Baker Island is an uninhabited atoll located just north of the equator in the central Pacific Ocean about 3,090 kilometres southwest of Honolulu. The island lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia. Its nearest neighbor is Howland Island, 68 kilometres to the north-northwest; both have been territories of the United States since 1857.
Located at 0°11′41″N 176°28′46″W. the island covers 2.1 km2 with 4.8 kiometres of coastline. The climate is equatorial, with little rainfall, constant wind, and strong sunshine. The terrain is low-lying and sandy: a coral island surrounded by a narrow fringing reef with a depressed central area devoid of a lagoon with its highest point being 8 metres above sea level.
Baker, along with six other islands, was administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the Pacific Remote Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex. In January 2009, that entity was redesignated the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument by President George W. Bush.
Public entry to the island is only by special use permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it is generally restricted to scientists and educators. Representatives from the agency visit the island on average once every two years, often coordinating transportation with amateur radio operators or the U.S. Coast Guard to defray the high cost of logistical support
On August 11, 1943 a US Army defense force arrived on Baker Island as part of the Gilbert and Marshall Islands campaign. In September 1943 a 1,665 metre airfield was opened and was subsequently used as a staging base by Seventh Air Force B-24 Liberator bombers for attacks on Mili Atoll. The 45th Fighter Squadron operating P-40 fighters operated from the airfield from September 1 - November 27, 1943. By January 1, 1944 the airfield was abandoned.
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