Thank God for these brave men who were caught off guard thru a sequence of events, rose to the attack without question to protect our great country!
We can never give enough honor to our troops who continue to fight our freedoms for this great nation.
The Arizona Memorial (above pictured) I have visited. It is solemn & heartbreaking to stand on her. (You may also enjoy my post of Dec.5)
Memoirs ~ John Joniec can never forget. He recalls 'Roosevelt called it a day that will live in infamy' ... I have never forgotten it. He & his buddies in Schofield Barracks had little money left in their paychecks after deductions so they hung out together. The next day before 8AM he & his buddies were sitting on the barracks porch when they heard a loud boom. Joniec thought it was the Navy on maneuvers.
Within seconds of that loud boom a squadron swooped down through a mountain pass & over palm trees. Painted on the underside of the wings were red circles. 'Japs'! someone shouted.
Acting instinctively with rifles & ammo in hand they shot at the bombarding planes. As a Japanese fighter plane dived low & strafed the barracks, Joniec cocked his head close to the barrel of the machine gun to avoid whizzing bullets ..... while the sergeant blasted thru a full belt of ammo. This permanently damaged his eardrum nerves.
A scene from his boyhood in the early '30s flahsed to mind. He & his father are on the docks in Pt/ Richmond, watching scrap iron & steel being loaded onto ships bound for Japan. His father warns: "Someday they're going to use that stuff against you guys.'
More than 84,000 service personnel were within three miles of the island of Oahu that terror-filled day that propelled the US into WWll. The attack destroyed or grounded nearly 350 aircraft, 21 ships were sunk or badly damaged. More than 2,400 Americans were killed, including 68 civilians.
His son in 2006 saluted him in a poem titled 'The Pineapple Solder'. One verse reads ~
The day of infamy would sear
And forever ring in his ear
War is not a game or story
Men find death. There is no glory.
(Excerpt from the Frederick News Post)
Sequence of Events
Saturday, December 6 - Washington D.C. - U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt makes a final appeal to the Emperor of Japan for peace. There is no reply. Late this same day, the U.S. code-breaking service begins intercepting a 14-part Japanese message and deciphers the first 13 parts, passing them on to the President and Secretary of State. The Americans believe a Japanese attack is imminent, most likely somewhere in Southeast Asia.
Sunday, December 7 - Washington D.C. - The last part of the Japanese message, stating that diplomatic relations with the U.S. are to be broken off, reaches Washington in the morning and is decoded at approximately 9 a.m. About an hour later, another Japanese message is intercepted. It instructs the Japanese embassy to deliver the main message to the Americans at 1 p.m. The Americans realize this time corresponds with early morning time in Pearl Harbor, which is several hours behind. The U.S. War Department then sends out an alert but uses a commercial telegraph because radio contact with Hawaii is temporarily broken. Delays prevent the alert from arriving at headquarters in Oahu until noontime (Hawaii time) four hours after the attack has already begun.
Sunday, December 7 - Islands of Hawaii, near Oahu - The Japanese attack force under the command of Admiral Nagumo, consisting of six carriers with 423 planes, is about to attack. At 6 a.m., the first attack wave of 183 Japanese planes takes off from the carriers located 230 miles north of Oahu and heads for the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor - At 7:02 a.m., two Army operators at Oahu's northern shore radar station detect the Japanese air attack approaching and contact a junior officer who disregards their reports, thinking they are American B-17 planes which are expected in from the U.S. west coast.
Near Oahu - At 7:15 a.m., a second attack wave of 167 planes takes off from the Japanese carriers and heads for Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor is not on a state on high alert. Senior commanders have concluded, based on available intelligence, there is no reason to believe an attack is imminent. Aircraft are therefore left parked wingtip to wingtip on airfields, anti-aircraft guns are unmanned with many ammunition boxes kept locked in accordance with peacetime regulations. There are also no torpedo nets protecting the fleet anchorage. And since it is Sunday morning, many officers and crewmen are leisurely ashore.
At 7:53 a.m., the first Japanese assault wave, with 51 'Val' dive bombers, 40 'Kate' torpedo bombers, 50 high level bombers and 43 'Zero' fighters, commences the attack with flight commander, Mitsuo Fuchida, sounding the battle cry: "Tora! Tora! Tora!" (Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!).
The Americans are taken completely by surprise. The first attack wave targets airfields and battleships. The second wave targets other ships and shipyard facilities. The air raid lasts until 9:45 a.m. Eight battleships are damaged, with five sunk. Three light cruisers, three destroyers and three smaller vessels are lost along with 188 aircraft. The Japanese lose 27 planes and five midget submarines which attempted to penetrate the inner harbor and launch torpedoes.
Escaping damage from the attack are the prime targets, the three U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga, which were not in the port. Also escaping damage are the base fuel tanks.
The casualty list includes 2,335 servicemen and 68 civilians killed, with 1,178 wounded. Included are 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona killed after a 1,760-pound air bomb penetrated into the forward magazine causing catastrophic explosions.
In Washington, various delays prevent the Japanese diplomats from presenting their war message to Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, until 2:30 p.m. (Washington time) just as the first reports of the air raid at Pearl Harbor are being read by Hull.
News of the "sneak attack" is broadcast to the American public via radio bulletins, with many popular Sunday afternoon entertainment programs being interrupted. The news sends a shockwave across the nation and results in a tremendous influx of young volunteers into the U.S. armed forces. The attack also unites the nation behind the President and effectively ends isolationist sentiment in the country.
Monday, December 8 - The United States and Britain declare war on Japan with President Roosevelt calling December 7, "a date which will live in infamy..."