Mack Collings Attu Scrapbook
1941-1943

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I joined the U. S. Army on October 1st, 1940, after two weeks of grabbling with my parents. I went to Fort George W. Washington for recruit training. After graduation, I left for Anchorage on the 26th of December, 1940 and arrived at Seward, AK about six days later. Fort Richardson was just being built, as was Elmendorf Field. I was in the 4th Infantry Band.

We left for the Aleutian Islands in November of 1942, and arrived in December. Along the way we picked up about 350 sailors from a Liberty Ship that had broken down. Our Alaska cruise liner was already overloaded by about 150 passengers. 

We pitched our pup tents on the island of Adak (8 Dec 1942) and slept on the tundra and snow. In the mornings we were in water from the heat of our bodies. We ate "C" rations for a few weeks, then when we did get a mess hall we would try to get back to our tents with the food in our mess kits but the wind would fold our mess kits up and spill our food. When we tried to get more food, they would say "NO DEAL!"

We jumped from island to island (Shemya, about February 1943; Amchitka, about March 1943) playing music for the men but we would freeze our butts off. After we settled the island of Attu, we got our instruments back and we did more playing. I would get a jeep from the motor pool and drive down the water trails as the creeks were the only way you could get around. We would go to the Navy area and play for our food, as every Wednesday they would serve steak and ice cream! Boy, was that a treat! We would also play for the civilian workers while they would gamble...boy, what tippers they were! I remember one time we were playing, "I came here to talk to Joe," a 1942 big band song, and the Japanese bombers flew over at 30,000 feet. The whole damn Massacre Valley opened fire with 50 caliber anti-aircraft guns. Boy, did these guys get heck!

I took my Cadet exam at Dutch Harbor in September of 1943 and passed everything except the Cadet Aviation Examination Board (consisting of one Artillery Lt. and one Infantry Lt.). I became a pilot nevertheless when I returned home in 1945.

We were shipped to the States in late November 1943, arriving at Seattle, Washington in early December. I barracked at Fort Lewis for 3 or 4 months and then was shipped to Camp Hood, Texas (now known as Ft. Hood). We played at all the big band dances and toured the State with USO groups.

Here are some pictures from these times. You can e-mail me at: collings@aol.com

Fairbanks, 1941

Fairbanks, AK. 1941 Parade. #1
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.
Fairbanks, AK. 1941 Parade #2
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.
Fairbanks, AK. 1941 Parade #3
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.
Fairbanks, AK. 1941 Parade #4
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.
Fairbanks, 1941 #5
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. #6
Fairbanks, AK. 1941. Taken by Mack's mother.

Anchorage, 1941

The 4th Infantry Band, Anchorage, 1941 #7
The 4th Infantry Band, Anchorage, 1941.
The 4th Infantry Band, Anchorage, 1941 #8
The 4th Infantry Band, Anchorage, 1941.

Fort Richardson, 1941

Fort Richardson, 1941 #9
Ft. Richardson, AK. 1941.
Ft. Richardson, AK. 1941 #10
Ft. Richardson, AK. 1941

Adak, Dec 1942 or 1943

Adak, Dec 1942/43 from transport window #11
Adak, Dec 1942/43, as viewed through transport port hole.
Adak, Dec 1942/43. Living Quarters. #12
Adak, Dec 1942/43. Living Quarters!

Attu, 1943

Attu, Oct. 1943. Entering Massacre Bay #13
Attu, Oct 1943. Entering Massacre Bay.
Attu, Oct 1943. Our home! #14
Attu, Oct. 1943. Our home!
Attu, Oct 1943. Mack Collings and buddies. #15
Attu, Oct.  1943. Mack Collings and buddies.
Attu, Oct. 1943. Mack Collings and buddies. #16
Attu, Oct. 1943. Mack Collings and buddies.
Attu, Oct 1943. Mack Collings and buddie. #17
Attu, Oct. 1943. Mack Collings and buddy.
Attu, 1943. Mack Collings and buddies. #18
Attu, 1943. Mack Collings and buddies.
Attu 1943. Mack Collings and buddy. #19
Attu, 1943. Mack Collings and a buddy.
Attu, 1943. Good water, too! #20
Attu, 1943. Good water, too!
Attu, 1943. Massacre Valley #21
Attu, 1943. Massacre Valley.
Attu, 1943. Mack Collings #22
Attu, 1943. Mack Collings.
Attu, 1943. Exploring the mountain passes. #23
Attu, 1943. Exploring the mountains of Attu.
Attu, 1943. Where the fiercest battle took place. #24
Attu, 1943. Where the fiercest battle took place.
Attu, 1943. The head of a Japanese soldier. #25
The head of an unknown  Japanese soldier.
Attu, 1943. A three-month old body of a Japanese soldier. #26
Attu, 1943. The body of an unknown Japanese soldier.

 

Our one-day-of-the-year sunshine! #27
Shemya! "Our one-day-of-the-year sunshine!

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Last Updated: 04 Jan 2013 12:02:22