Attu Island Airbase
Attu Island Airbase is a former United States Army base located on Attu Island, part of the Aleutian Islands chain in Alaska. The airbase was built during World War II and played a crucial role in the defense of Alaska and the Western United States. Today, the airbase is no longer operational, but visitors can still tour the facilities and learn about the island’s history.
Background: Attu Island’s strategic importance
Attu Island’s strategic importance lies in its location at the western end of the Aleutian Islands chain, which stretches for over 1,000 miles from Alaska to Russia. During World War II, the Japanese attempted to invade the Aleutian Islands, including Attu Island, in order to establish air bases to attack the mainland United States. The United States, recognizing the threat, built a series of air bases on the islands, including Attu Island Airbase, to defend against any potential attack.
Preparing for the trip to Attu Island
Visitors to Attu Island must be prepared for a remote and rugged environment. The island is located over 1,000 miles from Anchorage and can only be accessed by plane or boat. Visitors should also be prepared for inclement weather and bring appropriate clothing and gear. Additionally, visitors should be aware that there are no facilities or services on the island, and they will need to bring all necessary supplies with them.
Getting to Attu Island
The only way to access Attu Island is by plane or boat. There are no regularly scheduled commercial flights or ferries to the island, so visitors will need to make arrangements with a private charter company. The flight from Anchorage to Attu Island takes approximately 4-5 hours, and visitors should be prepared for a bumpy ride due to the island’s remote location and unpredictable weather conditions.
Arriving at the airbase
Visitors to Attu Island will need to obtain a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in order to access the island. Upon arrival, visitors will be met by a representative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Attu Island Airbase, who will provide a brief orientation and safety briefing. Visitors will then be free to tour the airbase facilities at their own pace.
Touring the airbase facilities
The Attu Island Airbase is a fascinating place to visit for anyone interested in military history. The facilities include a runway, several hangars, and a number of support buildings. Visitors can tour the facilities and learn about the role the airbase played in the defense of Alaska during World War II. There are also a number of interpretive exhibits and displays that provide additional information about the island’s history.
Learning about Attu Island’s history
In addition to the airbase facilities, visitors to Attu Island can learn about the island’s history and natural environment. The island was inhabited by the Aleut people for thousands of years before the arrival of Russian fur traders in the 18th century. During World War II, the Aleut people were forcibly removed from the island and sent to internment camps on the mainland. Visitors can learn about the Aleut people’s history and culture, as well as the impact of the war on the island’s environment.
Meeting with the airbase personnel
Visitors to Attu Island may have the opportunity to meet with personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Attu Island Airbase. These individuals can provide additional information about the island’s history and answer any questions visitors may have. Visitors should be respectful of the personnel’s time and follow any instructions or guidelines provided.
Safety measures to observe while on the airbase
Visitors to Attu Island should observe all safety measures while on the airbase. This includes staying within designated areas and following any instructions or guidelines provided by airbase personnel. Visitors should also be aware of the island’s rugged terrain and potential hazards, such as loose rocks and steep cliffs.
Tips for a successful visit to Attu Island
Visitors to Attu Island should come prepared with appropriate clothing and gear for the island’s remote and rugged environment. They should also bring all necessary supplies, as there are no facilities or services on the island. Visitors should be respectful of the island’s history and natural environment, and follow any instructions or guidelines provided by airbase personnel.
Conclusion: The significance of the airbase at Attu Island
The Attu Island Airbase is a unique and important part of Alaska’s history. Visitors to the island can learn about the role the airbase played in the defense of Alaska during World War II, as well as the island’s natural environment and the history of the Aleut people. A visit to Attu Island is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore a remote and rugged part of Alaska’s history.
References for further reading
- "Attu Island National Wildlife Refuge." U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
- "Attu Island Airbase." National Park Service.
- "Attu Island (Alaska)." Encyclopædia Britannica.