Melting ice has U.S. military looking north

UNALASKA, Alaska ? Army helicopters began flying in and out of the scraggily wilderness near this fishing town in August, surprising even the mayor.

The tan, twin-rotor Chinook aircraft thumped over treeless cliffs and the historic port of Dutch Harbor, parking at a mountainside airstrip too small to land jet airliners.

Soldiers came and went, sometimes staying at the main hotel in town, across the street from a bar called the Norwegian Rat Saloon. Unalaska?s mayor, Frank Kelty, said he called the military to find out what was going on but learned little.

?We have these Army helicopters here, and we don?t know what they?re doing or where they?re going,? he said after driving by the airport on the remote Aleutian island and seeing a Chinook resting near the runway.