Friday, December 7, 2018

Remember...

Model of Pearl Harbor as it was on the 7th of December, 1941
Washington Navy Yard
Seventy-seven years ago, a lifetime ago, the Empire of Japan attacked the United States on the island of Oahu, at a place called Pearl Harbor. On the 7th of December, 1941, a date which shall, for those who remember, live in infamy.

I have remembered that date since I was a little boy, as I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on the 11th of September 2001, so my mother and father remembered where they were and what they were doing the day Pearl Harbor was attacked.

Fewer and fewer of the Greatest Generation are still with us, each day that goes by we lose a few more. Perhaps in my lifetime the last of that generation will pass into memory.

I have told this story every year since I started this blog, this year, I let others tell the story...



Model of  USS Arizona (BB-39)
Washington Navy Yard


A piece of the superstructure of USS Arizona (BB-39)
Washington Navy Yard






Never forget.

Remember them.

They gave all of their tomorrows, for our today.



46 comments:

  1. I think I've mentioned this before, but the PACAF headquarters building on Hickam has machine gun bullet holes in the front staircase from a strafing Japanese fighter. Every year, the Japanese Consul visits the PACAF Commander and offers to repair them. The General politely declines saying they help us remember to be prepared.
    If you haven't visited the Arizona Memorial, you definitely should. It gets very, very dusty there. But I like the addition of the Missouri to the display. Kind of a "Yeah, you got a blow in. Look what happened next" meme.

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    1. In one of the videos, the CBS Sunday Morning one, they show the bullet holes in the hangar windows. I thought of your remarks on the damage at Hickam when I saw that.

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    2. The hangars on Ford Island are now the air museum.

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    3. Another place I need to visit.

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    4. I was there at Hickam and saw the bullet holes on more than one building. That was in the early '80s. I will never forget that stark reminder of the attack.

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    5. God willing, they will be there in perpetuity.

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  2. Man..... really dusty in here after watching these vids....... thanks Sarge. Can't forget, seventy seven years ago today my dad was stationed outside DC, he said by mid-afternoon the place was swarming with activity, not the typical Sunday routine.

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  3. One of my Dad's high school friends is still aboard USS Arizona.

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    1. Such a large family of men, who in death return home. Soon the family will be complete again. Maybe then all may rest.

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    2. Yes, a family, of honor and sacrifice.

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  4. Worked with a man who was a 4 year old dependent and remembers a plane passing overhead and someone in the plane waving at him. His memories of the next four years and the impact of the aftermath I found sobering.

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    1. Terrible that a four year old would have to go through such a thing. I can imagine his story would be sobering indeed.

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  5. It is fitting that She still weeps for her dead still these many years. I toured the Memorial in summer and it was surprisingly cold on a hot day.

    Back in 1971, the commander of the Navy's EOD unit, which was still finding stuff from The Day, lived in a house that overlooked Pearl Harbor. His basement had the shell of a Japanese bomb in the roof (well, went through the house and into the roof of the concrete box basement). Made for a very interesting decoration above his Tiki bar.

    That trip through Pearl at 8yoa was seared into my soul. Which is why I am glad you and all here remember this day. I fear that soon, maybe in 20 years or sooner, our Nation will have put aside the memory of this day. I will never forget.

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    1. That's my fear as well, that the leftists will force those memories out of the national consciousness.

      But I have hope that some will remember, some will honor those who gave all.

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    2. My grandmother took the whole family to Hawaii for Christmas in 1964. I was eleven. We got there a day or two after that Alaska earthquake, and they were still mopping up in some of the beach front shops.

      My uncle did a hitch in the Navy, having come of age just late enough to miss active duty in WWII. He was posted as a cook aboard the heavy cruiser USS Chicago (CA-136), sailing from Long beach in January of 1946.

      I still remember our visit to the USS Arizona. I was not old enough to fully grasp it all then. However, it has meant a great deal to me ever since to be able to say I stood there, and that I remember how I caught my breath when I saw the oil coming to the surface. I will not forget, and my kids will not forget.

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    3. I will teach my grandchildren of this as well.

      Though my kids, all naval officers, have it in their blood.

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    4. Sad news, was in a store getting a special order and the clerk, a young man of 20ish, wrote 12-6 then scratched it out and wrote 12-7 and I said, "December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day." He looked up and said the words I never wanted to hear. "I didn't know that."

      I about puked. Sad. So very sad.

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    5. As Lex said, "It is to weep."

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  6. Remembered over here too.
    As for your feelings of retribution, I remember my father as he recalled his time during the Blitz on London, two years before Pearl Harbour. When the first bombs fell on our fine City (and around our family home that I grew up in during the fifties), he said everywhere there was an overwhelming desire to fight back with everything at our disposal. My father would have gone up in a balloon with his Lee Enfield if he could, he was that mad. And for both our peoples I say this, our enemies clearly had no idea who they were dealing with

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    1. The perseverance and valor of the British people during those dark days cannot be stressed enough. To endure the bombings, to see whole neighborhoods destroyed, neighbors dead and badly injured, but they fought back. You are right out enemies had no idea who they were messing with.

      Long live our nations!

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  7. I, too, remember.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

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  8. Lest we forget the lesson. Don't line up your men and machines to be systematically destroyed. The Brits held men on transport ships for too long during the Falklands War and paid a high price. From Wiki - "Militarily, the Falklands conflict remains the largest air-naval combat operation between modern forces since the end of the Second World War. As such, it has been the subject of intense study by military analysts and historians. The most significant "lessons learned" include: the vulnerability of surface ships to anti-ship missiles and submarines, the challenges of co-ordinating logistical support for a long-distance projection of power, and reconfirmation of the role of tactical air power, including the use of helicopters".

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    1. Excellent analysis and comment, Stewart. The lessons of the Falklands campaign cannot be stressed too much. I fear that some in the Navy may have forgotten them.

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    2. So what have we done? How many bases and ports are closed? So we fly the B-2 out of 1 or 2 bases. B-52s out of 2 or 3. How few fighter bases do we have? How few Army bases with full equipment do we have?

      We learned nothing. Nothing at all. And I fear for the day when we truly learn our folly.

      Oh, wait. On 9-11, yes, that day, the fighters they sent up to intercept the airliners weren't armed. The pilots knew they'd have to ram.

      No one on a military base is armed. No one. Maybe, maybe the MPs/APs/SPs have a gun, but most of the time it's unloaded.

      We have learned nothing at all.

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    3. Time passes, lessons are learned, then forgotten when peace "returns."

      Peace will return at the Second Coming, and not one second before.

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  9. There are, unfortunately, a significant percentage of the young people, who are unaware of Pearl Harbor.

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    1. The fault of our increasingly leftist educational structure no doubt.

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    2. By design. The Soviets are the true winner of the Cold War, thanks to our media and school system.

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  10. If you look at the image of the model of Pearl Harbor at the top of this post the ship at the left end on the near side of Ford Island is USS DETROIT. The Command Duty Officer that morning was LCDR hester Lee Clement and when the attack started he ordered battle stations and commenced to fight the attack while the boilers were lit off and steam built. The ship behind DETROIT, USS RALEIGH, was struck by a Japanese torpedo, and a second torpedo hit Ford Island between DETROIT and RALEIGH. When there was sufficient pressure from the boilers DETROIT cast off and cleared the harbor. Her gunners claimed two Japanese aircraft and another probable. DETROIT, and my father, both survived the war. In fact, DETROIT was present in Tokyo harbor to witness the surrender - and I believe that she was the only Pearl Harbor survivor present that day.

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    1. USS Detroit (CL-8) had a proud history and a solid war record. She was one of two ships present at Pearl Harbor and present for the surrender in Tokyo Bay, the other was the USS West Virginia (BB-48), according to my sources.

      A fine ship.

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  11. Never forget for sure, but I agree with Beans that I fear many of the younger generations will not remember at all. Especially when the generation of those who fought there are gone.

    To my mind, the miracle of Pearl Harbor is that anyone got off those ships alive! And, I think it speaks well of their training that the sailors were able to fight back and inflect damage. Especially since we were caught so flat-footed in surprise.

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    1. Yes, in the first wave I think the Japanese lost maybe two aircraft, lost a lot more in the second when our men were ready.

      It's another of those situations that remind me of what Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

      Which will happen if we're not careful.

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    2. We were very fortunate that the IJN commander got spooked and didn't go in for a third wave. That was the one that was supposed to be aimed at the repair facilities, the fuel depots and finish off any still floating ship.

      They could have conceivably sent a 4th wave, too.

      We were ever so lucky that day.

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    3. Recent research suggests that it would have been difficult for the Japanese to have sent in a third wave, let alone a fourth wave. Nagumo made the right call, they had no idea where the American carriers were and the defenses at Pearl would have chewed up the third wave pretty good. Those IJN carriers were a long way from home. Also they needed time to recover, rearm and fly back to Pearl.

      I think Nagumo made the right call. But he only postponed the inevitable, their only hope was a demoralized US populace, they got the exact opposite.

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  12. And something else we learned, if I may add to the shared wisdom of The Falklands: that being to bear in mind that some who sign up to be amongst your allies may still feel inclined to help your your foe eg by assisting him to convert a ship launched Exocet to one that can be launched from an aircraft. Mentioning no names? Ooh la la, perish la pense.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)