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"Aleutian weather has to be experienced to be believed." (Audio interview, 27:25)

   Earl William Long
Image of Earl William Long
Earl W. Long
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Navy
Unit: 86th Naval Construction Battalion (NCB Seabees)
Service Location: Adak and Aleutian Islands (Alaska); Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands)
Rank: Machinist First Class
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Arriving in the Aleutians on Christmas Eve, 1943, Machinist First Class Earl Long spent the next 11 months on Adak Island, constructing causeways and driving trucks with the 86th Naval Construction Battalion. Winds on the island were so damaging that he was forced to remove his truck’s windshield wiper blades every night, lest they be blown away. In between battles with the weather, which he characterizes as a “main and constant concern,” he found solace in books, as well as in correspondence with his wife. To ease her worries over his location, he made references to "Aunt Ada," in order to signal that he was on Adak Island without drawing the attention of the military censors.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (5 clips)
»Complete Interview  (94 min.)
»Transcript
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»Aleutian Islands: WWII’s Unknown Campaign
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (5 items)
Transfer to the Aleutians; destination was given as Island X; standing watch aboard ship in bitter cold. (01:46) Enduring a storm known as a willowaw. (02:39) Initial impressions of the Aleutians; arriving at Navy Town on Adak; becoming fascinated by books. (03:06)
Various jobs and responsibilities; learning to drive a truck; impact of the weather on their work. (02:18) Disguising his location in letters to his wife. (01:01) 
  
 
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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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