Monday, June 4, 2018

WWII Japanese Guns (120cm) on Kiska Island, Alaska


And just like that another year has zipped along right before my eyes only proving once again the old cliche 'Where does the time go?' is actually still a valid question.   It seems like it was only a few months ago that I was aboard the Puk Uk rubbing my tired throbbing feet after having just returned from one of our long tundra hikes through some of the most forgotten about battle sites in all of WWll; the Aleutian Islands. 

This year has been busy with different Aleutian related projects: WWll Visitor Center remodel in Dutch Harbor, Canada wide RCAF in the Aleutians museum exhibit, EAA Oshkosh Airshow Warbirds In Review Aleutian Campaign segment, RCAF commemorative hike in Unalaska, CAF- Alaska Wing and their RCAF Goldilocks revival, and the big event of the year- 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Attu held just two weeks ago in Anchorage (more on that, on a later day...)  No wonder I have not had time to write!!

Nine Aleutian Island Veterans made the trip to Anchorage to Commemorate Attu75.

In preparation for this year's trip beginning THIS Saturday, yikes, I thought I would post this teaser.  It is just a minuscule fraction of what we see while hiking on Kiska Island where the Japanese Imperial Navy had their largest garrison during WWll's Aleutian Campaign at roughly 5000 soldiers, all of which, under a veil of the oh so common- Aleutian fog, quietly boarded a Japanese troop carrier that had secretly made it's way into the Harbor right under the noses of US Navy.  The ship safely made it's way back to Japan leaving the island with nothing but bad memories.  This evacuation was not officially discovered until a combined Canadian/US force of 35,000 troops, code named Operation Cottage,  landed on the Island on August 15th, 1943 and found nothing but empty gun positions and well build Japanese bunkers.  Even then, on a now unoccupied island, over 300 Allied soldiers died either by confused in the fog friendly fire or booby traps left by the Japanese.

In the video, we were walking around the North Head of the island where the Japanese big guns are located, four 120cm dual purpose guns all guarding the west side of Kiska Harbor which really is the perfect vantage point for any one trying defend Kiska Harbor against a land invasion. 

It is such a privilege and honor to be able to co-lead this expedition and share with people the uniqueness of this campaign and the stories of those who served.  Our next trip is scheduled for 2020!  Make sure you are on it! 


2 comments:

  1. Hello! Can you help me identify the last man in the photo with the vest and burgundy shirt? Is this the late Frank Vaughn? Thank you so much!

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  2. I don't think it can be since he passed away in 2017, and this photo is from this year, but I have a photo with this gentleman in it that I can't identify anywhere. Thank you again!

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