Fort Ray (1941-1944) - A World War II Coastal Fort first established in 1941 on Japonski Island, Sitka, Sitka Borough, Alaska. Named Fort Ray in September 1941 after Brigadier General Patick H. Ray who was stationed in Sitka in 1897. Abandoned in 1944.
World War II (1941-1945)
Part of the Harbor Defense of Sitka.
Fort Ray was the first of the U.S. Army World War II facilities authorized in Alaska. The authorization came in 1940 and started a two year process to construct the base. The initial location was adjacent to the Navy seaplane base on Japanski Island but there was not sufficient land for all the necessary facilities and most importantly the protective gun batteries. Surrounding Japanski Island were a number smaller islands and the Army decided to make room for the post and its defensive gun batteries by leveling some of the islands and by connecting the smaller ones together with a causeway system leading to Japanski Island.
The islands connected by the 1.8 mile causeway to Japanski were Virublennoi, Gold, Sasedni, Kirushkin, Makhnati islands. Charcoal and Alice islands connected directly to Japanski and became the main cantonment area. Construction began in July 1941 and it took almost a year to level Charcoal Island to the 8' level.
As built out the capacity of Fort Ray was 250 officers and 3050 enlisted personnel with 136 temporary wartime buildings on main post. The outermost island, Makhnati, was the site of two gun batteries and the Harbor Entrance Control Post (HECP). The Makhnati Island facilities were designated Fort Rousseau in 1943.
Fort Ray was closed in 1944 and in 1946 Japanski Island and Fort Ray were transferred to the Alaska Native Service.
Some remains, Sitka, Sitka Borough, Alaska.