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Western Command

115th Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron, Tofino, British Columbia. On August 25, 1942, Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron Leader K.A. Boomer shot down a Japanese "Rufe" seaplane in an attack over the Japanese controlled Kiska Island. It would be the only air victory of the Home War Establishment, in one of the few instances of active engagement with the enemy that took place in the Western Command.

The action occurred as part of an American-led campaign against the Japanese in the Aleutian Islands, off Alaska. Earlier in the war the Japanese had taken control of two islands in the Pacific, Kiska and Attu, as part of a larger strategic campaign that included control of Midway Island. Unfortunately for the Japanese, the Americans took Midway Island in 1942, diminishing the importance of Kiska and Attu. The United States nevertheless wanted the two islands back and requested the aid of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) to achieve this objective.

Wing Commander Ken Boomer, Royal Canadian Air Force, Umnak, Alaska. It would be spring of 1943 before the Americans actually staged a land invasion of the two islands. RCAF squadrons attacked the islands in the lead-up to the invasion, bombing Japanese installations and then conducting strafing runs. They supported the land assault on Kiska, which Allied forces took in three weeks. In July and August they turned to bombing Attu, however stopped after discovering that they were only bombing rocks, the Japanese having already left the island.

Royal Canadian Air Force, 111th Fighter Squadron Bad weather and old equipment were the biggest dangers for most airmen flying in the Western Command. Several aircraft went down during flights through deep fog that could extend hundreds of miles from the coast. Western Canadian territory was never in immediate danger of enemy attack, aside from a few shells that hit a lighthouse on Vancouver Island in 1942, and incendiary balloons, two of which were duly shot down by RCAF patrols and which failed to cause a single Canadian casualty.

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