Thanksgiving on Amchitka

Thanksgiving on Amchitka, November 25, 1943.




DD352 Aground off Amchitka Series  227 4x6

The Japanese did not oppose the American landing at Amchitka in January 1943, though the rough waters and dangerous shoals around the island claimed the USS Worden (DD-352). Fourteen of her crew died as their ship broke apart and sank on the rocks.

Amchitka was easily one of the most remote and inhospitable U.S. military outposts of World War II. It was so remote that during the Cold War, the U.S. detonated three nuclear warheads on the island in various underground tests. Located about 80 miles from Kiska Island in the Aleutian chain, American forces landed there unopposed in January 1943 and quickly built an airfield there to support the final stages of the campaign in the far north. Once the Japanese had been driven from Attu and Kiska, Amchitka-based Navy patrol bombers and 11th AF aircraft began periodic attacks on the Japanese Kurile Islands.

amchitka mud landing

A PBY from Fleet Air Wing Four operating from Amchitka’s mud and Marston Matting strip.


FAW4 PV1 Ventura Amchitka Dec 7 43 4x6

A squadron of PV-1 Venturas at Amchitka in late 1943.

It was a dreary place to be stationed. The weather was awful, accidents frequent, mud or frozen snowdrifts the polarities of daily living. Yet, the men exiled to Amchitka did their best to make the place home. This included their own version of an American tradition–the Thanksgiving Day football game.

Amchitka Football Game in Snow Nov 25 43 Thanksgiving Day 039

The Thanksgiving game on Amchitka, 1943.



Categories: World War II in the Pacific | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Thanksgiving on Amchitka

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you, and yours, and all servicemen past and present!!!

  2. These photos are fantastic! Can I ask where you got them?

    • Thank you! I’ve been collecting them from different sources all over the country. The Amchitka photos came from the USN collection at the National Archives, Record Group 80G.


  3. Hey I would love to use one of these photos for a project of mine. Can you tell me where you got them so I can cite properly? Thanks

    • Hi Georgia,

      By all means. Please credit the National Archives unless it is one of the color Afghanistan photos, then please credit John R. Bruning. Thank you!

      John B

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