Did you know

A little known story of WWII was the relationship of the U.S. and Russia during the time prior to Russia declaring war on Japan. According to International Law, Russia was a neutral country and was obliged to intern personnel of warring nations if they were within the control of Russian armed forces.

Until the mid 1980's, the activities of these airmen was highly classified.

It all started with the famous Doolittle Raiders. One crew due to a fuel shortage, landed north of Valdivoltok instead of China, and were instantly interned. Over the next three years thirty five other crews, for a total of 291 Americans met the same fate. With the exception of 4 B-29 crews of the 29th Air Force, these airman were members of the old Army Air Corps and Navy Air Wing 4 from the Aleutian Islands. They were flying missions against the Japanese Kurile Islands.

In case of aircraft damage, the preplanned escape route was to Petropovlavsk, Kamchatke Peninsula. "Petro" was a holding point until a group became large enough to move across Siberia to another holding point at Tashkent Russia. The trip across Siberia R.R. to flying in an old C-47 is with Russian crews. All in all five seperate groups were held and released by various methods. The last group was released after the war ended.

1075 names of 11th Air Force, Fleet Air Wing 4 and Canadian men and women that were killed, interned or missing during WWII in the Aleutian Islands are inscribed on the wall of honor.

The memorial is located on the southside of Merrill Field near the 15th Ave and Lake otis interesction.

The black & white photo is from the bio of Ex-POW Jack Smith. For more, click here and here.