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A Day That Lives in Infamy

07 Dec

Shokaku_Pearl_Harbor_1st_Wave

The sun rises across the pacific.  Pilots and aircrew began manning their aircraft as the wind begins to shift and strengthen across the decks.  The first fighter aircraft soon roars to life, power coursing through its grey airframe, marked with red circles.  The Naval Air strikeforce of Imperial Japan awakens.

Soon, all aircraft are started and launching begins.  Four carriers of the six present send 187 fighters, torpedo bombers, and level bombers into the air.  they quickly form up into squadrons and turn Southeast.

Sunday morning is still quiet for most of Oahu.  The day promises a relaxed duty schedule, but there is no sleeping in.  Most sailors arise and prepare for church services.  Others, the quartermasters and ships Bands prepare to raise the colors at the fantail.  Routine, but such tasks are important in the Nation’s Armed Forces.

At Opana point, where duty began at 0400, Private George Elliott, normally the plotter and communicator is receiving training on how to detect aircraft from fellow operator Private Joseph Lockhard.  At 7:02, the largest blip either had seen was detected, prompting a call to Headquarters.  Aware that a ferry flight from California of 12 B-17 bombers was inbound, the Lieutenant on duty dismissed the report.  The site shut down as scheduled.

On the various ships moored, formations set, the colors clipped to the jackstaff.  The bands await the signal to commence The Star Spangled Banner…..

7:55 A.M…………

 

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Fire…….Smoke………

The sound of aircraft at full-throttle….

Ear-shattering and nausea inducing explosions….

The cries of newly wounded shipmates.

Blood and Oil.

 

Final death toll:  2,500 U.S. Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen were killed.

War, in it’s New and Terrible fury had arrived.

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Posted by on December 7, 2015 in History

 

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