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Also known as Cape Field at Fort Glenn, Fort Glenn Army Airbase was a key base in the Aleutian Campaign of World War II. The base was constructed in 1942 under the guise of being used by the Blair Fish Packing Company. This was done to hide the intentions of the construction of an Army air base on Umnak from the Navy, who considered the Aleutians to be their territory. The site covers 102,062 acres and is situated off the Umnak Pass, the waterway separating the Umnak and Unalaska Islands. The base operated from 1942 to 1947. It was declared a National Historical Landmark in 1987.


  • Aerial view of the airfields at Fort Glenn
  • Construction being done on one of the runways at Fort Glenn

Approval for the construction of the Umnak-based Fort Glenn came in November of 1941, just before the attack on Pearl Harbor. It was designed to protect the naval base of Dutch Harbor, and to prevent Japanese progress into the Alaskan mainland while also allowing for missions within the Aleutian Islands. There were concerns as to whether or not a runway could even be constructed on the island. However, General Buckner would bring in three million square feet of perforated-steel plating for construction of the runway. The airfield was ready for operation on April 1, 1942. 

When the Japanese began their offensive in the Aleutians in June, the Umnak base only had four thousand troops stationed there. Buckner had wanted a far larger force to be stationed at Fort Glenn, but would only receive around twenty-three hundred more. Fort Glenn would go on to be the launching point for the US counterattack in the Aleutians and for the bombings of Japanese bases in Attu and Kiska. Fort Glenn would consist of four 5,000-foot runways with two of them only being separated by ten degrees. This unorthodox design likely had to with the rough terrain of the island. The site was transferred over to the Bureau of Land Management between 1952 and 1955. While the base has been abandoned and deconstructed, the outlines of the former runways can still be seen today.

"There's a Fighter Base Located Where?", accessed on November 20, 2014. http://www.hlswilliwaw.com/aleutians/umnak-homepage.htm "Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields: Alaska", accessed on November 20, 2014. http://www.airfields-freeman.com/AK/Airfields_AK.htm#ftglenn