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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
805 KIDDER BREESE SE -- WASHINGTON NAVY YARD
WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Alaska during the Pacific War

Umnak

 

Aleutian Morning: Otter Point
William F. Draper #20
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AA

 

A cold Aleutian dawn breaks over Otter Point and the weird form of "ship's rock" thrusting up from Umnak Point like a petrified Flying Dutchman. Until 1942, Otter Point was a barren and uninhabited island, but then it became a major airbase, marked by communication lines and jeep tracks, dug-in Quonset huts and other signs of war.

 

Arctic Vigil; A 37MM Emplacement
William F. Draper #18
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-Y

 

Looking out towards the sea, a lone guard stands guard by a 37mm emplacement built up with sandbags. The gun crews snatch a few minutes relaxation in nearby tents whose outlines repeat in miniature the form of cloud-swept Mt. Tilik.

 

Sentinels of the North
William F. Draper #25
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AB

 

Before the arctic backdrop of Mt. Tulik, a plane revetment harbors a Flying Fortress while a Navy PBY and a formation of fighters patrol the skies. The tents in the foreground, looking like miniature mountain peaks, are dug in to withstand the sweeping blasts of wind. The enlisted man in the foreground wears the cold weather gear of the Army, Jokingly called a "Northern Zoot Suit."

 

Tired Tigers - Umnak - Alaska (Army Fighters on the field)
William F. Draper #25
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AF

 

A good illustration of the primitive conditions on the fighter strip.

 

Williwaw - Umnak (A PBY is readied for patrol)
William F. Draper #26
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AG

The dependable but cumbersome PBY is readied for flight patrol in spite of the capricious and treacherous williwaws. The sudden and powerful winds posed a great danger to flight operations.

 

Beach Barges
William F. Draper #22
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AC

 

Barges landing on the black volcanic shore of Umnak.

 

Ships and Shapes
William F. Draper #23
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AD

 

 

The long northern winter affords the opportunity for an informal class in ships identification. In the cramped quarters of a Yakutat hut, by the light of a coleman lamp, Ltjg. R. Delafield, Air Combat Intelligence Officer, instructs the officers around the table. From left to right are F.R. Robinson, warrant carpenter, Ltjg. J.W. Sahlman, Ensign J.J. Romero, and Ltjg. Royal A. Lett.

 

Pilots At Play - Umnak, Alaska
William F. Draper #19
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-Z

 

 

In a crowded Yukatat hut, Ltjg. Dillon to the left, Lt. Brooks above, and Ltjg. Sullivan relax after an arduous day's flight. A typical accumulation of gear covers the table: a canteen, a shell, a gas mask and helmet, a hand carved nude, and parts of a model airplane under construction.

 

Lieutenant Commander Samuel S. Walker USNR
William F. Draper #26a
Charcoal; 1942
88-189-AH

 

 

Commanding officer of Otter Point NAF.

 

Study of Machinist Marshall Lee Shepherd, USN.
William F. Draper #24
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AE

 

 

 

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01 December 2001