Northern Region


Frozen Shemya Island in the Aleutians. Photo courtesy of Phyllis Curry, early Northwest stewardess.

In 1942, about the same time the U.S. Army came calling on Northwest to ask them to build and operate a Bomber Modification Center at Holman Field in St. Paul, the Air Transport Command was looking to start a new U.S. airline, virtually overnight, that would stretch some 4,000 miles over some of the most unforgiving terrain on earth. Northwest Airlines was an excellent candidate for this enormous undertaking because of their experience with bad weather and cold weather flying and they dutifully accepted the challenge. Before long Northwest Airlines Northern Region was established with routes from it’s headquarters in St. Paul all the way to Attu, the furthermost island in the Aleutian chain with multiple stops in between. As with the Mod Center, secrecy prevailed. Few knew about it at the time it was functioning during World War 2 and most who knew have forgotten about it today.

Watch for the full story on this astonishing wartime effort in September 2014.