In 1940, at the cusp of Americans’ involvement in World War II, two very different groups of people were about to find their way to each other from across the globe. Yet neither of them knew it at the time. The men of Delaware’s 198th Coast Artillery Regiment were in routine training in their home state. More than 6,300 miles away on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, were the people of Bora Bora, who were a part of French Polynesia. They felt the threat of Japanese invasion, but they had no idea that 4,300 personnel, including 2,300 men from the 198th, would soon be occupying their island. International politics and war were about to draw these two communities into each other's orbit. Their encounters would forever alter the island of Bora Bora, the lives of participants, and the logistics of American warfare.
People have lived on the 12-square mile island of Bora Bora for 1000s of years, but they first adopted this flag in 1847 when they became part of the French Empire.
The Delaware 198th Regimental lineage dates back to 1776 to the 1st Delaware Regiment, also known as the Blue Hens, and its emblem has symbolized the military unit’s long history of service ever since.
(Left) The tropical island of Bora Bora became the base of operations for Delaware’s 198th Regiment during World War II.
(Right) A party scene documents the coming together of the lives and cultures of Bora Borans and the men from Delaware’s 198th Regiment. Credit: Photographs, 1940s, by an unidentified member of Delaware’s 198th Regiment.