September 19, 2013 by Rob Hurlbut
Unalaska Memorial Park and Iliuliuk Bay
Unalaska Memorial Park was set up in 1992 and I had the privilege of visiting the site in early 2013. As a veteran of the United States Navy it’s always a treat for me to see parks and memorials like this because it is very important not to forget that there are people that have given their time and their lives whilst serving in the military. The island of Unalaska and Dutch Harbor were home to the military during World War II and remnants of the military presence remain to this day. Concrete bunkers and pillboxes are all over the island. In the photo above you can see Iliuliuk Bay in the background, the propeller of the USS Northwestern on the right and a concrete pillbox on the left.
View From Inside A WWII Concrete Bunker
Above is the view from inside the pillbox that was visible on the left of the first photo. These were observation bunkers where military personnel would stand watch and be on the lookout for Japanese planes. I was in Unalaska from January through early April of 2013 and while it was not bitter cold, it was no picnic. I can only imagine what it was like to be out in an unheated concrete structure like this in the dead of night while a world war was raging. I’m sure there was quite a lot a pressure to stand a vigilant watch while trying to stay warm at the same time.
Unalaska Memorial Park and Cemetery
The park does seem to have suffered from the ravages of Alaskan winters during its 20 year existence. Not all the flags are raised all the time and one of the flag poles has broken off completely. It’s amazing how salt from the ocean and the cold wind can absolutely destroy man-made objects. Even the concrete base looks like it was recovered from the wreck of the Titanic! In the background is the Unalaska cemetery.
Bering Sea Patrol Monument
If you can believe it, Unalaska is not always covered in snow. Unfortunately, I left just as spring was arriving so every one of my photos shows the place looking like a winter wonderland. In the spring and summer, Unalaska goes through the same transformation that the lower 48 states go through. The grass turns green and you don’t have to walk around with a jacket and beanie on all the time. If you are interested in seeing more of what Unalaska looks like, be sure to check out my other posts. Cheers!