Refuge and Remembrance

Commemorating the Battle of Attu and valor in the Aleutians

Remnants of World War II on Attu Island, at the far west end of the Aleutian chain. L. Hupp/USFWS
Joseph Sasser, 50th Combat Engineers. Courtesy of National Park Service.

War at the End of the World

On May 11, 1942 at approximately 3:30 pm, US soldiers landed on this beach at Massacre Bay, Attu. The southern force of a multi-pronged attack, they arrived by ship to take back the island from Japanese military occupation. L. Hupp/USFWS

Honoring Sacrifice

From Refuge to Battlefield…

The Aleutian cackling goose (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia) has made one of the most astounding recoveries in the history of wildlife management. It was one of the first animals listed under the Endangered Species Act, and recovered when invasive foxes were removed from important nesting grounds, including Attu. Credit: Ronan Dugan/USFWS.
Intact battlefields, memorials, and artifacts of war endure in these cold and remote locations, 3 of 9 sites protected as part of the Valor in the Pacific National Monument (AK, HI, CA). From left to right: an artillery monument on Attu Island, Japanese guns on Kiska Island, and a B-24D Liberator bomber on Atka Island. Credit: L. Hupp/USFWS (Attu and Kiska) and courtesy of Sven Haakanson (Atka).

People of the Sea: A Return to Attu

Weaving an Attu bottle basket with lid, 1941. ASL-MS253–01–03 Alaska State Library, J. Malcolm Greany Photo Collection.
Attu Village descendants gather grass from the island to weave into traditional baskets, 75 years after their ancestors were captured by the Japanese and taken from Attu to an internment camp. Credit: Zoë Sobel/KUCB.

Remembering “The Forgotten War”

37mm Antitank Gun Crew. Courtesy of U.S. Navy Archives.
Healing and recovery (from left to right): a cross marks the site of the Attu village church (credit: Zoë Sobel/KUCB); a peace memorial stands at the top of Engineer Hill, where the Battle of Attu ended on May 29th, 1943 (credit: L. Hupp/USFWS); Attu’s endemic Evermann’s Rock Ptarmigan is a subspecies of management concern and biologists are working to restore their population (credit: Steve Ebbert/USFWS)

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