Rediscovering The Lessons Of Pearl Harbor

Eighty years ago today, the Empire of Japan unleashed an unprovoked attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor on a clear Sunday morning whilst soldiers and sailors innocently ate breakfast, prepared for church, raised the flag, and went about their business.

Two waves of Japanese bombers, torpedo planes, and fighters — 353 in all — sent America’s Pacific fleet to the bottom of the mud, killing 2,403 Americans and dragging America into a world war.

The battleship Arizona — sunk, total loss, 1,177 KIA, remains sunk at Pearl Harbor;

The battleship California — sunk, refloated, returned to service February 1944;

The battleship Maryland — damaged by direct hits, returned to service February 1942;

The battleship Nevada — managed to get underway, beached itself to avoid clogging up the main entrance to Pearl, sunk, decommissioned in 1946, shipped to Bikini Atoll as a target ship for nuclear weapons tests, sunk by Naval gunfire in 1948;

The battleship Oklahoma — sunk, total loss, never repaired;

The battleship Pennsylvania — damaged by bombs while in drydock, returned to service March 1942;

The battleship Tennessee — minor damage, repaired and returned to the fleet in February 1942;

The battleship Utah — capsized, never repaired, remains at Pearl Harbor (the Utah is often overlooked as it was not moored on Battleship Row, but was at anchor off Ford Island after returning to Pearl following gunnery exercises); and,

The battleship West Virginia — sunk, refloated, returned to service July 1944. Continue reading


Pearl Harbor Day

Every Pearl Harbor Day, I remember a conversation I had with a soldier who had been at Pearl on the day of the attack. It reverberates in my head. I can’t get it out.

This man had been at Sunday morning chow and was returning to his barracks when a Jap Zero made a low pass over the parade ground. He was located at one of the Army airfields and knew that there wasn’t supposed to be a Meatball flying over his parade ground.

He was there when the Japs returned and bombed the airfield into oblivion.The Japs would destroy all the American fighters that were lined up wing tip to wing tip to prevent sabotage.

I asked him, “What did you think the second you saw that Jap Zero?”

His answer was insightful. At first, I didn’t believe it. I would ask others if they felt the same way.

My Dad was in the Army that same day and he told me the same thing.

This is a picture of my Dad three weeks before Pearl Harbor on maneuvers in Louisiana when the Army was beginning to grow and shake out its fighting capabilities.

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A Date Which Will Live in Infamy — the attack on Pearl Harbor

Big Red Car here in a somber mood.

This is how World War II started for the Americans.  The English and French had been fighting the Germans for some time now.

It was a devastating attack and almost destroyed the entire American Pacific Fleet.  But the Japanese failed to send in another wave (or two) and failed to destroy the fuel dump on Ford Island, the submarines and the aircraft carriers at sea.  The Japanese then turned tail and ran back to Japan.

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