The Battle of the Aleutians is one of the prettier publications ever put out by the US Army. (Yay, government stuff is public domain! You can see the booklet here. ) You don’t hear much about the role of the Aleutians in WWII, other than that History Channel program they did. So I think you’ll find this interesting.
And yes, that’s the Dashiell Hammett. He wasn’t stationed in the Aleutians until shortly after the Attu and Kiska stuff. But when he got to the island of Adak, the guy in charge was a mystery fan. He immediately put the writer in charge of the camp newspaper, which immediately became the best camp newspaper ever with the best staff and the tightest deadlines. Several of his biographers feel that this was the happiest time of his life, and certainly his letters sound pretty happy. (Especially for a guy living close to one of the only places that competes with Thule for least-requested assignment in the Air Force!) But he seems to have thought the people were good and the work worth doing, and that’s what makes anyplace a good place to be.
Back issues of The Adakian don’t seem to be online, and are apparently pretty rare… but maybe I’m not looking in the right place? There’s also a book somebody created long afterward from reminiscences Hammett collected from the poor guys who fought in the fogs of Attu. I bet it’s good. There’s going to be a play in 2010 about <I>The Adakian</I>, which also sounds interesting. (A bit long of a commute for me, though!)
Also, a sad proof that everybody loves totem poles.