Harbor Defenses of Sitka, Alaska


LOCATION : Harbor Mountain (Fort Ray)




SCR-271 (long-range aerial surveillance radar)
AAAIS lookout tower

The Army hired civilian contractors to build a road up Harbor Mountain and to construct the radar position by the time the radar crews arrived in 1942.  When the crews arrived they were dismayed to find that that road and facilities were far from completion.  In fact, the initial plan was to place the radar on top of the highest part of the Harbor Mountain Ridge, at a location that  was impossible to reach by road.  The radar technicians took over construction duties and eventually completed the radar site at a lower location along the Harbor Mountain Ridge.

The AAAIS station was only a temporary timber structure.  This was an aircraft spotting station for the anti aircraft defenses.


The SCR-271 radar site on the Harbor Mountain ridge -
June 22nd, 2004


Today the Forest Service maintains the road up Harbor Mountain.  The USFS built a picnic shelter on top of the SCR-271 radar tower and operator building foundation.  At the top of the small hill by the shelter there is some concrete remaining for the foundation for an Anti Aircraft tower what had a 50mm machine gun.  Around the small hill is the remains of the storage building, and two Quonset hut sites.  Also, two rectangular holes remain from the latrines.  At the end of the road, there is a picnic table on top of the foundation of the power building.   At the top of the ridge at the end of the road, there are logs piled with cables from the AAAIS tower.  There are also four holes in a square and a large pile of rounded gravel from Indian River.  This is the original site for the radar, before the technicians arrived and realized that there was no way a road could be built up the hill.


Photos and additional information:

  A Veteran's Story -  Richard Pettinger's experience at the radar site   Photos of the Harbor Mountain sites today  

These 5 pages have WWII Era Photos from the Richard Pettinger Collection:



Pettinger Page ONE


Pettinger Page TWO


Pettinger Page THREE





Pettinger Page FOUR


Pettinger Page FIVE