Foss Heads Back to Wake Island After Winning Supply Contract

The tug Moana Holo and barge Eglon passed the historic landmark Aloha Tower upon departing from the Port of Honolulu recently, heading for Wake Island.

For the third year in a row, Foss has won a contract to conduct the annual supply run in support of military operations on Wake Island, about 2,300 miles west of Honolulu.

Foss, which has a rich and sometimes painful historical connection to the island, has won the contract award on-and-off since 2009. The cargo to be delivered includes all manner of dry and refrigerated foods, diesel fuel, trucks, heavy equipment and other rolling stock.

The tug Moana Holo, operated by Foss subsidiary Young Brothers, Ltd., departed from Honolulu in late April on the 11-day voyage to Wake, towing the chartered barge Eglon.

At the start of the start of World War II, the Justine Foss was at Wake Island, tending a suction dredge that was digging a channel into the island’s lagoon to support a military airfield. The Japanese bombed and invaded the island, seized the tug and forced its crew to continue the channel work.

Drew Foss, grandson of the company founders who would eventually become a company executive, had been part of the tug’s crew, but was transferred to a prisoner-of-war camp in Japan. He made it through the war to be re-united with his family.

Capt. Tom McInnis and Mate Ralph Van Valkenberg and the Justine were not so lucky. Faced with a shortage of food later in the war, the men were among 98 Americans executed by the Japanese. The Justine was scuttled.