• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Bill Maris

In 1939 at the age of 20 Bill put up his hand to volunteer for the US Navy at the urging of his father. He eventually ended up in VP-43 as a flight mechanic and was shipped to the Aleutians where he witnessed the destructive forces of weather on aircraft and humans and the dangers inherent in an air war. His story and photos provide a first hand account of training in WWII with the US Navy and what life was like for a young man in the Service. He describes the missions flown in a PBY and the challenges faced in day to day life. His extensive collection of photos document his fellow servicemen, weather conditions, mishaps and the rigors of Navy boot camp.
 
Bill Maris and a birthday cake
Bill’s birthday celebration in 2009.
Courtesy AMM1C Bill Maris, USN, VP-43, Aleutians Islands, Alaska, June 1942-June 1943.
 
two men

Cal Olsen and Bill Maris at Bill's home when Cal was in the area and paid a visit. Cal was Bill's radioman the last half of their year in the wonderful Aleutian Islands in 42/43.

Courtesy Bill Maris

Bill's stories:



 

Did You Know?

A PBY plane surrounded by crew

A PBY plane piloted by Lt. Jean Cusick was sent from Dutch Harbor, on June 3, 1942, to locate Japanese forces in the Pacific. He was shot down by enemy fighters en route. Five men out of the seven-man crew survived the crash and got into life rafts. Cusick and his enlisted pilot died on the rafts from their wounds. The other three were captured by the Japanese, and became the first prisoners of war in the Aleutian Campaign.