• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Aerographers

"Aerographers work included measuring, transmitting, and recording six types of weather observations. These weather observations included hourly, synoptic, ship report, pilot balloons, radiosonde, and pilot reports. Aerographers worked with a variety of instruments to gather necessary information."
From: Flying Fighting Weatherman of Patrol Wing Four,
by Paul E. Carrigan, Aerographer's Mate, 1942-1943

 
Weathermen in Attu aerological office
US Naval weathermen stand in front of the Attu Aerological Office in 1943. Back row from left to right standing: name unknown, James Harvey Dew, name unknown, Sandor “The Count” Podmanski, and Peewee Welch. Middle row left to right standing: Name unknown, and Bob Wyman. Bottom row: Andy Andersen.
Courtesy Walter Andersen, Aerographer’s Mate, 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1943-1945.
 
Walter Anderson atop a radio antenna
Walter “Andy” Andersen at the top of a radio antenna at the Aerological station at Cape Wrangell, Attu Island, 1944.
Courtesy Walter Andersen, Aerographer’s Mate, 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1943-1945.
 
A weatherman on an antenna
A weatherman up on a radio antenna on Attu Island in September of 1943
Courtesy Ralph Carrigan, brother of Paul E. Carrigan, Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1942-1943.
 
Bulk Uploaded Image by alindeman@nps.gov
A 90’ radio range antenna tuning house.
Photo courtesy of Mark S. Cramer, MD, FAAFP, San Diego, CA, from the collection of Marco James Cramer, Ph. D., Lt., US Army Air Corps (Air Force)
 
Two men on Attu
Walter “Andy” Andersen and Paul Carrigan on Attu in 1943.
Courtesy Walter Andersen, Aerographer’s Mate, 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1943-1945
 
"Then another time in a snow storm ... the radioman on duty in the middle of the night, he makes a ... encodes a message and he calls and he says, 'Hey, I've got an urgent message coming in we better decode it.' So the guy in charge, he says ... 'Enemy attack or abandon your base immediately, enemy attack imminent.' And it is snowing like you can't believe. We got all gear in our backpacks and we started out the door and we hadn't gone more than 25 yards and this guy started to laugh. He thought it was pretty funny."
Walter "Andy" Andersen, Aerographer's Mate, 1943-1945
 
Marco Cramer and his office (interior and exterior photos)
Top left: Marco Cramer in uniform.

Top right: Lieutenant Marco Cramer’s work office.

Bottom right: The inside of Marco Cramer and his crewmembers work room. Shown in the photo is a safe, files, radio, teletype paper under the radio, teletype, desks, and stove.
Photo courtesy of Mark S. Cramer, MD, FAAFP, San Diego, CA, from the collection of Marco James Cramer, Ph. D., Lt., US Army Air Corps (Air Force),
 
"But anyhow, that was a big day. We had ... they had beer - truckloads of beer - so we went back in a little gully and we had a picnic back there... I was on Attu. The officers got beer for us. We had really good officers, too."
Walter "Andy" Andersen, Aerographer's Mate, 1943-1945
 
Men on Attu celebrate VJ Day with a picnic and beer
Some of the US military men on Attu celebrate V-J Day with a picnic and beer.
Courtesy Walter Andersen, Aerographer’s Mate, 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1943-1945.
 

On June 7, 1942, the Japanese invaded the island of Kiska. The men of the Kiska Aerological Unit (pictured below) were the only people on the island during the time of the invasion. The men of this unit fled to the hills, but most of them were captured within a week. Only Senior Petty Officer Charles House managed to remain at large for 50 days.

Prior to the invasion, Nulla and L. Yagnoneli had left Kiska for Dutch Harbor.

 
Kiska Aerological Unit group photo
Standing from left to right: J. L. Turner, AG2c; R. L. Coffield, PharM; W. C. House, AG1c; Nulla; L. Eckles, GM; GunM; L. Yagnoneli, PhotoM;  and M. Courtenay, RdM3c. Kneeling left to right: J. C. McCandless, Cook3c; R. Christensen, RdM2c; W. M. Winfrey, AG2c (with dog “Explosion”); G.T. Palmer, S1c; and W. Gaffey, S1c.
Courtesy Ralph Carrigan, brother of Paul E. Carrigan, Aerographer’s Mate 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1942-1943.
 
"By June 6, 1942, we figured the Japanese were well past Kiska ... Just after 0200 hours on June 7, 1942, Winfrey AG3 sleeping in the bunk above me shouted, 'Attack, attack!' I told him to go back to bed, it is not time to get up, and that he was having a bad dream. Wimpy then turned on the lights and showed me the bullet hole in his leg. About that time I observed window glass in our bunk room being broken by bullets ... Turner turned the heating stove up full, and I stuffed all the communication ciphers into the hot stove ... As I ran from the building the first light permitted the observation of many Japanese landing craft moving up the inner harbor with machine guns blasting from their bows."
Charles House, Aerographer's Mate

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