The sight of what remains in 1972 of the Naval Base and Fort Mears
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears are the two military installations built next to each other in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, by the United States in response to the growing war threat with Japan. In 1938 the Navy Board recommended the construction which began in July 1940. The first army troops arrived in June 1941 and the navy air base was finished in September 1941. At the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, these were the only military installations in the Aleutian Islands.
On June 3, 1942, the Japanese Navy attacked Dutch Harbor. Originally planned to start at the same time as the battle of Midway, it occurred a day earlier due to one-day delay in the sailing of Nagumo's task force. 43 Americans and at least one Japanese died during the attacks, which lasted for two days. The base remained an important part of coastal defenses for the remainder of World War II.
Shortly after the end of World War II, the US military abandoned their Dutch Harbor outposts. For decades afterwards, the buildings remained standing, generally abandoned. With the growth of the king crab fishery in the 1970s, many of these buildings were used as warehouses, bunkhouses, and family homes.
In the late 1980s, the US government finally funded a cleanup of the derelict fort, and the area was turned over for commercial use.