• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Battle for the Aleutians

During World War II the remote Aleutian Islands, home to the Unangan (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 only American soil occupied in the war; a mass internment of American civilians; a 15-month air war; and one of the deadliest battles in the Pacific Theater.

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Did You Know?

A PBY plane surrounded by crew

A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.