• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Thomas Erickson

Thomas Erickson served as a Navy co-pilot in the PV-1 Ventura bomber/recon plane in 1943-44. He primarily flew missions from the base on Attu to the Kurile Islands of Japan. Flights were hazardous with heavy enemy fire and fighter attacks over the Kurile Islands and weather. Operating on the edge of fuel limits in the 9+ hour round trip flight to the Kurile’s left little room for mistakes. Erickson flew on Grange McKinney’s crew. Thomas’ written account describes the missions flown, crew losses and life in the Aleutians.

Did You Know?

Photograph of Japanese pilots before the raid on Dutch Harbor, 6 June 1942

When the Japanese invaded the islands of Attu and Kiska in June, 1942, it was the first time that an enemy occupied American soil since the War of 1812.