2003 marks 60th anniversary of the Battle of Attu
October 03, 2003
Japanese forces took Attu Island during the summer of 1942. The Japanese occupied the island with 2,300 men. American forces began a 19-day campaign to retake the island on May 11, 1943. The battle is regarded as one of the bloodiest of World War II. American forces landed at opposite ends of the island and met in the middle. Of the 2,300 Japanese all but 528 were killed in battle, 500-committed suicide and the 28 who survived were taken prisoner. American forces suffered 549 casualties. The Battle of Attu was the first battle to be fought on American soil since the War of 1812.
In 1987 the Japanese Government, with the permission of the U. S., placed an 18-foot Peace Monument on Attu four miles from the U.S. Coast Guard Loran-C Station. The monument, fabricated by Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd., of Japan, replaced a wooden memorial erected in 1978. It honors all who died in the Aleutians during WWII. The current monument, fashioned from titanium, resembles a multi-pointed star. It originally had a flagpole with miniature replica flags of Alaska, Japan and America and still bears an inscription in English and Japanese.
It reads: In memory of all those who sacrificed their lives in the islands and seas of the North Pacific during WWII and in dedication to world peace. Constructed by the Government of Japan in cooperation with the Government of the United States of America on 1 July 1987.
MK1 Randy Brod and EM1 Kevin Madison from the Coast Guard Loran Station disassembled the monument in October of 2002 after it was discovered that the storm had sheared off one of the spikes and twisted other parts of the assembly. It was transported to Sumitomo, Japan. Japanese metal technicians made modifications to the monument to strengthen it against future storms.
A 707 was chartered by the
Japanese to return the monument to Attu once the modifications
were finished, including removal of the flagpole and miniature
flags. A group of six Sumitomo technicians, four of whom erected
the monument in 1987, with the support of Coast Guard personnel
reassembled the monument on Engineer Hill -- the site of Japanese
army's final stand. Prior to beginning work the Japanese technicians
held a brief ceremony to honor those who came before them. The
monument continues to stand as a reminder of what took place
on the island and to honor those who lost their lives in the
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