John Keller's Attu Scrapbook
1943-1944

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I thought I should set the record straight. We had no causalities in our hospital proper. However, we lost five men during the Jap counterattack. This was because only one of our platoons of a three platoon hospital was set up and the remainder were pressed into service in the field . Many were required as litter bearers due to the fact that some patients had to be carried a mile or so from the front over very rough terrain. There was no other means of transportation. You cant imagine what it is like to travel on melting tundra even without carrying an injured soldier .I experienced this on the first day on Attu and then I was given a different job.

I believe they were of afraid of loosing one of their X Ray men from exhaustion. Our men were lost during the counterattack which  Virgil Montgomery talks about. See his story in  the Infantry Journal on your site. Virgil was a member of our motor pool and of course we had no need of it at this time.

Our hospital was set up about the 20 of May,  My pictures were common property of all personnel in our unit.  I have been trying to locate other members of our outfit, but have no luck so far. I was surprised about the number who have passed on. Not many old people have computers. They don't know what they are missing. I was surprised that I could get only four pictures to a disk . These, I consider of the most interest. Others that I have were taken after the winter set in in on Attu.

The following pictures were taken by a member of the 14th Field Hospital. I don't remember who took the pictures. The negatives were passed among the members and nearly all of us had prints made, hence the many scratches.

The 14th Field Hospital was landed at Massacre Bay on the evening of the 13th of May 1943. Due to the spring thaw and rough terrain, it was impossible to set up our hospital in this area. Most personnel were put into service as litter bearers. These were badly needed since the wounded had to be carried long distances over very rough terrain to be evacuated on ships waiting in Massacre Bay.

After about a week of this service, it was decided that a unit of the hospital could be set up in Holtz Bay, which had been recently cleared of the enemy and the terrain afforded a firmer foundation. Those selected to go and necessary equipment was loaded on a Navy cruiser for transportation to Holtz Bay. My main remembrance of this trip was that sun was shining and we had a good view of the Attu shoreline. Also we were served the first good meal since landing on Attu.

All of these pictures were taken around the Holtz Bay area. When we first landed, there was some cleaning to do, but as I recall, we were ready for full hospital service in very short order which is what a field hospital is trained to do.

John

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[Editor's Notes: John was stationed in the Aleutians from 1942 to 1943, and worked the field hospital on Attu as an x-ray technician. John had taken the x-rays of Joe Martinez in the 14th Field Hospital, located near Holtz Bay, before Joe died.]

 

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#1
14th Field Hospital at Holtz Bay, Attu, AK.
Attu-8-lookingtowardsholtzbay.jpg (33505 bytes)

 

#2
Looking towards Holtz Bay from the Field Hospital. Attu, AK.
Attu-6-japfoodandboots.jpg (45879 bytes)

 

 

#3
Captured Japanese food and boots. During the battle for Attu, many GIs went days with out any...or very little...food. The Japanese soldiers were reduced to eating thistle. The man  smoking a pipe in picture is Capt.Robert Schock of the 14th.
Attu-5-japammunitionfromcaves.jpg (45853 bytes)

 

#4
Japanese ammunition taken from caves.
Attu-3-japdead.jpg (39095 bytes)

 

#5
Dead Japanese soldiers.
Attu-4-japdead.jpg (49665 bytes)

 

#6
Dead Japanese soldiers.
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#7
An Attu newspaper, dated 15 June 1943 (Vol. 1). This file is about 90KB. (This is a PNG-formatted graphic. If this doesn't work well with your browser, click on image #8 below. This is a good test of your browser's ability to display the new PNG format!)
attu-theattusun-15Jun1943-opt.gif (82307 bytes) #8
This is the same image as above, but formatted as a GIF file. If you are having problems reading the PNG-formatted file above, click on this one instead.

 

Last Updated: 23 January 2014 09:33