• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

Robert Davis

Robert Davis intro photo

Robert Davis

courtesy robert davis

At age 17, Robert Davis enlisted in the Army Air Force Reserve Corp. The war in Europe had ended by the time he made it to aircraft and engine maintenance training and while at school Japan surrendered!

He remembers a miserable boat trip to the Aleutians being exacerbated by an outbreak of mumps and a pilot who died in a crash the day before he was to leave the Aleutians. He also remembers the P-38 who accidentally activated the gun switch in midair, landed, and inadvertently hit the firing button, nearly filling the line hut with bullets!

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Transcript summary

  1. Enlistment in the Army; aviation cadet program; training for aircraft mechanic on the B-24 at Keesler Field, Mississippi; leave; engaged to be married audio / transcript
  2. Langley Field, Virginia; re-enlistment into regular Army; marriage; Fort Lewis, Washington; travel to Alaska aboard the George Washington Carver with the 344th Fighter Squadron; the rough ride to Alaska audio / transcript
  3. An outbreak of mumps; landing on Attu; arriving on Shemya; contracting mumps and quarantine audio / transcript
  4. Captain William Lee Jacobson; Jacobson's service history and decorations; a USO show on Shemya audio / transcript
  5. Story of a P-38 landing and the 50 caliber guns begin to go off; story of a B-24 crash landing on Shemya where many died audio / transcript
  6. Story of a pilot dieing in a P-38 crash the day before he was to leave the Aleutians; transfer to 26 Mile near Fairbanks; transition from the P-38 to the P-51 Mustang audio / transcript
  7. Story of the collision of P-51s on the ground; pilot landing a P-51 with part of a pine tree in the air scoop; pilot having trouble lowering his landing gear audio / transcript
  8. Comparing living conditions at 26 Mile and Shemya; Task Force Frigid audio / transcript
  9. Food on Shemya; latrines and showers on Shemya; P-38s in the cold and snow; reference to photos collected audio / transcript
  10. Correspondence with family during his time in the Aleutians; recreation on Shemya audio / transcript
  11. Transfer to the Montana National Guard after his tour of duty in Alaska was over; transition to the F-86; career after the military with the telephone company audio / transcript
  12. Lessons learned from military service audio / transcript
  13. Comparing life and conditions on Shemya with that of the western plains in the 1800s; feelings toward Shemya after years have passed audio / transcript
 

photo gallery coming soon

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.