• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Herb Gedney

Herbert Douglas Gedney, Jr. served in the Army Air Corp during World War II in the Aleutians (Dutch Harbor, Attu and Kiska) with the 11th Air Force from 1941-1943, and in northern France, central Europe and Rhineland as an aerial gunner with the 8th Air Force. He served in the personnel office and as an armorer and turret specialist in Alaska. Herb received 2 battle stars and 3 presidential citations during his service.

Herb’s wife, Lois Reynolds-Gedney, did her part for the war effort as well. Lois worked at the Kaiser Ship Yard and raised their young daughter while Herb served overseas flight duty with the 8th Air Force in Europe.
 
Herb Gedney
Herb Gedney
courtesy herb gedney
 

  • Complete transcript, no audio or images (148 KB)

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Transcript Summary

  1. Talking about Alaska as a Territory and flying with minimal aircraft in Alaska before the war began audio / transcript
  2. Return to the States in 1943, grandfather’s service in the military, father’s military service audio / transcript
  3. Enlisting in the Army after getting in trouble in 1938, assignment to Headquarters Battery, 79th Field Artillery unit audio / transcript
  4. Weather as a significant factor in the Campaign, description of weather in the Aleutians audio / transcript
  5. Continuation of discussion of Aleutian weather audio / transcript
  6. Introduction, dates served in the Aleutians, enlisting in the Army at 16 ½ years, volunteering for foreign duty in Alaska, squadrons served in under the Army, dates served, commanding officers audio / transcript
  7. Duties served in Alaska as armorer and turret specialist audio / transcript
  8. Fishing and hunting during time off, learning about the bombing of Pearl Harbor audio / transcript
  9. Learning about the attack on Dutch Harbor while airborne, moving between islands, what he did to contribute to the war effort, decorations received audio / transcript
  10. Daily life in the Aleutians: showers, clothing, housing, good times on the islands: making liquor, having plays, USO shows, pictures he’s sending to NPS audio / transcript
  11. Mail from home as morale booster, learning to write home after father sent a dog musher to go find him, requirement to show the Commanding Officer that he’d written letters home, not knowing what was happening elsewhere in the world audio / transcript
  12. Keeping in touch with Aleutian mates, photo albums, what is remembered about time in the Aleutians audio / transcript
 

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.