The American forces also expanded and improved an airstrip that the Japanese had built on the island of Falalop, as well as a series of landing strips for smaller planes on other Ulithi islands. Now the Americans had a fully equipped naval base from which they could conduct operations. The Japanese had believed that the huge expanses of the Pacific offered them some protection from attack. Ulithi would prove them wrong.
And the new base didn’t just include all of the equipment and materials necessary to support a huge armada of ships. It also offered the sailors who crewed them as many of the comforts of home as possible in this remote Pacific location. One ship, USS Abatan, was fitted out with water distillation equipment and a bakery. And another barge was dedicated to making ice cream, being able produce 500 gallons in a single shift.