Morning for Sokroshera Chapter Three

By Timothy Smith, 2020

Morning for Sokroshera Chapter 3

Tim’s novel of Russian America (Kodiak Island area)

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Wednesday, October 29, 1943: Fort Sheplen, Sokroshera Island, Marmot Bay

(Owen Faltrip and his commanding officer discuss the abandonment of the fort).

Unit Supply Specialist Owen Faltrip stood before Master Sergeant Pender “Penny” Ardet in the makeshift supply office of the nearly completed, yet now to be vacated Fort Sheplen. “All they can spare us is two power barges, and now that all of the 155mm ‘Panama-mounts,’ the fifty-calibers, and all the ammo have been removed, all that’s really left is odds and ends.” Faltrip was clearly disgusted, but continued. “Do they really think that we should stop and remove all the stoves from every Quonset hut, the butcher-block table from the mess halls and junk like that? And by Friday at 10-hundred?” Faltrip swore and looked at his superior officer as if Ardet could really provide any answers. Ardet put out a cigarette and shrugged. Their non-regulation familiarity was from hours of hard work for a common purpose and an unusual meeting of the minds on almost everything.

They had proved to be an amazing team, putting together a fort from the odds and ends left over from the three coastal batteries off Kodiak that were finished and commissioned this past April. Putting in an advance airstrip for the Army Air Corps and then building the small coastal battery with its unique bunker on the side of the cliff, and all in a big desperate rush, the 151st Combat Engineers of the Alabama National Guard had done it all in under a year. Quartermaster Pender Ardet and his phenomenally talented Unit Supply Specialist Owen Faltrip of the 69th Quartermaster Battalion were even faster in fitting out the fort. They had everything from toilet paper to long-range artillery for the gun emplacements on the cliffs, and even found a surplus 1936 REO Stutz fire truck from an Army Air Corps training facility in California for the airstrip. They were nearly done.

But after nearly a year of frenzied activity, the ill-fated Fort Sheplen was to be abandoned. Not placed in “caretaker status” like a proper fort, ready for active duty should the tides of war change, but left to the wind and the weeds like a ghost town…



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