Wake Island is a U.S. possession, claimed by the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It is located in the North Pacific Ocean, about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to the Northern Mariana Islands. It is actually an atoll; Wake proper is one of three islands, along with Peale and Wilkes. It has no native population, although there is a small military detachment, assessing damage and future status after a major typhoon in 2005. The atoll has 6.5 sq km of land area; there are no significant resources other than its location.
As tensions rose in the Pacific prior to the Second World War, the U.S. built a base there in 1940-1941, which was one of the first Japanese targets in December 1941, in the First Battle of Wake Island. The U.S. garrison repulsed the initial attack on 11 December, and a relief expedition was sent but did not react in time to prevent the surrender on 23 December.
After the war, it was used as a refueling and emergency landing site. At present, it is managed by the United States Air Force and United States Department of the Interior. There have been technical facilities to support missile testing.