Wednesday 8 December 2021

Remembering Pearl Harbor 80 Years Later

" Yesterday, December 7, 1941-- a date which will live in infamy-- the United States of America was all of a sudden and intentionally attacked by the marine and air forces of the Empire of Japan," then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt put the surprise attack-- which left about 2404 American service-members and civilians dead and thrust the United States into war-- into words.

Today, as the United States remembers that Sunday early morning 80 years earlier, the survivors hardly number in the lots. But simply one day earlier, all was quiet.

Great morning from the USS Arizona Memorial. Pearl Harbor is peaceful today simply as it was 80 years back. 24 hours later on the United States would be at war.But whatever altered as morning occurred to December 7, 1941.

At 6:10 a.m. local time, the USS Condor spotted a periscope-- and within moments, the first wave of Japanese fighters were in the air. They took off from carriers found some 200 miles north of Oahu.

At 6:45 a.m., sailors aboard the USS Ward fired on a Japanese submarine. In spite of the truth that the United States had not yet formally entered the war, those sailors are remembered for firing the first American shots in World War II.

8 minutes later on, at 6:53 a.m., the USS Ward radioed Navy headquarters to inform them of the engagement, but the deciphering process delayed the message.

At 7:02 a.m., an Oahu-based radar station reported sighting an unknown airplane heading towards Hawaii. An Army lieutenant, believing the reported airplane were American B-17s flying in from California, overlooked the caution at 7:20 a.m.

By 7:40 a.m., the first wave of Japanese fighter planes-- "Zeros"-- was flying over Oahu. The command to attack was given at 7:49 a.m. At 7:55 a.m., the Japanese aircrafts started their assault. At 8:10 a.m., the USS Arizona exploded.

The USS Helm, a destroyer, obstructed a Japanese submarine at the entryway of the harbor. The Helm fired on the submarine, sinking it by 8:17 a.m

. A 2nd wave of Japanese fighters reached 8:54 a.m., nearly precisely after the first attack.The USS Shaw took off in dry dock at 9:30 a.m. after taking heavy fire.

By 10:00 a.m. local time, simply over two hours after the first Zeros assaulted, the Japanese turned around and went back to their providers.

7 Dec 1941, Japanese launch surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. 21 US ships & 300+ airplane were sunk or destroyed. 2,400 Americans died & 1,178 injured. Japanese lost 29 aircrafts & 64 died. Luckily for United States, all three of its Pacific Fleet's attack aircraft carrier were absent. 

Two American battleships-- the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma-- were overall losses. Target ship USS Utah was also completely destroyed. The Japanese lost 29 of the 353 airplanes that were involved in the attack.

But the attack eventually pushed the United States into resisting, drawing a once-reluctant President Franklin Delano Roosevelt into a two-front war. As Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto wrote in his journal after the attack, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

The tide did not turn in the Pacific theater till June of 1942, when intelligence officers and codebreakers-- a few of whom had actually originally been musicians aboard ships that were lost at Pearl Harbor-- intercepted Japanese interactions ahead of the Battle of Midway. Armed with that details, a handful of American pilots had the ability to hand the undefeated Japanese Navy its very first major loss.

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