Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later – We still remember

USS Arizona, sinking

USS Arizona, sinking

75 years ago today, on December 7, 1941, an event occurred which was horrific in itself, but one that also sealed the fate of the United States to war with Japan.

That sleepy Sunday morning, the attack began as Hawaiians and U.S. military personnel were waking, or were jolted from sleep. The air attack began at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time.  As Wikipedia reports it,

Men aboard U.S. ships awoke to the sounds of alarms, bombs exploding, and gunfire, prompting bleary-eyed men to dress as they ran to General Quarters stations. (The famous message, “Air raid Pearl Harbor. This is not drill.”, was sent from the headquarters of Patrol Wing Two, the first senior Hawaiian command to respond.)

The defenders were very unprepared. Ammunition lockers were locked, aircraft parked wingtip to wingtip in the open to prevent sabotage, guns unmanned (none of the Navy’s 5″/38s, only a quarter of its machine guns, and only four of 31 Army batteries got in action).

Despite this low alert status, many American military personnel responded effectively during the attack. Ensign Joe Taussig Jr., aboard Nevada, commanded the ship’s antiaircraft guns and was severely wounded, but continued to be on post.  Lt. Commander F. J. Thomas commanded Nevada in the captain’s absence and got her under way until the ship was grounded at 9:10 a.m.

One of the destroyers, USS Aylwin, got underway with only four officers aboard, all ensigns, none with more than a year’s sea duty; she operated at sea for 36 hours before her commanding officer managed to get back aboard.

Captain Mervyn Bennion, commanding West Virginia, led his men until he was cut down by fragments from a bomb which hit Tennessee, moored alongside.

Oahu Attack Plan copyThe attack lasted 90 minutes.  Two waves of Japanese aircraft – 353 in all – did their deadly work in such a short time.

2,008 sailors were killed and 710 others wounded; 218 soldiers and airmen (who were part of the Army until the independent U.S. Air Force was formed in 1947) were killed and 364 wounded; 109 marines were killed and 69 wounded; and 68 civilians were killed and 35 wounded. In total, 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded. Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships.  All of the Americans killed or wounded during the attack were non-combatants, given the fact there was no state of war when the attack occurred.

It is said that a third wave of aircraft were ready to mount another attack, but Admiral Nagumo decided against it because he felt that enough damage had been done, and did not want to risk loss of any more Japanese aircraft.  If that third wave had been mounted – primarily to destroy fuel depots – the Pacific Fleet would have been much more seriously damaged, both from direct loss of additional craft, and horrific fire and explosions of fuel repositories.

Aftermath of the attack:

BATTLESHIPS

Arizona (Kidd’s flagship): hit by four armor-piercing bombs, exploded; total loss. 1,177 dead.
Oklahoma: hit by five torpedoes, capsized; total loss. 429 dead. Refloated November 1943; capsized and lost while under tow to the mainland May 1947.
West Virginia: hit by two bombs, seven torpedoes, sunk; returned to service July 1944. 106 dead.
California: hit by two bombs, two torpedoes, sunk; returned to service January 1944. 100 dead.
Nevada: hit by six bombs, one torpedo, beached; returned to service October 1942. 60 dead.
Tennessee: hit by two bombs; returned to service February 1942. 5 dead.
Maryland: hit by two bombs; returned to service February 1942. 4 dead (including floatplane pilot shot down).
Pennsylvania (Kimmel’s flagship):[111] in dry dock with Cassin and Downes, hit by one bomb, debris from USS Cassin; remained in service. 9 dead.

EX-BATTLESHIP  (target/AA training ship)

Utah: hit by two torpedoes, capsized; total loss. 64 dead.

CRUISERS

Helena: hit by one torpedo; returned to service January 1942. 20 dead.
Raleigh: hit by one torpedo; returned to service February 1942.
Honolulu: Near miss, light damage; remained in service.

DESTROYERS

Cassin: in drydock with Downes and Pennsylvania, hit by one bomb, burned; returned to service February 1944.
Downes: in drydock with Cassin and Pennsylvania, caught fire from Cassin, burned; returned to service November 1943.
Shaw: hit by three bombs; returned to service June 1942.

AUXILIARIES

Oglala (minelayer): Damaged by torpedo hit on Helena, capsized; returned to service (as engine-repair ship) February 1944.
Vestal (repair ship): hit by two bombs, blast and fire from Arizona, beached; returned to service by August 1942.
Curtiss (seaplane tender): hit by one bomb, one crashed Japanese aircraft; returned to service January 1942. 19 dead.

Pearl Harbor Map copy

In the wake of the attack, 15 Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, 53 Silver Stars, four Navy and Marine Corps Medals, one Distinguished Flying Cross, four Distinguished Service Crosses, one Distinguished Service Medal, and three Bronze Star Medals were awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor.[116] Additionally, a special military award, the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal, was later authorized for all military veterans of the attack.

The day after the attack, Roosevelt delivered his famous Infamy Speech to a Joint Session of Congress, calling for a formal declaration of war on the Empire of Japan. Congress obliged his request less than an hour later. On December 11, Germany and Italy, honoring their commitments under the Tripartite Pact, declared war on the United States. The pact was an earlier agreement between Germany, Italy and Japan which had the principal objective of limiting U.S. intervention in any conflicts involving the three nations.[117] Congress issued a declaration of war against Germany and Italy later that same day. The UK actually declared war on Japan nine hours before the U.S. did, partially due to Japanese attacks on Malaya, Singapore and Hong Kong, and partially due to Winston Churchill’s promise to declare war “within the hour” of a Japanese attack on the United States.

USS Arizona Memorial

USS Arizona Memorial

 

 

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47 Responses to Pearl Harbor, 75 Years Later – We still remember

  1. hocuspocus13 says:

    Reblogged this on hocuspocus13 and commented:
    󾓦󾓦󾓦

    Liked by 2 people

  2. amwick says:

    My mother’s first sweet heart gave her a plastic rose. She kept it, her entire life, in a glass jar on her bureau. This young man was killed that day in Pearl Harbor, and she never, ever forgot him. She didn’t much talk about it, because when she did she had to fight back tears, then she just got real quiet. I suppose there are thousands of people with similar stories. I never knew his name, but I saw that rose every single day growing up, so I remember.

    Liked by 6 people

    • joshua says:

      and, there was a time….back when….love and romance were cherished forever, prior to no fault divorce, prenup contracts, child protective services, birth control pills, when opening a door for another gender was expected of males, and when folks did not have a face poked into a cell phone in the grocery stores.

      Liked by 1 person

    • joshua says:

      irony, many plastic flowers today are made in Japan for export to the USA.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. czarowniczy says:

    Japanese didn’t really have armor-piercing bombs to attack the battleships so their engineers took armor piercing naval artillery shells and converted them into bombs.
    As successful as the attack was the US carriers were out to sea and the attack force didn’t destroy the US submarines, their service areas or fuel stocks. Japanese were trying to destroy US’s ability to react to Japanese actions in the Pacific west of Hawaii but by missing the carriers and subs they failed and that failure would come back to bite them.
    They also failed to destroy US naval facilities at Pearl, had they have done so they’d have effectively destroyed the US’s ability to base and service naval vehicles west of the US’s west coast.

    Liked by 4 people

    • joshua says:

      Their most effective weapon against carriers were Kamikaze pilots and planes…sorta of a late in life version of Japaneze Planned Parenthood maybe. Definitely did serious population controls….only had to use a little saki to take away the fear.

      Like

      • czarowniczy says:

        True kamakazi attacks didn’t begin until late in the Pacific war and only about 10% of the pilots were successful in hitting their targets. Aircraft bombing and naval gunfire were notoriously inaccurate, especially from a moving target against a moving target so a pilot-guided bomb was a more accurate alternative.
        Had those carriers been in port the torpedoes and regular aerial bombs would have been quite effective, the AP ones being icing on the cake. Call it pure chance or divine intervention, those carriers being out tobsea and those subs untouched were a stroke of luck.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. czarowniczy says:

    Let’s try this again for a fifth time, iPad kerps on self-rebooting and killing the post.
    Most iconic figures of WWII in the Pacific were the US’s Iowa class battle ships. There were six planned but only four (USS Iowa, New Jersey, Missouri and Wisconsin ) were built. None were at Pearl, the ones hit were of older series, it would be a year before the first one arrived.
    All four saw action in the Pacific with the Missouri being the site of the Japanese surrender.
    Next came Korea with all four seeing action. Following Korea they were brought up to date by having a nuclear dhell developed for their 16-inch guns, the only Navy ships to ever carry nuclear deck guns.
    Come Vietnam the New Jersey was still afloat and shelled enemy positions, the last battleship to shell US enemies in Asia. Soon after she joined the others in mothballs.
    When Reagan was elected he was concerned about Russian naval moves do he had the four Iowa class ships reactivated. They were reactived, modernized and fitted with state-of-the-art missile systems.
    In 1983 the New Jersey shelled enemy positions in support of allied forces in Lebanon, a largely forgotten incident. Then during the first Gulf War the Missouri and Wisconsin shelled enemy positions in Iraq.
    When the Cold War ended and the perceived threat to the US ended they were all permanantly decommissioned, ending the era of the battleship. They served in five wars for fifty years, a symbol of America’s domination of the seas.

    Liked by 3 people

    • jeans2nd says:

      “…having a nuclear shell developed for their 16-inch guns, the only Navy ships to ever carry nuclear deck guns…”

      During Korea, my dad remained stationed stateside, doing design work. As a very little girl he allowed me to watch him practice his slide presentations for the reactors on the NS Savannah, now drydocked. Amazing how history unfolds. Pearl Harbor resonates over the years. Thank you for this.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czarowniczy says:

        My pleasure, WWII was an every day, intrinsic part of my life from the day I was born. As I said before, I had close relative in Germany, England and my father flew for 8th Air Force. I had more fistant relatives in the Lodz ghetto who ended up in Auschwitz.
        Not many of us left for whom WWII was such an influential event in our formative years.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Wooly Phlox says:

      Aside:

      The two happiest days in a man’s life are the day he gets an IPad, and the day he calmly and resolutely folds his semi-functional IPad in half over a metal rail, ending many months of misery, daily cynicism, and hourly remorse.

      There has never been a piece of technology that I have been quite so relieved to have calmly destroyed, like a slave destroys his shackles. I’ve never owned a piece of technology that I spent 80+% of the time cussing at, rebooting, reinstalling, and yelling “why don’t you just WORK?” Now, all my Android and Microsoft tech just works. I’ll stick with that tech.

      I’m a much happier person after that great day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czarowniczy says:

        This POS was a bandaid solution to an immediste need. It was cheaper than a touchscreen Windows system but has more than met the price difference in antacids bought.
        It’s an e-version of heroin…first one’s cheap but to get anybaccessories you gotta go back to that Cupertino geek in the trench coat and pay his price. Then there’ s that spillchrvk and autokumpleat…

        Like

  5. czarowniczy says:

    Local news just mentioned that only five known living survivors of the Arizona are alive, down from seven last year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joshua says:

      These guys lived when everyone smoked, drank, had no artificial stuff in food, fried everything in Crisco grease, worked everyday and no gym workouts, raised families, stayed married to same person mostly, did not do drugs, etc….and they live this long…..without all the HEALTHCARE and SUPPLEMENTS and STUFF we need everyday? My high school classmates parents….same as these guys….mostly lived into their 80s and 90s, some beyond….WE got fluoride in our water, teethbraces, inoculations, allergy meds, and are just hanging on 20 years younger than them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • czarowniczy says:

        Yeah, thank heaven for modern medicine, now the 3rd most common cause of preventable death is medical screw ups.

        Liked by 4 people

        • joshua says:

          unless you go to a VA hospital….then you die from sitting in a chair…..the Rattan Sits March.

          Liked by 1 person

          • czarowniczy says:

            Or the staff mistreats and/or ignores you…the rotten death march.

            By mistreat I mean the staff, through inability to follow instructions or read English, and ends up and…how shall we say…end up doing no good.

            Liked by 3 people

      • stella says:

        Some of them did. My mom lived to 91, but my dad died at 69, after being sick for three years. Life expectancy is still going up.

        Liked by 3 people

      • joshua says:

        at age 75…I am not complaining…just musing a tad…liver spots and gray hair are OK compared to being blind and unable to walk much at all.
        Thank you God for life, however You give it to us.

        Liked by 2 people

      • nyetneetot says:

        “no artificial stuff in food”
        That’s not correct. It’s always been a problem. However, rather than letting the free market sort it out the federal government got involved and bribery has gotten us to where we are now. 1906: The Pure Food and Drug Act

        “fried everything in Crisco grease”
        Late 1890’s product that was fought against until getting the stamp of approval via bribery.

        ” and no gym workouts”
        There was a big heath kick around the turn of the century and sanitariums were inventing a lot of things that are taken for granted today; Breakfast cereal, gyms, etc.

        “did not do drugs”
        Ummmm. They weren’t all illegal the same way they are today, but there was an Opium Commissioner appointed in 1911 to deal with the huge problem of that time.

        “and they live this long”
        There’s actually no difference in life expectancy length for the last 2000 years. The stats go up due to children living past preteen ages. It’s a numbers game.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. czarowniczy says:

    Watching ‘They Were Expendable’, a 1945 movie about PT boats in the Phillipines during WWII. Interestinhnthst duringbthe credits the directors’ and producers’ names were followed by their ranks in the military during WWII. Makes one wonder if today’s producers/directors would do the same…if any were to ever be in the military.
    BTW, among many exhibits at the National World War Two museum in NOLA are a real Higgins boat (they were made just down the street) and a PT boat. Stop by.

    Liked by 3 people

    • joshua says:

      …at war in a plywood hull.

      Liked by 1 person

      • czarowniczy says:

        Yeah, never think about them without remembering that. I got to take a few rides in PBRs in Vietnam and it was close to a PT but no cigar…never got out of brown water and the hull was fiberglass.

        Liked by 1 person

        • joshua says:

          The Patrol Torpedo-69 was being developed by Huckins Yacht Corporation, one of three companies that recently received contracts to develop the next generation of PT boats. Though the PT-69’s specifications were “a military secret,” pictures and startlingly accurate estimates were printed in detail in Time magazine complete with speed, armaments, length, and construction, which was a plywood hull.

          Shirley, Craig (2013-11-19). December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World (pp. 3-4).

          Like

          • czarowniczy says:

            PT boats were also built by thecHighins company in NOLA. As late as the late 80s there was a ramp still in the water at the lakefront where I worked that was used during WWII to get the boats in the water. They were built in a plant just across the road from the ramp, they’d be put on a wheeled platform, pushed across the street and down the ramp into the lake for testing. Still have some businesses out east of town that make small assault craft for the Navy and test ’em out in the lake.

            Like

      • ImpeachEmAll says:

        Spruce Goose

        Liked by 1 person

    • czarowniczy says:

      BUY WAR BONDS!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. czarowniczy says:

    Just think how much beeter WWII would have been on all concerned had all parties been able to argue their positions in the UN General Assembly and used srbitration to reach mutually acceptable positions. End snark…on this post at least.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. joshua says:

    war is not a great equalizer at all is it? Japanese killed about 3000 US military and some civilians at Pearl Harbor and started the war in the Pacific on December 7, 1941, and the world lost millions in total in WWII.

    At the END of the war in the Pacific on August 9, 1945, in two cities alone, within the first two to four months of the bombings, the acute effects of the atomic bombings killed 90,000–146,000 people in Hiroshima and 39,000–80,000 in Nagasaki; roughly half of the deaths in each city occurred on the first day. During the following months, large numbers died from the effect of burns, radiation sickness, and other injuries, compounded by illness and malnutrition. In both cities, most of the dead were civilians, although Hiroshima had a sizable military garrison.

    War might DECIDE some things, but the COST does not seem to be worth the REWARDS.

    Liked by 1 person

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