We’re diverting to Shemya?* Over Christmas?

I guess that’s not so bad . . . .  Shemya’s closer to Santa!
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Anne Billingsley Kerr, seated at the stewardess console on a Boeing Stratocruiser, in 1957.

 What and Where is Shemya, you ask?



Shemya is a frozen, windswept, barren rock of an island, four miles long by two miles wide – near the end of the Aleutian chain and located 1,461 miles southwest of Anchorage between the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea.


During World War II, Northwest Airlines operated a Northern Region Airline for the U. S. Army Air Corps; transporting men and equipment for the defense of Alaska and recapture of the outer Aleutians. NWA’s wartime mission positioned her well for post-war DC-4 passenger service to Tokyo and Shanghai via Anchorage, which began July 15, 1947. Northwest “Orient” flight time MSP to Tokyo was 33 hours. NWA airline crews added another 48 hours for a mid-flight layover in Shemya. Pictured above are the not-so- hospitable accommodations for crew members.  Photos: Phyllis Curry.


The venerable DC-4 on the ground in Tokyo.

*Anne wasn’t ever really diverted to Shemya – she’s just playing a holiday spoof on you.  Everything else in this post, however, is history!

Coming soon – more details about the Northern Region, Shemya and NWA’s first post-war route to the Orient under the World War 2 tab on this website.

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