• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

73rd Bomber Squadron

"Well, you know, we were all young bucks and we were indestructible - everybody felt that way. It would be somebody else, it won't be me, you know. I had several friends up here, but I was always confident that I could handle anything that happened and luckily nothing that I couldn't handle ever happened to me."

John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43
 
A B-26 bomber and crew in Adak
John Pletcher and his crewmembers, October 28th, 1942 at Adak. They are walking along their B-26 on the ramp of the parking area.
Courtesy John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43.
 
B-26 in Adak
B-26 #1558 sitting on the ramp at Adak on a rainy day. The engines are covered to protect them from the weather. The nose shows the two twenty millimeter cannon that had been installed.
Courtesy John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43.
 
John Pletcher's B-26, with pilots
John Pletcher’s B-26 after a mission to Kiska. From left to right: Glenn L. Martin “Pinky”, Martin Company factory representative for the B-26, and Captain Frank B. Gallogher, Squadron Commander.
Courtesy John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43.
 
Large hole in the bottom of a B-26 bomber
Pletcher’s crew was sent out from Kiska to complete a bombing mission on a Japanese boat located in Gertrude Cove. The ship was near a cliff and Pletcher’s crew did not see the ship until they came up on it. Their plane was hit by Japanese artillery, but they were able to make it back to base safely.
Courtesy John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43.
 
"So, the wing man called me and said, 'Hey Pletcher, you've got a hole in the side of your airplane.' I said, 'Yeah, we got a .50 caliber or something hit us.' And he didn't go ahead and explain that it was a big hole."


John Pletcher, pilot, B-26, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 1941-43

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.