During World War II, Japanese forces occupied Kiska and other Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan mainland. By taking the islands, the Japanese hoped to prevent a U.S. attack from the Northern Pacific. The U.S., fearing the islands would be used as a base for attacks against the West Coast, began a campaign to retake the Aleutians. The campaign ended with the recapture of Kiska Island. Even though Kiska Battlefield is in a remote location, it’s threatened by erosion, looting, and decay. In 2009 the National Park Service’s Alaska Regional Office, in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, was awarded an ABPP Battlefield grant to conduct a cultural landscape survey of the battlefield. The site, which had never been fully surveyed, has hundreds of historic features including the remains of buildings, defensive positions, and roads. The team surveyed the battlefield, collected GPS data and photographs, mapped the site, and prepared a site condition assessment.
Photo: A World War II-era Japanese 25 mm anti-aircraft gun at Kiska Battlefield
– Courtesy Kent Sundseth, USFWS, 2007