Simon S. Feiza's Adak/Attu Scrapbook

1943 - 1944

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One of dad's (Simon Feiza's) buddies was a camera buff. In those days, personal cameras were extremely rare, but that's our gain for history's sake. The AAA photo we believe is from Attu, the rest from Adak was dad's best guess as he said no buildings were on Attu when he was there. All photos we do know were from after the Attu hostilities.

Can anyone help me place the location for the story dad told us? After Attu and Kiska, he was assigned to a recon unit, sent ashore to look for Japanese. The unit went ashore with 7 days rations. At that time, a fierce storm blew in, the navy and Air Corp were not able to resupply the unit. They stretched their rations to about ten days, went hungry for several more. Of course, there was plenty of water. Someone found a cache of Japanese rice and sardines which they stretched to about 30 days, at which time they were rescued or resupplied, I'm not sure which. Well dad and his lifelong buddy Charlie Hoerske sure got acquainted in their pup tent which had to survive 140 mph winds. You see the Air Corp left them a wind gauge to help direct air flights. Dad said the gauge went to 140 mph and broke in place past that mark. All his life, he savored canned sardines. Eating them, he would say, UMMMM, better than steak!" My guess is the locations were either Shemya or Little Kiska, dad was in both places. Your help would be appreciated.

Thanks!  Tony Feiza

 

1. These first 3 photos are definitely from Adak, springtime 1944. The water tasted so good, we had the best coffee I ever tasted. And I never drank coffee until I went to the Aleutians. We made ice cream out of snow and a powder (maybe powdered milk?) that we mixed into it. In all my life, I never tasted any better ice cream.
   
2. The commanders brought husky dogs to Adak so we had something to break the monotony. Those dogs were so friendly. They would knock you down trying to play. We were so sick of seeing those big ravens fly around. We wanted permission to shoot them, but the officers wouldn't let us.
   
3. We regular guys didn't sleep in a barracks, at least not right away. We slept in two-man pup tents. (I asked where Charlie was, his lifelong friend). He was right next to me, where do think he was! When the williwaws kicked up, it took 3 or 4 guys to lock arms for bathroom duty. When the snow blew probably 8 feet or higher, we had to dig up and out of the tent first.
   
4. Adak Church Services. It was nice of the priest to come to the Aleutians to hold services for us.  We told him he was crazy to come to a place like this.  He said he was only doing his job, just like we were.
   
5. Adak Church Services
   
6. (Got to be Attu, Mt. Moffett on Adak is only 700 ft. or so).  Charlie Hoerske (left), Simon (center), unknown soldier (right).  Every day, we climbed up to our AAA revetment, probably 1500 or 2000 ft. up.  One day, a soldier was climbing up to us.  We yelled, "Hey you idiot.  Take a wrong turn at Seattle?  You better have some hot coffee for us!"  When he got close enough, we recognized him - General Simon Bucker.  He said, "Which one of you misfits is Private Simon Feiza?"  I thought I was a goner.  "Well we have the same name, you can't be that bad.  I want to do something for you, name it. (Dad NEVER said why).  I want to go to officer's training.  Gen. Buckner, said, "Well, all right I guess.  MP school first."  Then I blurted out, Charlie too.  Where I go, he goes.  The general muttered something I can't repeat.  He went back down the hill.  I was shipped out to California headed for MP school.  But my appendix ruptured.  While I was laid up, an officer picked me up for New Guinea and then the Philippines.  I never made it to officer's school.
   
7. Found in a letter home to bride-to-be (61 years), Evie.
   
8. Some guys from the south couldn't take the cold. I never minded, even on Attu. Charlie and I found a way to keep our feet from frostbite. We were up 15 minutes before role call with dry, warn feet. We told the other guys but everyone seemed to have their own system. (Dad played plenty of golf, even winter golf. Down to 10 degrees, or lower with no wind. He used orange golf balls in the snow).
   
9. The commanders wanted to do something special for the Attu vets. We were issued two beers each. Boy that tasted good!

 

 

Last Updated: 05 Nov 2008 16:14

Originally published 30 May 2008