Alcorn, Alfred Glenn, EM2c

Deceased
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Petty Officer Second Class
Last Primary NEC
EM-0000-Electrician's Mate
Last Rating/NEC Group
Electrician's Mate
Primary Unit
1942-1945, EM-0000, USS Cachalot (SS-170)
Service Years
1940 - 1945
EM-Electrician's Mate
One Hash Mark

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

61 kb

Home State
California
California
Year of Birth
1922
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by David M. Owens-Family to remember Alcorn, Alfred Glenn, EM2c.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Costa Mesa
Last Address
Costa Mesa, California

Passed Away in Huntington Beach, CA

Date of Passing
Sep 21, 1969
 
Location of Interment
Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive Memorial Park & Mortuary - Coasta Mesa, California
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

WW II Honorable Discharge Pin Honorable Discharge Emblem (WWII)


 Unofficial Badges 

US Navy Honorable Discharge


 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
After being discharged from the Navy, Glenn returned to his home in California and continued as an Electrician.
   
Other Comments:
Originally born in Bartlesville, OK and relocated with family to California as a young child.
married Joan Fredrika Pleumis in 1951 in Los Angeles County, California. They had one son Gary Lee. The marriage ended in divorce.

He remarried to his sister-in-law Carol Rae Pleumis on July 13, 1957, in Las Vegas,Clark County, Nevada. They had two daughters, Dale Tracy and Gwendolyn "Wendy" Lynn.
   


World War II/Asiatic-Pacific Theater/Aleutians Islands Campaign (1942-43)
Start Year
1942
End Year
1943

Description
The Aleutian Islands Campaign was a struggle over the Aleutian Islands, part of the Alaska Territory, in the Pacific campaign of World War II starting on 3 June 1942. A small Japanese force occupied the islands of Attu and Kiska, but the remoteness of the islands and the difficulties of weather and terrain meant that it took nearly a year for a far larger U.S./Canadian force to eject them. The islands' strategic value was their ability to control Pacific Great Circle routes. This control of the Pacific transportation routes is why U.S. General Billy Mitchell stated to the U.S. Congress in 1935, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world." The Japanese reasoned that control of the Aleutians would prevent a possible U.S. attack across the Northern Pacific. Similarly, the U.S. feared that the islands would be used as bases from which to launch aerial assaults against the West Coast.

The battle is known as the "Forgotten Battle", due to being overshadowed by the simultaneous Guadalcanal Campaign. In the past, many western military historians believed it was a diversionary or feint attack during the Battle of Midway meant to draw out the U.S. Pacific Fleet from Midway Atoll, and was in fact launched simultaneously under the same overall commander, Isoroku Yamamoto. However, historians Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully have made an argument against this interpretation, stating that the Japanese invaded the Aleutians to protect the northern flank of their empire and did not intend it as a diversion.

Until the end of the Pacific War no one can make a conclusive statement of the objectives of the Japanese attack on the Aleutian Islands in June 1942. The enemy may have been planning the subsequent conquest of all the islands in order to obtain access to Canada and our northwestern states. He may even have aimed at an immediate invasion of Alaska, only to be deterred by our victory at Midway. It is well known that the Japanese had long coveted Alaska and the Aleutians, and that many of their military leaders considered these poorly defended outposts the logical route for an invasion of North America.

The enemy's intentions may have been less ambitious, however. He may merely have planned to protect his northern flank, to divide our forces, and to complicate our defense of Hawaii and the West Coast after the expected capture of Midway.

Whatever his primary motives, the crushing blow administered by our forces in the mid-Pacific drastically revised the strategic situation. The reasons why Japan clung thereafter to her footholds in the western Aleutians are obscure. But it is probable that Attu and Kiska were either to provide jumping-off places for a future invasion, or to constitute advanced observation posts and defenses for the Empire. Perhaps both ends were envisaged. At all events, it was immediately clear that the occupation provided a continuing threat to our security. Even if this threat did not develop, any plans for seizing the offensive in the Central Pacific would be difficult to execute while the enemy maintained his flanking positions in the north. Furthermore, considering the war as a whole, every day


that hostile troops remained on American soil was as beneficial to Japanese morale as it was deleterious to that of our own people.

The situation was grave. Because of our commitments elsewhere, the means of quickly resolving it were far from adequate. As a result, the Japanese were ejected from the Aleutians only after 15 months of arduous operations which were hampered by shortages afloat, ashore, and in the air, as well as by almost insuperable obstacles of weather and terrain.

The Geographical Factor

One cannot form an accurate picture of the Aleutians Campaign without a thorough understanding of the geographical and meteorological peculiarities of the area. Practically every offensive or defensive move by either side was conditioned as much by terrain and weather as by the efforts of the enemy.

Approximately 120 islands comprise the Aleutian chain, which stretches from the tip of the Alaskan peninsula to within 90 miles of Kamchatka. The easternmost island, Unimak, is also the largest, measuring 65 by 22 miles. To the southwest is Unalaska, on the north coast of which Dutch Harbor is located. Unalaska is about 2,000 miles from both San Francisco and Honolulu. Westward, in order, lie Umnak, Atka, and Adak. Kiska is 610 miles west of Dutch Harbor, while Attu, the westernmost American island, is nearly 1,000 miles from the Alaskan mainland and 750 miles northeast of the northernmost of the Japanese Kurile Islands. Attu is about 20 by 35 miles in size.

Terrain

All the Aleutians are volcanic in origin. They are uniformly rocky and barren, with precipitous mountains and scant vegetation. The mountains are conical in shape and covered with volcanic ash and resembling cinders. There are no trees on the islands, except a few stunted spruces at Dutch Harbor, and no brush, which complicates the building and heating problems. The lowlands are blanketed with tundra or muskeg as much as three feet thick. This growth forms a spongy carpet which makes walking most difficult. Below the tundra is volcanic ash which has been finely ground and watersoaked until it has the consistency of slime. In many places water is trapped in ponds under the tundra. Frequently men have fallen into these bogs and been lost.

Throughout the Aleutians, jagged shorelines and submerged rock formations


render navigation hazardous. Conditions are least unfavorable in the eastern islands. Unalaska has two comparatively good anchorages, Dutch Harbor and Captain's Bay, while Umnak has three, of which Nikolski Bay on the west coast is the most important. Farther west, protected anchorages are scarce. Atka has two fair harbors. Adak has three small bays on the west coast. Amchitka offers one small bay on the east coast. Neither Kiska nor Attu possesses a harbor which is entirely suitable for larger vessels. Kiska is the better endowed, having a broad, moderately deep indentation on the eastern shore which is protected by Little Kiska Island, lying across its mouth. Attu has four less adequately guarded bays - Holtz, Chichagof, and Sarana on the northeast side, and Massacre Bay on the southeast.1 Of these Chichagof is the best.

Weather

Meteorological conditions become progressively worse as the western end of the island chain is approached. On Attu five or six days a week are likely to be rainy, and there are hardly more than eight or ten clear days a year. The rest of the time, even if rain is not falling, fog of varying density is the rule rather than the exception. Weather is highly localized, however, and areas of high visibility will often be found within 20 miles of fog concentration.

Throughout the islands annual rainfall averages 40 to 50 inches, spread over most of the year. Precipitation is rarely heavy, but reaches a peak in fall and early winter.

A special hazard to sea and air navigation is provided by sudden squalls known as "williwaws," which sweep down from the mountainous area with great force, sometimes reaching gale proportions within half an hour. The mountains are concentrated on the north sides of the islands, and the williwaws cause strong off-shore winds which make it difficult to find a lee along the north coasts. The columns of spray and mist resulting from the williwaws frequently resemble huge waterfalls.

Winds generally are gusty because of the deflection of air currents by the steep mountain slopes. The greatest velocities occur in March. In the Aleutians, curiously enough, winds and fogs may persist together many days at a time. Humidity is always high. Temperatures are moderate and not subject to much variation. In this connection it should be remembered.
   
My Participation in This Battle or Operation
From Year
1942
To Year
1943
 
Last Updated:
Mar 16, 2020
   
Personal Memories
   
My Photos From This Battle or Operation
No Available Photos

  139 Also There at This Battle:
  • Backstrom, Raymond, PO1, (1942-1945)
  • Bibb, James, PO2, (1942-1945)
  • Carter, Loyd, PO3, (1941-1945)
  • De Noma, George Robert, PO2, (1942-1945)
  • Graber, Gail Woodrow, CPO, (1942-1952)
  • Hardy, Donald, CDR, (1935-1959)
  • Hazelwood, Denna, PO1, (1942-1944)
  • Langdell, Joseph Kopcho, LCDR, (1940-1945)
  • Larson, Leonard D., LT, (1943-1946)
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