Port Heiden, Bristol Bay

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Port Heiden, Bristol Bay

by | Apr 22, 2020

Port Heiden is an embayment on the Alaska Peninsula about 12 miles (19 km) wide, that extends northwest from the Meshik River to Bristol Bay, between Strogonof Point and Chistiakof Island, 426 miles (687 km) southwest of Anchorage and 9 miles (14.5 km) southwest of the community of Port Heiden, Alaska. Meshik is the traditional Aleut name for the place where the community of Port Heiden is now located. The bay was named “Baie Comte Heyden” in 1828 by Captain F.P. Lutke of the Imperial Russian Navy for Lodewijk van Heiden. Heiden was a Dutch Admiral who was given command of the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean in 1826 in the Battle of Navarino against the Turks during the Greek War of Independence.

During World War II, Port Heiden was a strategic military location that played a pivotal role in the defense of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands. On June 17, 1942, the U.S. Army established a garrison of 1,400 soldiers at Port Heiden with the mission of developing and holding an airbase strategically located between the Kodiak and Cold Bay airfields. The new airfield was named Fort Morrow and did not have any permanently assigned units during the war, but hosted temporary army and navy air units during the Aleutian Campaign and aided in the defense of Kodiak Island.

The facility was closed after World War II and returned to civilian status. Beginning in 1958, the airport was used to support Port Heiden Air Force Station, a Cold War Distant Early Warning Line radar facility. The station was operated by Detachment 5, 714th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron based at Cold Bay Air Force Station. The radar was deactivated in September 1969, ending military use of the airport. The radar site was remediated in 2000, removing all abandoned military structures and returning the site to a natural condition. Today the airport is located 7 miles (11 km) northeast of the community of Port Heiden. Read more here and here. Explore more of Port Heiden here:

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