On the 14th of July 1942 the 2,722-ton US Army Troopship (USAT) Arcata was attacked and sunk by Japanese Submarine I-7 at 53-41N, 157-45W.

The records that I could find show that this ship as a freighter (cargo ship) that had a crew of only 8 men, but in the book "The Thousand Mile War" by Brian Garfield on page 131 the ship is described as being a troopship and Mr. Garfield states that "only 12 men survived" this would imply that there were more than 12 men on board and raises the question as to whether the ship was carrying troops at the time of the attack or not.

In reading about the HIJMS I-7 I could only find that the Japanese submarine attack the ship with torpedoes and its deck gun(s) until life rafts were spotted.

There was a general news black-out in the Aleutians at this time as the US govt. thought it my be demoralizing if the public knew the Japanese had invaded the US and actually landed troops on US soil.

So the question remains: How many men went down with the USAT ARCATA and was she loaded with troops when she was hit?


IJN Submarine I-7:

14 July 1942:

N of Unalaska. Cdr Koizumi torpedoes and shells the 2,722-ton USAT freighter ARCATA (ex-GLYMONT) en route from Bethel, Alaska, to Seattle, Washington. In choppy seas the I-7's gun crew has trouble hitting their target. Once ARCATA's bridge is hit, the crew and the passengers abandon ship. I-7 ceases firing after life rafts are spotted, but not before a merchant sailor is killed. ARCATA sinks at 53-41N, 157-45W.

U.S. Ships Sunk or Damaged in Pacific Area during World War II:

07/14/42, Arcata (USAT), Freighter, Sunk by Torpedo, Deaths: Crew 8

The little attention accorded to the event seems to indicate that nothing major happened there; apparently there were 20 people on board, 12 survived, 8 perished.


Oregonian Newspaper August 6, 1942, page 5. Ship unnamed for security but only loss this date. Of 32 aboard there were 24 survivors, 5 died of wounds and/or exposure, another after rescue, 2 missing. Survivors included the Captain Christian Evensen. Engineer B. J. O'Brien age 34. Only other named was Seaman Isak Arneson age 60.

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