December 7th 1941.

On December the 7th, 1941, at 7:55 in the morning, the 1st of two waves of Japanese aircraft hit the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in and on the then U.S. territory of Hawaii. Airbases at Hickam, Wheeler, Kaneohe, the Navy Yard, and Ford Island were targeted. The aircraft to total at least 350 in number were launched from 6 aircraft carriers located just over 200 miles north of Pearl Harbor. They were part of three Japanese carrier divisions which included the 6 aircraft carriers plus 2 battleships, 2 heavy cruisers, 1 light cruiser, 9 destroyers, and 7 tankers. In addition, 3 submarines supported the carrier divisions and the 350 or more Japanese aircraft (one report says there were 353 aircraft) that took their place in the raid. In the attack force were dive bombers, torpedo, or horizontal bombers, and fighters. The United States suffered 21 vessels sunk or damaged in the attack; and casualties to the numbers of 2,403 dead and 1,178 wounded.

As I write this it is December 3rd, 2014. In 4 days it will be the 73rd anniversary of that terrible attack on the United States of America. It was the date that U.S. President Roosevelt said: “A date which shall live in infamy.” It was after the attack that Japanese Admiral Yamamoto is reported to have said: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” The reports in this true story of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the true stories of the battles to follow are told in this book, “Pain and Purpose in the Pacific.”

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