To be honest, I am not a fan of 'war', I mean who is really? I know there are people who are absolutely fascinated with war, and those people bring immeasurable value, and protection to our country. To me, the history of the war is what interests me. After all, wars have helped shape our society as we now know it.
|L-R F/O Jim Gohl, F/O Robert Lynch, & F/O John Ingalls|
RCAF 111F Squadron, 1942
The Aleutian Islands, where that war was fought, were so remote that it has been said, many of them felt abandoned by the county and that they were left up there to die. Suicide and mental breakdown rates were higher than any other war. They lived in tents or Quonsets huts in sub zero temperatures, supplies were hard to get due to their remoteness. Mail from home, their main source of joy, took months to arrive. Everything had to be shipped in on boat with limited supply space which took weeks or even months sometimes, depending on the weather which was seldomly good. Besides living conditions that were difficult, the flying conditions for the airmen was even worse. They had to brave long journeys over the rough Bering Sea, flying through the spontaneous thick Alaskan fog never knowing if a mountain was going to pop up out of the sky. The Aleutian campaign claimed the highest loss of aircraft due to weather related crashes with over 150 aircraft lost due to climate alone. The weather also was responsible for thousands of troops that suffered from frost bite related injuries, which to those of you who live in warm climates and are unfamiliar with the pain of frostbite, it can be so severe you can lose body parts.
|Quonset Hut on Adak, AK 1942|
source- National Park Service
Now, can you imagine what would have happened if the Japanese were met with no defense and were allowed to take over Kiska, Attu or Dutch Harbor without a fight. Heck yea, they would have kept right on marching towards the mainland. Doesn't sound so insignificant to me. The North needed to be defended, and I am so thankful that those troops were there.
If you know of any Aleutian Island Veterans, either Canadian or American, I would like to honor them in the "In Memory" page. Please contact me for details and spread the word and share this site with your friends.