It is evening in Hawaii. The date: December 6th, 1941.
It’s been a busy day of back-breaking work, as are most in the Navy still on a peace-time footing. For the Crews of the Battleships Arizona, Nevada, and Oklahoma it was a short night: Gunnery drills south of Oahu, followed by the cleaning of the Massive gun tubes. Other crews painted and chipped, mopped decks, took stock of supplies, and many other of the thousands of necessary tasks required to operate a ship in the U.S. Navy.
Fortunately, it’s Saturday, so for many sailors thoughts turn in anticipation of the activities planned for the evening. Some will go into Honolulu in search of adventure; others will attend parties with friends or their favorite gal; still others will head to clubs for drinks and dancing. All look forward to the liberty time, as duty is hard. The young men understand that while the Nation is currently at peace, there are ever growing concerns about and rumors of war. But tonight, those thoughts can be safely put aside as it’s a great time to be young and in a beautiful island paradise.
On Ford Island, at the order of Commanding General Walter Short, ground crews have spent the last several days re-spotting aircraft on the parking apron. In response to concerns about sabotage by some of the island’s many Japanese-american residents, the General directed that instead of having the parked aircraft dispersed around the island to protect from air attack, they be concentrated and parked wing-to-wing so as to be more easily kept an eye on by sentries.
Far to the North on Opana point on the North shore of Oahu the Schofield Barracks SCR-270 Mobile radar station currently sits un-manned. A relatively new invention, moved to the site on Thanksgiving day, the radar is not manned around the clock. The next shift is scheduled for 4AM tomorrow morning, December 7. As a result of the coming early-morning duty, Privates Joseph Lockhard and George Elliott are curtailing their evenings plans. A long drive awaits through the dark morning hours.
Unbeknownst to any of the American servicemen, 600 miles to the Northwest, another group of young men also make preparations for a very early morning. A morning they hope is a true representation of the flag of their nation, a Rising Red Sun.