Eareckson Air Station, formerly known as Shemya AFB, is located on the Island of Shemya, Alaska. Military forces first occupied the once uninhabited island on May, 23, 1943, during the final days of the battle to retake Attu from the Japanese. Shemya was originally intended as a B-29 Base for the bombing of Japan. Air Force activities were reduced after World War II but it’s location provided an ideal refueling stoop on the Great Circle Route. Following the Korean War, Shemya was declared surplus and the base was deactivated on July 1, 1954. The facilities were leased to Northwest Orient Airlines who remained on the island until 1961. In 1958, the Air Force resumed operations in support of various Air force and Army strategic intelligence collection activities. The Cobra Dane AN/FPS-108 Phased Array Radar facility was constructed during the mid-1970s and is used to monitor space and missile activities. On 6 Aril 1993, Shemya AFB was renamed Eareckson Air Station after the World War II commander of the island.
Weather on Shemya is dominated by a persistent low-pressure system referred to as the “Aleutian Low”, which causes North Pacific storms to track through the Aleutian islands. The islands have a maritime climate that is relatively mild for the latitude. Summer fogs are frequent and severe. Annual precipitation on Shemya averages 30.3 inches. Precipitation rates are higher for the months of July through December, with maximum precipitation falling in November. Precipitation usually occurs as snowfall during the months of October through May. The mean annual temperature on Shemya is 39.4° F. August is the wamest month with a mean temperature of 49.7° F, and January is the coldest month with a mean temperature of 30.6° F. Shemya has been the scene of 2 major earthquakes. The first, measuring 8.7 on the Richter scale occurred on Feb. 3, 1965, followed by severe aftershocks and a 10.7 meter tsunami. The other earthquake, measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale, occurred on Feb.1, 1975, with a high degree of damage to the runways and hangars.