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Places In Saipan: The Last Command Post

Basic Information

  • What: The Last Command Post
  • Where: Saipan, USA
  • Cost: Free
  • Hours: Always Open
  • More Information: TripAdvisor.com

Picture from the Last Command Post

Narrative

During the World War II Battle of Saipan the US military invaded the small Pacific island on June 15, 1944 and over the next three weeks systematically cleared the island from south to north.  The securing of Saipan was strategically important to winning the war since it would allow American B-29 aircraft to conduct bombing runs on mainland Japan from Saipan.  This is why the Japanese defenders on Saipan fought so bitterly to the end to stop the US invasion.  24,000 Japanese would die during the battle and 5,000 more would commit suicide.  The US lost 3,426 men during the battle.  This is a huge loss of life on such a small island measuring 12 miles long by 5 miles wide.

The Last Command Post Park in extreme northern Saipan at Marpi Point commemorates the last days of this horrible battle that changed the war the Pacific:

Picture from the Last Command Post

The area is considered a National Historic Landmark and administered by the US National Park Service:

Picture from the Last Command Post

The NPS has done a great job with the upkeep of the park especially considering the amount of visitors it sees every day.  The main attraction of the park is the command post located in a cliff face:

Picture from the Last Command Post

A set of stairs allows visitors to walk into the natural cave and a sidewalk allows access into the command post:

Picture from the Last Command Post

The entrance into the command post was small so I had to get down on my knees to crawl through it:

Picture from the Last Command Post

Attached to the back of the cave was a concrete bunker that would have been impossible to detect from the air back during World War II:

Picture from the Last Command Post

An exit out the backside of the command post provided a good view of the bunker that appeared to be hit by ground fire during the invasion:

Picture from the Last Command Post

After checking out the command post I then walked around to view the derelict Japanese tanks and artillery pieces on display in the park:

Picture from the Last Command Post

Saipan was actually the location of the largest tank battle in the Pacific theater during World War II:

Picture from the Last Command Post

Having never seen Japanese World War II era tanks before I was surprised how small they were though it makes sense considering the small islands the war was taking place on.  The particular tank on display at the park was called a Type 95 tank:

Picture from the Last Command Post

As I walked around the park something else I noticed was that the cliffside also had numerous other bunkers constructed around its base as well:

Picture from the Last Command Post

Conclusion

The Last Command Post is part of a larger peace park in northern Saipan.  It is well worth stopping here to see the Korean Peace Memorial, the Okinawa Peace Memorial, the Monument to the War Dead in the Mid-Pacific and the Last Command Post.  After viewing the memorials at this park the nearby Banzai Cliff and Suicide Cliff can be driven to that offer spectacular views of northern Saipan.  I highly recommend visiting this historic and scenic area during any trip to Saipan.

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