The City of Unalaska is the 11th biggest city in Alaska, with about four thousand residents. The Port of Dutch Harbor is located centrally on the North Pacific shipping routes between the United States' West Coast and Pacific Rim nations, and the city's economy is based on commercial fishing, fish processing, and fleet services. The residents of the Port of Dutch Harbor enjoy stunning natural scenery, and the city enjoys a unique history among United States cities, having once been part of Russia.
The Port of Dutch Harbor offers volcanic peaks rising from the sea, green valleys alive with summer wildflowers, and blankets of deep snow during the winter. It is one of the few American ports to have been directly involved in World War II. Visitors to the Port of Dutch Harbor can hike trails that are thousands of years old. They can comb the beaches for items brought to the shores from all over the Pacific region. They can go fishing, birding, berry-picking, skiing, and kayaking. This as yet undiscovered natural land offers unlimited opportunities for adventurers who fly, ferry, or cruise into the Port of Dutch Harbor.
Like the rest of the Aleutian islands, the Port of Dutch Harbor and Unalaska have a subpolar oceanic climate with fairly constant temperatures throughout the year and much rain. Fogs are ever-present in the Port of Dutch Harbor, and summers are much cooler than the southeast Alaska mainland. However, winters are about the same temperature as summers. The average annual temperature in the Port of Dutch Harbor is about 3.4 °C (38 °F), ranging from about 11 °C (52 °F) in January to -1 °C (30 °F) in January. Rain falls about 250 days each year, making the Port of Dutch Harbor the rainiest place in the country.
The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area is located near the Port of Dutch Harbor airport. Open year-round, the best access to the Historic Area is from May to October. The site contains what is left of one of the four forts built during World War II to defend the Port of Dutch Harbor against Japanese attacks. It was at this place that American servicemen fought the extreme weather and the Japanese at the same time while native peoples were interned over 1.6 thousand kilometers away. The Aleutians saw the first invasion of American soil since the War of 1812, and they were the scene of intense fighting in what historians call "The Forgotten War." The Japanese bombed Unalaska and Amaknak Islands in 1942, and the United States sent thousands of troops to defend America's back door. The Japanese held Attu and Kiska islands until the 1943 Battle of Attu when the United States recaptured them. However, the native Attuans were held as prisoners of war in terrible conditions by the Japanese for three years. The Americans sent other natives to internment camps while US troops vandalized their villages. The park and visitor center are owned and operated by the Ounalashka Corporation with technical assistance from the National Park Service.
Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears were the only US defenses in the Aleutians during World War II. In 1942, the Japanese bombed these facilities without mercy, killing 43 Americans. The fortifications were constructed in 1940. The army base was created to defend the naval air station. Commissioned in 1941, the facilities continued to be expanded during the early World War II period. By 1943, the facilities included the air station, a submarine base, ship repair facilities, and provisioning facilities. Over 5600 Navy and ten thousand Army personnel were stationed there. The 1942 Japanese attack destroyed five buildings, damaged the original radio station, killed 25 Americans, and wounded another 25. A later attack created additional destruction and took another 43 American lives. The site of the Port of Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base is south of Mount Ballyhoo, and most of the World War II constructions still stand there, although they are quickly deteriorating. The Navy runway is today's commercial airport, and the operations building is now the airline terminal. Fort Mears, operated by the Navy today, is south of the old naval base. The Port of Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army, are recognized as a National Historic Landmark.