Attu Island is one of the Aleutian Islands (Near Islands group) in Alaska. This Alaskan island is the USA's westernmost point. The island has a length of 35 mi (56 km), a width of 20 mi (30 km) and a total area of 345 mi2 (893 km2), ranking it the USA's 23rd largest island. It is uninhabited since 2010 when the Attu Station (US Coast Guard station LORAN) was permanently closed (decommissioned) and its personnel of 20 people left the island.
In the Aleutian archipelago chain, next to Attu is the Commander Islands (Russia) located at 208 mi (335 km) to the west. Attu Island is located nearly 1100 mi (1800 km) from mainland Alaska and 750 mi (1210 km) northeast of Kuril Islands (Russia) and 4800 mi (7700 km) from Washington DC.
The Aleut people were the island's inhabitants prior to WWII. In June 1942, after the USA entered into the war, the Japanese landed on Attu (without opposition) on June 7th, after landing on Kiska Island on June 6th. in response to the invasion, the US Alaskan authorities conducted a mandatory evacuation of around 900 Aleuts from around the Aleutians. When the Japanese landed, the island's population of 45 Aleuts and two Americans were captured and imprisoned in a camp near Otaru (Japan).
In September 1942, the Japanese Attu Island garrison was transferred to Kiska, leaving Attu essentially unoccupied. In October 1942, the Japanese re-established their Attu base (at Holtz Bay) with about 2300 troops (by March 1943). In May 1943 started the US operation to recapture Attu. The following battles resulted in 3929 US casualties (including 1200 with severe cold injuries). At the end of May, the Japanese troops were finally defeated in Massacre Valley (2351 dead) where the Americans built later the "Navy Town". In August 1943, the Japanese forces evacuated Kiska.