Education Bullet
Education and Outreach

Historic Feature: Flying Boats at French Frigate Shoals

Flying Boats at French Frigate Shoals.
Flying Boats at French Frigate Shoals. Photo Credit: Bishop Museum

French Frigate Shoals was used as an anchorage for U.S. Navy bi-winged seaplanes during World War II. They were stationed there as a response to the Japanese Imperial Navy's use of the atoll as a refueling area (using submarines) for their seaplanes. The Japanese had run nighttime reconnaissance flights of Pearl Harbor prior to the attack, and even dropped a few bombs in Punchbowl Crater before the seaplanes returned to their base in the Marshall Islands. During WWII up to twenty-two U.S. seaplanes were stationed at French Frigate Shoals, and flew 100-mile-radius reconnaissance flights. (Source: "Isles of Refuge," Mark J. Rauzon)