A bloody battle was fought on that remote Aleutian island in 1943

Attu, the westernmost and easternmost territory of the US and its traces of the WWII

The United States is a very large country. Its territory includes nine different time zones, if we include the Unincorporated Territories.

Unalaska: this is the westernmost territory that Spanish explorers reached
A remote World War II military base in an uninhabited island in Alaska

If we only count the 50 states that are part of the Union (the 49 continental states and Hawaii), the westernmost time zone in the US is that of Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands. In this last archipelago, which is part of the state of Alaska, the westernmost island is called Attu, it has an area of 896 square kilometers and is uninhabited.

It should be noted that Attu is, at the same time, the westernmost and easternmost territory of the USA. This paradox is explained by the fact that it is the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands, but also because its coordinates are 52°54'09″N 172°54'34″E. As it lies beyond the antimeridian, strictly speaking it is the easternmost point of the United States, which would make Amatignak Island the westernmost point.

Until 2010, Attu was the westernmost inhabited territory in the US. In that year, the Casco Cove Station of the US Coast Guard (USCG), which maintained a LORAN radio navigation system, closed its doors. It had initially been installed in the south of the island, in Baxter Cove, but was moved in 1960 to the eastern end of the island.

Near the old USCG base there is an old anti-aircraft gun.

This cannon has a plaque placed on June 16, 1993, the year of the 50th anniversary of the American landing on this island, in memory of those who died there.

Near the former USCG base is Massacre Bay. Its name may be related to the fact that this island was invaded by the Japanese in World War II, and it was in that bay where the American troops landed to recover it.

Here we can see an aerial photo of Attu Naval Air Station in 1943, completely covered in snow.

549 Americans and 2,850 Japanese died in the bloody battle of 1943. A star-shaped monument, placed in 1987, commemorates the fighting at the site where the battle was fought.

CNear the Coast Guard station in Attu was a naval town where the personnel of the US Navy base in Massacre Bay lived. Only some remains of it remain, as we can see in this photo. Travel around the island was usually done by bicycle, as a veteran of that base tells here.

This is what remains of the old Massacre Bay jetty, which served the Navy base at Attu.

This sign is on Engineer Hill, a hill that owes its name to the 50th Engineer Regiment of the US Army that fought there, repelling a desperate Japanese counterattack on May 29, 1943, in the deadliest combat bloody of this battle.

This monument is located atop Massacre Bay and commemorates the young Americans who died in the battle of 1943. The battle began with an American landing on May 11 and ended on the 30th of that month , although there were still pockets of Japanese resistance on the island until September 8 of that year.

On the island there is also a plaque that remembers the Japanese who fell in those battles, with the text in Japanese and quoting words from one of the wives of those who fell, who was waiting for her husband's return.

Another small monument in Massacre Bay, placed on June 11, 1981, dedicated to the military who served and fell on that island during World War II. The monument includes, from left, the insignia of the US Army, Navy and Coast Guard.

On the island there are still remains of weapons from that battle. Here we see a Japanese Type 88 75mm anti-aircraft gun at Gertrude Cove.

The remains of an American Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter in Temnac Valley. This plane was 42-13400. According to Traces of War, crashed on the island on January 1, 1945 and was recovered in June 1999, beginning a restoration process that lasted two years.


Photo sources: Google Maps / Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service / U.S. Coast Guard / Naval History and Heritage Command / 496psk / Jankocian.

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