Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7, 1941

I was (kind of) watching the news this morning and the news station was talking with surviving WWII vets about Pearl Harbor and one old man mentioned that no one will remember what happened on this day when all of them are gone. Yes we will! I may not have been there but I will remember this day.

In honor of those lost, injured or present at Pearl Harbor 69 years ago today, I want to know more than the basic facts. Before looking into the events of the day I know that it was a surprise attack by the Japanese that happened on December 7, 1941. Congress voted for war with Japan on December 8, 1941, launching us into WWII. Let's jump in!

Some Facts about the events of the day:
* Pearl Harbor is the Naval Base for the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Pearl Harbor is the headquarters of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

* Pearl Harbor has 10 square miles of navigable water. The harbour is on the southern coast of Oahu. The harbour is artificially improved.

* A U.S. embargo on necessary supplies for war prompted the attack on Pearl Harbor.

* A U.S. Army private who noticed the large flight of planes on his radar screen was told to ignore them because a flight of B-17s from the continental U.S. was expected at the time.

* The Japanese attack force was under the command of Admiral Nagumo. Japansese force consisted of six carriers with 423 planes. The Japanese fleet had 30 ships. The Japanese Admiral Yamamoto Isoroku planned the attack with great care.

* At 6 a.m. the first Japanese attack wave of 83 planes took off. The air raid lasted until about 9:45 a.m.

* Three prime targets escaped damage, the U.S. Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers, the Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga. They were not in the port when the attack took place. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked.

* Four U.S. Navy battleships were sunk (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and all of the four other battleships present were damaged. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship[8] and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed, 2,402 personnel were killed[9] and 1,282 were wounded.

* Japanese losses were light, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

* On December 8, 1941, Congress declared war on Japan with only one vote against it. The vote against it was of Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who had also voted against U.S. entry into World War I.

* A white concrete and steel structure now spans the hull of the sunken ship as a memorial. The memorial was dedicated on May 30, 1962.

Thank you to those who have been personally touched by the incidents at Pearl Harbor as you are forever imbedded into the history of America!


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