National Wildlife Refuge System

Aleutian Refuge Islands Part of New World War II Monument

The Aleutian Islands of Attu, Kiska and Atka – all within Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge – are part of the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument created by President Bush on December 5. The Monument also includes sites in Hawaii and Californi

Atka is the crash site of a B-24D Liberator bomber; Kiska was occupied by the Japanese and Attu was the site of the only land battle fought in North America. Kiska and Attu were both occupied by the Japanese in 1942, the only part of the mainland United States to be occupied during WWII.

The Japanese invasion of Attu and Kiska was intended to divert American troops and ships from the central Pacific theatre. It took Allied forces 19 days to retake Attu in one of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific. Kiska retains relics of both Japanese and Allied defenses, including camps, roads, bomb craters and a submarine base.

Because the islands' isolation and climate, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service archaeologist Debbie Corbett says they include some of the best preserved WWII battlefields in the world. A team of Japanese and Americans visited Attu in 2007 in an ongoing effort to find burial sites and remains of Japanese soldiers.

A management plan will be prepared over the next three years to outline actions to enhance protection, interpretation and public understanding of the monument and the history of WWII in the Pacific. For more information about the Monument, go to

- Back -

Last updated: August 19, 2009