Thursday, October 24, 2013

75th Anniversay of Ewa Field Air Attack, the Forgotten Sacrifice Honored In West Oahu

75th Anniversay of Ewa Field Air Attack, the Forgotten Sacrifice Honored In West Oahu

Ewa Field, the Forgotten Sacrifice Honored In West Oahu

Victims Of Ewa Field Attack 7 Decades Ago Remembered Dec 10, 2011 KITV News

HONOLULU —Thousands took part in ceremonies this week to remember those who died in the attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

But some have forgotten about the sacrifices at other Oahu battlegrounds on that fateful day.

On Saturday, a ceremony was held to help people remember.

On Dec. 7, as Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor, others aimed at Ewa Field where U.S. planes were parked.

Retired Marine Maj. John Hughes, who is 92-years old, still remembers the attack vividly. Hughes said he and others fought back even though they were out-gunned against the Japanese.

"A strafing plane was coming in, the first one, and I got three shots off before he got past. Whether I did any damage -- I don't know," said Hughes.

The attack killed over a dozen servicemen as well as civilians in West Oahu. They were remembered by those at Saturday's ceremony, but have been forgotten by others who look back at Hawaii's history.

"It's often just about Pearl Harbor, and that's an important part of it, but there were about 15 sailors and soldiers killed here in West Oahu. We want to remember them," said John Bond who helped organize the commemoration.

The ceremony to remember the sacrifice of those at Ewa Field was held at Naval Air Station Barber's Point, because according to Bond, the land at Ewa Field is changing hands. But there is hope the now-abandoned airfield will one day become a place where people can learn first-hand about other aspects of that historical day.

"It will become a recognized historic site on a federal level. It will just take a little more time," said Bond.

Veterans like Hughes still remember the sacrifice in West Oahu, but worry that without reminders parts of history could fade away like an old photograph.

"It's more or less forgotten. It's good for people to go to these memorials to see and be reminded of what happened," said Hughes.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

First Japanese bombshell dropped on Hawaii in 1933 - A warning shot for the future US-Japan War

First Japanese bombshell dropped on Hawaii in 1933 -   warning shot for the future US-Japan War

Eight years before the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese-language publication hit Honolulu like a bombshell, predicting war with the United States and an inevitable Japanese victory. The key tactic would start by an air attack on Pearl Harbor.
However, an air attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese carriers was also the topic of many local pre-war articles in publications like Paradise of the Pacific, the predecessor to Honolulu Magazine (see below). This includes a pre-war article where four Japanese carriers north of Oahu attack Pearl Harbor on a Sunday morning when most people were sleeping. Most stated that this attack concept was SO WELL KNOWN that the Japanese would never attempt it!
The US Army and Navy also staged many major Pearl Harbor air attack exercises before December 7, 1941, and in fact the reason why most people thought the Sunday December 7 attack was just another drill- however badly timed when most people were still sleeping. This is why there is the famous Pearl Harbor message "Air Raid, Pearl Harbor -This Is No Drill..."
Nichibei-sen Miraiki—Account of the Future US-Japan War.
Customs reiterated to the press that consignees had first called attention to the novelette because it was “detrimental to Japanese-American relations.” Honolulu was a Navy town, and Japanese-Americans were upset that the novelette described U.S. warships in great detail, and seemed designed to stir a patriotic reaction from “the younger generation of Japanese.”
By Jamie Bisher
The first Japanese bombshell dropped on Hawaii in late 1933. At first glance, it was merely a crate of magazine supplements offloaded from the SS President Taft and addressed to George Kojima’s Honolulu bookstore.
It was written by a retired Japanese naval officer, endorsed by admirals of the Imperial Navy and distributed by a new Tokyo magazine angling for an expatriate following.
Account of the Future US-Japan War was a cut above other war fiction of the day.
It was blessed with two unusual forewords, one written by Adm. Kato Kanji, member of Japan’s Supreme War Council, and another by Vice Adm. Suetsugu.
The former claimed to have “read this story through without once laying the book aside,” and praised it for emphasizing the “great importance which control of the air bears to national defense.”
Suetsugu recommended the book for “the general public as well as naval specialists” because of the astute glimpses it afforded of future warfare.
The author, Fukunaga Kyosuke, was a retired 44-year-old lieutenant commander in the Japanese naval reserve with the expertise to give readers insight into the strategy, tactics and weaponry of modern warfare.
His dramatic tale foretold the roles of naval air power, submarines, radio communications, intelligence, civil affairs, propaganda and other elements, as well as their shortcomings.
Fukunaga wrote like the Tom Clancy of his day.

One American reader, Maj. Edward F. Witsell, devoured the book. Witsell was a 1911 graduate of the Citadel who had served two tours in Japan at the U.S. Embassy, and was one of the few Japanese linguists in the U.S. Army.
He recommended that the Army Chief of Staff read a few choice passages “of military interest” in the novelette, starting with a description of Japan’s rapid thrusts at Guam, the Philippines and Hawaii.
Fukunaga’s novelette laid bare the fantasies of Japanese militarists.
It made no secret of Japan’s designs on China and Russia’s Maritime Provinces.
Underdog Japan could outmaneuver and defeat the superior forces of the United States through courage and guile.
Meanwhile, the United States would be disoriented by saboteurs, racial strife and isolationists.
“It is our country’s duty to stir up and incite the Japanese in Hawaii to attack the Americans there,” declared one Japanese character.

The Many December 7 Warning Shots

A. Kam Napier   Honolulu Magazine
If the editors of Paradise of the Pacific, our predecessor, were aware of the Japanese publication Nichibei-sen Miraiki—Account of the Future US-Japan War, they didn’t mention it in the pages of the magazine.
However, by the mid-1930s, Paradise frequently commented on the likelihood of war.
(NOTE: Imperial Japan would invade China by July, 1937, while Germany would invade Poland in September, 1939; America did not enter the war until the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. These excerpts from Paradise, predating some of those turning points, show tensions running high.)
Jan.1936: “[N]ewer chatter has arisen as to what might happen in the Pacific, the theorizing chiefly being directed toward … warring between Japan and the United States since the consensus of vagrant opinion seems to be that Japan would start it, if anything were started. … Says one ‘school of guessing:’ The Japanese might get a number of aircraft carriers within a few hundred miles of Honolulu, then swoop over the city (from an ‘unexpected’ angle) and drop bombs on forts, barracks, government buildings … unavoidably smiting, here and there, a hospital, a hotel or two …”

Aug.1937: “When is a war not a war? When Japan attacks Shanghai in 1932; when Japan carves Manchukuo out of Manchuria; when the Triple Alliance and the Triple Entente use Spain as a battlefield in 1937; when Japan opens hostilities in Northern China in 1937; and as far as America is concerned—not until the President, under the provisions of the [Neutrality] Act of May 1, 1937, says that it is a war.”

Oct.1937: “Over two thousand miles nearer Asia than any other important integral part of the United States, Hawaii will first feel the pulse of war if it ever throbs eastward from Asia. With aviation, radio, and other reducing factors making a teacup of the Pacific basin, Hawaii must be ready.”



Friday, October 4, 2013

Did Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Attack Architect Isoroku Yamamoto Tour Hawaii Military Bases In 1933?

Did Dec. 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Attack Architect Isoroku Yamamoto Tour Hawaii Military Bases In 1933?

By John Bond - Save Ewa Field
In 1933 there was an exhibition event on the island of Oahu known as a gymkhana ("a multi-game equestrian event to display the training and talents of horses and their riders") which was held at the major US Army base of Schofield Barracks.
In 1933 horses (and mules) still played a major role in Army field operations, -cavalry, towing artillery, recon, etc.
Based upon analysis of a 1933 photo showing Imperial Japanese Naval officers visiting this event and being shown a transit device (theodolite?) there is an IJN officer in the center of the photo who shows a remarkable resemblance to Isoroku Yamamoto.
A study of a later picture of Admiral Yamamoto shows nearly identical facial features- ear, nose, chin, lips, etc.
I have for years always thought this WAS a picture of Yamamoto in Hawaii but didn't have any resources to search it further. Currently I am having this checked out to see if my facial analysis is correct.
However, his history says he would have been a Rear Admiral by 1933 and 49 years old.
I don't yet know if this is what his rank is in this photo, but the face and the forward personal bearing of this individual sure does indicate a leader and someone very comfortable in the presence of a US military officer.
Where was Isoroku Yamamato in 1933?
"From 1919-1921 he studied at Harvard University. Promoted to Commander upon his return to Japan he taught at the staff college before being sent to the new air-training center at Kasumigaura in 1924 to direct it and to learn to fly.
From 1926 to 1928, he was naval attache to the Japanese embassy in Washington. He was then appointed to the Naval Affairs bureau and made Rear Admiral, he attended the London Naval Conference in 1930. Back to Japan he joined the Naval Aviation bureau and from 1933 headed the bureau and directed the entire navy air program."
Could this have been Yamamoto in Hawaii?
It would have been very much like Yamamoto to have been very interested in Hawaii and especially the island of Oahu and the layout of its military bases. If this IS Yamamoto in Hawaii - there is even more to this Pearl Harbor chapter that isn't yet fully known.
We shall see where this leads!

More Photos:

The date on this photo is February 7, 1935, Hawaiian Division Staff
"Isoroku Yamamoto was born in 1884. Yamamoto graduated from the Japanese Naval Academy in 1904. He fought in the Battle of Tsushima Straits in May 1905 where Yamamoto lost two fingers on his left hand. "
Because most of these IJN officers appear to be wearing gloves, this key clue as to whether this is Yamamoto or not is not discernible.
While he had served in America, Yamamoto developed a negative attitude to the American Navy and the standards he had witnessed within it. He described the American Navy as a club for golfers and bridge players. However, for all this disdain, Yamamoto was aware of the vast power that the US Navy had - especially in the Pacific.
CAPTION: "Japanese Vice Admiral Osami Nagano lays a wreath at the tomb, circa 1927. At the right end of the Japanese delegation is the Naval Attache to the United States, Captain Isoroku Yamamoto."
Throughout his career, Yamamoto had opposed many of Japan's military adventures, such as the invasion of Manchuria and the ongoing war with China.
In addition, he was vocal in his opposition to any war with the United States, and delivered the official apology for the sinking of USS Panay in 1937.
These stances made the admiral very unpopular with the pro-war factions in Japan, many of which put bounties on his head.
On August 30, 1939, Navy Minister Admiral Yonai Mitsumasa promoted Yamamoto to commander-in-chief of the Combined Fleet commenting, "It was the only way to save his life - send him off to sea."

On the evening of Jan. 30, 1933, Adolf Hitler, the newly appointed Chancellor of Germany, stood in a government building at an open window watching a torchlight parade of 25,000 Nazi troops march through the streets of Berlin. Thousands of Germans cheered as they marched by, and Hitler was giddy with delight. "No power on Earth will get me out of here alive."