Alaska Coast Guard says goodbye to its last LORAN station
Friday, August 27 2010
Unalaska, AK – Today, Alaska's Coast Guard bids farewell to the LORAN navigation system -- and the United States shrinks a little, too. KUCB's Alexandra Gutierrez has more.
Twenty Coast Guardsmen are right now the only inhabitants of Attu, America's westernmost island. After today, they'll be gone. It will be the first time the island will be uninhabited in recorded history.
The LORAN station -- which stands for long range navigation -- has been running for almost 70 years. It was built during World War II, soon after the Japanese attack on the island in 1942, and it replaced the Aleut village that had long existed there.
Now that GPS has made the LORAN technology obsolete, the Coast Guard this year phased out the syste. It was deemed to be an unnecessary expenditure and the federal government expected to says $35 million per year by cutting it out of the budget. In February, the domestic signal was turned off, and earlier this month, the Russian-American signal went down, too. Alaska's five other LORAN stations have been decommissioned, and Attu is the last one to close up. A Coast Guard crew demolished the tower earlier this month, and they've been making preparations to leave the island since. KUCB's Alexandra Gutierrez has more.