Dec 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Attack

| December 7, 2018

Today mandates a mention of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, (December 7, 1941), surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii, by the Japanese that precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II. The strike climaxed a decade of worsening relations between the United States and Japan.

The depth and scope of this attack is still difficult to contemplate.

Category: Politics

Comments (34)

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  1. Wilted Willy says:

    May God bless all who died that day, we still need to remember and honor all those who were there, there are a very few of them still among us, so please honor all of them while we still have a chance. That day will never be forgotten.

  2. The Other Whitey says:

    Standing on the Memorial and looking down to see the fuel leaking from the Arizona’s wreck is something I will never forget.

  3. Sea Dragon says:

    I was stationed on a frigate in Pearl Harbor in the 80’s, and paid my respects at the Arizona Memorial. This morning, not a mention on the news.

  4. AnotherPat says:

    Let us not forget the Civilians that were killed that day to include a 3 month old baby girl named Janet Yumiko Ohta. The names of the civilians are in the link.

    Ironically, the majority of them had Japanese Surnames:

    Let us never forget.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      The attention, necessarily, is always paid to the Navy on Pearl Harbor Day but aside from the loss of civilians, 218 soldiers and 109 Marines lost their lives in the attack.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        Army Air Corps pilots 1LT George Welch and 1LT Kenneth Taylor intercepted the second wave, though they could only do so much with just two planes. Other Army and Navy fighter pilots also tried to intercept the attackers, several of them dying in the attempt.

    • OWB says:

      Thank you for the mention of the civilians who were also there. One of those was a former neighbor whose first husband was killed that day. She was at home and watched the attack from her front lawn, then joined the many surviving civilians who jumped in to assist caring for the injured. It was a couple of days before she learned the fate of her husband, although she did not really think he had survived. He was at the airfield, killed trying to launch his aircraft.

      Always marveled at her strength and dignity. And always remember her and her sacrifice for all of us.

  5. Cthulhu says:

    My grandfather was there. He never talked much about it. He served the Navy his entire life. He died in 1994. Unfortunately, before the internet became ubiquitous so he never had the chance to join the community of survivors. I think reconnecting with those he served with that day would have been good for him.

    It is incredible that no one is left to share their experience. There is no official survivors list but the lists compiled by veterans reconnecting over the years are powerful reminders of how many great people the world loses when a generation fades into history.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      The Pearl Harbors Survivors Association disbanded in 2011. It was formed in 1958. Somehow, its membership grew and flourished w/o benefit of the internet. Here’s a link to a copy of the Oct 1976 newsletter, the Pearl Harbor Gram:

      • Cthulhu says:

        Every survivor’s newsletter for the larger organizations introduced dozens of new members every year and that rate of new members coming aboard accelerated with the rise of the internet and the increased ability for survivors to network and find each other.

        Additionally, there were several survivor organizations spread throughout the country some by service, some by ship assignments, some geographic.

        I wish my grandfather had lived into the late 90s to experience that community.

        As the internet became more ubiquitous those smaller organizations linked into a national network of survivors.

        My grandfather was never cut off from everyone he served with. He retired from the Navy and then served decades as a civilian in the same base from which he retired.

        He did lose his connection with many of the service members he served with on that day.

        As most of you likely did for major experiences during your service until the internet made it easier to reconnect.

  6. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Found these two links over at “Small Dead Animals”, a Canadian blog that I frequent. One is CBS news radio trying to call Honolulu and Manila, the other is reporter from KGU in Honolulu calling into NBS news radio and reporting on the attack (audio quality is poor):

  7. All,
    For those younger readers of The Secret List, today, “Pearl Harbor Day” remembers the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on the morning of December 7, 1941.
    188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed and 1,282 were wounded. We remember them all from “The Greatest Generation” who served along with all those who continue to serve today including the Honolulu FD and Hawaii’s Federal FD Firefighters.
    As the Hickam Field firefighting apparatus was knocked out, Honolulu Fire companies responded to assist with the fires. At 0826 a Japanese aerial bomb was dropped on crews from HFD Engine Co.1, 4, and 6.
    3 Firefighters, Captain John Carreira, Captain Thomas S. Macy, and Hoseman Harry T.L. Pang were killed in the Line of Duty. An additional 6 were wounded from shrapnel. They were Honolulu Fire Lieutenant Fred Kealoha, Hoseman Moses Kalilikane, Hoseman John A. Gilman, Hoseman Solomon H. Naauao, Hoseman Patrick J. McCabe, and Hoseman George Correa.
    In 1944 they all were awarded the Order of the Purple Heart. They are the only civilian Firefighters to have ever received this award.
    MORE on Pearl Harbor as we remember those lost on December 7, 1941:

    Original Pearl Harbor News Footage

    Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.
    The Secret List 12-7-2018-0730 Hours

    • The Other Whitey says:

      I read a pretty good book on firefighting efforts during the war that had a lot of information on the response during and after the attacks. An interesting fact, the Navy tug USS Hoga (YT-146), prominently visible in several photographs fighting fires and conducting rescues on Battleship Row, remained in service as a fireboat for Oakland Fire Dept. until 1996. She is now at the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum in North Little Rock alongside the submarine USS Razorback.

      As for the book, I’ll have to find the title, but it focuses, on fire-rescue efforts at Pearl Harbor, FDNY’s response to the SS Normandie fire, the Victoria Dock explosion in Bombay, India in 1943 (which had some pretty significant strategic ramifications), and London. It also covers German and Japanese responses to the Strategic Bombing Campaign, which especially for the Japanese are downright depressing to read due to their training, tactics, and equipment being fifty years behind the times.

  8. 5th/77th FA says:

    “…lest we forget.” Never forget!

    Very, very few remain. Local fish wrapper has an article today about an Army Survivor and the scrapbook he left for his daughter. He’s been gone 18 years, and she just now looked thru the book. Makes for a good read. Some of you may recall a comment I made about my past High School Principle, a Navy Pearl Harbor Survivor. Mr. Fred Johnson; a good man, tough but fair. Did not know his history at that time, wish I had of. He’s 104 (?) now.

  9. Hondo says:

    (sigh) Well, so much for today’s WOT. It will be delayed.

    And a minor request for the other authors here at TAH: if it’s not too much trouble, perhaps take a look at articles that are already scheduled before writing and posting a new article here. It’s kinda frustrating having to pull an article that’s been scheduled for literally weeks because someone essentially duplicates it shortly before it runs, or because someone reschedules a an article that’s time-sensitive. Especially when it occurs twice in a span of 16 days.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Uh Oh. Someone gots some ‘splaining to do.

      Glad it ain’t me

      Hondo IS Spartacus.

      Always scary to get an ass chewing when it is cool, calm, quiet, and collected.

  10. HMC Ret says:

    “She was only 608′ long and weighed in at 29,630 tons, a native of Brooklyn New York born on 17 October 1916, joining the ranks of her sisters in the Pennsylvania class. A veteran of WWI and placed in the Pacific as a deterrent to the Empire of Japan she was the pride of the Pacific and an Admiral Flag Ship to Boot. But at the age of 25 she returned to her mooring in Hawaii on the 6th after completing fleet exercises on the 5th with two of her sisters the unthinkable happened. She was suddenly and deliberately attacked. In less than ten minutes from the onslaught at 0806 one of four bombs to hit her, pierced her deck next to turret number II. The resulting explosion occurring only seconds later sealed the fate of 1,177 Sailors. Better known as what she is now, a memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice that Sunday morning 77 years ago.”

  11. HMC Ret says:

    DID YOU KNOW……that fifteen men received the Medals of Honor for their heroic actions at Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941.
    Only five of those men survived their moment of heroism, one of them dying in action 11 months later.
    Sixty four years and six months after the Pearl Harbor attack the next of kin of one of those men was presented that man’s medal.
    Never in the History of the United States has such a length of time elapsed between the awarding of this country’s highest military honor, and the presentation of that honor to the person’s next of kin.”

  12. Club Manager, USA ret. says:

    For any who may visit Pearl Harbor, an agency of the area Navy Public Affairs Office ran a special memorial tour on a launch. They first showed actual newsreels of the attack filmed that day by Navy photographers. Really, really something to see. The launch tour beats the cattle boat ferry. Anyone visiting Pearl should try to schedule that tour. Sorry, I forgot who I used to call from CINCPAC to schedule it when we had a mainland VIK (i.e. very important Kamahaenia (sic I am sure)) visitor. Stationed there for 5 1/2 years and used to speak the language. Hey, hey, someone had to do it.

  13. The Other Whitey says:

    Much of the battle gets little attention today.

    The destroyer USS Monaghan caught a Japanese midget sub trying to line up a torpedo shot on the light cruiser USS Raleigh on the west side of Ford Island during the air attack. Monaghan charged the midget sub, drawing its fire away from Raleigh, which had already taken a bomb hit. The midget sub fired both of its torpedoes at Monaghan, which missed. Monaghan engaged with her forward 5-inch guns, charged and rammed the submarine, and dropped depth charges whose blast lifted her own stern out of the water. Monaghan’s helmsman lost control, causing a collision with a barge, but damage was light and the destroyer’s action saved hundreds of lives aboard Raleigh.

    Commander Cassin Young, who was blown off the bridge of the repair ship USS Vestal by the explosion of USS Arizona, swam back to his badly-damaged ship and beached her at Aeia Bay on the north end of the harbor. He then sent every man he could spare from his own firefighting effort, including his divers, to assist with rescue and firefighting efforts on other ships. In the ensuing weeks, Young and his crew patched up crippled battleships to get them to stateside drydocks, got dozens of other ships back into fighting shape, and refloated their own ship, which never saw the inside of a drydock for the duration of the war. Vestal would go on to prove herself crucial during the Solomon Islands campaign. Young received the Medal of Honor, and was killed aboard his next command, USS San Francisco, in the Cruiser Night Action off Guadalcanal.

    Army Air Corps 2LT Francis Gabreski helped man an antiaircraft gun at Wheeler Army Air Field after finding his own plane destroyed on the ground. He would go on to be the top-scoring American ace in Europe, and distinguished himself again flying jets in Korea.

    These are but three of hundreds of stories from Pearl Harbor that rarely get recognition.

  14. HMC Ret says:

    The Japanese were shortsighted in their choice of targets. Often overlooked is that fuel depots, containing millions of gallons of fuel for the ships and planes, went virtually untouched. Also, the dry docks/ship repair facilities were also largely avoided. Destroying these would have resulted in the ships having to be hauled to the mainland for repair. Their primary targets, the carriers, were absent, having left a day or so earlier. One was in the process of ferrying planes to another base in the Pacific if memory serves (Guadalcanal ?). So, while initially it appears to have been a major victory for the Japanese, and it was in some respects, failure to mount a second strike to take out the fuel dumps and SRFs was an oversight. Almost exactly six months later, the US ambushed a Japanese strike force approaching Midway Island. Their intent was to destroy the airfield, preventing US planes from launching, and then occupy the island. The US had broken the Japanese code and was prepared for the approaching Japanese fleet. Four large frontline carriers of the Japanese fleet were sunk, three in a period of less than an hour. It was a stunning blow to the Japanese plans to control the Pacific and a loss from which they were unable to recover. It has been regarded by many military historians as the turning point in the war in the Pacific, and perhaps the most pivotal Navy battle in history. The Japanese, unlike the US, were unable to build ships to replace those lost. IIRC, the Japanese built only one carrier during WW2. Saying this from memory, which is often faulty. After Midway, the Japanese pretty much were largely only able to be defensive. Yes, they did mount offensive maneuvers, but they were fighting backwards as the US slowly fought its way across the Pacific. Yet they fought defensive battles with tremendous tenacity and courage, making the US pay for each inch gained on every island. An oversight of Japan was their poor concept of the spirit of America and the ferocity of our response as well as our immediate ability to produce tremendous military assets. The attack solidified the will of a nation that was still in the doldrums of recession/depression.

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      The Imperial Japanese Navy had as a strategy seeking “one grand decisive battle” to take out the US fleet.

      They finally made a go of it during the US invasion of the Philippines. The plan of attack was overly complex, and relied on careful coordination which did not occur.

      Two separate efforts saw separate thirds of the Japanese fleet mauled and driven off inconclusively. The third effort almost did the trick.

      They came very close to wiping out MacArthur’s invasion force, after a brilliant deception decoyed our carriers out of position. They threw most of the surviving IJN battleships and heavy cruisers at a minimal force of light carriers, destroyers, and destroyer escorts covering the invasion beaches. The IJN Musashi super-battleship alone outweighed the entire US force.

      Brilliantly, in a display of undaunted courage and sheer balls, our hopelessly outclassed ships-attacked- the vastly superior enemy force.

      And -beat- them.

      -that- was the end of the IJN as an effective force. They never again had the resources, or even hope, you of defeating our fleet.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        “The outcome is doubtful, but we will do our duty.”
        —LCDR Robert Copeland, captain of USS Samuel B. Roberts

        “This will be a fight a against overwhelming odds from which survival cannot be expected. We will do what damage we can.”
        —CDR Ernest Evans, captain of USS Johnston

        “I didn’t think we would last fifteen minutes. I thought we might as well give them all we got before we go down.”
        —RADM Ziggy Sprague

        “Just hold on a little longer, boys! We’re sucking ‘em into 40mm range!”
        —unidentified gunnery officer on USS White Plains

        “Goddammit, they’re getting away!”
        —unidentified signalman on USS Fanshaw Bay