Robert Boon, along with his friend Bob Johnson, joined the Arkansas National Guard unit in Marianna Arkansas and became part of the 206th Coast Artillery Band. He was just 16 years old. At the time the possibility of a war seemed remote and the Guard seemed to offer an opportunity to get away from home and get some free music lessons. Much to their surprise the Guard was activated in January 1941, was federalized and Boon and Johnson were sent to Alaska where they would remain for the duration of the war. At Dutch Harbor, and later on Amchitka, Johnson and Boon would be part of the 206th Medical Detachment and band. Learn more about the bombing of Dutch Harbor, what it was like to live and work in the Aleutians, how “Sneaky Pete” was made, how a coin toss changed the lives of Boon and Johnson and more by listening to Robert Boon’s interview below.
Also see Robert Johnson’s diary and Stephanie Johnson Dixon’s story “What Daddy (And Mother) Did in the War” to learn more about the lives of the members of the 206th Band.
Download a full transcript of Robert Boon's interview
Did You Know?
Anticipating a ground assault by the Japanese, the US military placed anti-personnel stakes in the ground on Amaknak Island during World War II. These stakes are made of iron, are very sharp and measure between 4 inches to 4 feet high.