By Frank Denzler Rushville Republican
---- — Saturday will mark the 72 anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the event that directly led to the United States’ involvement in World War II.
On the fateful morning of Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, the Japanese launched a surprise attack against U.S. forces stationed in Hawaii. It is believed that by launching the attack on a Sunday, Japanese Commander, Admiral Nagumo, intended to find the entire U.S. fleet in port.
Fortunately, U.S. aircraft carriers weren’t docked and the battleship USS Enterprise was returning from a mission at Wake Island at the time of the attack.
The surprise attack was three-fold, with the first attack taking place at 6 a.m. and carried out by 183 Japanese fighters and torpedo bombers striking airfields in Hickam, Kaneohe and EWA.
A little more than an hour later, on Dec. 7, 1941, at 7:15 a.m., a second strike on the same targets began and involved an additional 167 enemy aircraft.
Those attacks were followed by a third attempt to destroy the American fleet when 40 Nakajima B5N2 torpedo bombers, 51 Aichi D3A1 dive bombers, 50 high altitude bombers and 43 Zeros again struck both the airfields and Pearl Harbor.
Once the bombing subsided, 218 U.S. citizens, 2,008 U.S. Navy personnel, 109 United States Marines and 68 civilians were killed with an additional 1,178 individuals wounded in action.
The U. S. Naval fleet lost the USS Arizona and the USS Oklahoma. The USS West Virginia and USS California both sank as result of the attack, but were later raised and repaired. A number of cruisers, destroyers and other boats sustained varying degrees of damage in addition to 188 American aircraft that were destroyed.
According to many veterans, most Americans only know of World War II through history books and television documentaries.
No local memorial service will be held Saturday, however local Veterans hope that all Americans take a brief moment to remember the service men, women and civilians that lost their lives that morning nearly three quarters of a century ago.
According to Rush County resident, Sgt. Major Bob Brown (USMC retired) although a Pearl Harbor Day serves an annual reminder and historical event in our country, it is more important that Americans remember there is a price for freedom and on Dec. 7, 1941, many American’s paid the ultimate sacrifice for many of the freedoms we enjoy today.
Contact: Frank Denzler @ 765.932.2222 x106.