• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Jean Chapin Dolat and Bernie Dolat

Jean Chapin Dolat was just completing high school when the war began. She doubled up on classes to graduate early and do her part to support the war. She worked at the Columbia Aircraft Factory in New York where her mother was employed building the J2F Duck. She learned about the war in Europe through letters from her brother serving in Europe and experienced the war in a very personal way when a neighbors and friends were killed overseas. She experienced war time restrictions imposed on families in the United States and witnessed the debris on Jones Beach Long Island from ships sunk off the U.S. shore. Jean discusses how the war forced young people to grow up quickly and accept responsibility at a young age.

Bernie Dolat’s became interested in aircraft production listening to stories of aircraft factory workers at his mother’s boarding house. He watched as planes were test flown and visited a factory with his uncle as a boy. When the war began Bernie was working for Grumman Aircraft and was valuable enough to the manufacturer to get a draft deferment. Following the war Bernie enlisted for duty as part of an occupation force in Japan and witnessed the bomb damage in Yokohama first-hand. The effects of war-time rationing are discussed.

 
image of three people
Bernie and Jean Dolat with daughter Jackie. Anchorage Alaska, 2008.
NPS
 

 

Did You Know?

Image of floor tiles with acronym ALSEC

At Dutch Harbor, some Marines enjoyed the Bachelor Officers Quarters (BOQ) of the Naval Operating Base. The BOQ was the officers' club, holding a long bar, nice lounge area and fire place. In the center of the floor laid a terrazzo symbol of the Alaskan Sector Command (ALSEC). This terrazzo symbol was designed by Armand Rizan, and was laid in 1943. Today, it is located at the Museum of the Aleutians.