Walter "Andy" Andersen

Walter "Andy" Andersen (also known as "Skip") grew up in Chicago, Illinois and was drafted to service for the US Navy during World War II while working at A.M Castle and Company. He was trained as an aerographer and served at the US Naval Air Station on Attu, Alaska where he was stationed at a remote outpost at Cape Wrangell on the west side of the island.

He talks about the weather on Attu, living in a quonset hut, making pets out the local wildlife and the duties of an aerographer in Alaska. Andersen resides in California with his wife and four children nearby.

Walter Anderson
Walter "Andy" Andersen, 1944. Hut 32, Cape Wrangell, Attu Island, Alaska

Courtesy of Walter Andersen, Aerographer's Mate, 2nd Class, US Navy, Circa 1944-1945


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Transcript summary

  1. Growing up in Chicago, Illinois and early life before the war; working for A.M. Castle and Company; going to college at Lane Tech; entering military service; building LSTs with Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company; interest in aviation; entering Navy service; aerographer’s school in Lakehurst, NJ audio / transcript
  2. Seattle to Alaska on World War I destroyer USS Fox, thoughts on going to Alaska; cutting cards for duty in Pt. Barrow and Attu; heading down to Attu audio / transcript
  3. Aerographers as part of NAS Attu; number of aerographers employed on Attu; shifts, duty on board weather planes audio / transcript
  4. Tour of duty in the Aleutians; duty at Cape Wrangell; an aerographer’s daily duties; anemometers; weather effects on anemometers audio / transcript
  5. Weather on Attu, exploring Attu; feeding the blue fox at Cape Wrangell; wildlife seen on Attu; fishing off Attu audio / transcript
  6. Supply boats at Cape Wrangell; the location of Cape Wrangell on Attu; reason for station at Cape Wrangell; relaying weather to the main base at Attu; the crew that served at Cape Wrangell audio / transcript
  7. Accommodations at Cape Wrangell; radar navigation device at Cape Wrangell audio / transcript
  8. Camaraderie among 6 person crew at Cape Wrangell; age of the crew members; story about sledding on a piece of plywood audio / transcript
  9. Story of one of the guys at Cape Wrangell blowing up some dynamite to scare the crew audio / transcript
  10. Radio man pulls a prank message on the crew about an attack audio / transcript
  11. Description of the camp set up Cape Wrangell; getting food and fuel to the outpost; getting oil drums from the ship to the camp audio / transcript
  12. Working for the Coast Guard during the war; celebrating V-J day at NAS Attu audio / transcript
  13. Returning to the states; working at China Lake in California at the Naval Ordnance Test Station; the point system employed for getting a discharge out of the service audio / transcript
  14. Working for A.M. Castle following the war; meeting future wife at Great Lakes Training Station; moving around the country with A.M. Castle audio / transcript
  15. Magazine taking photos of the service men during the war; how dogs came to Attu; officers on Attu; V-J day on Attu (referring to two photos) audio / transcript
  16. (referring to a photo) Climbing the anemometer pole; Navy issue boots; winter gear; snow on Attu (referring to two photos on Attu); story about having to dig guys out of their Quonset hut so they could work their shift; williwaws audio / transcript
  17. Sun bathing and summer weather (referring to photos); Cape Wrangell facilities were set up; dispersal of Cape Wrangell crew once the war was over; flying weather missions audio / transcript
  18. Army/Navy airstrip on Attu; eating breakfast in the Army mess hall (it was better!) audio / transcript
  19. Army “dog faces”; finding a neighbor among the Army guys on Attu; setting up an officer to trade whiskey for Japanese souvenirs; living in caves on Attu audio / transcript
  20. Keeping in touch with three friends made during the war; Bob Wyman keeps $100 bottle of Scotch for last man alive from the crew audio / transcript

Last updated: November 27, 2017

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