Fort Schwatka (1941-1945) - A World War II Coastal Fort first established in 1941 on Ulakta Head at the North end of Amaknak Island, Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska. Named Fort Schwatka pursuant to an order dated 22 Mar 1943 after Lieutenant Frederick Schwatka (Cullum 2389), who led an expedition to explore the Yukon River in 1883. Abandoned in 1945.
World War II (1941-1945)
Part of the Harbor Defense of Dutch Harbor.
Initial construction began in the summer of 1941 by civilian contractors from the Seims Drake Puget Sound Company along with members of the 206th Coast Artillery. The initial construction built the original defenses and the cantonment area. Initial armament was 155mm GPF guns, first on-field mounts and later on Panama mounts.
After the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor in 1942, the facilities were upgraded and the defenses strengthened. In February 1943 the Navy Seabees began to replace the civilian contractors as they left. The largest battery in the harbor defense, the 8" Battery 402 and its associated PSR was completed in November 1943. This battery was built over the site of two emplacements of the earlier Battery 155 - Fort Schwatka. In addition to Battery 402, a smaller 90mm AMTB battery was constructed on the spit below, see Battery AMTB - Amaknak Spit.
Fort Schwatka was also the site of the Harbor HECP/HDCP used to identify and challenge ships entering the harbor, it was completed and accepted for service in February 1944. An SCR 582 radar set was associated with the HECP/HDCP.
On 11 Apr 1945 Fort Schwatka was placed on caretaker status. The 8" guns were destroyed by explosives in August 1946.
Part of the Aleutian World War II National Historic Area. Remains on Ulakta Head, Amaknak Island, Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska. Many of the concrete structures of the gun batteries and the fire control stations survive. The Ounalashka Corporation and the National Park Service have developed an excellent NPS - Fort Schwatka Self Guided Tour booklet on Fort Schwatka. Hiking permits are required for visitors.