There are a few sunken World War II ships in Ulithi lagoon. Some leaked oil, but the United States Navy did a clean up operation in February 2003. There continues to be good fishing and diving on the atoll though recent typhoons have eroded some of the reefs.
Census records can be misleading because population can fluctuate during the year both because it is common for Ulithians to leave for work or school abroad and to return. This is particularly true during festive times like the Outer Island High School graduation ceremony, when the population can increase considerably. Additionally, during events like weddings and funerals, Yasor's population may double.
Electricity is now available on some islands and the advent of video players and cell phones have brought a touch of the outside world to this isolated atoll.
Ulithi was a major base for the U.S. Navy in World War II. The Japanese had established a radio and weather station early in the war, and had used the lagoon as an anchorage occasionally, which resulted in strikes from US aircraft carriers early in 1944. However, Ulithi was perfectly positioned to act as a staging area, being nearly equidistant from the Philippines, Formosa, and Okinawa.
On September 23, 1944, an army regiment landed unopposed (the Japanese having evacuated the atoll some months earlier), followed a few days later by a battalion of Seabees. The survey ship USS Sumner (AGS-5) surveyed the lagoon and reported it capable of holding 700 vessels, and indeed just a few months later, 617 ships had gathered there for the Okinawa operation.
The Japanese still held Yap and there were occasional attacks. On March 11, 1945 the U.S. carrier Randolph was hit and moderately damaged at Ulithi by a Kamikaze aircraft that had flown all the way from Japan in a mission called Operation Tan No. 2.
The airstrip on Falalop was developed during World War II and used by the Americans as an air base during their time on the island. During World War II, the local islanders were evacuated to Fedarai by the Americans. The remaining islands were converted and used as bases to support naval vessels and facilities within the lagoon.
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