tv Japanese Attack on Kaneohe Bay CSPAN January 23, 2016 5:17pm-6:01pm EST
december 7, 1941, the japanese bonds a small air station on kaneohe bay on oahu. this story is largely forgotten. coming up next on the anniversary of the attacks, author michael wagner talks about those who fought and died when japanese planes passed over bay on the way to pearl harbor. host: thank you for joining us as we commemorate the 74th anniversary of the pearl harbor attack. i am mark webber, and this is another authors on deck series. we are thrilled to have you all with us. today, we have mike wagner and bob chrisman, the authors of "no one avoided danger." kaneohe bay.ation
mike joins us today from raleigh, north carolina. he has been conducting history resource -- research at various repositories. he is the co-author of 10 books and recipient of the "author of the year" award from the u.s. naval institute. please join me in welcoming him. [applause] wagner: as i've said before -- as i said before it's , an extraordinary honor to present the navy memorial, and for this institution. navy history means a lot to me. in particular, it means a lot to my co-author, robert, who is the
head of editing for the dictionary of american fighting ships at the naval history and her touch command, and he has been my mentor over many years. we are like brothers. he has commented often that i am the brother he never had, so we love each other deeply, and our love of naval history runs equally as deep. from exodus, third chapter, fifth verse, "put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." during the centennial celebration of the american civil war, my family traveled to many battlefield sites, and ultimately to gettysburg. there, i recognized that holy
ground is in our midst, ground consecrated by the blood of freedom-loving americans. hawaii,y first trip to i was captured by the allure of the islands. day, i think this of pearl harbor and the island battlefield, just gettysburg, the beaches of normandy, and a host of other places. fromattle site on oahu mileser 7, 1941 lies 16 from the u.s. pacific fleet at pearl harbor. the location is an active military base today, marine corps base hawaii. but there, among the hangars and airport parking aprons and what bay, 70 yearshe
ago americans fought back in a , pitched battle against japanese attackers, and yet, little is known publicly about the life or death struggle that took place on the shores of kaneohe bay. that struggle is the basis of this program. was a popularn spot for snapshots during the 1930's. the sign spoke to the sailors and marines of hawaii's importance, a strong and well guarded outpost on the pacific for her. such an outpost required long-distance aerial work on a. -- distance aerial
reconnaissance and patrols. late 1930's, due to the congestion at pearl harbor, it was clear that an expansion of patrol plane activity required additional facilities. the navy selected kaneohe bay on oahu's windward shore as a new site for a naval air station. on august and, 1939, the navy purchased 10 miles of land on bay,orth shore of kaneohe and construction began shortly thereafter. by 1941, sufficient facilities were in place to support their operations. accordingly, on 15 february, martin, accompanied by other officers along with medical officer lieutenant commander kellam placed the bay into commission.
they raised colors as the band struck up the star-spangled banner, complete with a flyover of pby's from pearl harbor. with virtually all of the buildings being brand spanking new, there was little wonder then that with gleaming facilities and recreations that kaneohe was known as the "country club" of the pacific. however, as the months of 1940 when slipped, skies darkened over the beautiful peninsula. to an america preoccupied with the struggle to emerge from the great depression during the 1930's, the aggressive behavior of japan presented a disquieting and troubling prospect. from 1937 through 1941, the war between china and japan dampened
ambitions in the far east, particularly u.s. interests in the philippines. and the central pacific. against this backdrop, husband e . kimmell and his staff devoted themselves to fleet readiness, training, and the chronic shortfalls in manpower, material, and installations. throughout 1941, the situation grew more east critical. japan's occupation of indochina prompted the embargoes of oil and scrap iron. the collapse of the government kimmel to prompted order the reinforcement of wake
and midway islands. sensing the seriousness of the situation, on 29 november, commander martin addressed his men on the parade ground. on kaneohe bay. "we are as close to war as we can be without firing. be especially on alert and expect anything. don't be surprised at anything that might happen." despite this startling admonition, the week that followed settled into the usual routine. by friday, the army's coastal artillery withdrew its antiaircraft batteries. and the tense atmosphere created by martin's statement was there. although saturday and sunday were workdays, those men nonduty looked forward to a relaxing weekend. on saturday morning, richard
mojur took a bus into the city. many comrades followed suit, cramming into buses for honolulu and waikiki. when the sun rose on kaneohe bay on sunday morning, other men and hated homegrown pleasures. at the station's dispensary, one commander's thoughts centered on the family picnic that he and his wife had planned for the afternoon. mccrimmon felt relief at being late inred to kaneohe the year, because nothing would happen in hawaii. here, at last, his family would be safe, but on that morning of all was not well. december 7, after traversing the stormy northern pacific, and air force of six aircraft carriers and supporting battleships, cruisers, and submarines steamed 200 miles north of oahu, poised
to deliver a blow to the pacific fleet. plans called for similar attacks on the airfields of oahu, particularly atkaneohe bay. making landfall north east of the point, they deployed, with most burning southwest. the fighter units deployed similarly, except from 11 fighters from the carriers. they turned southeast, hugging the windward coast line. following a brief encounter with the civilian aircraft near a mormon temple, fighters crossed the peninsula and bank to port flying east over the station's , sundrenched landscape, setting up firing passes on the pbys m oored on kaneohe bay.
commander martin was at home, fixing hot chocolate for his son, david, when he saw an aircraft with red circles on it. the elder martin ran from the window, dressed hurriedly and , jumped into his car for a frantic drive to his headquarters in the administration building. upon his arrival, the planes began to burn. the four ready aircraft moored in the bay where the first victims. they say, taking two of four plane guards with them, the first men to perish at kaneohe bay that morning. playing guard daniel griffin was shot in the head while straining to see what happened in the sky above. earlier, griffin had traded duty with pilot william gardner, who survived war, guilt would never ridden everilt after sending a friend to his four death.
surviving commander paul van was not able to fire and jumped from the burning aircraft, dodging gunfire as he swim north to the shore. underile, five aircraft one lieutenant, and six under another lieutenant strafed the han south and east of the gar line. many of them ignited, starting fires up and down the aprons. meanwhile, marines in the color guard were in a frantic debate over the wisdom of raising colors at the flagpole in front of the administration building.
corporal walter soboleski was committed to raising the colors come hell or high water. but private frank feared that many of them ignited, starting fires up and down the aprons. meanwhile, marines in the color guard were in a frantic debate attention from the japanese stray soboleski pulled hard, first. wasting his comrade into the air along with the colors. [laughter] mr. commenced firing through the windows while others including private first class mounted machine gun to the top of the building via hatch in the roof. other leathernecks, charles roberts among them, converged on the parade ground by automobile, careening through the northgate and reporting to the barracks or the administration building.
sailors and marines broke out springfield and browning automatic rifle's or sprinted to mounted machine guns as the ground burned beneath him. some mounted machine gun similar to those seen here and others held the weapons in their bare hands or placed the browning's in thes of bricks construction areas or on the footings of new hangar. pushed lesser damaged aircraft away from the fire areas or belted machine gun ammunition in the hangar's most could do nothing but take cover. as donald alexander confessed later, we were surprised, scared and in great confusion. meanwhile, in the enlisted barracks, the officer quarters and the enlisted married housing farther north, sailors woke to
the realization that something was amiss. commotionarmed by the with some still in bed and some fixing breakfast they all ran outside and saw immense columns of smoke, dressed and drove helter-skelter to the hangers. among them was st. charles and his 1981 ozone bill sedan. randolph lockwood, the second in command of the marine detachment late-night date with commander martin's nice. dressed, then to his car and quickly drove to the administration building will -- building. smoke made it difficult select targets survey turned their
attention to the automobiles below instead setting fire to some in route and others once they parked in the hangers. determined to fight back, the exposed themselves recklessly and on battlefields of past generations, americans fell stricken and bite machine gun and cannon fire. ordinance men took charge of the man attempting to hangaroo pby's from one. suddenly japanese fighters roared past and left him on the floor with a shattered leg. fisher hardly missed a beat screaming orders at his subordinates using the best of his navy vocabulary and mad as hell from being knocked out of the fighting on the first day of the war. sailors used private vehicles, tom trucks and other vehicles to transport the wounded to the dispensary.
there, the sergeant dispatched two station and balances to the flight line. then he cleared and military patients from the ward and then ran to prepare the first four operating rooms for the stream of casualties that overwhelmed the doctors and corpsmen on duty. theirer expending ammunition, the 11 japanese fighters broke off their attacks heading west over the mountain range. officer, thist had almost been too easy. 40 years later, he recalled without any opposition strafing runs were like target practice. japanese wheeled to descendeda stillness broken only by the ear he sounds of fires in the moans of the wounded and dying. short-lived ased immense training and initiative
came to the for. all hands turned to and the pot but, the barking of orders and the sailors cursing of the japanese filled the air. hangers, men from the peak 12 pushed surviving aircraft north, including lieutenant commander buckley's pb wife seen here hoping that the aircraft might be less visible against a backdrop of the squadron office building. other efforts made matters worse. one ramp tractor driver stepped on the gas too hard, tearing away the port wing section. eventually the men launched the aircraft into the water where sailors continued fighting the fires. the only fire engine setup east of fire one where vp 11's catalina's lay burning. the sailors worked their way south saving at least two aircraft.
menin 20 minutes, the extinguished all fires east of the hangers. without firefighting equipment, the blazing wreckage was left to burn itself out. men rose to and meet all comers that morning and mounted a gallant defense of their base answering every demand made upon them. more demands lay ahead. the strike of japanese fighters and bombers approach from the northeast, just as the sailors extinguished the last of the fires. 0840, the officer gave the attack order and they formations separated. the bombers parted southwest -- southwest. the balance of the strike held fast.
for the fighters stationed at , 18 attack bombers overthe carrier passed textbook downwind run on kaneohe from the southwest. but northeasterly trade wind obscured the target area below. 's order specified an attack from 6000 feet but with a cloud layer of 2000 feet, he , spiralingn and underneath the clouds with an altitude of 1500 feet, but little went well with his altered approach. notbomb sites would
function at such a low altitude so he triggered the bomb release timing by eye. the wind swept off the extinct volcano on the tip of the peninsula. addition at such a low altitude, they ran afoul of american machine gunners in the coconut grove between the hangers and the runway to the west. the sailors let fly with every gun that could be brought to bear. forwarded, he pressed with the nine bombers under his command and on signal they released their 18 bombs in two separate nine bomb pulls. steppedieutenant hansen up and saw what appeared to be two clusters of grapes falling from the aircraft above toward hanger two. buckley t commander exactly what was happening and on impulse splashed out into the water for cover. then he spread back hiding
behind the blade of a bulldozer. of vprly, the radio men 14 soft protection -- sought pro tection. he had the pavement as the first bombs detonated. fortunately, lieutenant ichi harrop released far -- lieutenant ichiharo released far too soon. the bombs fell into the bay. landed on the pavement with funders explosion but short of hanger two. the casualties proved light as flying fragments set fire to only one additional aircraft. one of the explosions jolted the bulldozer behind which they startled commander buckley saw refuge and concussion from nearby detonations russia -- ruptured the sprinkler system in hanger two, soaking the men
inside but damaging little. several miles behind the ciara, the next group of nine aircraft made a similar approach. however, buffeted by wind and dismayed by the tracers arching skyward, he had seen enough and aborted, opting to reset, circle for altitude, and try again. below, the americans were jubilant at having driven off the attack noting that the aircraft in both groups trailed gasoline as they escaped to the north. neither was the tenant -- hara impressed as he circled from a distance.
the bombing attack was still to follow. meanwhile, the reprieve on the ground was short-lived. seeing no american fighters from his position, the lieutenant ordered his nine fighters from the carrier to renew the strafing attack, which, ironically, american firefighters had facilitated. the columns of smoke coming out onlye hangers provided minimal interference. command shuttered -- shuddered at the site of american antiaircraft fire. nevertheless, he damaged or destroyed most of the remaining pby's. breaking off action only when smoke obscured the area. on the ground, americans were
blind fighting mad. johnthe japanese returned, sins took to the ramp assisted by robert peterson. there, the pair served -- observed a 30 caliber machine gun laying down fire. finn pounded away, maintaining numerous wounds. peterson also stood his ground. received the medal of honor for his heroism, and patterson the navy cross. the blistering strafing through the american attention close to the ground and few men saw another group of nine final bombers approaching from the southwest. 's unit had reset from 7000 feet, well above the range of the american gutters.
drawing a bead on hangar one to the east, the bombardier's released nine other 250 kilogram bombs which fell short into k aneohi bay. however, hagiwara circled and released the second bonds from the west. they resulted in three direct hits on a hanger and two near misses outside the east doors. relieved that they had at last achieved results, he ordered them to tap out the coded message. results of our bombing on kaneohe, great. meanwhile, it came as a total surprise to the men inside. directing activities in the hangar, commander buckley is the only men know -- known to have survived both bombing attacks.
however many were killed and wounded in the explosion. the radium and dragons up across the hangar floor. they lifted mosier into his cadillac convertible and transported him to the dispensary. sailors plunged into the burning hanger to retrieve the dead and wounded. moved theond class body of his best friend to a vehicle for transport to the dispensary. arriving there, the sailor found another close friend, ordinanceman john buckley in agony. begged him him -- to stay with him until the end. before the explosions, they followed ensign joseph smart to the squadron commander's offices in south mezzanine where leon
johnson had given orders for his pilots to assemble. halfway up the stairs, the bombs detonated knocking all three ensigns flat. arose, but they're good friend and classmate joe smart lay dead from flying splinters. rights beforeast moving -- last rites before moving on to assist the wounded. they also lost one of their leading chiefs who stood up, cradling the contents of his abdomen in his arms. close friends arnold and jackson, assisted him outside to await transport. described by shipmates as one tough sailor, byron survived his wounds and the war. a's bombsof hariwar
detonated across the street from hangar one. nash had just parked his coup when the bomb knocked and flat. knowing that he had lost his left arm, he stumbled toward the cover of a nearby shack where another sailor applied a tourniquet. he was left-handed. neohe, thees over ka fighter noticed a plume of gasoline venting aft. unable to return, he decided to die attacking the americans. while tears coursed down the faces of his comrades, he dove away and commenced a series of strafing runs against the armory. north of the hangars, richard .r.d opened up with a b.a and scored hits that kill
ed him. the japanese aircraft invert it and descendent slowly until it struck a poll. ol. it skidded into the yard of them mayor. steeleant j.r. john appeared on the scene and retrieved the flight chart. however, misinterpretation sent the americans on an afternoon aerial search for the japanese in the wrong direction. thus ended the attacks on kane ohe. flying west to the rendezvous, the japanese left a grim scene of mayhem and destruction. 's 36 aircraft, only those three on the dawn patrols
were operational. was ablaze and continued to burn into the night. the only fire truck rolled into before theshortly bomb explosions destroyed the vehicle and killed one of the crew, seaman first class, stanley dawson. the approaching darkness offered no solace to the survivors who endured a cold and damp night filled with terror and rumors of invasion. the station remarked that the day had closed with none of the peace and quiet with which it had dawned. the specter of 18 dead and 65 with theomrades, along approaching cloud cover of eohe likefell upon kan a pall. the suffering was not over.
there was a last farewell for the fallen north of the base, with an honor guard hastily drawn from the marine detachment. there was a notification of next of kin, including three wives who lived at kaneohe. among these dead was ralph watson. a gregarious senior petty officer who never met a stranger and was everyone's friend. he left behind a beautiful wife and two children. grace watson wept uncontrollably for an entire day after learning of his death. she and her sons never recover from the loss of their loving husband and father. to hawaii, but i might be walking down hotel placidin chinatown, and
-- pass up place like the union bar. bob and i opened the door but could not summon the courage to go inside. it was a place where we knew the soldiers, sailors, and marines kicked up their liquid refreshment. i might be walking in the back streets of waikiki where some art deco bar has escaped the wrecking ball. i am, i know that these men were there and when i think of them, i breathe these words. what you you boys for did for me and what you gave to this country. may god bless you and grant you rest. [applause] is, who made the
decision to pull the aircraft battery and where did they go? who made theon is, decision to recall the antiaircraft battery? forget the designation, it was in the coastal battery. they were pulled back to fort shafter. the reason they were pulled back was there was a general letdown after these alerts of october and november, nothing happened. maybe wender said, need to draw them down and give them a chance to rest. something is going to happen and we need to have them prepared. in the wake of that decision, many of these antiaircraft artillery units were pulled back. i think they went back to fort shafter.
four to five years ago, the air and space museum publicized the acquisition of a twin-engine aircraft which was said to be a pearl harbor survivor. i wonder if you know anything about that in particular. eohe bay? kan >> it indeed was a pearl harbor survivor. the national air and space museum has acquired a twin-engine aircraft and it is indeed a pearl harbor survivor. it was taken up by ensign wesley emeryand machinist mate amor geist. they flew a search pattern north of a lot who and they made --
north of oahu, and they made contact with the japanese. -- fighter pilots from they pulled up and went straight into the clouds and lost than. -- lost them. we are fortunate that aircraft survived. i interviewed wesley ruth, he lives in charlotte for a time before his death. >> it is ironic that the planes that and up flying these missions were not designed for flying combat. that was all that was left. >> [inaudible] >> they flew them out. out at long-distance flights. and flew from cross-country then they flew from the west coast to hawaii and down to the south pacific.
take, like would seaplane tenders, would be as cargo, but the majority of them were flown. about how toion get the pby from the west coast was a complicated affair. quite a bit of preparation had to be set in place. as used seaplane tenders plain guards or navigational statements along the way. usually about four were in place a you can make sure that these navigators kept it altogether. it was about a 24 hour flight. maybe 18 hours, but it was a long and dangerous flight. not only did they have to fly the new airplanes back, but they had to ferry the old airplanes back to san diego where they were sent to san diego or corpus
christi. that is the same way they got egenberger out from oakland. >> there was quite a bit of cooperation from the navy and pan-american. airways they would supply weather information and the army used the same technique to deliver the 17's from hamilton 17's from hamilton field to hawaii. >> [inaudible]
>> the question had to do with l at kaneohe. it is called kansas hill. i have seen a record of the incomplete control tower being strafed up there by the incoming fighters, but this is the first time i have heard of men firing from that position. perhaps more legend. >> when you are writing, it is difficult to sift out the legends because you want to include everything that is
compelling but you have to weigh the evidence. >> [inaudible] >> the question is about the japanese aviator who was brought down. from the surviving accounts, they say that all of a sudden it looked like there was nobody flying the aircraft. it slowly inverted. the torque on the single-engine fighter, if you are not applying pressure, it will slowly invert the aircraft. so they think that he just inverted and went into the ground on the west side of the hill. >> anything else? gentleman, thank you for a masterful presentation. this is really amazing. how many new things 40 years on
that are still being added to the historical record. we would like to thank you for your contribution. >> thank you very much. >> thank you for having us. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. conversation, like us on facebook. 2016 isn's campaign taking you on the road to the white house. on monday, our live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. et on c-span and c-span2 truck. -- c-span2. we will take you to a democratic caucus on c-span2.
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