Alaska’s westernmost LORAN structure demolished

JUNEAU, Alaska – The Coast Guard demolished the 625-foot Long Range Aids to Navigation tower in Attu home of the westernmost Coast Guard unit in Alaska Wednesday before LORAN Station Attu is scheduled to be decommissioned August 26.

Due to the deteriorating condition and with no funding for repairs, the station’s 625-foot LORAN tower was becoming an ever-increasing risk of uncontrolled collapse.

The Coast Guard began decommissioning its LORAN infrastructure in response to direction from Congress provided in the 2010 budget. LORAN Station Attu ceased transmission of the LORAN signal Feb. 8, 2010 and the Russian-American signal ceased Aug. 1, 2010.

The LORAN-C station has been operated continually by 20 Coast Guard personnel since 1961, providing a long range radio navigation signal. The tower has been in use since the LORAN-C station was moved from Casco Cove to Massacre Bay in 1960.

In 1943, Attu LORAN operations were established with the first LORAN-A station at Theodore Point. In 1947, LORAN-A operations were relocated to Casco Cove and in 1960 the station was again relocated to the former Navy weather observatory building.

LORAN-C operations began in 1960 and in July of 1979, LORAN-A operations were discontinued on Attu. In 1991, Attu became a dual-rated station for the Russian-American LORAN chain becoming the first of its type.

Attu is the westernmost Aleutian island and is home to one of the last three isolated, restricted duty LORAN stations. Attu has no native population and relied for many years strictly on Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak for logistics supplies provided every two weeks. These logistics flights, a focal point for the crew, were the station’s only tie with the rest of the world for mail, food, supplies and travel to and from the island.

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