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Adak, also known as the "birthplace of the winds" because of 100-knot wind gusts, is located in the Aleutian Islands 1300 miles southwest of Anchorage. It was established as an Army installation in 1942 after the Japanese seized the islands of Kiska and Attu just west of Adak. Some estimate that during this time as many as 100,000 troops were stationed on Adak. After a nine month campaign, American and Canadian troops eventually retook the islands of Kiska and Attu.
After the war, the base was turned over to the Air Force and then transferred to the Navy. In the late 1950s, the base was established as Adak Naval Air Station and was home to about 200 Sailors. It was later renamed Naval Air Facility Adak.
During the next four decades, Adak played an important role in the Cold War against the Soviet Union, serving as a base for anti-submarine warfare and surveillance in the North Pacific. During the military buildup of the 1980s, the population of Adak increased to nearly 6,000 people including military personnel and their families, making it Alaska’s eighth largest city.
With the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, the fate of Adak was to be determined by the needs of the post-Cold War military. Adak was directly affected by the military drawdown that began in 1993, and by June 1994, all families had left the island. By September 1994, Adak had about 600 active duty personnel left. In early 1995, Adak was officially placed on the Base Realignment and Closure Commission’s closure list.