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"We found out we were going to Attu, and we all said, where the heck is that?" (Video interview, 8:16)

   Dean E. Galles
Collection image
Dean Galles at time of interview [8/12/2007]
War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: Army
Unit: 2nd Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division
Service Location: Attu Island (Aleutian Islands); Kwajalein Island (Marshall Islands); Leyte Island (Philippines); Okinawa Island (Ryukyu Islands)
Rank: Captain
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After training in the Mojave Desert with the expectation of heading to North Africa, service on Attu came as a shock to Captain Dean Galles. Landing at Massacre Bay in the spring of 1943, he coped with trenchfoot and inadequate supplies before engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the enemy in the Battle of Attu in May, 1943, during which he was bayoneted four times. After a brief respite in Hawaii, later service brought further injuries: his unit saw combat on Kwajalein and Leyte, where he contracted dengue fever, and Okinawa, where he was shot. In 2005, he returned to Attu as part of a documentary film project, an experience that he characterizes as "eerie" but rewarding.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (3 clips)
» Part 1 
Download: video (105 min.)
More like this
»Aleutian Islands: WWII’s Unknown Campaign
 Video (Interview Excerpts) (3 items)
Receiving orders to proceed to San Francisco; issued cold weather gear; finally receiving orders to Attu. (02:23) Arrival in the Aleutians; landing at Massacre Bay; not having proper gear; his feet turning black with mold; effects of sleeping on cold, wet ground. (07:12) Encountering the enemy; thinking at first they were replacements; bayoneted; going to the field hospital. (03:51)

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  October 26, 2011
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