This page updated 2003 May 10

Kodiak Alaska Military History

Fort Greely, Alaska
Volume 2

declassified by W. G. Lewis (D. Williams), NARS, August 23, 1982.

WNRC RG-338, Box 386, Alaska [illegible] Historical Report, Vol. 2


The Fort Greely project was established to provide an army garrison and Fixed Harbor defense installations in the vicinity of Kodiak, Alaska, for the defense of the Kodiak Naval Base. {1} The initial garrison arrived at the Naval Air Station, Kodiak, aboard the USAT ST. MIHIEL on 3 April 1941. This force consisted of Battery C, 250th Coast Artillery, 5 officers and 164 enlisted men, and the 2d Battalion Headquarters 37th Infantry, 1 officer and 5 enlisted men.

Unloading of equipment began during the night, and on 4 April the troops debarked, moving into temporary quarters at the Naval Air Station. Guns were moved into temporary locations on 6 April in the nearby Buskin Flats area.

A reconniassance of Long Island for location of gun positions, roads, and water was made on 9 April 1941 by Col. Lindsay, Post Commander, Capt. Cook, and Lt. Roberts of the U.S. Navy. Further reconnaissance was made by Col. Lindsay on 13 and 14 April and later on 17 and 18 April. These trips were to Port Bailey on Kupreanof Strait and to Cape Chiniak and Isthmus Cove. Sites were considered at Chiniak Bay for an Air Warning Service station and for a dock at Isthmus Cove.

Construction work on army garrison #1 had been started prior to the garrison arrival, on 1 February 1941. This was to consist of administration, housing, and hospital facilities. Later work was included in the program for additional construction.

It was decided that construction was to be accomplished by the Navy Department under Contract NOy-3570, with the Siems-Drake Puget Sound Company as the civilian contractors. On 30 April 1943 the Navy Department terminated this contract, replacing it with Contract NOy-6060, whereby Siems-Drake served soley as a procurement agency out of Seattle for the Navy projects.{2} Naval Construction Battalions and Army Engineers took over the unfinished work of the contractor's employees and military personnel on the job.{3}

Facilities constructed include: warehouses (Quartermaster and Ordnance), cold storage buildings, fire stations, repair shops (motor, utility, and searchlight), defense housing (duplex units), laundry, dry cleaning plant, cryptographic station, decontamination building, ordnance shop, guardhouses, bakery, telephone building, Quartermaster gasoline and fuel storage, post exchanges, theaters, ammunition storage, hospitals, and fixed defenses.{4}

The following utility features were also installed: five water systems covering three 200,000 gallons and two 30,000 gallons water storage, two sawmills with rated capacity of 30,000 and 100,000 f.b.m. per day respectively, seven sewage systems, one principal electrical distribution system, and five outpost systems.{5}

Three 150' wide concrete runways, 5000', 5200', and 6000' in length, were built by the Navy for joint use with the Army, with Army funds being used for construction of the 6000' strip.{6} Other air facilities were three hangars, two of them Kodiak "T" size, and paved bunkers for both fighter and bomber planes. Gasoline storage of 200,000 gallons was also provided.

Several companies of the 151st Combat Engineers were assigned to road construction and to various field fortification projects. At Cape Chiniak an Army Engineer construction force installed the Aircraft Warning Service unit and supporting housing as well as housing and four Panama mounts for the 155mm gun battery. Coast Artillery and Infantry were used in laying utility lines, construction of outpost facilities, and building of the Chiniak satellite field (steel mat surface, 150' x 5000'). Seventy-eight miles of gravel access roads 20 feet wide and 131 miles of gravel garrison roads of the same width were completed by contractor's forces, Seebees, and Engineer troops.{7}

The Fixed Harbor Defense installations included: one 6" battery at Long Island and two 8" batteries at Miller Point, St. Peter's Head, and Chiniak, respectively. Supporting searchlight positions and fire control appurtenances with necessary housing were located at Narrow Cape, Spruce Island, Kizhuyak, Artillery Hill, Sequel Point, Midway Point, Gibson Cove, Spruce Cape, Long Island, Chiniak, Miller Point, and Buskin Hill.{8} Seacoast radar installations have been provided for at Long Island, Piedmont Point, and Cape Chiniak; and housing facilities, emplacements, and magazines were provided for the two 90mm AMTB batteries located at Puffin Island and Spruce Cape.{9} Harbor facilities constructed consisted of one dock, 925 feet long, three barge and small boat docks, finger floats, and a small boat repair grid.{10}

On 4 June 1941 Headquarters of the troops was moved from the Administration building near the dock to Barracks No. 8, Army Camp, about two miles inland. Six days later Battery C, 250th Coast Artillery, vacated the Marine Barracks and moved into barracks at the Army camp.

On 6 July 1941 the Medical detachment, Station hospital, reached Kodiak. This group of five officers and sixty-seven enlisted men came on the USS SPICA with nine enlisted men of the 9th Ordnance Service detachment and ten enlisted men replacements of the 65th Coast Artillery. The Station hospital had been formed in April 1941 at Camp Clatsop, Oregon in conjunction with the garrison destined for Kodiak. Originally the hospital was organized as a one-hundred-bed unit, but before the unit reached Alaska the authorized hospital capacity had been increased to two hundred. At the time of the detachment's arrival work had just been started on the administration building of the present hospital; and for a temporary hospital a two-story cantonment type barracks was used.

Also during July 1941 a Quartermaster detachment of three officers and fory-nine enlisted men arrived on the 17th aboard the USAT CLEVEDON; and the 2d Battalion, 37th Infantry (less Co. F), Battery C, and a Searchlight platoon of the 65th Coast Artillery reached the station on the 23rd of the month.

On 3 August the first units of the 215th Coast Artillery arrived and were quartered in pyramidal tents in the warehouse area on Buskin river. This group consisted of 2d Batallion Headquarters battery, batteries C, E, and G, and one platoon of Battery A (S/L), and an attached medical section. With the arrival of the 215th Coast Artillery, units of the 65th Coast artillery left for Fort Richardson on a permanent change of station.

On 26 August 1941 the administration building, three wards, and officers quarters of the Station hospital were occupied. No surgical equipment had arrived at this time but several successful emergency operations were performed with improvised instruments.

The post strength advanced well beyond the one thousand mark with the arrival of the USAT GRANT on 3 September 1941, transporting the following units:

UNIT                                OFF    EM
Hq Det, ADC, DEML                    4     10
Co E, 201st Infantry                 5    158
band, 215th Coast Artillery          1     28
Hq Btry, 215th Coast Artillery      12    109
Btry A, 215th Coast Artillery        4    160
Btry B 215th Coast Artillery         5    151
Btry D, 215th Coast Artillery        5    140
Med Det, 215th Coast Artillery       2     11
Co B, 151st Engineers (C)            4    157
Med Section SC ADC                   7     21
Coo A, 69th Quartermaster Bn. (LM)   2     55
10th Ord. Service Co. Det.           2     62
Finance Section, SC ADC              1      8
                                    54   1070

Col. William D. Frazer of the 215th Coast Artillery assumed command of Fort Greely upon his arrival with the above-mentioned force.

Approximately two thousand more trooops joined the garrison on 16 and 17 September with the arrival of the ST. MIHIEL and GRANT respectively. Troops aboard the former vessel were:

UNIT                                      OFF    EM
Hq & Hq Btry & Am. Tn, 2d Bn, 215th CA      9    87
Btry F, 215th Coast Artillery               6   154
Btry H, 215th Coast Artillery               6   154
Hq & Hq Btry & Am. Tn, 2d Bn, 250th CA      9   121
Bn Sec, Med Det, 250th Coast Artillery      1     9
Bn Sec, Supply Pltn, 250th Coast Artillery  1     7
Band, 250th Coast Artillery                 1    28
Hq and attached Chaplain, 201st Inf.        8
Hq Co, 201st Inf. (less 2 Bn secs)          4   110
Service Co, 201st Inf. (less 3 Bn Secs)     6    71
AT Co, 201st Inf. (less 2 pltns)            4    63
Med Det, 201st Inf. (less Bn Secs)          4    15
Quartermaster Detachment                    1   113
Det. 14th Signal Service Co.                     25
Medical Detachment                          8    69
                                           68  1026       
Those arriving on the GRANT the following day were:

UNIT                                OFF    EM
Hq & Hq Det, 1st Bn, 201st Inf.      4     39
Co A, 201st Inf.                     9    174
Co B, 201st Inf.                     9    176
Co C, 201st Inf.                     9    175
Co E, 201st Inf.                     9    168
Bn Sec  Med Det, 201ST Inf.          9     79
Bn Sec, Trans, Pltn, 201st Inf.      1     14
                                    47    825
This sudden influx of troops created an acute housing problem, and it was necessary to quarter troops in some of the motor sheds for a limited time and to ration them with various throughout the post.

Battery C, 98th Field Artillery Battalion, arrived on 7 October 1941, with 4 officers and 179 enlisted men; and on the same boat came the first contingent of Army nurses, seventeen in number, to be stationed at the post.{11} Approximately three weeks later, on 27 October, Brid. Gen. Charles H. Corlett arrived to assume command of Fort Greely.

With the attack on Pearl Harbor Fort Greely was placed on an alert status, and field positions and outposts were manned twenty-four hours daily. Trooops continued to arrive at the post for assignment, the largest single group being the 2d Battalion, 201st Infantry, 53 officers and 1533 enlisted men, who arrived 28 February 1942 aboard the W.C. GORGAS.

The Army got its own docking facilities on 20 March 1942 when property one-quarter mile southeast of Kodiak known as Kraft's dock was acquired by the Government. The pier was redesignated the Army Pier, Fort Greely.{12} Up to this time all Army cargo and passengers had been discharged in stream or at the Navy pier. At the time of purchase the dock measured 254 feet in length. Construction of an additional 146 feet was started at once, as was dredging at the dock face to bring the MLLW depth to 30 feet.

With the receipt of information during the early part of May concerning possible Japanese attacks on the Aleutians, defense measures were stepped up at the post. Daily artillery drills were held, searchlight positions changed, and ammunition and materials inspected. APO 937 was assigned to the post effective 12 May; and on the 30th the 2d Battalion 30th Field Artillery, 32 officers and 745 enlisted men, arrived aboard the CHIRIKOF.

A complete blackout went into effect on 3 June with the news of the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor, but no enemy planes were sighted over Fort Greely. With the repulse of the enemy tension relaxed, but extra vigilance was maintained by the outposts, Aircraft Warning stations, and Command Post system.

During the summer of 1942, a serious epidemic of jaundice occured at the post. Before the epidemic subsided 654 jaundice cases had been hospitalized, of which three were fatalities. This was the only serious outbreak of the post with the exception of an influenza outbreak in the winter of 1943-44 which resulted in 533 hospital cases, none of which, however, were fatalities.

By October 1942 cargo was arriving in considerable quantities, and it became necessary to supplement the Army pier with Navy facilities, both of berthing space and stevedores. Plans were formulated for an additional 500' dock extension, but this was not started until May of 1943.

Three sub-posts of Fort Greely were established in April 1943, designated as follows:

Long Island ----- Fort Tidball
Chiniak     ----- Fort J. H. Smith
Miller Point----- Fort Abercrombie
Radar sets were installed at these sub-posts during 1943, the work being done by a crew of five men under the command of Lt. Raymond J. Bossong. SCR-296 sets were installed at each of the forts, and an additional SCR-582 at Fort Tidball. The first of these was completed on 17 April 1943 and the last on 14 August of the same year. These sets were to operate in conjunction with the 6" and 8" seacoast guns at the forts.

In addition the Harbor Defense Fire Control Communications system included 196,000 feet of submarine cable, 319,000 feet of subterranean cable, and 3,750 feet of duct type cable, three complete control offices, three complete time interval systems, and switchboards and panels at 57 different locations of Harbor Defense positions and installations.

In the early part of 1943 construction was started on an annex to the hospital at Bell's Flats, a site about seven miles from the Station hospital. This annex was originally intended as a 150-bed expansion unit to be housed in dispersed Quonset huts, and was planned to take care of the increase in hospital capacity to five hundred beds. Although bed capacity was reduced to 300 in September 1943{14} and to 150 in December of the same year,{15} construction on the annex was continued to completion and then abandoned.

Work on the dock extension was finished early in September 1943, giving the completed dock a length of 902 feet and a width of 68 feet. The first large vessels to use the dock, the USAT NORTH COAST and the SS WHITNEY, were berthed simultaneously on 9 September 1943. Another addition to the dock, 60' x 300', was begun in November and finished in March of 1944. During the period between 1 February 1943 and 20 June 1944 one hundred ninety-two ocean-going vessels discharged and/or loaded 183,581 mean tons of cargo at the dock.

Post strength as of 31 December 1943 was 480 officers and 7,907 enlisted men.

During the first half of 1944 the following unit changes occurred at the post:

            UNIT                                STATUS           DATE
Anti-tank Sec, 201st Inf.                       Departed     23 January
Company E, 201st Inf.                           Departed     23 January
Company G, 201st Inf.                           Departed     23 January
Company H, 201st Inf.                           Departed     23 January
265th Coast Artillery (HD)                      Arrived      29 January

Service Sec, 201st Inf.                         Departed        February
Medical Sec, 201st Inf.                         Departed        February
Hq 2d Bn, 201st Inf.                            Departed        February
Hq & Hq Co, 201st Inf.                          Departed        February
Company F, 201st Inf.                           Departed        February
Battery F, 215th CA                             Departed     26 February
Battery G, 215th CA                             Departed     26 February

Battery E, 215th CA                             Departed      8 March
Battery H, 215th CA                             Departed      8 March
Battery D, 215th CA                             Departed     17 March
Hq Btry 2d Bn, 215th CA                         Departed     17 March
Band, 215th CA                                  Departed     17 March
Hq & Hq Btry, 250th CA                          Departed        March
Hq Btry 1st Bn, 250th CA                        Departed        March
Btry Bm 250th CA                                Departed        March
Btry B, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Btry C, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Hq Btry 2d Bn, 250th CA                         Departed        March
Btry D, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Btry E, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Btry F, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Btry G, 250th CA                                Departed        March
Hq Btry 3d Bn, 250th CA                         Departed        March
Med. Det, 250th CA                              Departed        March
Band, 250th CA                                  Departed        March

Hq Btry 1st Bn, 215th CA                        Departed      1 April
Btry A, 215th CA                                Departed      1 April
Btry B, 215th CA                                Departed      1 April
Hq Btry 3d Bn, 215th CA                         Departed      9 April
Btry I, 215th CA                                Departed      9 April
2d Bn, 30th Field Artillery                     Departed     13 April
Hq Btry, 215th CA                               Departed     19 April
Btry K, 215th CA                                Departed     19 April
Med. Det, 215th CA                              Departed     19 April

862d AAA AW Bn                                  Departed      2 May
Company D, 374th Port Bn.                       Departed      5 May


In an effort to secure building materials for many structures not provided for in shipments from the States, Maj. Gen. Corlett, post commander, on 2 November 1941 appointed Capt. Harvey P. Bailey as Post Logging Officer. This officer and a small crew of enlisted men were sent to assist in the operation of a small private sawmill on Raspberry Island, approximately forty miles from Fort Greely.

Soon thereafter negotiations for the purchase of a sawmill for the post were entered into, with the sum of $20,000 to be expended for the purchase. This mill was to be located on Woody Island, where an estimated five million feet of timber were available.

Thanks to Bud Cassidy for this material


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