Only once have enemy soldiers landed on the mainland United States—in Amagansett. It was June, 1942, and the US had been at war for only about six months. Across the Atlantic, Germany was planning Operation Pastorius (named after the man who organized the first German settlement in America), sabotage intended to mortally wound the American economy.
It was a dark and foggy night in Amagansett. Shortly after midnight, June 13, 1942, a U-boat carrying four German saboteurs ran aground on a sandbar just off the beach near the Coast Guard station on Atlantic Avenue in Amagansett. Four men rowed ashore in a collapsible rubber dinghy filled with explosives, clothing, a considerable amount of cash, and a two-year plan to blow up aluminum and magnesium plants, canals, bridges, waterways, and locks.
A quick-witted young Coast Guardsman, Seaman John Cullen, encountered the men. The saboteurs bribed him to keep quiet. Cullen immediately reported the incident. The saboteurs hastily buried their cargo in the Amagansett dunes and boarded the first train to Jamaica. They were all eventually caught and tried in a military tribunal.
A new exhibit at Clinton Academy, "June 13, 1942: Saboteurs Land in Amagansett," presented by the East Hampton Historical Society, explores this event. You'll see uniforms, news clippings, an excerpt from the Nazi U-boat captain's log, and artifacts that tell the story of the ill-fated mission. The exhibition opened August 2 and runs until October 13.
· East Hampton Historical Society [Official]
· Remembering That Time When Nazi Terrorists Landed in Amagansett [CH]