THE gaping holes on the roofs walls and floors, the protruding and bent pieces of steel, the tall bushes around and the eerie silence of the surrounding – this all adds up to one of the must-not-miss historical attractions in the island of Tinian.
The ruins of the Air Administration Building stood amid thick foliage and vegetation, and aside from our footfalls which echoed along the empty halls, there were no other sounds heard as we gingerly picked our way into the building which used to be the headquarters for the Japanese Navy’s 1st Air Fleet.
There is something uncanny yet exciting about exploring a building that had been a mute witness and played a vital role in a bloody battle that took place six decades ago. It felt like we were invading privacy and committing a sin stepping on the floors and holding on to the skeleton of a building has withstood over 60 years of exposure to the elements of nature.
Slowly picking our way up to the second floor where more gaping holes in the floors and roofs met our eyes, our guide told us that the Air Administration Staff Building was part of the Central Pacific Area Fleet of Japan.
It was hard to imagine that such an innocent- looking building, or what was left of it was used as a staging area to transport aircrafts to Southern Pacific battle areas.
The Air Administration Building is just one of the ruins on Tinian that you have to visit. Take time to visit the North Field, the three airstrips, the dilapidated air operations building which is now home to hundreds of spiders and other insects, the air raid shelters, the bunkers at Invasion Beach, the Taga House, the two atomic bomb pit where the B-29 Enola Gay was towed and launched on Aug. 5, 1945 and the atomic bomb pit where the plutonium bomb “Fat Man” was loaded and dropped above Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. The two bombs killed over two hundred thousand people.
Tinian is practically littered with World War 2 relics and remnants, each with volumes of stories to tell to its visitors, and a day is not enough to really immerse yourself in the rich historical sites in the island.