In early June of 1942, planes from two Japanese aircraft carriers bombed the American military base at Dutch Harbor on the eastern end of the Alaskan
    Aleutian Islands. Japanese forces then attacked and occupied the islands
    of Attu and Kiska located on the far western end of the Aleutian chain.
    In response to these actions, Allied Command established military bases
    east of Kiska on the islands of Adak and Amchitka to mount an attack
    against Attu and Kiska. The American Seventh Infantry Division reclaimed
    Attu in May of 1943 after 18 days of fierce fighting. The Allies suffered nearly
    4,000 casualties and 500 dead while only 24 of the 2,380 Japanese on the
    island survived.

    An Allied Force of 34,000 men was then gathered to attack Kiska, which
    army intelligence estimated harbored between 5,000-12,000 enemy troops.
    The First Special Service Force was designated to lead the first wave of the
    invasion. On July 11, the Force left San Francisco and arrived at Amchitka 12 days later. The men immediately started training on the tundra and practicing beach landings in rubber rafts. D-Day was set for August 15. Shortly after the Attu disaster, the Japanese realized the situation at Kiska was untenable and they decided to abandon their garrison. Their first evacuation attempts failed due to the Allied naval blockade, but on July 29 a fleet of ships was able to slip undetected into the Kiska harbor and remove the men. During the following weeks, there was ample evidence from aerial observation that the Japanese had left, but some in Allied Command thought it was conceivable that the enemy had withdrawn into underground bunkers. They decided to proceed with the full scale invasion with the attitude that even if the enemy had left it would still be a good training exercise. The average soldier, however, went into the battle believing he was facing an enemy in heavily fortified positions who was willing to die rather than surrender.

    The FSSF mission was to clear the beaches and then move to higher ground to protect the incoming troops. First Regiment secured their objectives on the southwestern side of the island while Third Regiment did the same on the northwest side. Second Regiment remained on Amchitka as reserve with the possibility they would parachute onto the island if needed. Despite the fact that the FSSF found the island abandoned, the landing of other units was not halted by Allied Command. Regretfully, many of those incoming troops discharged their weapons in the foggy conditions thinking that they saw Japanese. In the end, at least 28 souls lost their lives and over 50 were wounded; the majority of them from their own friendly fire. The FSSF never fired on troops, but one Forceman was wounded by another unit when he was mistaken for Japanese. From August 17-18, First Regiment secured the nearby islands of Little Kiska and Segula. The Force then departed the Aleutians and returned to San Francisco.