"Bering Sea" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
Aleutian World War II
National Historic Area - Alaska
The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area is on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island Chain of Alaska. It offers visitors a glimpse of both natural and cultural history, and traces the historic footprints of the U.S. Army Base, Fort Schwatka, located at the Ulakta Head on Mount Ballyhoo. The fort, 800 miles west of Anchorage, the nearest large urban center, was one of four coastal defense posts built to protect Dutch Harbor (crucial back door to the United States) during World War II; Fort Schwatka is also the highest coastal battery ever constructed in the United States. Engineers designed the concrete observation posts and command stations to withstand earthquakes and 100 mph winds. Although today, many of the bunkers and wooden structures of Fort Schwatka have collapsed, the gun mounts and lookouts are among the most intact in the country.
https://www.nps.gov/aleu/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleutian_World_War_II_National_Historic_Area The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area is on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island Chain of Alaska. It offers visitors a glimpse of both natural and cultural history, and traces the historic footprints of the U.S. Army Base, Fort Schwatka, located at the Ulakta Head on Mount Ballyhoo. The fort, 800 miles west of Anchorage, the nearest large urban center, was one of four coastal defense posts built to protect Dutch Harbor (crucial back door to the United States) during World War II; Fort Schwatka is also the highest coastal battery ever constructed in the United States. Engineers designed the concrete observation posts and command stations to withstand earthquakes and 100 mph winds. Although today, many of the bunkers and wooden structures of Fort Schwatka have collapsed, the gun mounts and lookouts are among the most intact in the country. During World War II the remote Aleutian Islands, home to the Unangax̂ (Aleut) people for over 8,000 years, became a fiercely contested battleground in the Pacific. This thousand-mile-long archipelago saw invasion by Japanese forces, the occupation of two islands; a mass relocation of Unangax̂ civilians; a 15-month air war; and one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific Theater. The park is located on Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Island chain. The island is located 800 miles west of Anchorage. The island can be reached by commercial or charter air flights from Anchorage. Commercial flights to Unalaska include Pen Air and Alaska Airlines. The Alaska Marine Highway is a ferry service that is operated by the state that can be used to reach the island. The Aleutian World War II Visitor Center is located at the Unalaska airport. Aleutian World War II National Historic Area Visitor Center The visitor center for Aleutian World War II National Historic Area is in the town of Unalaska. It is owned and operated by the Ounalashka Company and is located in the historic Naval Aerology building. The center interprets both the military events of the Campaign and the relocation and overwhelming hardships faced by the Alaska Native residents of the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. Inside there are exhibits, a reconstructed 1940s radio room, and a 1940s style theater showing World War II-era films. The Aleutian World War II Visitor Center is located at the Unalaska Airport, within walking distance of both the cruise ship dock and the Grand Aleutian Hotel. A homeland changed Group of people around a Russian cross in tall grass In September 2009, Nick Lekanoff, Sr., former Makushin resident, traveled with his daughter and other descendants of Makushin on the Tiglax to visit the village site, which had been left behind in the evacuation of 1942 and never permanently resettled. William C. House and the Aerological Detail on Kiska Twelve men and a dog pose for a photo After his aerological crew was captured by the Japanese in June, 1942, Senior Petty Officer William House survived 50 days in the hills of Kiska. He ate grass, shellfish, and worms. Weighing 80lbs he surrendered and was respected for his perseverance. Evacuation and internment People crowd at the railing of a ship Pribilof villagers, here lining the railing of the USAT Delarof on the day of their departure (June 15, 1942), were evacuated with only a few hours notice and no idea of their ultimate destination. Challenging weather conditions Four men gather around a invalid man Soldiers rub the frostbitten feet of a disabled soldier. Over 2000 weather-related casualties—the majority Attu feet—were recorded for U.S. troops. This number represents the largest classification of casualties suffered by American forces on the island. The battle for Attu Island Six men with guns carry a person on a stretcher in a valley. U.S. wounded are gathered from the battlefield on Attu Island. The battle on Attu, lasting nearly 20 days, was the second most deadly in the Pacific Theater. Cultural collision A uniformed man holds up a broken Russian cross The Aleutian campaign brought together Russian, Native Alaskan, Japanese, and Euroamerican cultures. During the war 7 historic churches were damaged or destroyed. Villages were unrecognizable or burned to the ground and personal belonging lost or stolen. Attu, A Lost Village of the Aleutians Attu was one of the remote Aleutian villages left behind during World War II. After the Japanese bombed Dutch Harbor, the U.S. Government evacuated Unangan (Aleut) residents of the islands and took them to camps in the southeast of the state for protection. In Attu, residents were held prisoner by Japanese forces, and many died from malnutrition and starvation. They were not permitted to return to Attu when they returned. Uniformed soldiers carry weapons and supplies ashore on a rocky beach from a boat. Clifford McGinnis Inducted into the Army Corp of Engineers in 1942, Clifford eventually ended up as Post Engineer on Amchitka from 1944-46 where he supervised more than 1000 military and civilian workers. Browse his photos to learn more about his life in the Aleutian Islands. sepia toned photo of a man in uniform standing behind a sign. Samuel McKay Samuel "Mack" McKay served in the 430th Sig. Maintenance (Avn.) squadron from 1942-45 at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage during WWII. His extensive photo collections includes images of a variety of places across Alaska and includes personal letters and the story of a younger brother who died during the war. black and white photo of a man staring into the camera lens. Joseph Sasser Interview With the 50th Combat Engineers, Joseph Sasser was sent into battle on Attu against entrenched Japanese forces. The battle and environmental conditions left a lasting impression. Listen to his interview to hear about his experiences. Black and white portrait of young man in uniform holding a pipe in his mouth. Katie and Robert Dougal Interview Bob went to radio school and remembers installing the first radar on Kiska, how unprepared they were for living on Kiska and what the Japanese left behind. Katie, a war bride, worked and volunteered with amputees at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where she saw the pain and devastation of war. Listen to their joint interview. black and white photo of a man standing in a doorway Robert Davis Interview As part of the Army Air Force Reserve Corp. Robert remembers a miserable boat trip to the Aleutians, plane crashes and being shot at by a US pilot. Listen to his interview and browse his photos. Black and white photo of a man wearing a hat and jacket. Bob and Mac Eads Interview Bob Eads served as a pilot on the C-47 hauling ammo, supplies and paratroopers on Normandy Beach the in seven major invasions during the war. His brother, John C. “Mac” Eads served in the US Army at Umnak as heavy equipment operator and gunner and various places in Alaska on a burial unit and body recovery. Listen to their joint interview. Black and white photo of C-47 airplane in sky Rocci Martini Rocci J. Martini finished basic training at Ft. Wheeler, Georgia and was sent to Umnak Island in 1943. He was a unique combination of machine gunner and violinist assigned to the 310th Coast Artillery, Company B, 3rd Battalion. He played for troops in Alaska and other places in the United States while serving and received a recommendation for special service work to allow him to continue to play, and in 1942 received a special thanks from the USO for his performance. Sephia toned photo of a man dressed in winter parka. Mac McGalliard Stories As an aircraft mechanic (crew chief) Mac served more than 2 years in the Aleutians under the 54th fighter squadron. He primarily worked on the P-38. Read his many stories about his time in the Aleutian Islands. black and white photo of a man sitting on the wing of an airplane. Melvin Mickelson He joined the army in 1942 and was assigned to the Medical Detached Service Command Unit 1493 and sent to the Aleutians. Mel’s large collection of photos, generously donated by his daughter, provide insight into Mel’s service history and life during the WWII era. Sephia portait of man in uniform John Pletcher Interview John served as an Army Air Corp Reserve pilot during World War II. He recalls experiences as a B-18 and B-26 pilot as a member of the 73rd Bomb Squadron. Listen or read his interview to learn more about his life in the Aleutian Islands. Black and white photo of a man wearing a baseball hat. Paul Polink Interview Paul was a gunner/aircraft mechanic for the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron transporting important people and goods. Five in his family served in WWII. Listen to his interview and explore his photo collection to learn about his life. Black and white photo of a man in uniform with his tie tucked into his shirt. Clint Goodwin Interview Sgt. Clint Goodwin served as a welder as part of the 807th Engineers, Company B serving in the Aleutian Islands, and the Ryukyus Islands of Japan. Learn more about Clint's time in service through his interview, papers, and photos. black and white photo of man in uniform. Bruce Hubbard Interview Initially offered a deferment for his work at Boeing, Hubbard turned it down. In the Aleutians he fulfilled his flying dreams. Listen to his interview and browse photos and memorabilia to learn more about Hubbard. Sepia toned photo of a plane on the ground. Carl Heflinger Interview Carl worked on lend/lease aircraft during the war. He spent a good part of his life mining outside of Fairbanks. He has lived in Alaska since 1932. Watch or read his interview to learn more about his life. black and white photo of man holding a tool by an airplane with its parts exposed. Joseph Hutchison Interview An aerial gunner in the 21st Bomb Squadron, Joe bombed the Kurile Islands and saw the beginning of the effort to expel the Japanese from Kiska. Listen to or read his interview about his time in the Army Air Corps. Young man with fighter pilot goggles on his head. Harold Johnston Interview Harold "Bud" Johnston was on a machine gun position on the beach at Umnak Island when Japanese planes attacked in June 1942. He watched as P-40s engaged the Japanese fighters and fended them off. He later served on Adak and was involved in the reoccupation of Kiska as well as part of Company F, 153rd infantry. Watch an interview with him, and listen to additional interviews about his time in the Aleutian Islands. black and white photo of a large twin-mounted anti-aircraft gun. Albert King Interview Drafted in to service, King served as Mess Sergeant in the Adak 278th Coast Artillery. Listen to his interview and browse his photos to learn more about his time in the Aleutian Islands. black and white photo of a man in front of a field partially covered in snow. Robert and Shirley Allen Johnson Shirley Allen (later Shirley Johnson) wanted to contribute to the war effort and put off going to college to do so. She made her way to Memphis and found work at the Army Depot. Robert Johnson was a member of the 206th Coast Artillery band (trombone) out of Marianna, Arkansas. He served at Dutch Harbor and Amchitka. Learn about the Johnsons' experience from photos and a transcription of Robert's wartime diary, courtesy of his daughter. Two sepia-toned portraits: a man in military uniform, and a woman in a flowered blouse. Bruno Kozlowski Bruno Kozlowski (1920-1984) served in the 15th Tow Target Squadron as a flight engineer on the B-26 Marauder. Learn more about his time in Alaska by browsing photos from his son's collection. sepia toned photo of a smiling man wearing a baseball hat. Neil Fugate Interview Neil Fugate was sent to the Aleutian Islands in January 1942 as part of the build up there in anticipation of a Japanese attack. In Alaska, his woodworking and building skills were put to immediate use as he was given the responsibility to organize a building crew and workshop. Explore his time in Alaska by looking at his extensive photo collections, reading short anecdotes, or reading an interview transcript. black and white photo of young man in uniform Herbert Gedney Interview Herbert Douglas Gedney, Jr. served in the Army Air Corp during World War II in the Aleutians (Dutch Harbor, Attu and Kiska) with the 11th Air Force from 1941-1943, and in northern France, central Europe and Rhineland as an aerial gunner with the 8th Air Force. He served in the personnel office and as an armorer and turret specialist in Alaska. Herb received 2 battle stars and 3 presidential citations during his service. Listen to his interview and browse his photos. Black and white photo of a young man wearing a hat and jacket. Charles "Mack" Collings Interview Mack served in the 4th Infantry Band arriving in Seward, Alaska in 1940. He hopped from island to island entertaining the troops along the way. Listen to his interviews. sepia toned photo of men with musical insturments and music stands in a room. Walter Dalegowski A P-38 mechanic with the 54th FS he was stationed on Amchitka, Adak and Attu. He witnessed the maiden flight of the Lockheed Super Constellation. Explore his extensive photo collection. sepia toned photo of a man in an airplane, with the text "pre-flight check" Gaylord Tapp Interview A member of the 50th Combat Engineers, Gaylord built runways and facilities across the Pacific Theatre and twice earned the Purple Heart. Listen to his interview, or read the transcript, about his service around the world during World War II. black and white portrait of a man in uniform. Edward Novak Interview Wounded twice in the war Edward Novak saw battle in the Aleutians and on Kwajalein. Learn more about Edward’s battle experiences, Allied tactics and other wartime experiences in the video interview. Black and white photo of man in uniform leaning against a palm tree. Richard Short 1st Lt. Richard T. Short, an apple-cheeked boy of 20 from Omaha, Nebraska graduated from flight school in 1944 and arrived in Alaska in time for Christmas. He flew for the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron from the Aleutians north in Alaska. Read Short's memoir to learn about his flying experiences, testing of the newly minted Ground Controlled Approach for instrument landings, and other memories of the day. Black and white photo of man in uniform in front of doorway. Richard T. Short Memoir of WWII's Pacific Theater 1st Lt. Richard T. Short, from Omaha, Nebraska graduated from flight school in 1944 and arrived in Alaska in time for Christmas. He flew for the 54th Troop Carrier Squadron from the Aleutians north in Alaska. Read Short's memoir to learn about his flying experiences, testing of the newly minted Ground Controlled Approach for instrument landings, and other memories of the day. A man leans out of the front window of an airplane. Jim Schroeder Jim was a radar operator on a B-24 for the 404th Bomb Squadron. He flew 14 missions during his tour and recalls some of the more memorable flights. Listen to his interview to learn about his World War II experience. black and white photo of a plane sitting on the ground, with a giant puddle of water. Craig Stolze Craig Stolze served in Alaska during World War II as part of the 39th Air Depot Repair Squadron from 1943 to 1945. He was one of the crews that trained for the desert and were sent to Alaska in desert gear! Learn more by reading his short memoir. man in mechanic's uniform standing in front of a plane's propeller. David Hemming Hendrickson Interview A coxswain aboard USS Albuquerque, David Hendrickson served in the Aleutians from 1943-46. The Albuquerque and crew provided escort, patrol and life saving services. Listen to an interview with David about his WWII time in Alaska. a portrait of a man in a sailor uniform Al Weber Interview A child of the Great Depression Al Weber joined the Coast Guard to get some decent food to eat. He later worked for CIA and OSS and spent time in Alaska. Watch an interview with Al as he talks about his World War II experience. Color photo of smiling bald man in front of window and window curtains. Leon Hooper Interview Leon was 17 when he arrived in Adak, Alaska to work on the USS Scania during World War II. Learn more about his experience during the war through this recorded interview. black and white photo of large ship with "AKA 40" painted on the side. Donald and Lucille Lambert Condrill Lucille Lambert made her contribution to the war effort working for the American Red Cross in Whittier. With the Army’s 7th Infantry Division, Donald Condrill was involved in the battles to reclaim Attu and Kiska from Japanese forces and also served in Whittier. a man and woman in uniform pose outside of a small military structure Aleutian Voices - Forced to Leave During World War II the remote Aleutian Islands, home to the Unangax̂ (Aleut) people for over 8,000 years, became one of the fiercely contested battlegrounds of the Pacific. This thousand-mile-long archipelago saw the first invasion of American soil since the War of 1812, a mass internment of American civilians, a 15-month air war, and one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific Theatre. view of village from the water History of Patrol Bombing Squadron 139 Official declassified history of the U.S. Air Force's Patrol Bombing Squadron 139 during their time in Alaska during World War II. Includes historical surveys, statistical data, and a partial chronology. Black and white photo of six men posing in front of a plane. 807th Battalion History, part 1: Activation and more A history of the 807th Battalion as they arrive in Alaska and begin work in Yakutat, Unalaska, Umnak Island, and Port Heiden. Sign for Alexai Point "unincorporated, home of the Army's Northwestern Most Airfield." World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 2: Funter Bay Cannery, pt. 2 Part 2 of Chapter 2: Funter Bay Cannery from Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 2: Funter Bay Cannery, pt. 1 Part 1 of Chapter 2: Funter Bay Cannery of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Afterward The afterward of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 4: Killisnoo Herring Plant, pt. 1 Part 1 of Chapter 4: Killisnoo Herring Plant from Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 6: Burnett Inlet Cannery Chapter 6: Burnett Inlet Cannery of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 7: Ward Lake CCC Camp Chapter 7: Ward Lake CCC Camp of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 4: Killisnoo Herring Plant, pt. 2 Part 2 of Chapter 4: Killisnoo Herring Plant in Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska Harrel Chancellor Remembers the Attack on Dutch Harbor Landing at Dutch Harbor one day before Japanese attack, Harrel Chancellor recalls his experience during the bombing and a curious coincidence later in life. Wreckage of a building Joseph Sasser's WWII Experience Drafted into the Army in 1942, Joseph Sasser trained in California before being sent to Alaska. He arrived in time for the Battle of Attu and the Invasion of Kiska. Portraits of a man from 1940s on left and modern on right Thomas Erickson, World War II co-pilot in the Aleutians During World War II Thomas Erickson met movie stars and worked as a co-pilot on dangerous missions. Planes on metal mats in a grassy area World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 3: Funter Bay Mine, pt. 2 Part 2 of Chapter 3: Funter Bay Mine of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 3: Funter Bay Mine, pt. 1 Part 1 of Chapter 3: Funter Bay Mine of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 3 Adventure follow Mac as he heads to training. First he goes to boot camp in California. Then in aviation training in Illinois where he overlaps with a unit of Tuskegee airmen. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 2 Mac recounts his time at Paine Field in Everett, Washington; some of his time in Alaska; and Olivia de Havilland, the first woman he'd seen, or smelled in 18 months. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 4 Mac remembers fun times at the Windmill night club near Everett, Washington; his tentmates and bathing facilities; and his near miss at Dutch Harbor. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 1 Mac pays homage to his pilots and commanding officers and describes an air battle he saw from Umnak Island. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 5 Mac discusses payroll issues, gambling, several deaths in the unit, and getting a letter from home. Mac McGalliard's War Stories, part 6 Mac describes the invasion of Adak and establishing a camp there. History of the 77th Bombardment Squadron (Medium) A history of the 77th Bombardment Squadron from California training to arrival in Alaska. This official history includes multiple riveting first-person accounts of a disastrous attack on Paramushiro on September 11, 1943. two rows of men in front of an airplane History of the 73rd Bombardment Squadron Official military history of the 73rd Bombardment Squadron (M) focusing on their time serving in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska during World War II. two rows of men in uniforms in front of planes World War II National Historic Landmarks: The Aleutian Campaign Learn about the War in the Aleutians, the only theater of war where American soil was occupied by the Japanese Empire. aerial view of world war two ships in a harbor Thomas Erickson Remembers the last flight of Bomber 31 On a cold snowy night, Thomas Erickson watches his friend take off in a plane. The plane never returns and it is nearly 60 years before Erickson learns what happened. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Introduction The introduction to Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book. World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 8: National Historic Landmark Evaluation Chapter 8: National Historic Landmark Evaluation of Charles Mobley's World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska book World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska - Chapter 5: Wrangell Institute Chapter 5 of Charles Mobley's book "World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska" focusing on the Wrangell Institute. World War II in Alaska This resource guide is designed to aid students and teachers in researching Alaska’s World War II history. Alaska’s role as battlefield, lend-lease transfer station, and North Pacific stronghold was often overlooked by historians in the post-war decades. Few people know that the only World War II battle fought on U.S. soil took place in Alaska or that Japanese forces occupied two Aleutian Islands for more than a year. Soldiers walk down ramp by ship in full gear. William and Bobbe Crooks Interviews Bobbe landed in Anchorage in 1940 determined to work and help support her family. She experienced WWII and family life following a career Marine Corp Colonel. Bill was an aviator for the U.S. Marine Corp and became a highly decorated Colonel by the time he retired. He served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam. a white haired man and woman pose for the camera Williwaw April-May-June 2020 The Aleutian Islands WWII National Historic Area's new quarterly newsletter. The Williwaw, started by the late Al King, has long been a great way for veterans of the Aleutian Campaign to stay connected. In recent years, Dave Rawlings has served as the editor. Now, we plan to continue the Williwaw as our program newsletter, available digitally and in a print version. Black and white photo of two men in uniform with an airplane Robert W Lynch Profile Robert W. Lynch served as a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force 111th squadron. Learn about his time in Alaska during World War II. a man in world war ii gear smiles in an open airplane cockpit 807th Battalion History, part 2: Adak Island History of the 807th Battalion and its work on Adak Island during World War II. After navigating to the island the engineers set about constructing runways, offices, housing, and other infrastructure. Black and white photo of seven men wearing dark clothes, standing on snow. 807th Battalion History, part 3: Attu and Misc. History of the 807th Battalion and their work in the Aleutians including Adak. Also included are messages from General Marshall and General Landrum. Aerial view of snowy mountains and airstrip Searching for Wilderness: Amchitka Island, Alaska A history of violence and disturbance haunts the Aleutians. On Amchitka Island, the natural healing process has been threatened and disturbed in a profound way. The legacies of World War II and nuclear tests remain; the contaminants and rats introduced during the past century may never be removed, forever changing the diversity of this island. Ecosystems can usually recover from naturally occurring disturbances but Amchitka may be irreversibly changed. rocky coastline Harry Bailey's WWII Service on a Power Barge Harry Bailey served with the Harbor Craft Detachment supplying necessities to Aleutian bases. He recalls rough weather, "liberating" supplies, close calls, and colorful characters in what was daily life for him during the war. Snowy mountains across open water Harry Bailey Interview Harry served with the Harbor Craft Detachment supplying necessities to Aleutian bases. He recalls some of the most memorable voyages and daily life. blue patch with a white bear head with bared teeth, and a yellow star above. Theodore Bouchette Browse Capt.Theodore Bouchette's photo gallery. Capt. Bouchette first arrived in Kodiak Alaska in 1941. He later took part in first landings on Adak and Amchitka where he lived in a dugout cave for 18 months. He also served on Attu during the battle where he escaped as one of the few survivors of his regiment following a Japanese kamikaze attack. black and white photo of man in military dress uniform in front of tents and another man in uniform. Robert Boon Interview Robert Boon was a member of the 206th Coast Artillery band (saxophone) out of Marianna, Arkansas. He served at Dutch Harbor and Amchitka from 1941-45. Listen to his interview and learn about his time in the Aleutians. black and white photo of a man in uniform, standing at ease. Robert Brown Interview Part of an air crew flying B-24s for the Army Air Corp 28th Bomb Group, Robert Brown flew some 26 missions while in the Aleutians. He went on to fly the B-36 as part of the Berlin Airlift. Robert finished out his career at the Air Force Academy leading a communications squadron. Listen to his interview. Black and white photo of two men in pilot uniforms looking at a map in front of a B-24 airplane. Donald Brydon Interview Donald Brydon served in the 58th Fighter control Squadron serving on Shemya, Attu, and Adak from 1943-45. Learn about his service through this interview and his photos. Black and white photo of a man in uniform in the winter, with snow in background. Hale Burge Interview Hale Burge was an aircraft mechanic who saw first-hand the dangers of flight. He witnessed the Battle of Attu and served as crew chief on several aircraft after WWII. Listen to his interview, or read the transcript. Color photo of a smiling man in a tan military uniform. Frank Carnes Frank served in the 14th Signal Corp in the Aleutians from 1943-45 and later worked for DOT in Alaska. He recalls events and places from Alaska's past. Read his World War II recollections and browse his photos from World War II and an Honor Flight in 2008. black and white photo of a man in uniform, standing at ease. Harrel Chancellor As part of Company L, 137th Infantry, Harrel Chancellor bore witness to the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor. He also served on Shemya, Adak and Attu. Read his account of the attack. Black and white photo of a harbor with snowy mountain and boats at a pier Thomas Erickson Thomas Erickson served as a Navy co-pilot in the PV-1 Ventura bomber/recon plane in 1943-44. He primarily flew missions from the base on Attu to the Kurile Islands of Japan. Flights were hazardous with heavy enemy fire and fighter attacks over the Kurile Islands and weather. Operating on the edge of fuel limits in the 9+ hour round trip flight to the Kurile’s left little room for mistakes. Erickson flew on Grange McKinney’s crew. black and white photo of men standing on runway Glen Ellis Glen Ellis was a pilot, 2nd Lieutenant with the 18th Fighter Squadron. View a collection of his photographs. black and white photo of smiling man wearing aviator sunglasses in a plane's cockpit. Al Gentle Interview A native of Birmingham, AL, Al spent time at a number of state-side bases before being sent to the Aleutians, where he reached the rank of Chief Petty Officer. Learn more about his war experiences. two photos of the same man as a young man and older man. Robert Buchanan Interview As an Aviation Mechanic for VP-61 Bob served in the Aleutians and South Pacific. He flew dozens of missions in a PBY and lived to tell about them. photo of bald man wearing glasses and blue sweatshirt. Charles Donovan Interview As radio operator, Charles Donovan traveled to Umnak Island aboard USS Spica in 1942. He later served in Seattle, Guam, and Japan. sepia toned photo of man sitting at typewriter with headphones on. Joseph Baldeschi Interview Joseph Baldeschi was trained as an aerial gunner and assigned to Fleet Wing Four, destined for Attu Island, Alaska. Their assignment was to photograph the northern section of the Japanese Kurile Islands. Just 10 days into his tour, Joe was wounded by shrapnel created by the explosion of an enemy shell. He was later awarded the Purple Heart. photo of two men in dress uniform, and one man pins the purple heart on the other. Walter "Andy" Andersen Interview Walter "Andy" Andersen was trained as an aerographer and served at the US Naval Air Station on Attu, Alaska where he was stationed at a remote outpost at Cape Wrangell, on the west side of the island. He talks about the weather on Attu, living in a quonset hut, making pets out the local wildlife, and the duties of an aerographer in Alaska. Andersen resides in California with his wife and four children nearby. black and white photo of man in white shirt standing in front of corrugated metal building. Charles and Betty Fitzpatrick Charles L. Fitzpatrick was a Naval aviator in a PV-1 Ventura with VPB-136, Fleet Air Wing 4 during WWII. He flew bombing missions from Attu to the Kurile Islands. Charles wrote a book about his experiences in the Aleutians including a March 1945 ditching off Kodiak and subsequent rescue by Missionary Steven Zdepski and the people of the town of Karluk, Alaska. black and white photo of man and woman in nice clothes. John Fahey Interview John Fahey enlisted in the US Navy at age 17 and served as a radioman aboard the U.S.S. St. Mihiel during World War II transporting troops and nurses to and from Alaska where he endured some harrowing voyages. black and white photo of large ship Robert Ingram Interview A Siems Drake Puget Sound construction worker at the beginning of the war, Robert Ingram later joined the Navy and built prosthesis for those injured. Color photo of older man sitting with a cane, wearing flannel. Wilbur (Bill) Green Interview Wilbur (Bill) Green captained a patrol boat in the Aleutians during World War II. They primarily served to rescue downed airmen, and Bill recalls with pleasure how effectively his crew - largely young men raised as fishermen - handled their vessel even in the rough conditions of the North Pacific. color photo of an older man wearing a hat, vest, and bolo tie. Lloyd Keyes Greenamyer Lt. Cdr. Greenamyer was awarded the Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in operations against Japanese forces on Attu. He lost his life in the battle. black and white photo of man in uniform leaning on railing overlooking airplanes. Charles House Interview Charles House was a Navy weatherman on Kiska when the Japanese invaded. He eluded capture for 50 days but was finally taken prisoner. black and white photo of a group of men standing outside in civilian clothes with a dog. The Invasion of Kiska On June 7, 1942, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian island of Kiska, Alaska. The island’s sole inhabitants were the crew of the U.S. Aerological Detail who fled to the hills; most were captured after a few days. Japanese soldiers stand on top of a submarine. Vic Krygowski Interview An Ordnance Officer on the USS Beaver and later SS-292 Devilfish (sub tender), Vic dodged the "wolf pack" en route to Britain before landing in Alaska. black and white photo of large ship Charles House and the Invasion of Kiska Stationed on Kiska when the Japanese invaded in 1942, Charles House fled to the Alaskan tundra. After surviving 48 days on his own survival came down to one option - surrender. Black and white photo of twelve men and a dog posing outside. Ottis Littlejohn Interview A Boatswain's Mate on the USS Long DMS-12 Ottis Littlejohn served in Hawaii, the Aleutians, Micronesia and South Pacific, and during several invasions. black and white photo of man in uniform in front of building Walter Stohler Interview Served in Adak as part of the Traveling Circus Number 11. black and white photo of an army town with quonset huts, below a large, snowy mountain. William Butler Hutchison Interview A pilot for VP-139 Bill Hutchison flew sorties over the Aleutians and Japanese Kurile Islands. black and white photo of a man in uniform, looking over snowy landscape and buildings. Harry Suomi Interview A torpedo man on the USS Finback, USS Fulton, USS Chub and USS George Washington Harry served in the Aleutians, South Pacific, Philippines and China Sea. black and white photo of large ship on water, with smaller ships in front of it. George Herold Interview George Herold longed to be part of a submarine crew and enlisting in the US Navy he was given an opportunity. While in training at the Quartermaster Signal man School in Pearl Harbor, George witnessed the Japanese bombing . Later, in the Aleutian Islands, George was aboard the S-27 when it was grounded and sunk off Amchitka. black and white portait of smiling young man in white Navy uniform. Bill Thies Interview As a pilot for VP-41 Bill and his crew are credited with finding the Akutan Zero, a find that changed the course of the war in the Pacific Theater. color portrait of a man wearing flannel and holding a pipe in his mouth. Donald W. Stobbs Transplanted from a Midwest farm to the Attu tundra Donald Stobbs served in VPB-135 where he served as a navigator in a PV-2. black and white photo of man in uniform in front of a bunker. Kenneth "Ray" Skinner Interview Ray was a radioman who served three tours of duty in the Aleutians as part of VP-41, VP-61 and VP-62 and flew in the PBY-5A. black and white photo of man in front of corrugated building. Boleslaw "Ben" Anthony Lada Boleslaw "Ben" Anthony Lada served two tours in the Aleutians as part of VP-62, Crew 7. black and white photo of five men in front of quonset huts. Howard Rummel Howard Rummel served in the Navy on NAS Attu from Sept 1944 – Jan 1946. sepia toned photo of man in front of a jeep. Roy Lee Roy served as a net tender from the Aleutians (1943-45) to the Philippines. A young warrior, he was just 15 years old when he arrived in Dutch Harbor. two photos of the same man as a young man and older man. Williwaw July-August-September 2020 The fight against COVID-19 has been a real struggle. Our daily lives have changed in ways we never thought possible. As we work to adjust to the new realities facing us at home, school, and at work we, the editors, wanted to take the opportunity to share stories of those medical professionals who kept our boys on the Aleutian Islands fighting fit during World War II. black and white photo of man bending over another man in a hospital bed. Lucien Desjardins Interview Lucien served with the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals laying wire for phones between camps. He recalls the battle for Kiska and working alongside allied forces in Alaska during World War II. Check out his interview or read his memoir in English or French. combined portrait of a young man in tuxedo on the left and older man in suit and tie on the right Irene Makarin Interview Irene Makarin was raised at Biorka and lived there until evacuation at the start of the war. She later married William Yatchmenoff of Chernofski. During World War II she was among the Alaska Natives relocated out of the Aleutian Islands. Listen to an interview as she describes her experiences. View of green shoreline, blue mountains, white clouds, blue sky & sparkling blue water. Jean Chapin Dolat and Bernie Dolat Interviews Jean worked at the Columbia Aircraft Factory in New York where her mother was employed building the J2F Duck. Jean discusses how the war forced young people to grow up quickly and accept responsibility at a young age. Bernie worked at Grumman Aircraft in New York during the war and enlisted for duty as part of an occupation force in Japan following the bombing. color photo of man and woman, both with white hair. Eleanor Mae Cramer Interview Working in the Burbank Lockheed Aircraft Plant, Eleanor Mae Cramer recalls plant security, secret product development, rationing, & bomb scares. Listen to her interview, and browse her photo album of the Aircraft Plant. a woman in a shoulderless white top and a man in military uniform in a colorized photo Cathy Schaughency Interview Cathy opted to leave school at the end of the semester and found work with the United Engineering and Foundry Company, where she worked with representatives from the Soviet Purchasing Commission. After working with the United Engineering and Foundry Company, Cathy joined her husband after the war on Adak. A rectangular building with a round roof sits near a pond. Jeanne Finnegan Interview A college graduate, Jeanne contributed to the war effort through her work with Ranger Aircraft Engines in New York. She also recalls stories of her husband’s service in the Aleutian Islands during the war and adaptation to marriage and life post war for her and her extended family. A woman with a hat stands and faces the camera. She is smiling and wearing a wool long coat. Moses Gordieff Interview Moses Gordieff was born in Unalaska and lived in Biorka. During World War II he was evacuated and relocated to Southeast Alaska from the Aleutian Islands. Listen to his interview, part of the Beginning of Memory project. two photos of the same person, as a young man in uniform on the left and as an elder on the right. Nicholai Lekanoff Interview Nicholai S. Lekanoff was born in Makushin and lives in Unalaska Village where he has devoted his life to the church. During World War II, Nicholai, along with other Alaska Natives was relocated away from the Aleutian Islands. Watch a short movie or listen to an interview talking about Nicholai's experience. close-up photo of a man bundled up in winter close. Eva Tcheripanoff Interview Eva Kudrin is was born in Kashega in 1928 and lived there until evacuation. Following the war she married John Tcheripanoff and settled in Unalaska. During World War II she was relocated from the Aleutian Islands by the US government. Check out her experience with this interview. black and white photo of three young women in front of a window Nicholai Galaktionoff Interview Nicholai Galaktionoff was born in Makushin, lived in Unalaska for part of his life and was associated with Biorka through marriage. Learn how his life was affected through World War II in Alaska. Portrait of older man wearing glasses, sitting on a rocky shore looking out to mountains and sea. Al Martin Al Martin, a French Canadian learned English in the Army Air Corp's 11th Fighter Squadron where he was a payroll sergeant on several of the islands. black and white photo of a man wearing a tie. Bill Hutchison's WWII Recollections Bill Hutchison joined the Navy and elected to fly multi-engine land based bombers, certain he’d end up in the Pacific Theatre. The day he arrived on Attu, Tokyo Rose sent him a radio message identifying him by name and home town. Not to be deterred Bill flew 21 missions in his 2 ½ years in the Aleutians. Read about some of his adventures. Men in bomber jackets stand on a runway Evacuation and Internment In a tragic and shameful episode, the U.S. government forcibly removed nearly 900 Unangax̂ (Aleut) people from their homes in 1942. Black and white photo of men, women, and children huddled together. Alaska Aviation Safety In Alaska, small planes are often the best way to get around but flying has its risks. Aviation safety requires more than just a pilot’s skill–it takes all of us. Learn more about aviation to increase the safety of your next park flight. An NPS pilot in a plane cockpit flying over a turquoise lake Army Pie Crust Recipe A pie crust recipe from The Army Cook, circa World War II. Two men in cook's uniforms making over a dozen pies in an industrial kitchen. Army Pie Recipe A pie filling recipe from The Army Cook, TM 10-405. Circa World War II. Photo of ceramic pie pan, wooden rolling pin, and red and white towel on wooden table. Army Gingerbread Recipe A gingerbread recipe from The Army Cook, TM 10-405, circa World War II. Tan cookbook cover "Technical Manual for the Army Cook" Army Beef Loaf A beef loaf recipe, circa World War II. Diagram of Army oven from Army Cookbook Scars on the Tundra: The Cultural Landscape of the Kiska Battlefield, Aleutians The events of World War II transformed Kiska Island in the Aleutians into a cultural landscape that is truly unique on a global scale. Reminders of the Aleutian Campaign on Kiska remain visible today. Rusted part of tracked trailer on a slope, with grassy hills in background. William Jasura The family of Mr. Jasura is looking for information on his service during World War II in the Aleutian Islands. Silent Sentinels of Kiska On June 7, 1942, the Japanese invaded the Aleutian island of Kiska. When the U.S. military recaptured Kiska in 1943, they discovered 105 heavy and medium guns left by the Japanese. These ranged from the larger guns emplaced for coastal defense, a range of anti-aircraft guns, of which the 75 mm was the most numerous, to assorted smaller artillery. Learn about the Japanese occupation and the many guns of Kiska. 2 photos of the same anti aircraft gun, during the war and now, in a grassy field. Lyttleton Ballard An electronics officer for the US Navy, Lyttleton Ballard serviced radar equipment for PBY squadrons in the Aleutians traveling island to island. Sepia photo of eighteen uniformed men standing in front of airplane. Williwaw October-November-December 2020 The Holiday issue of the Williwaw, a quarterly newsletter from Aleutian Islands World War II National Historic Area. Black and white photo of men in decorated mess hall. Series: 807th Battalion History From its formation until the height of the war, the 807th Engineer Aviation Battalion battled weather, time, and an unseen enemy to construct infrastructure for the war effort in the Aleutians. A crest with an eagle and sword and text "A history of the 807th Engineer Aviation Battalion" Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 10 Issue 2: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska’s National Parks In this issue: * Science on the Slopes of Mount McKinley * Brown Bear Activity Patterns in Katmai * Attu, A Lost Village of the Aleutians * Using Scenarios to Prepare for Climate Change ... and more! journal cover showing a brown bear in a field Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 13 Issue 1: Wilderness in Alaska This issue includes: * Economics of Wilderness * Using Ethics Arguments to Preserve Naturalness * Busing Through the Wilderness: "Near-Wilderness" Experiences in Denali ... and more! mountains reflecting into a calm lake, the words 'alaska park science' Series: World War II Aleut Relocation Camps in Southeast Alaska During World War II the villagers were evacuated and interned at six locations in southeast Alaska, where they endured considerable hardship. This volume focuses instead on the places, using archival material and oral history to supplement onsite observation and photography at each of the six relocation camp sites. People stand at the railing of a metal ship. Series: Alaska Park Science - Volume 10 Issue 1: Connections to Natural and Cultural Resource Studies in Alaska's National Parks This issue delves into a variety of topics, including: Glaciers in Denali | Prehistoric Tools in Gates of the Arctic | Remnants of WWII battles in the Aleutians | A projection of fire activity based on climate change predictions; and more! caribou wading through a river, words Alaska Park Science Donald Stobbs' World War II Experience A farm boy from Ohio, Donald enlists in the Navy to avoid being drafted. He is recruited as a pilot and enters 16 month of training at four different bases. Ultimately, he is sent to Attu in the Aleutian Islands to work out the war's end as a navigator. Along the way he observes changes from pre-war life, experiences the death of a loved one, meets his wife, and experiences things greatly different from life on an Ohio farm. Black and white photo of a man in uniform looking out over barren hills and water. Battle of Attu: 60 Years Later Lasting 18 days, the Battle of Attu was one of the deadliest battles of World War II, but it remains one of the least well-known. Read about the Japanese invasion, how Americans retook Attu, the counterattack, and the aftermath of the battle. black and white photo of soldiers carrying a stretcher across rough terrain. Series: The Williwaw Newsletter What was medical care like in one of the most remote corners of the world during World War II? How did enlisted men eat and celebrate holidays? Discover almost forgotten stories of people who were in the Battle for the Aleutians. The Williwaw staff welcome stories from veterans and their families! Please email us if you have a memory or story to share about the Aleutian Campaign in a future issue. Sepia toned photo of man sitting at a typewriter in a room, with a radio headset on. Series: World War II Military Unit Histories Read the official history of military units and explore photographs and recollections from enlisted men. Many men in dress uniform standing in formation in front of tents. Aerographers Discover some first-hand accounts of areographers, who made weather observations to help keep military personnel safe. Black and white photo of a group of men in front of door with "Areological Office" sign above. Williwaw July-August-September 2021 Air power proved its worth in the Great War (World War I) and was used to great effect in World War II. This edition of The Williwaw highlights some stories of pilots and planes from the homefront to the frontlines as the Allies struggled to achieve – and then maintain – air superiority over the Aleutian Islands. Propeller planes parked on runway. Patrol Bombers (PBYs) in the Aleutian Islands Explore stories about PBY (Patrol Bomber Catalina) "flying boats" in the Aleutian Islands during World War II from the servicemen who flew them and worked on them. black and white photo of a plane parked on a runway below snowy mountains. Leonard Foulk Sgt. Leonard Foulk fought and was blinded during the Battle of Attu. He recovered at Letterman General Hospital in the Presidio of San Francisco. At the Presidio, we was paired with a guide dog and received the Bronze Star for his service. A man in uniform hugs a dog against his chest Frank Carnes' Memories of the Aleutians Dive into Frank's written account of his time spent in Alaska, starting with his journey to the Aleutians in the troopship Ulysses S Grant. He also discusses his time spent elsewhere in Alaska during the war, as well as interactions with Corporal Dashiell Hammett. black and white photo of man in uniform standing outside in front of a car and buildings. I Held Up My Hand and Became a Sailor Bill Maris recounts how he volunteered for the US Navy, trained, and flew many flights during World War II. Man in white sailor hat and shirt threading a needle Bill Maris VP-43 Flight Logs Bill Maris' flight logs and personal notes, including his first date with his future wife, Marie Erickson. 6 men pose on a hill in front of town with two-story white buildings, ocean, snowy mountains. End of War and Post-War Life for Bill Maris Details on the end of World War II and life after war for Bill Maris and his family. Series: Bill Maris Flight Logs & Recollections Bill Maris had many adventures during World War II, and recounts them in detail with his flight logs and personal recollections. Some stories are humorous and others tragic, as war can be. He describes the missions flown in a PBY and the challenges faced in day to day life. His extensive collection of photos document his fellow servicemen, weather conditions, mishaps, and the rigors of Navy boot camp. Older man with white hair, glasses, pale purple shirt sits in front of a birthday cake. Bumble Bees of Alaska: A Field Guide This field guide to bumble bees will help you identify these abundant and conspicuous pollinators, which are found across most of Alaska. They are well-adapted to cold, harsh climates and live in every habitat where there are flowers offering up pollen and nectar, including forests, shrublands, tundra, wetlands, riparian areas, beaches, and gardens. a bumble bee perched on tiny pink flowers Troop Morale Bill Maris remembers inventive ways he kept up his crew's morale, as well as solved any problems with special food items. Four men in winter gear eating apples in front of round buildings.
Aleutian World WarWar II National Historic Area Aleutian World II Unalaska, Alaska National Historic Area Fort Schwatka Self-Guided Tour Ulakta Head, Mount Ballyhoo View from one of the three base end stations at Ulakta Head. National Park Service Photo. Welcome to the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area. Time has taken its toll on the features of Fort Schwatka and visitors need to be aware of the hazards that exist. Use caution during your visit and please stay on the roads, trails, and pathways. The site preserves bunkers and observation posts still in excellent condition; however, tunnel entrances leading into them are not stable and most have caved in. For your safety you should avoid these entrances. Collapsed tunnels may also be the cause of any area that appears to have sunk below normal ground level. It is not safe to walk on these areas. Please stay off of the building ruins and no matter where you walk watch for nails, holes, and icy tundra. Cliff edges are steep and very often undercut; loose gravel, slippery slopes, and unexpected wind gusts could cause you to lose your balance. We recommend that you stay at least 20 feet from the cliff edge. Nearly all of the self-guided tour is accessible by vehicle. Using safety precautions you can also travel on foot to explore other features of Fort Schwatka that are not described in the self-guided tour. If you are on your own, you must contact the Ounalashka Corporation office at 400 Salmon Way, Unalaska, near Margaret Bay or the Aleutian World War II Visitors Center for an access permit. Left: A member of the gun crew poses next to the crew quarters Fort Schwatka, July 1943 Self-Guided Tour Map Orientation Sign Fort Schwatka and the “Iron Ring” Before you lies the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area and the historic footprint of the U.S. Army base Fort Schwatka and Battery 402. At 897 feet above sea level the fort is the highest coastal battery constructed along the coast of the United States. The fort was constructed in 1940 to protect the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base from a seaborne invasion fleet. The June 1942 attack on Dutch Harbor prompted an upgrade of the fort that was completed by early 1944. At full development Fort Schwatka had over 100 structures supporting the soldiers of the two coast artillery units that manned the cannons and antiaircraft guns. Barracks, storehouses, a recreation center, officers club, quonset huts, latrines, administration, and support buildings all served the needs of an estimated 250 soldiers stationed on this lonely mountain. Battery 402 was the center point for the “iron ring” defense of Dutch Harbor – a series of strategically placed defense installations and observation posts along the coastlines of Amaknak and Unalaska Islands. Anti-submarine netting stretched across Iliuliuk and Captains Bay backed up the “Iron Ring”. (Fort Learnard and Battery 298 were the other large fortifications.) Smaller installations were constructed at Hill 400 on Amaknak Island, Fort Brumback in Summer Bay, Hog Island in Unalaska Bay and Fort Mears Garrisons in Unalaska Valley provided additional strength. Engineers designed the structures here to withstand bomb blasts, earthquakes, and gale force winds. Today, many of the structures of Fort Schwatka have collapsed, but the gun mounts and lookouts are among the most intact in the entire United States. “Up on a wind swept mountain, And what a hell of a spot, Rattling a hell of a snow storm, In a land that time forgot….” anonymous soldier, Mt. Ballyhoo, 1941 Orientation Sign Stop 1 Enlisted Men’s Barracks “At night when the wind is howling, It’s more than a man can stand, Hell no! we’re not convicts, We’re defenders of our land….” Stop 1 anonymous soldier, Mt. Ballyhoo, 1941 To locate Stop 1, facing the orientation sign, follow the road on your left around the head of the valley to its end. There you will see a sign indicating the beginning of the self-guided tour. This is the remnants of one of four large barracks of Fort Schwatka (above). Of the four barracks, three housed sixty-three men each and one forty-five men. The opposite page shows one of Fort Schwatka’s wood framed barracks. The building design, typical for this era, is the Army’s standard 700-series architecture. In the immediate vicinity of this stop, you will notice all that is left of many wooden buildings are piles of lumber and weather flattened walls and roofs. Before collapsing, these buildings withstood many years of harsh Aleutian storms with heavy rain, strong winds, and deep snow. The intensity of the climate is why much of what remains of Fort Schwatka is rusting metal, rotting wood, and weathering concrete structures. Across the valley, on a clear day, you’ll see the shadowy imprints of foundations on the steep hillside, tunnels used to access command posts, and rotting remains of the wooden staircases (left) that men used on wet and windy nights to reach their bu
View to the Past Base End Station at Ulakta Head overlooking Unalaska Bay, 2000 A Driving Guide to World War II Buildings and Structures on Amaknak Island and Unalaska Island WORLD WAR II NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARKS IN THE ALEUTIANS The Aleutian Islands, Alaska NHL: National Historic Landmark Map source: National Park Service, 1993 C.B. McCoy, Dutch Harbor, 1943. Courtesy Museum of the Aleutians. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District wishes to thank the following persons and agencies for their assistance with this project: City of Unalaska, Jeff Dickrell, Museum of the Aleutians, Anne Rowland, Ounalashka Corporation, Philomena Hausler, Unalaska Historical Commission, Qawalangin Tribal Council, National Park Service, D. Colt Denfeld, and the State of Alaska Office of History and Archaeology Aerial view, Amaknak and Unalaska Islands, ca. 1942. Courtesy National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region. WORLD WAR II ON THE ALEUTIAN FRONT In 1940, anticipating the spread of the war in Europe to the Pacific Theater, the U.S. military began construction of forward-operating bases in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. By 1943, American troops were stationed throughout this remote, 1,200-mile-long archipelago. From airfields at Adak, Dutch Harbor, and Fort Glenn, U.S. pilots flew patrol bombers, fighter-bombers, and observation aircraft on combat and reconnaissance missions over the Aleutians. On June 3 and 4, 1942, six months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Japanese pilots bombed Fort Mears and the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base on Amaknak Island. Three days later, Japanese soldiers invaded Kiska Island, 600 miles west of Dutch Harbor, and Attu Island, 800 miles west of Dutch Harbor. American forces recaptured Attu in June of 1943, at the price of many American and Japanese lives, and the Japanese army abandoned Kiska one month later. U.S. troops remained in the Aleutians until the end of the war in 1945. In 1985 and 1986, the federal government designated Adak Naval Operating Base, Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, Fort Glenn, and the battlefields on Attu and Kiska islands as National Historic Landmarks in recognition of their significant contributions to the defense of the nation during World War II. Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base “Every station, office, and activity ashore exists but to serve the NAVY AFLOAT, UNDER THE SEAS, OR IN THE AIR.” (War Diary, Dutch Harbor, Alaska). Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base was constructed as a naval air station in 1940-1941, at a deep-water port on Amaknak Island used for centuries by the Unangan people and Russian fur traders. As the diary entry above proclaimed, the base provided a landing field and weather data for pilots and also repaired, refueled, and reprovisioned the submarines and other U.S. ships that patrolled the Bering Sea and Pacific Ocean. Hospital wards at Fort Mears, Dutch Harbor, Alaska, ca. 1941. Courtesy National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region. Fort Mears Fort Mears, named after Colonel Frederick Mears, was established to defend the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base. The fort was constructed during 19401941 on the narrow strip of land between Margaret Bay and Unalaska Bay, the only flat terrain on Amaknak Island. After the construction of Fort Mears was underway, defense installations were also built at Hill 400, Mount Ballyhoo, Eider Point, and Summer Bay. PBY-5-A parked in a revetment at the bottom of Mt. Ballyhoo, ca. 1942. Courtesy National Archives, Pacific Alaska Region. Some of the remaining defense fortifications of the Naval Operating Base can be seen on the lower slope of Mount Ballyhoo, just north of the airport runway. These structures include earthen revetments, which shielded aircraft from enemy fire and the Aleutian wind, and concrete munitions-storage magazines. Tall concrete blast walls protected the entrances to many of the magazines. The photograph above shows wards of the 250-bed hospital at Margaret Bay. In addition to treating injuries from training exercises, construction accidents, and rat bites, the hospital also treated men who contracted diseases such as pneumonia, mumps, and German measles. The nurses at Fort Mears Hospital, the Naval Air Station Hospital, and the field hospital in Pyramid Valley were the only women stationed at Dutch Harbor during World War II. 1 HOW TO USE THE DRIVING GUIDE The six driving routes—shown on the map on the facing page—were chosen based on the following criteria: Land ownership Most of the land on Amaknak and Unalaska islands is owned by members of the Ounalashka Corporation, descendants of the Unangan people who have lived on these islands for over 8,000 years. Some World War II structures, such as those on Hill 400 and Tundra Drive, were not included in this guide because the access roads are on private property. Accessibility and Safety All six routes are within the City of Unalaska road system and can be driven in a two-wheel-drive rental car dur
U.S. soldiers, Attu Island, May 14, 1943. (U.S. Navy, NARA 2, RG80G-345-77087) AT TU THE FORGOTTEN BATTLE John Haile Cloe As the nation’s principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public lands and natural and cultural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places, and providing for enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. The Cultural Resource Programs of the National Park Service have responsibilities that include stewardship of historic buildings, museum collections, archeological sites, cultural landscapes, oral and written histories, and ethnographic resources. Our mission is to identify, evaluate and preserve the cultural resources of the park areas and to bring an understanding of these resources to the public. Congress has mandated that we preserve these resources because they are important components of our national and personal identity. Study prepared for and published by the United State Department of the Interior through the Government Printing Office. National Park Service Alaska Affiliated Areas Aleutian World War II National Historic Area Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior. Attu, the Forgotten Battle ISBN-10:0-9965837-3-4 ISBN-13:978-0-9965837-3-2 2017 ATT U THE FORGOTTEN BATTLE John Haile Cloe Bringing down the wounded, Attu Island, May 14, 1943. (UAA, Archives & Special Collections, Lyman and Betsy Woodman Collection) TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF PHOTOGRAPHS.........................................................................................................iv LIST OF MAPS .......................................................................................................................... vii PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS..............................................................................ix FOREWORD .................................................................................................................................x INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................................xi Chapter One - the Setting..............................................................................................1 Terrain ............................................................................................................................................. 1 Weather ........................................................................................................................................... 8 Chapter twO - the iSland and itS hiStOry ........................................................ 13 Russian Period.............................................................................................................................13 American Purchase....................................................................................................................13 Attu Village, the Last Vestiges of the Aleuts in the Western Aleutians..........................................................................................................14 Strategic Interest........................................................................................................................15 Chapter three - war COmeS tO the aleutianS................................................. 21 The Midway-Aleutian Plan ......................................................................................................21 Occupied by the Enemy.............................................................................................................23 Forced to Leave, the Aleut Ordeal .........................................................................................28 Advance Down the Aleutians ..................................................................................................30 Captives in Japan ........................................................................................................................32 The Japanese Reoccupation of Attu......................................................................................33 Chapter FOur - deCiSiOn tO retake attu............................................................. 39 Planning ........................................................................................................................................39 Commitment.................................................................................................................................46 The Japanese Prepare...............................................................................................................50 Chapter Five - day OF Battle