The Aleutian Islands campaign was a tri-nation military operation involving the United States, Canada, and Japan in the Aleutian Islands, (part of the Territory of Alaska), during World War II. The campaign lasted from June 3, 1942 to August 15, 1943.  Historian, James Rentfrow, PhD, presents an overview on the strategic importance of the campaign to the war effort and the consequences to the indigenous population.

About the Speaker:  A 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, James C. “Chris” Rentfrow spent 19 years as an operational Naval Flight Officer before transferring to the Permanent Military Professor community in 2008.  He earned his Ph.D. in United States History from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2012, and subsequently served as Associate Professor of History at the U.S. Naval Academy until his statutory retirement after 30 years of service.  In December of 2019, Dr. Rentfrow joined the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC as Director of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy and the NMUSN Campus Program Office. He is currently temporarily serving as Acting Director of the Naval Museums Division of Naval History and Heritage Command. 

Note: Due to security requirements at the Washington Navy Yard, you will need to be escorted onto the base. If taking metro, get on the Green Line and exit the Navy Yard/Ballpark stop, then walk to the entrance at 11th and O Street SE (about 15 minutes). Plan to arrive at the entrance gate by 11am. Please be prompt.   A museum educator will be at the entrance gate to bring you onto the base and to the museum (Bldg. 76).  The last gate pickup will occur at 11:20 AM.   If you need to contact the museum on the day of the program, call our front desk at 202.685.0589.

Mask Guidelines: A mask is optional for visitors while inside the museum or while attending any programs. A mask is not required anywhere outside on the Washington Navy Yard grounds.

Parking Option:  Harris Teeters underground parking garage (401 M Street SE). Parking is free for 90 minutes.  Once you park, you will need to go into the store and validate your ticket.  After validating your ticket, exit the store and walk to the Navy Yard entrance at 11th and O Street SE.  Keep your ticket.  You will need it to exit the garage.

Register for this program through Eventbrite or email David Barker at

Ice Flows, Kodiak, Alaska, painting, oil on board, by Edward T. Grigware, 1943  Naval History and Heritage Command, (74-062-a)

Ice Flows, Kodiak, Alaska, painting, oil on board, by Edward T. Grigware, 1943  Naval History and Heritage Command, (74-062-a)