tv Japanese Attack on Kaneohe Bay CSPAN February 27, 2016 7:19pm-8:01pm EST
he has been conducting history research since the 70's. the co-author of 10 books. [applause] wenger: as i said before it is an extra very honor to be here. to present at the navy memorial. naval history means an awful lot to me. co-author robert cressman. the dictionary of american fighting ships. he is been my mentor over a.
of many years. we love each other deeply. historylove of naval runs deep. from exodus, put off thy shoes from off thy feet for the place .here you stand is holy ground during the centennial celebration of the american my family traveled to many battlefield sites in virginia. ultimately to gettysburg. holy ground is in our midst. consecrated by the blood of freedom loving americans.
i was captivated by the tropical a lower of the islands in hawaii. i think of pearl harbor and the island of hawaii as a battlefield just as surely as the ground at yorktown or gettysburg. one battle site on one who lies theiles from the site of attack on pearl harbor. the location is an active military base today. marine corps base hawaii. aircraft hangers and 74 years ago americans fought back in a pitched battle against japanese attackers.
little is known publicly about that life-and-death struggle the took place along the picturesque shores of the day. that is the basis of this program. this sign was a popular site for snapshots. in 1930's. the strategic importance of hawaii. remote and yet strong and well guarded outpost on the pacific frontier. by the late 1930's it was clear that any expansion of controlling activity would require additional facilities. peninsulaelected this
with almost all the buildings being brand spanking new it was little wonder that means the facilitylities was known as the country club of the pacific. as the months of 1941 slipped away the skies darkened. to america preoccupied with the struggle to emerge from the great depression during the 1930's the aggressive behavior was a disquieting and a troubling prospect. 1941 the warough between china and japan fueled american fears about japanese expansion in the far east. especially toward u.s. interests in the philippines.
.nd lucky other men anticipated homegrown pleasures. his thoughts centered on the family picnic that they would have that afternoon. mccrimmon filled relief at being transferred to the day. since nothing could happen in hawaii. here at last his family would be safe. in the early morning hours of december 7 all was not well. after traversing the stormy northern pacific six aircraft carriers and supporting battleships and cruisers and submarines steamed 200 miles north of hawaii. plans called for similar
he ran from the picture window dressed hurriedly jumped into his car for frantic ride to's headquarters. flames began to burn. the forward aircraft with the first victims. the first men to perish at the bay that morning. heads shot through the while straining to see what was happening in the sky above. he had traded duty with another pilot who survived the war guilt ridden ever after for sending a friend to his death. commandering plane was unable to deploy the machine guns.
beneath these aircraft ignited with the gasoline from the fuel tanks setting off fires up and down the field. guard hadd the color a frantic debate over the wisdom of raising the colors. the corporal was determined to hoist the colors come hell or high water. feared the flag might attract unwanted attention.
one in his oldsmobile sedan. second in command of kaneohe's marine detachment had been on a late-night date with commander morton's niece. he dressed, ran to his car, and quickly drove to the administration building to meet major donahue. the steady storm of cars was hailed by japanese fighters, by which this time had expended much of their ammunition. smoke made it difficult to select targets so the fighters turned their attention to automobiles, setting fire to some enroute and others once they had parked near the hangars. determined to fight back, the sailors exposed themselves
recklessly as on battlefields of past generations, americans fell, this time stricken by machine gun and cannon fire. the chief officer took charge of men attempting to roll 2 pby's from the first hangar. he was shot, but barely missed a beat, screaming orders at his recruits using his best movie vocabulary and and mad as hell and being knocked out on the first day of the war. sailors use private vehicles, bomb trucks, and other vehicles to transport the wounded to the dispensary. there, the surgeon dispatched to station ambulances to the flight line. then cleared ambulatory patients from the world and ran to prepare the first four operating rooms for the stream of casualties that overwhelmed the duck is on duty. after expending ammunition, the japanese fighters broke off their attacks, heading west.
one officer, this had been too easy. 40 years later he recalled, without any opposition, our strafing runs were like target pack this. as the japanese will to the east, a stillness descended. logan only by the area sound of fires and the moans of the wounded and dying. required proved short-lived, as the men's training and initiative turned to the form. all hands turn to, and the bad part of the ramp trucks, the japanese, filled the air. south of the hangars, men from the p-12 pushed surviving aircraft north including the pv why seen here. hoping it would be less visible against the backdrop of the squadron office welding. other efforts made matters worse.
on-ramp tractor driver stepped on the guest too hard, tearing lazy port wing section from a burning pby. eventually they launched the aircraft into the water, where they continued fighting the fires. the only thing east of hangar one, from the north end of the apron, the sailors worked their way south, saving at least two aircraft. within 20 minutes or so, the men extinguished all fires east of the hangars. but without fire-fighting equipment, the blazing wreckage was left to burn itself out.
the officers and men of kaneohe rose to me to all comers that morning and mounted a gallant defense of the news, answering every demand made upon them. more demands, however, lay ahead. again, and inbound strike of japanese bombers and fighters approach from the northeast just as the sailors of kaneohe extinguish the last of the fires. at only 40, lieutenant commander gave the attack order and the large formations separated. the dive bombers and a portion of the horizontal bombers parted southwest, bound for perl harbor and hickam field. the balance of the strike was kaneohe a. the fighters stationed at high altitude to prevent interference, 18 attack bombers from the carrier should talk google under lieutenant -- ashton of her kindly light east of the station and turned west for a textbook downwind run on kaneohe from the southwest.
however, a cloud layer formed by the trade winds pushing against the -- up scared the targeted area below. e.g. harder as order specified an attack from 6000 feet with the cloud layer at 2000 feet, it circle down the and spiral. under the clouds at an altitude of 1500 feet. little went well with this altered approach. his bomb sites would not function at such a low altitude so he determined the bomb release time by i have. when this rubbed off the extinct volcano on the tip of the evidence, buffeting his formation. in addition, at such a low altitude, they incoming bombers ran a file of machine gunners in
the coconut grove between the hangars and the runway to the west. the sailors let fly with every gun that could be brought to bear. undeterred, ichihara released his gunners. lieutenant hanson looked up and saw two clusters of grapes falling from the aircraft above hangar 2. lieutenant buckley knew exactly what had happened and on impulse, sprinted. but then came back. similarly the radioman sought protection, first at a walk but then at a dead run. he hit the pavement just as the first bomb detonated.
the lieutenant released far too soon, with the first bomb falling into kaneohe bay. the next landed squarely on the apron and a series of thunderous explosions but short of hangar 2. it set fire to only one additional aircraft. one jolted the bull debtor behind which the startled commander buckley sought refuge. a concussion ruptured these microsystem in hangar 2, damaging little. several miles behind, the next group made a similar approach. however, buffeted by wind and dismayed by the tracers arching skyward, they had seen enough and boarded, opting to reset, circle for altitude, and try again.
seeing no american fires from the position of her is done in a lieutenant ordered his nine fighters from the carrier to reconnoiter -- two -- the two columns of smoke coming out of the hangars coming-out south of the -- the second in command shuddered at the site of the american antiaircraft fire and the blizzard of tracers arching skyward. on the ground, meanwhile, the americans were blind fighting mad. when the japanese fighters returned, one took to the ramp assisted by the radioman peterson.
john finn received the medal of honor for his fighting, and anderson received the navy cross. it drew the americans attention close to the ground and a few men saw another group of nine horizontal bombers approaching from the west. they had reset, this time from 7000 feet, well above the range of the american gunners.
cadillac convertible and transported to the dispensary. sailors plunged into the burning hangar to remove the remaining airplanes. one moved his best friend for transport to the dispensary. the young sailor found yet another close friend, john buckley, in agony from multiple the wounds and asked him to stay with him until the end.
the stairs, the bombs detonated, knocking off the ensign's flat. shaken, to arose but they're good friend and classmate, joe smart, lay dead from flying splinters. deeply moved at the sight of his descent's friends and using his own saliva, he gave his friend joseph smart last before moving on to assist the wounded. another leading chief was wounded, he stood up, cradling the contents of his abdomen and his arms. assisted him outside to obey transport to the dispensary. one tough old sailor, byron, survived his wounds in the war. the last of the bombs detonated across the street from the northeast corner of hangar one. and no men had just parked his 1940 occurred kobani bomb explosion not him flat. knowing he had lost his left arm, he stood, stumbled toward the cover of a nearby shack, read another sailor applied a
tourniquet. nash was left-handed. one assembled for the return flight when he noticed a plume venting at half. he decided to die attacking the american. while tears tracked down the faces of his comrades, he commenced a series of strafing runs against the armory. the japanese aircraft descended slowly. the aircraft engines skittered into the front yard of a major.
lieutenant jg john steele, the station's personnel officer, who had just finished a three-year study of the japanese language, appeared on the scene and is a flowchart. misinterpretation of the flight chart took the americans on a search in the wrong direction. just into the attack, flying west to the rendezvous, the japanese left a grim scene of mayhem and destruction. of kaneohe's 36 aircraft, only those three still out on the patrols were operational. hangar one was a blazing wreck and continue to burn into the night. shortly before the bomb explosions destroyed the vehicle and killed one of the engines cool, seaman first class stanley dawson.
the approaching darkness offered no solace to the survivors, who endured a cold, damp night filled with terror and rumors of the invasion. the day had closed with none of the peace and quiet with which it had done. the specter of 18 dead and 65 wounded comments along with the approaching cloud-cover of darkness fell up kaneohe like a pall. and the suffering was not over. there was a last farewell and burial for the pollen in the sand and's north to the base with an honor guard hastily drawn from the marine detachment.
there is a notification of next of kin, including three of the lives who lived at kaneohe. amongst these was ralph watson, and the officer who never met a stranger and was everybody's friend. watson left behind a beautiful wife and two children. grace watson wept uncontrollably for an entire day after learning of his death. she entered two young sons never recovered from the loss. i never go to hawaii, but what i did not think about these men. i might be walking down hotel street in chinatown and got a place like the union bar which was their 1941. bob and i looked in the door but we could not summon the courage to go in to this place. it was a place when the
soldiers, sailors, and marines, tipped up their liquid refreshments. i might be walking in the back streets of of waikiki, where some art deco bar has escaped the wrecking ball. but wherever i go, i know these men were there and when i think of them, i believe these words. god bless you boys for like you did for me, for what you gave to this country, may god wish you and great you rest. [applause] >> my question is, who made the decision to pull the aircraft battery? thanks the army -- the question was, who made the decision to recall the anti-aircraft battery.
i forget the designation but it was in the 98th coastal artillery. they were pulled back to i think to -- the reason they were back was because there was a general letdown after the big alerts of october and november. nothing happened. the commanders said, well, maybe we need to have -- but need to draw the men down into give them a chance to rest because something is going to happen and we would need to have them pick up. >> four or five years ago, the airspace museum publicized and acquisition of a twin-engine sikorsky aircraft which was said to have been in pearl harbor as a survivor.
i wonder if you know anything about that in particular. >> it is indeed a pearl harbor survivors are -- survivor. in fact, it was taken up by a first and second pilot, and they flew a search under north of oahu. the plane was unarmed. they had a couple rifleman and they actually made contact with the japanese. they bumped into two fighter pilots and the back on the control, and went straight up into the clouds and lost them.
we're fortunate that that aircraft survived. i interviewed the pilot of that and he lived in charlotte for a time before his death. >> it is ironic that the planes that ended up flying a lot of these missions were not really designed for flying combat because i was all that was left. >> they flew them out at long-distance. cross-country and then from the west coast to hawaii and down to the south pacific. others that they would take would go and be as cargo. the majority of them were flown.
>> this question about how to get a pby out from the west coast. quite a lot of preparation had to be in place. they had navigational stations along the way, usually about four of them are in place so you could make sure the navigators kept it all together it is about a 24 hour flight. maybe 17 or 18 hours. a long flight. dangerous. not only did they have to fly the airplane's back, they had to ferry the old aircraft back to san diego and they were usually sent to jacksonville to be used as trainers.
>> bill is quite a bit of inter-services cooperation going on between the army and navy and an american airways. they would supply weather information. the army used the same technique to deliver b-17's from hamilton field i think it was out to hawaii. >> is there any record of anybody firing from radar hill? kansas up there who got killed in the process so that he came kt -- [indiscernible] >> the question had to do with the big hill in kaneohe.
like you said, it is called kansas hill. i have seen a record of the incomplete control tower being strafed up there by the incoming fighters during the first wave but this is the first time i heard of men firing from that position. >> probably just more legend. >> well, when you are writing it sometimes it is difficult to sift up the legends because you want to include everything that is a you have to weigh the evidence. a question about the japanese aviator that was but down.
survivor accounts say i was a dead look like there was nobody flying the aircraft. the torque on the engine, if you are not applying pressure on the -- it will slowly invert the aircraft, so they think he just inverted and just went into the ground on the west side of the hill somewhere. anything else? >> all right. gentlemen, thank you for a masterful presentation. this is really amazing how many new things that 74 years on her starving being added to the record. on behalf of all of us are of the navy memorial i would like to thank you. >> thank you very much.
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