Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kiska Island and Celebrating the Small Things

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Kiska is an island on the western end of the Aleutian chain of islands. It is 22 miles long and varies in width from 1.5 to 6 miles.

On June 6, 1942, Japanese forces invaded Kiska and captured the sole inhabitants of the island, a US Navy Weather Detachment of 10 men. The next day, the Japanese captured nearby Attu Island.

While the islands were not important militarily, the loss of US territory to the Japanese was psychologically damaging to the American forces. In October of 1942, US forces led seven bombing missions over Kiska, and completed several more bombing missions during the winter months of 1942-1943.

In the summer of 1943, Allied troops landed on Kiska to find the island completely abandoned. Aware of the upcoming arrival of the Allied force, the Japanese had removed all of the troops from the island under the cover of extreme fog.

The site of the Japanese occupation of Kiska is now a National Historic Landmark and is protected under US Federal Law.

Much of the site remains unchanged since the 1940s, with bomb craters still visible in the tundra. Concrete lined tunnels, Japanese gun emplacements, shipwrecks, and other war relics have all been left untouched since 1943.

I had no idea that the Japanese troops had successfully occupied Alaskan territory during World War II. I thought this story was really interesting and would be curious to know more about it.

It's Friday, so that means it time for Vikki's Celebrate the Small Things bloghop.

Today I'm celebrating the fact that we're just about half-way through the alphabet! I hope everyone is enjoying the challenge so far and ready to jump into the second half.

I'm also celebrating that I finally feel like I've come up with some cohesive ideas for my sequel to Polar Night. I've written several beginnings so far and have scrapped all of them because I hated them and felt like I was going nowhere. But this week, thanks to my Haunted Places post, I had my own little "Eureka!" moment. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this time I really am on the right track.

What are you celebrating this week?

My A-Z theme of Alaska is inspired by my debut novel, Polar Night, which is set in the Alaskan Arctic. Click here for all the info on the book.


  1. I didn't know the Japanese occupied any part of Alaska. What happened to the 10 men who were there? I'm glad your haunted post gave you an inspirational rush. Good Luck!

  2. I'd forgotten that they'd occupied part of Alaska.
    Glad you have some new ideas!
    And yes, nearing the halfway mark.

  3. Good for you, Julie! Keep going on that sequel. :)

    I'm with you on Celebrating the almost halfway mark in the Challenge. I'm also happy I seem to be making some sort of progress on my current ms. :)

  4. That is an interesting tid bit. The war relics and the story put together could make great ghost stories.


  5. I actually read about this in The Big Year, a book about competitive bird watching (yes, there is such a thing). Apparently Kiska and Attu are prime bird watching spots and every year birders make a pilgrimage to spot rare birds.

  6. No I didn't know this either. It's always interesting to learn something new. Glad you are getting somewhere with your sequel, a great reason to celebrate.

  7. Thanks so much for this interesting history. I had no idea those islands were invaded.

    Thanks also for following my painting a day for A to Z!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  8. Eureka moments rock! Good for you, Julie. Hopefully more come and you're set. :)

  9. That's the first I've ever heard of the Japanese occupying parts of Alaska during WWII. And you're halfway there on A to Z!! Feel the burn. :P

  10. Very interesting. I didn't know this about the Japanese occupation either...

    CONGRATS on your vision... so cool when an idea pops into your head and you can run with it! All the best!

    I'm thankful I only have five intros left to write for the a-z. I really hope I can get them done this weekend!

    Have a great weekend, Julie.

  11. I'm so glad you had your Eureka moment, Julie. And I just finished Polar Night and loved it. You'll see a review in a couple of weeks. I look forward to the sequel and more of Danny, hopefully?

  12. That's right, they did occupy Alaska territory. I remember my history teacher talking about it as part of Japan's well developed use of psych warfare.

    Beautiful shot of the mountains!

  13. Wow, I didn't know they occupied Alaska! Thanks for this post, and congrats for your "Eureka" moment. Happy writing! :)

  14. Wow that was a fascinating fact to learn! I didn't know this before.

    Yay for your "Eureka" moment! You ARE on the right track, even if its not the right words, moving forward and feeling positive counts, right? ...though, I'm sure you have "it" right now :)

  15. I had no idea about this either. People in the "know" probably don't like to talk about this much.

  16. I didnt know about Japan in Alaska either

    Glad you had a Eureka moment

    Happy L-Z

  17. What an interesting story, I had no idea Japan occupied Alaska. We're both celebrating getting to K!!

  18. I didn't know about that either.

    I guess I'm celebrating the upcoming release of the anthology that includes my short story.

  19. @Susan, I think the men there were killed, unfortunately. Thanks so much for your good luck wishes!

    @Alex, thank you!

    @Madeline, thank you. And so glad that you're making progress too, congrats!

    @Summer,I thought so too, it's very eerie.

    @Tim, LOL, I had to laugh about the bird watching, I don't understand how it could be competitive. That's interesting though, and I can imagine there are some really cool birds on those islands.

    @Suzanne, thanks so much!

    @Mary, I'm really enjoying your paintings, they're wonderful. :)

    @Al, I hope so, thank you!

    @LG, I am feeling it LOL.

    @Michael, thanks so much, I hope you have a great weekend too.

    @Cathrina, oh, thank you so much, I'm thrilled you liked the book. :)

    @Sia, that's so interesting, I'm really surprised I never learned it as I took a lot of history classes. I loved that photo too!

    @Celeste, thank you!

    @SK, I hope I have it right, LOL. If I don't I will have a tantrum. :D Thanks so much!

    @Michael, that's kind of what I thought too.

    @moondust, thanks so much!

    @Vikki, I'm glad at least I'm definitely not the only one who didn't know about it, lots of us didn't.

    @LD, that's a huge thing to celebrate! :D

  20. Julie,
    I really enjoyed my travels with you through Alaska in here; you brought up some interesting facts and photos.

    Now, can you lead us to Bora Bora to warm up?

  21. I know from living on the left coast now of the paranoia during WWII, but didn't know about the battles in Alaska.

    Woo hoo for a Eureka moment. I do the same thing when starting. Start, restart, let it sit, restart... until it's right.

  22. History is an amazing thing, and WWII has an incredible history! Cheers on working through the alphabet!

  23. I'm so happy for your Eureka! moment :)

  24. That is totally fascinating about Kiska - I didn't know, and it sounds like the basis of a great story!
    Woohoo for the Eureka moment for the sequel!!!
    I've re-written the first three chapters to my sequel four times now . . .someday I'll get past them and into the main book (and this is my second draft).

  25. @Inge, I'm so glad you enjoyed the posts! Maybe we can go to Bora Bora in May LOL.

    @Mary, I hope this is the end of my re-starting now, fingers crossed anyway.

    @MJ, thanks!!

    @Carol, thank you!

    @Tyrean, I'm glad I'm not the only one writing the opening chapters again and again! Thank you!

  26. This is an extremely interesting post! I enjoyed reading this very much.

  27. I forgot all about the Celebrate The Small Things. But I'm celebrating my new blog. Hope you stop by and say hello!

  28. I had never heard this story about Kiska before. Now I'm interested in learning more.

  29. Interesting info. I just watched a very touching video today about a group of Marines going back to some small island in the Pacific to retrieve some WWII remains. One of the older islanders, who was a young boy when the Marines were there during the war, sang the Marine's Hymn... the only English he knew.

    (I read your book last night... loved it!)

  30. I also never knew about what happened in Kiska before. Glad the ideas are flowing for your sequel. I can't wait to read Polar Night when things finally settle down!


  31. I couldn't remember where the Aleutian Islands were - but then I figured they must be near Alaska since that's your theme - duh. That's a beautiful picture, and congrats on getting halfway with the hop and having a brainstorm! I keep hoping for one of those, but all I get are clouds...

  32. That would be an amazing place to visit considering it hasn't been touched since the 40s

  33. I love a little history in the morning! Just stopping by for the A-Z Challenge. Juliet atCity Muse Country Muse

  34. Yay for eureka moments! Would you please send me one? :/

    I didn't know about the wartime occupation. I'm finding I know absolutely nothing about Alaska. :)

  35. Interesting! And the MC from my last story had family from the Aleutian islands.

  36. @Gina, so glad you liked it, thanks!

    @Stephen, oh, glad you got a new blog set up, I'll definitely be by.

    @Patricia, I'm interested in learning more about it too, never heard about it at all in the past.

    @Susan, oh, thanks!! I'm thrilled you enjoyed it.

    @Julie, thank you, I hope you will like it.

    @Lexa, I hope you will get your own brainstorm soon. I'm afraid I will end up going right back to clouds!

    @Lynda, I thought so too. Very eerie.

    @Juliet, thanks for stopping by!

    @Laura, I will try to send one LOL.

    @Pk, oh, that's interesting!

  37. a) I did not know that! and b) I would love to see it! I've always been a fan of history and foreign occupation of US territory during WWII is sort-of fascinating. I'll have to add it to the bucket list!

  38. Oh, and congrats on the Eureka! Those moments can be pretty elusive (at least for me)so celebration is definitely warranted!

  39. @Beverly, I love history too and totally agree with you. And thank you on my moment! :)


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