>Loran Station Attu


USCG Loran Station Attu is located at the western most edge of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. With twenty active duty personnel, Loran Station Attu provides an essential navigational tool for mariners of the north pacific. The navigational signal provided by this unit has been on air and in tolerance since the 1970’s. We hope this website provides a detailed insight into our mission, life, and the history of this remote island.

The original Attuans are thought to have derived from a people whose gradual move west began approximately 2,000 B.C. on the Alaskan Peninsula. These people, the Aleuts, dispersed westward along the Aleutian chain culminating in the occupancy of Attu around 600 B.C. For centuries, Attuans survived winds in excess of 100 mph and long cold winters by living in grass-thatched dugouts called barabaras. Their sustenance was obtained by fishing for salmon in the streams, gathering bird eggs, and hunting for sea mammals from the ocean. They continued unimpeded in their ways until the 1700’s, when the quest for sea otter pelts brought Russian fur traders east. The Russian traders overran the Aleutian Chain from Attu to Kodiak. They forced Attuans and other Aleuts to serve as hunting crews, often inflicting terrible abuses upon the native peoples. Attu’s best example of these abuses is a spit of land, near Massacre Bay, called Murder Point where, in 1745, a band of traders executed 15 Attuans for some unknown transgression. Before the fur trade collapsed, the Russians had introduced several new things to Attu including: disease, alcohol, and the Norwegian rat. Through intermarriage, the Russian Orthodox Church was also introduced to Attu and became the islands main religion. The native population, though never thought to be very great, slowly diminished over the years, continuing even after America assumed ownership of the island in 1867. At that time, the island’s population numbered over a hundred. Seventy-five years later, when the Japanese invaded the island, there were only 41 Attuans left. Following their internment during WWII and the subsequent relocation to Atka, Alaska after the war, the number of native Attuans can be counted on one hand. The occupancy of Attu now resides in a handful of Coast Guardsmen that rotate yearly through Loran Station Attu.