from the United States and Japan returned to Kodiak early this morning
(Thursday), after about two weeks on Attu Island in the Aluetians, where they
were searching for the remains of 2,300 Japanese soldiers killed during World
War II. As KMXT’s Casey Kelly reports, a Kodiak Coast Guardsman played an
instrumental role in unearthing the only remains found during the mission.
Coast Guard was mainly responsible for providing transportation to and from the
island, so Petty Officer Richard Brahm was the only Coast Guardsman on Attu for
the entirety of the trip. As a public affairs officer he was supposed to take
pictures and document the mission. But it didn’t take him long to start helping
out the crews searching for the remains.
1 :04s “…why
of the digging took place near where remains had been found last year, but
Brahm says they searched for a week without finding anything. On the eighth
day, he and a specialist from the Army were searching in another area, when
they made the first discovery.
2 :11s “…a
little bit of the skull.”)
continuing to dig in the same area, he says they unearthed a coffin that was
3 :14s “…it
was pretty exciting.”)
who thought he was just coming along for the ride, says at first he was pretty
shocked by the discoveries.
4 :12s “…and
died on that island.”)
remains were reburied and their location marked. Brahm says the team of
specialists from the U-S and Japan plans to return next summer in the hopes of
finding more. He says he would like to return as well.
5 :07s “…closure
for some people.”)
and nearby Kiska Island were invaded by the Japanese during World War II.
Besides the 2,300 Japanese dead there were also about 1,500 Americans who died
during the Battle of Attu. Many died of cold and disease rather than the actual
battle itself. The mission to find the remains is a joint effort of the United
States and Japanese governments.