“WWII Umnak Scrapbook”
You will notice that my last name was "Shedosky" when I was in the service, but a security
clearance made me revert back to the correct spelling of my last name which, on my birth
certificate, is correctly spelled "Sidorski." Boy you can't fool those Catholic priests!
I was a Platoon Sgt at Camp Croft, S.C. I got tired of training men to go to combat and wondered if
I could do what I was teaching these men to do. I asked for a transfer to a combat team and
wound up being interviewed by a couple of officers. The upshot was that my request was denied.
While I forgot about it, that was not the end of it. It seems that someone in the Defense
Department found out that I had studied radio at the National Radio Institute. I later found out
that the First Sgt of the 677th Signal Warning Company told the Company Commander that he better get someone
who knows how to fix a radar set, as the company was scheduled to go to Alaska in a week. That's how I wound up
at Ft Glenn, Umnak, Alaska, in November of 1942.
In December of 1942 I was sent to Drew Field, Florida (near Orlando) for a three week aircraft warning survey
course. If you look closely at my picture you will see that the shoulder patch is of the 3rd air force which is the
In 1943 I attended the Army's Signal School at Fort Richardson, AK.
While on Umnak I served at the Kettle Cape and Nikolski SCR-270 radar sites. There were three SCR-270 radar sites
on Umnak, these two and one at Cape Tanak. I didn't know of that one until I got connected with one of the men
who's name was Jim Smith. I know more Smiths than anyone else except for Thomas, but that's another story. The
SCR-270 Radar was capable of providing automatic target tracking and gun-laying information.
I have two stories to tell about the radar set. One night at 3 o'clock in the morning I was awakened by the First Sgt
and was told the night crew couldn't get the power to come up. I remembered the stories they told about how real
radar set repairmen could fix the set over the telephone, so I called and told the crew chief to go back to the
exciter and give it a kick. Well, he did that and then promptly called back and said that didn't work. So I hiked up to
the radar site, went to the back of the generator set, and kicked the exciter. Voila! Up it came, but I knew that it
wouldn't last. The next morning I took the cover off of the exciter and found that a loose brush got too hot and
melted solder onto the commutator, which kept the brush off the commutator. I re-soldered it and all was okay.
The next time the radar went down I determined the problem was between the keyer and the grids of the
transmitting tubes. There was a short in the coaxial cable going under the floor boards between the keyer and the
When we switched outposts with Nikolski I never had any problems. It was about this time I went to Adak to take a
Warrant Officers exam, but even though they said that I passed the exam, they said that they didn't want the
warrant to leave the theatre, I was always suspicious of that excuse.
I served 2 years on Umnak. To keep from going nuts I kept busy draining a small lake on the Pacific Ocean side of
the island. I did this by scratching a small ditch in the black volcanic beach, and by the end of a couple of hours
that ditch was 10 foot wide and 10 foot deep. After a couple of days it would fill up again...and I would empty it
One day a bunch of the fellows saw me swimming in that lake, so they decided to try it too. When they put their
toes in it they felt the glacier water...it was cooooold! I had discovered that it was as warm as bath water in the
middle as the sun shone on that black volcanic ash and warmed it up. I finally clued the men in to my secret.
We had the usual problem of not getting food on time and had to scrounge up whatever we could find until the
supply barge got out to us. One time the supply of beer came late. Given we all had about a case each, one of the
men took off all of his clothes and ran up into the tundra. He finally cooled off and came back home.
When my tour of duty ended on Umnak I was sent to Camp Pinedale, just outside of Fresno, CA. That's where I got
busted from Staff Sgt to Private. In 1938, at 18 years old, I joined the army as a Private and after 3 years of
peacetime service...and almost 4 years of wartime service...I came out of the army as a private.
Nice work said my father.
1. Ft. Glenn from a C-47 flight over Umnak. I arrived at Umnak around the 24th of
2. Ed Sidorski at Drew field FL. This was around December of 1942.
Last Updated: 05/03/2017 07:21
3. Going to Anchorage for the Signal School. Around 1943.
4. Ed Sidorski at the Signal School, Anchorage Alaska. This would have been around
1943. Someone told me the Signal School was at Otter Lake, but I'm not too sure
about that because Donovan says he was in the Navy stationed at Otter Point, and
that is where Ft Glenn was established.
6. Post Office, Anchorage, AK around 1943.
7. Ed Sidorski probably headed for the Sour Dough Cafe. Anchorage, around 1943.
8. Dillingham Alaska at low tide.
9. The flower in my lapel was made from tissue paper and colored pink with food
coloring. A mother's day observance.
10. I met this guy walking along a dirt road in Anchorage. When I Iived in Garfield
N.J., he lived on Ann Street a block away from where I lived. (small world?).
11. I'm in the doorway, the man on the left I don't remember his name, but the guy
on the right, his name (is/was?) Robert Basford, we used to communicate 40 years
ago but have lost contact with him and can't find out anything about him, he went
to Drew field with me.
12. Who can't forget the spark arrestor at the top of the tent, that's Ingles fooling
around. Quonset hut is headquarters.
13. Going to Adak for Warrant Officer exam.
14. C-47 Waiting for me.
15. The man holding the camera, we called Smitty, Ingles is on the right.
16. The officer is with the cute one, the chubby guy on the left is the mess sgt, the
highest guy on the left is the one I had a fight with because he wouldn't shut up
when I was trying to sleep after my trip back from Adak, Bob Basford held my
arms while this guy punched me in the belly, Bob didn't want me to get busted
because I hit an enlisted man, Smitty is between the guy I hit and me peeking out
in the background.
17. The radar was atop this hill. The picture of Big Negro Head was taken so as not
to show the antenna. It was forbidden to take pictures of the radar set. If we
included the antenna in the photo, the pictures would have been blotted out by
the censors (radar was a big secret at the time). Click HERE to see the same photo
with a representation of the SCR-270 Antenna hand-drawn into the photo.
Click HERE for additional information about the SCR-270.
18. These wooden stairs were built by army engineers. The stairs are on the
opposite side of Big Negro Head which now, after 60+ years, I wonder how they got
the radar up there! I remember that when we got to Kettle Cape the First Sgt
insisted on driving the Antenna Truck up to the site and managed to tip it over
along the way. The Company Commander had to jump off the truck, becoming
slightly injured in the process. When they finally up righted the rig they had to send
to Ft Glenn for a welding technician as one of the casters broke off. The company
commander's name was Major Dunning. He and the First Sgt were sent to Ft Glenn, and I never saw them
Major Dunning was replace by a Second Lt. named Sanger B. Steele. When we went to Nikolski he also went
with us. Later in life I found his son's name when I was trying to locate men with whom I served. I finally
located him, at which time he informed me of his dads death. His dad had written a diary, and had mentioned
my name in it. One of the other men in our group had committed suicide...which is probably one of the
reasons I never got too close to anyone. As an infantry platoon Sgt I didn't want to know anyone's
name...which is also probably why I can't remember anyone's name now.
19. Ft Glenn Taken years later. Taken by Doerte Mann and used by permission.
20. Ft Glenn Taken years later. Taken by Doerte Mann and used by permission.