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Amchitka Airfield was located on the northern coast of southeast Amchitka Island in the Aleutian Islands in Alaska in the United States of America. Borders Constantine Harbor to the northeast and Jones Lake to the north. Also code named "Fox Runway". Prewar and during World War II part of the Territory of Alaska.
Although a U. S. Army survey team surveyed the island in September 1942 and they advised the airfield would be difficult to build an airfield on Amchitka Island. Regardless, on December 13, 1the decision to build an airfield at this location was authorized, to deny the island to the Japanese. Another reconnaissance mission visited Amchitka during December 17–19, 1942, and reported that a fighter strip could be built in two to three weeks, and a main airfield in three to four months.
Detected by the Japanese in late January 1943, Amchitka Airfield was attacked with little impact.
Japanese air raids against Amchitka
January 26, 1943–February 4, 1943
On February 16, 1943 a P-40 Warhawk landed at Amchitka Airfield and during the afternoon another seven P-40 Warhawks and a transport land at Amchitka Airfield which is opened for limited operations while expansion and improvements to the airfield continued. On March 5, 1943 the first B-25 Mitchells arrive at the expanded airfield.
Units operating from Amchitka included the 11th Fighter Squadron under the command of John S. "Jack" Chennault (son of General Claire L. Chennault commander of the American Volunteer Group AVG / 14th Air Force in China-Burma-India) operating P-40 Warhawks and P-38 Lightnings. Also, the 28th Bombardment Group (28th Composite Group) operating B-17s and B-24s. Also, 11th Bomber Command headquarters.
During May 1943, U. S. Navy Fleet Air Wing 4 (FAW4) began operating from Amchitka, flying regular patrols and search missions over the Aleutian Islands and as far as the Kurlie Islands.
American units based at Amchitka
343rd FG, 54th FS (P-38) Adak March 12, 1943 -
28th CG, 30th BG, 21st BS (B-24) Umnak February 18 - July 1, 1943 Umnak
28th CG, 44th BG, 404th BS (B-24) Adak arrives March 22, 1942
28th CG, 36th BS (B-24) Kodiak May 4, 1943 - June 1, 1943 Adak returns August 4, 1943
407th BG, 632nd BS (A-24) Drew Field July 1, 1943 - ?
407th BG, 633rd BS (A-24) Drew Field July 1 - August 13, 1943
407th BG, 634th BS (A-24) Drew Field July 19 - August 13, 1943
407th BG, 635th BS (A-24) Drew Field July 19 - August 15, 1943 disbanded
407th FBG, 515th FBS (A-24) August 1943 Drew Field
407th FBG, 516th FBS (A-24) August 1943 Drew Field
28th CG, 73rd BS (B-25) Umnak June 1 - August 30, 1943 USA
11th Bomber Command, HQ ? - September 4, 1943 Adak
28th CG, 77th BS (B-25) Adak September 11, 1943 - February 11, 1944 Attu
343rd FG, HQ Adak July 25, 1943 - January 22, 1944 Attu
343rd FG, 11th FS (P-40 / P-38) Adak March 27 - May 17, 1943 Adak returns March 23, 1944 - July 20, 1945 Adak
343rd FG, 18th FS (P-38) Adak February 15, 1943 - March 28, 1944 Attu
343rd FG, 344th FS (P-40) ? - July 1, 1943 Shemya
Jerry Craft adds:
"Pilots flying in the Aleutians almost never went anywhere without first filing a flight plan. Then, to maximize their chances of getting from point A to point B, they flew on an assigned compass heading. One of the main purposes for the military keeping Amchitka open in those post-WW II days was to keep their radio range functioning."
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