
1993. The Community Center, consisting of the Island Exchange (Bldg. 407) and Library (Bldg. 406), and the Consolidated Maintenance Facility (Bldg. 319) were completed and occupied in April. The Battery Shed (Bldg. 35) and High Pressure Steam Facility (Bldg. 36) were built to improve motor pool operations, a Satellite Communication Ground Station (Facility No. 262) was added to augment communications capability, and a new Power Plant Switch gear Facility was constructed to upgrade the electrical power distribution system. The sea wall project for Reach V was completed. The fifth 2,500-kw Caterpillar generator and switch gear were installed as Phase II of the Power Plant upgrade project. As part of Congressional action on DoD and DOE appropriations for FY94, the requirement for maintenance of a capability to return to atmospheric nuclear testing and DoD funding for Safeguard C were deleted. Therefore, the maintenance of JA as a primary atmospheric test support base was determined no longer to be required. DNA continued host-management while considerations within DoD concerning JA management and contract support were continued. Aerial mapping of all islands and the reef and preparation to update and improve the accuracy of JA master drawings were completed. In August, 907 nonessential persons were evacuated to Hickam AFB and Honolulu in anticipation of Hurricane Keoni. At 2300 hours on August 15, the hurricane, with winds gusting to 130 knots, passed 140 miles south of JA, very little rain or facility damage occurred. Population peaked at 1,342 persons assigned (1,148 actually on Johnston Island) during April 1993.
1994. On 25 August the eye of Hurricane John passed approximately 15 nautical miles north of Johnston Island with estimated maximum sustained winds of 90 knots (104 mph) and maximum gusts of 105 knots (121 mph). The automatic wind station on Johnston recorded maximum sustained winds of 49 knots (56 mph) with maximum gusts of 67 knots (77 mph). All personnel were evacuated to Hickam AFB and Honolulu. 13 facilities that were considered as either mission critical, structurally questionable, or beyond economic repair sustained damages totally $6.0M.
1995. Following a competitive bid process, the Department of Navy awarded a 6 year, $122M Base Operation Support (BOS) contract with Kalama Services, Inc., replacing Raytheon Services, Inc., effective 4 August 1995. Population peaked at 1,259 persons assigned (1,142 actually on Johnston Island during April 1995).
1996. As part of Phase III of the Power Plant upgrade project, the last Enterprise engine was pulled out of service and replaced with the sixth 2,500-kw Caterpillar generator. Population peaked at 1,158 persons assigned (1,127 actually on Johnston Island during April 1996).
1997. Population peaked at 1,133 persons assigned (1,115 actually on Johnston Island during April 1997).
1998. The fresh water storage capacity was increased to 1.3 million gallons when a 500,000gal steel-bolted water tank was put into service in November. Total fresh water storage provides 5 days supply. Population peaked at 1,100 persons assigned (1,076 actually on Johnston Island during April 1998).
1999. On 16 August the eye of Hurricane Dora passed approximately 15 nautical miles north of Johnston Island with estimated maximum sustained winds of 90 knots (104 mph) and maximum gusts of 105 knots (121 mph). The automatic wind station on Johnston recorded maximum sustained winds of 49 knots (56 mph) with maximum gusts of 67 knots (77 mph). All personnel were evacuated to Hickam AFB and Honolulu. 13 facilities that were considered as either mission critical, structurally questionable, or beyond economic repair sustained damages totally $6.0M.
On 1 October the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) officially turned over Johnston Atoll to the U.S. Air Force. Johnston Atoll became a detachment to the 15th ABW, Hickam Air Force Base, Pacific Air Force (PACAF). Population peaked at 1,148 persons assigned (1,145 actually on Johnston Island during April 1999).
2000. Following a competitive bid process, the Department of Air Force selected Raytheon Services, Inc. to replace Kalama Services, Inc. as the Base Operation Support (BOS) contractor. Due to a multiple-contractor protest, Kalama Services was awarded a 90 day, $12M Letter Contract to continue as the BOS contractor to allow time for protest determinations. A forth Reverse Osmosis unit capable of producing 150,000 gallons per day of fresh water was installed in February to replace the failing RO3 unit, bringing the Water Plant's rated capacity to 260,000-300,000 gallons per day. In June, the renovation to the weight room was completed. Renovations included air conditioning and expanded the square footage by 1200 square feet. Buildings 414 & 418 were renovated in April to replace the old shower stalls with new. Population peaked at 1,112 persons assigned (1,074 actually on Johnston Island during April 2000).
November 2000: Last chemical munition destroyed.
January 2001: Change of mission. Military Police decrease in number of guard force personnel per shift.
11 April 2001: Closure ceremony.