A Goose back over Dutch Harbor

With several important memorial dates this week (the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Midway, 73rd of D-Day, et.al.) one that is easy to slip through the cracks is the Battle of Dutch Harbor.

As a diversion to Midway, a fairly strong task force under Japanese Rear Admiral Kakuji Kakuta, comprising the carriers Ryūjō (10,000 tons) and Jun’yō (25,000 tons) as well as their escorts and a naval landing force, attacked the Aleutians in Alaska.

One engagement, where Katutka sent his 80~ strong combined airwing to plaster the only significant American base in the region, socked the base and port facility over the course of two raids on 3-4 June, sinking the barracks ship Northwestern, destroying a few USAAF bombers and USN PBYs, and killing 78 Americans.

Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor, June 3, 1942. Group of Marines on the "alert" between attacks. Smoke from burning fuel tanks in background had been set afire by a dive bomber the previous day. Alaska. NARA 520589

Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor, June 3, 1942. Group of Marines on the “alert” between attacks. Smoke from burning fuel tanks in background had been set afire by a dive bomber the previous day. Alaska. NARA 520589

The Japanese in turn got a bloody nose from the old school 3-inch M1918s and .50 cal water-cooled Browning of Arkansas National Guard’s 206th Coast Artillery (Anti Aircraft), which splashed a few Japanese planes, a PBY stitched up 19-year-old PO Tadayoshi Koga’s Zero (which crashed and was recovered in remarkable condition–  an intelligence coup) and a group of Army Col. John Chennault’s P-40s out of Unamak accounted for a few more.

Koga’s Zero

To honor the battle, a restored Canadian Harvard (the Canuks helped “retake” Attu and Kiska from the Japanese and defend Alaska during the War) an MH-65 of the USCGC Midgett, based in Kodiak, and a restored Grumman JRF-5 Goose made a ceremonial pass over Dutch Harbor on 3 June.

Coast Guard Cutter Midgett’s aviation detachment conducts flyovers alongside historic WWII airplanes, a Grumman JRF-5 Goose and a Canadian Harvard MK IV training plane, in Dutch Harbor, Alaska,

The Goose, of which 24 were used by the Coast Guard, mostly on the West Coast, was a small amphibian that could carry a couple of depth charges, drop off some scouts in a remote area, or rescue a downed aircrew in a pinch. The Army, Navy and (after 1947) the Air Force also used the Goose in varying numbers.

The Grumman JRF-5G Goose just screams Tales of the Golden Monkey

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