Non-Natives on Attu in attack

June 7, 2012 

The articles in the Sunday, June 3 ADN, about the Japanese attack on Dutch Harbor and the subsequent invasion of Attu in 1942 were eye-openers. It is amazing to realize how many Americans have no idea about these events.

The writer failed to mention the only non-Native Americans who were on Attu that day. Etta Jones and her husband, Foster, who were in their 60s, had taught in rural Native Alaska villages for the previous 20 years and were fulfilling their final assignment before retiring. Etta was the schoolteacher and Foster operated a radio weather station. The Japanese killed Foster and took Etta prisoner. She was held in Japan until the end of the war. No one knew what had happened to them -- not the War Department, not the Alaska Indian Service that employed them, and certainly not their families.

Etta and Foster's story is told in the book "Last Letters from Attu" by Mary Breu, who is Etta's great-niece.

-- Cherry Lyon Jones


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