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American Samoa

The tensions of World War II prompted the US Government to begin fortifying American Samoa in 1940. US Marines installed the two 5 inch coast defense guns on the west side of Pago Pago Harbor at Blunts Point, and another two on the east side of the harbor at Breakers Point. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the capture of Guam shortly thereafter, American Samoa became of critical importance as the only major American base in the western Pacific, and it was further fortified in anticipation of attack. Although no attack ever came, American Samoa was a critical supply and training point for American military actions in the Pacific. Photo courtesy of the US National Park Service.