• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Charles House

On June 7, 1942 the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Island of Kiska. The island’s sole inhabitants were the crew of the U.S. Aerological Detail who fled to the hills - but most were captured after a few days. Senior Petty Officer William C. House managed to remain at large for 50 days eating only plants and earthworms until, weighing a mere 80 pounds, he was forced to choose between capture and starvation and surrendered to the Japanese. Learn more about his incredible experiences in the interview to follow and in his written account of his experiences on Kiska and as a prisoner of war.
 
WWII-era photo of Charles House and crew
Kiska Aerological Unit, Dec. 1941 – May,  1942

“Explosion”  (dog, in front)

Frt row – McCandless, J.C. (Cook 3c); Christensen, R. (RdM 2/c); Winfrey, W.M. (AG 2/c); Palmer, G.T. (S 1/c); Gaffey, W.T. (S 1/c)

Back row – Turner, J.L. (AG 2/c); Coffield, R.L. (PharM); House, W.C. (AG 1/c); Nulla (Lt?); Eckles, L.L. (GunM); Yagnoneli, L (PhotoM); Courntenay, M.L. (RdM 3/c) Nulla and Yagnoneli were returned to Dutch Harbor via ship. They were not captured.
Photo courtesy National Archives
 
 

Did You Know?

USFWS photo of a pair of whiskered auklets on Unalaska Island

The waters around Unalaska Island are one of the few places in the world to find the rare whiskered auklet.