The general was in deep doo-doo. He had managed, with his insistent views on the future of warfare, to anger not only his immediate superiors, but other branches of the military as well.
Criticism after criticism of a short-sighted military system poured from the general’s mouth, until he was ordered overseas to
Moi. Hard hat, steel-toed boots, and Carhart jacket. Right in style for a construction worker in Alaska.
He still couldn’t keep his mouth shut, charging that senior officers of the Army and Navy were incompetent and guilty of “almost treasonable administration of the national defense.” For that William “Billy” Mitchell court-martialed and convicted of insubordination, and suspended from active duty for five years. Mitchell resigned, but continued advocating for stronger airpower. Today, he is considered the father of the air force.
Speaking before the Congress in 1935, Mitchell said this:
About that and many other opinions, Mitchell was shown to be correct. Fifty-three years later,
In between the time Gen. Mitchell spoke to Congress and 1988, this is how
1. Early in WWII, Japanese enemy forces invaded and occupied the farthest islands in
WWII gun mount. A short distance away from this mount, I found live 50mm machine gun ammo in the bottom of a foxhole, the metal clips still in place but the webbing that held them in a belt had rotted away.
3. In the late 1960s, three underground nuclear tests were detonated on
The site of the largest underground nuclear test on Amchitka, and the lake formed by subsidence after the detonation.
In 1986, a massive clean-up of WWII materiel was accomplished on
A chapel built by servicemen during WWII.
And in 1987, phase one of a $67-plus million dollar contract was awarded to a joint venture of three construction companies for a project on that same island.
On January 5, 1988, a Reeve Aleutian Airways 737 jet landed on World War II airstrip and ejected a planeload of construction workers on the tarmac. I was one of them, and I would be there every single day, but for two weeks in June, until the 23rd of December, when another Reeve jet piloted by a guy nicknamed “Cowboy” took the last of us construction personnel back to civilization.
South hanger from WWII and Reeve Aleutian jet landing.
"Don't say we didn't warn you." Two page letter from the construction company. We also had to undergo finger-printing, and a background and security check before we could be hired.
Fields of lupine along the military road to the far north end of the island.
WWII military housing quonset with hanger in distance.
(to be continued)