Monday, December 7, 2020

A Date Which Shall Live in Infamy

Diamond Head, Oahu
(Source)

"You kids don't wander off, as soon as your father goes off to work, we need to get ready for church." Mrs. Halverson wasn't as strict as some parents, she liked to have her sons get out in the fresh air as often as they could. Being assigned to Hawaii made that easy. The boys liked to ride their bikes down to the harbor and look across the water towards Ford Island.

They both liked watching the ships, but Teddy, the younger of the brothers, especially liked watching the military aircraft flying over. The got to see both Navy and Army planes on a good day. They didn't expect to see much on a Sunday morning, when most of the fleet and the Army were taking it easy. Christmas wasn't far away and the two brothers were pretty excited about that as well.

"So Will, d'ya think Dad's gonna get that new assignment?" Teddy was the younger of the two boys but he seemed to take more of an interest in his father's Navy career than his father did.

"I dunno Teddy, don't ya like the battleships? I mean they're the real deal, they're the best ships in the Navy!" Will was something of a traditionalist you could say.

"Nah, they're okay. But Tommy Childress' Dad is a pilot on the Enterprise, he says that the carriers are the wave of the future!"

"Are not!"

"Are too!"

With a laugh the two boys began to make the turn to head back home. They'd ride out to the sparkling waters of the harbor again this afternoon, if their Mom let them. Just then they heard the roar of a military aircraft engine which seemed to come suddenly out of nowhere. Both boys looked up as the aircraft flashed overhead.

Japanese A6M Mitsubishi Zero
(Source)

"Whoa Teddy! What was that? Doesn't look like one of ours!" Will exclaimed.

Teddy thought for just a second, then he blurted out, "That's a Jap!"

As he said that, both boys heard the crump of explosions in the distance, towards the harbor.

"C'mon Teddy, we gotta get home!"


Lt (jg) Bob Halverson looked at the man driving, one of his best friends, Lt (jg) Herb Wilson. "Did you see that Herb? That wasn't one of ours was it?"

Wilson tensed up and started to drive faster, "We need to get out to the ship ASAP, Bob. I don't like this, I don't like this at all..."

As they drove down the road next to the East Loch, Halverson could see darting shapes flying over the fleet anchorage. Then he saw the bright blossom of an explosion followed by billowing smoke from one of the ships on Battleship Row.

"Jesus Herb, we're being attacked!"

Halverson then noticed that Wilson was looking from his rear view mirror and then to the front very quickly. Then he yelled, "Hold on Bob!"

The car made an abrupt left turn onto a side street, it nearly went up on two wheels as it did so, Wilson then slammed the brakes on and backed up rapidly behind a building.

"What the Hell Herb..."

Halverson saw the Japanese aircraft flash by, then the pilot began a hard pull to bring his fighter around for another pass.

"Is that bastard strafing us?" Halverson couldn't believe his eyes.

Wilson jumped from the car and yelled, "Follow me Bob!!"

Halverson jumped from the car just in time. As he dove for the safety of a nearby drainage ditch he heard glass shattering. He turned in time to see Wilson's car settle onto the ground as the enemy aircraft had blown out all four tires plus the windshield.

"Dammit, I just bought that car!"



U.S. Losses:
4 battleships sunk
4 battleships damaged
1 ex-battleship sunk
1 harbor tug sunk
3 cruisers damaged
3 destroyers damaged
3 other ships damaged
188 aircraft destroyed
159 aircraft damaged
2,335 killed
1,143 wounded
Civilian Losses:
68 killed
35 wounded
3 aircraft shot down
Never forget...






44 comments:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCP1AejCL4DA7jYkZAELRhHQ heads up for the incominf pearl harbor minute by minute

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  2. Good choice of Roosevelt's address, that needs to be replayed in full on this date EVERY year. Always ground my teeth whenever I saw Texans used as Zeros by Hollywood (ya...not any/enough real ones around). My dad never would consider buying any Japanese made car all his life.

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    1. This was the best version I've seen so far for the quality of the film and the sound.

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  3. May they rest in peace, knowing that they have been avenged, and that U.S. policy has made Japan now an ally of ours. As is seemingly most always the case, it wasn't the people of Japan who were our enemies, so much as it was their government. There is a lesson there that we seem to have to keep learning, over and over.

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    1. People aren't generally the problem, governments are almost always, again speaking generally, the problem.

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  4. Ed was a really neat television engineer I met. He lived on a hill outside of Pearl, age 2. The Japs came low over his house while he was on the porch. He doesn't remember the attack. But he remembered most of WW2 in Hawaii, and getting a ride to California in a Navy ship.

    I was told the street I live on here in town was named after a family that lost a son at Pearl. I haven't been able to confirm that. Might be another street close by.

    79 years ago....

    And Patrick D, I concur. If history doesn't repeat itself, it sure does rhyme.

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    1. Colors raised here, as they are every day.

      Rhyme indeed. Replace December 7th with November 3rd, and Japan with communist party in that speech.

      16 days--

      https://deplorablesunite.blog/2020/12/07/pearl-harbor-16-days-to-die-three-sailors-trapped-in-the-uss-west-virginia-2/

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    2. *November 3rd, 2020..

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  5. Hey Old AFSarge;

    Unfortunately many have no clue about today, unless they are of a historical bent or have kin in the military which is about 3% of the population. They don't really teach it much nowadays except some claptrap that the United States deserved it, and yes I have seen that lesson plan....

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    1. Ah yes, the beauty of Communism. (Whether they call it socialism or not, it's Communism.)

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  6. Being stationed at Camp Smith and living on Hickam was a fabulous assignment (except for the not flying part). This day was always treated very specially. At that time, (it may still be so), the head of the Japanese Consulate would come to Camp Smith and meed with USCINCPAC and offer to pay for the repairs of the buildings still damaged. USCINCPAC would formally decline stating "We must be reminded to Always be alert and ready."
    I had left before USS Missouri arrived, but have been back since. It's a very subtle reminder to be very careful what you start, the ending might be more than you're ready for.
    Good post. See you tomorrow, "Same Bat Time...Same Bat Channel" (Look it up Beans, you young'in!)

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    1. I feel compelled to honor those who paid the ultimate price on this date.

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  7. Been there. The Ghosts were still there in the early 70's.

    And the Arizona is still crying tears of oil.

    I have never forgotten. Which is why I hate Billy Jeff so much for the 'Peace Dividend' stand down of alert aircraft in the US, which led to pilots on 9-11 being scrambled with no weapons and the only way to take down a roque plane was to kamikaze it.

    Yeah. I never forget.

    For those that are interested, there's a series of yousetub videos that detail the salvage of the ships.

    Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB-V9cCSC8o
    Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlLCe1WNaIE
    Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eibt2gYuFD4

    I know that as of the early 70's, the Navy salvage and recovery team was still finding torpedoes and bombs and clearing wrecks. Crazy. And one of my dad's friends, the head of the Navy salvage unit, had a house with a bomb stuck in the cellar roof.

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  8. Off topic, but thought you'd like the rare WWII photo found over here:
    https://dailytimewaster.blogspot.com/2020/12/mondays-theyre-like-that.html

    Dad joined the army in the summer of '41. Two uncles served in the PT - demolitions and air recon. Aunt worked with the troop train welcome in North Platte, NE.
    Neighbor served as copilot on a B-29 in the PT. Lots of people I grew up with were very involved.
    Now, thinking about it, I'm having problems with dust in the air.
    Frank

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    1. I worked with a lot of WWII vets after freshman year in college and before I went in the USAF. Loved those guys.

      Sigh, they're all gone now...

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    2. It seems all the men that had some role in my young life were veterans of WW2 or Korea. Only one is still around that I know of. Several of my college professors were ex-Navy pilots or surface officers during or just after WW2. Tough but fair seemed to sum them up. Definitely dusty.

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    3. This day always has that effect on me.

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    4. (Don McCollor)...North Platte NB was a very special place..

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  9. The attackers got the big boys and only missed getting the aircraft carriers by luck, but they missed more strategic targets: shipyard, the submarine base and the fuel tank farm. Three missed targets that together helped destroy the Japanese navy and merchant shipping.

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    1. A successful attack, a tactical victory, but strategically, they blew it.

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  10. Sarge, a vaguely interesting historical note I had to look up to confirm: only one currently flying Zero has the original Sakae engine.

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  11. We don't. May they rest in peace.

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  12. The Missouri was berthed in Bremerton during the 70's and a small portion, the deck area where the surrender ceremony took place, was open to the public. My parents were visiting and we took them to see her. Their reaction and the emotions they displayed brought home to me what an impact the Pearl Harbor attack had on a couple of very young 20 somethings. My strong, tough mother was trembling as we got in the car to leave.

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    1. Places of great historical importance have that effect.

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  13. We lost a great many heroes on that day, and we lost another one just today. Godspeed, Chuck Yeager.

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    1. Cut down in the prime of life, at least the general had a long, and fulfilling, life.

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    2. It is so humbling to look at life and deeds of seomeone like him...

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  14. The worst thing must have been those crew trapped in the bowels of the Oklahoma which capsized. Well, that and jumpinkg into the water and oil-fed flames.

    And Midway came just 6 months later. Karma for the Japanese carriers.

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    1. There was no good thing at Pearl Harbor.

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    2. Actually it could have been worse... had the Japanese followed with third and possibly fourth strike, demolishing fuel depots, shipyards and depots. Or if Enterprise was not delayed by stormy weather and was present on that morning. Or if Nevada was sunk in the exit channel, blocking it for months. Just taking out the Big E from the war at start would have enormous ripple effects down the timneline.

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  15. https://youtu.be/mElnH-U9Q0w out of topic but very interesting in light of coming Wacht am Rhein episodes of Sarges story

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    1. That guy has some good stuff!

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    2. (Don McCollor)[somewhere in my books]...there was a very lucky rescued sailor aboard Oklahoma when she rolled over. He clambered down (now up), unconsciously still holding an end wrench in one hand. Miraculously, the wrench fitted the bolts of a manhole into the double bottoms...

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    3. It just wasn't his time to die I figure.

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