60 Minutes: Remembering the Battle of Attu Island

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60 Minutes: Remembering the Battle of Attu Island

I don't remember the last time I watched 60 minutes, but I can assure you I don't watch it regularly.   But I was clicking through last night and stumbled on it, and was very pleased to see that they were covering the battle of Attu Island, one of my favorite engagements of the war.  To be honest, it's always been a sort of bucket list fantasy of mine to visit the place.

From the 60 moinutes teaser:

Most of us learned in history class about the critical World War II chapters in the fight against Japan: Pearl Harbor, Midway, Iwo Jima. But who among us learned about Attu, site of the only ground campaign waged in North America during the entire war and a surpassingly brutal battle at that? Perhaps it's because Attu is the westernmost point of the United States, the last jewel in Alaska's necklace of Aleutian Islands. Perhaps it's because Attu's weather is so combative the island might be as difficult to reach as anywhere on the planet, but while the fight for Attu has been exiled to the smallest of military footnotes, a new book to be published this week by Simon and Schuster, a CBS company, tells the story of how 76 years ago, a Bible, a diary and two soldiers from opposite sides of the war came to define the impossibly remote island of Attu.

I'll put up the link to the show at the end, but 60 Minutes did actually have a video behind the video sort of thing, discussing The challenges of fighting—and filming—on Attu.

Like I said, I'be been interested in the battle for a very long time.  Here is a great video from 1943 that is narrated by the legendary John Huston.  (Which is why I got interested from the start, because when John Huston wasn't making WWII videos, he was a voice in numerous Rankin Bass cartoons from when I was a kid, most notably as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, a record I listened to just about every day from 5th to 8th grade.)

Anyway, just a great story from 60 minutes about a young Japanese soldier who had lived for a while (and gotten married) in America and the American Soldier who would end up taking his life...


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.