Army Base Faces 'Marathon of Recovery' After Rogue Waves

Repairs on Roi-Namur in Marshall Islands 'may last months or even years,' says Army rep
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2024 10:25 AM CST

Powerful rogue waves slammed into a remote Pacific island that's home to a major US military installation on Saturday, causing extensive damage that could take months to repair, according to an Army statement. The Army said multiple areas of Roi-Namur "are underwater," per CNN. Lying about 2,100 miles southwest of Hawaii, Roi-Namur is the second-largest island in the Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands and host to the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command's Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site. Terrifying footage showed a surge of water breaking down doors and quickly filling a restaurant on the tiny island, which has a maximum elevation of less than 13 feet.

Col. Drew Morgan, commander of US Army Garrison-Kwajalein Atoll, said "a series of unpredicted, gigantic waves" washed over the north point of Roi-Namur. He said only minor injuries were reported. But, "we are settling in for a marathon of recovery ahead. It may last months or even years," he added, per the Army Times. The Army didn't say whether there was any damage to military infrastructure. "Radar, optical, and telemetry sensors on the atoll support missile testing, missile launches, space reconnaissance and surveillance operations, and science experiments for the Department of Defense and multiple other government agencies," reads an Army profile of the test site, per CNN. Locals have been evacuated to the larger island of Kwajalein. (More Marshall Islands stories.)

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