December 7th, 1941 – President Franklin Roosevelt called it a date that will live in infamy. It’s the day the Japanese attacked the U-S Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor. The following day the U-S and Great Britain declared war on Japan.Relations between the United States and Japan had been tense for several years and a Japanese attack was expected, but nobody knew when or where. Not too many people suspected nearly the whole U-S fleet would be attacked.
An army radar operator who saw a large group of approaching planes was told to ignore them because they were expecting some B-17’s flying in from the mainland.
The attack was planned weeks in advance with the idea that by destroying the U-S Pacific fleet, Japan would have virtually a free ride to do whatever they wanted with little resistance.
The Japanese force totaled 30 ships including 6 carriers with 423 planes.
Eighteen U-S ships including eight battleships were hit, but except for the Arizona and Oklahoma, all were eventually repaired and returned to service. But three prime targets, the carriers Lexington, Enterprise and Saratoga were at sea when the attack took place. One of the key mistakes the Japanese made was that their submarines failed to finish off the crippled ships in the harbor. More than 180 U-S planes were destroyed.
24-hundred American sailors, soldiers and civilians were killed in the attack, two-thirds of them in the first 15 minutes. The total includes 11-hundred men on the Arizona. Their bodies remain inside the ship at the bottom of Pearl Harbor.
It happened 69 years ago today.