What a sobering experience to wake up in Honolulu on Dec. 7, 2011. There was something different about this morning. You could feel it in the air.
Seventy years ago at 0740 hrs on that “day of infamy,” the first wave of Japanese aircraft deployed consisting of 183 aircraft. Their first target was Wheeler Field where today SDDC’s 599th Trans Bde is headquartered. Wheeler Field came under attack at 0748 hrs. By 0755 hrs bombers and fighters attacked the airfields at Ford Island, Kaneohe, Bellows, Ewa, and Hickam, immobilizing American air response.
Within 15 minutes Sailors and civilians who were busy enjoying a Sunday morning breakfast were shocked by the sound of dozens of Japanese aircraft that were soon pounding Pearl Harbor. Within minutes of the first attack wave, America’s battleships Arizona, Utah, California, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Nevada were essentially sunk, and the Maryland, Tennessee and Pennsylvania were damaged by bombs.
The pounding continued as the second wave with 167 aircraft began 55 minutes after the first. By 1000 hrs, the second wave of attack planes began to return to their aircraft carriers, and by noon all but 29 of the 350 aircraft had returned.
When it was all over, 2,390 Americans had been killed and another 1,368 were wounded. America had been knocked down, but not knocked out. We would get up off the mat and the country would go to war. Of the 66 Japanese ships assigned to “Hawaii Operation,” only one of those ships survived World War II. It was the destroyer USHIO, which surrendered at Yokosuka Naval base in 1945.
What makes America great is not only our response following the attack when we waged war, but also following the war when we waged peace. Today, seventy years later our one-time enemy Japan is now one of our greatest friends.
One Mind, One Heart, One Purpose.