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Welcome To KEY TO THE CITY's Page For
Aleutians West Borough, Alaska

Page Contents for Amchitka, Alaska

Statistics & Facts


History & History-related items

City Attractions

Historical Events

Community news

Statistics & Facts

The Alaska state capital is Juneau.
The population of Amchitka is approximately 25 (1990).
The approximate number of families is 0 (1990).
The amount of land area in Amchitka is 299.98 sq. kilometers.
The amount of surface water is 417.405 sq kilometers.
The distance from Amchitka to Washington DC is 5231 miles.
The distance to the Alaska state capital is 1944 miles. (as the crow flies)
Amchitka is positioned 51.56 degrees north of the equator and 178.87 degrees west of the prime meridian.


in the Aleutian Islands of western Alaska.
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History & History Related Items

The Naval Air Facility, Amchitka, Alaska, was established on 24 February 1943.

There is no longer a community on Amchitka Island, Alaska. There has not been a community there for over 50 years. All of the island is a National Refuge. It was an active military base in the second world war and has served as a radar station and White Alice site. All installations are abandoned and, except for some historic buildings and some to be used by the USFWS for special use will be destroyed. DOE has some radiation work to finish in the next few years, COAE has some work, and so does the Navy. See historical events for some previous history of the area.
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Pictures of Amchitka Island.
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Amchitka Historical Events

By 1949-'50, the Air Force presence on Amchitka had been reduced from about 500 (with a captain in charge of the island), to a mere 40 men, with a staff sergeant in charge! At that time, everything had been relocated to the Birchwood hangar. This included the limited communications-crypto center, the kitchen and mess hall, a small PX and post office, offices, and sleeping quarters. Only a handful of civilians remained to run the water, electrical, and sewage plants. Amchitka was very different from Adak in that the latter was very mountainous while all but the far northwestern tip of Amchitka was quite flat.
Submitted by Jerry

1947-48 Toward the end of World War II, Amchitka had been developed as the jumping-off location for the bombardment and invasion of the northern islands of Japan (the Kuriles). Toward this end, Amchitka had three runways: "Fox," the shortest, was closest to the island's harbor, and was used by fighters. The other two, "Charlie" and "Baker" were much longer. In fact, I think it was "Charlie" that was 10,000 feet long, making it the world's longest runway for its time. This was built so B-29s could strike Japan. In addition, much of the south-eastern half of the island was covered with buildings to house an entire infantry division (about 13,000 men) who would invade the northern islands of the Japanese Empire. Gravel roads went every which direction, and Quonset huts as well as vertical- sided buildings were laid out by the hundreds. A huge ammo dump was situated some miles from the large "Birchwood" hangar, situated alongside the "Charlie" runway. Stored at this dump was every type of ammunition, from .22 caliber to 8" shells; as late as early 1948, most of this ammunition was still sitting in its cases. Airmen stationed on Amchitka during 1947-48 could help themselves to all variety of hand grenades, which they used as recreation in blowing up many of the old abandoned buildings.

Another diversion for some (during the '47-'48 period) was making "moonshine" from the hundreds of 55 gallon drums of antifreeze. As a matter of fact, the islands head cook had to be flown to Anchorage because of his advancing state of blindness due to his high intake of the "wrong" kind of alcohol. It was not uncommon to be in the Birch- wood hangar watching a movie when all of a sudden a loud "boom" would be heard, coming from somewhere out in the "boonies." We knew that someone's still had just exploded.

Amchitka was maintained as a military outpost during the postwar period for two purposes: to provide a radio range station and an alternate landing site for aircraft flying the "Chain," and as a weather monitoring site for Russian weather reports. Twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, a team of six radio operators sat at their consoles, listening to and recording the five number groups of Russian weather broadcasts. These were then forwarded somewhere for analysis, probably to Washington, eventually.
Submitted by Jerry

Amchitka Community News

Look for a new book coming out about the preparations to explode the first underground atomic bomb underground atomic bomb on Amchitka soon to be published entitled "Project Windstorm" (1951)

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