• Image of four aviators at leisure, playing cribbage

    Aleutian World War II

    National Historic Area Alaska

VP/VPB-61, Part 1

 
"VP-61 which was later ... well, after we got overseas it was designated as VPB-61, which the V stands for heavier than air, the P stands for patrol and the B stands for bombing. The number, of course, is just the number of the squadron."
Robert Buchanan, VP-61, 1944
 
Lt. Juliana standing next to his plane, at Dutch Harbor
VP-61 Patrol Plane Commander Lieutenant Juliana at Dutch Harbor in 1944.
Courtesy Ken Claypool, VP-61, Jan-Dec 1944.
 
Crewmembers in front of their plane
Kenneth Claypool and his crewmembers right before they were sent to the Aleutian Islands.

Standing from left to right: Ensign Gonska, Navigator; Kenneth Claypool, Ordnance; Shaffer, Plane Captain; & Ensign Cook, 1st Pilot. Kneeling from left to right: Brookover, Radio; Siebles, Radio; & McDonald, Mechanic.
Courtesy Ken Claypool, VP-61, Jan-Dec 1944
 
Crewmembers stand in front of their plane
VP-61 crew at Dutch Harbor in 1945. From left to right: Cook, 2nd Mechanic; Kenneth Skinner, 1st Radioman; Sweet, 1st Mechanic & Plane Captain; Elderkin, Ordnance; & Ingalls, 2nd Radioman.
Courtesy Kenneth “Ray” Skinner, VP-61, 1942-1945
 
VP-61 crew at Attu
VP-61 crew at Attu in 1944. Standing from left to right: Meir, Ordnance; Taylor, Radioman; Boleslaw Antonio Lada, 2nd Mechanic. Sitting from left to right: Kenneth Skinner, 1st Radioman; and  Brasher, 1st Mechanic.
Courtesy Kenneth “Ray” Skinner, VP-61, 1942-1945
 
"The morale was generally pretty good. When we got on a plane in the morning to take off on patrol, you never even thought that you might not come in that evening and you might not be safe on patrol. These things hardly ever entered your head."

Kenneth "Ray" Skinner, VP-61, 1942-1945
 

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.