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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

Adak

 

Expansion - Adak
William F. Draper #27
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AI

 

When the Japanese invaded in June 1942, there were no bases worthy of the name west of Dutch Harbor. American forces soon began a step-by step advance toward the western end of the Aleutian string and, by September 1942, had established a base on Adak. From there, ships and planes established a loose blockade around the Japanese positions on Kiska and Attu.

 

Pontoon Assembly - Aleutian Base
William F. Draper #28
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AJ

 

The waters of the Bering Sea lap against the black Aleutian shore and the sides of a pontoon barge. This was very necessary, as natural port facilities were few and far between in Alaskan waters.

 

Adak Harbor
William F. Draper #40
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AV

 

In the harbor a Liberty Ship lies at dock while P-38s and P-40s practice maneuvers in the sky. In the background, dwarfed by the magnitude of the snow-clad mountains, lie other ships at anchor.

 

Eve of Departure - Aleutian Base
William F. Draper #29
Oil on board; 1942
88-189-AK

 

In a setting of magical beauty, a transport is docked for loading. Always on the alert for Japanese planes, the 37mm gun is one of the many protecting the harbor. The smoking chimney in the foreground marks the underground guardroom attached to the gun emplacement.

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01 December 2001