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Pearl Harbor Remembered

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[ Originally Posted On: Dec.7.2009 ] I have reposted this article that I had written last year, as this day in history still inflames me to no end. This is of course a very passionate emotion that I put to writing and represents 100% of my pure opinion and thoughts on the matter. Agree to disagree, the following is mine, and mine alone. Do not forget those who have gone before you, those that have dropped everything to serve their country, and those that lost their lives, never to see their loved ones again. – Larry

( An opinionated view on that day. )

3,500 members of our military fell on December 7th, 1941 after a ” Surprise ” attack on our Pacific Naval Fleet, located at Pearl Harbor, Oahu Hawaii.

An event that was forecasted and perhaps even known about prior to happening, that soon cast our nation into a world war.

Apart from the multitudes of lives and material lost. It was also the awakening of a giant. Prior to this event, our country was ranked at 16th in the world, military power wise. An isolationist attitude ruled the citizens, as the memory of the prior European conflict and bloodshed was still fresh in their minds.

The average American citizen had no desire to enter another world war, and preferred to be left alone. Trade was heavy with all nations involved. Military supplies were being sold to England, France, Spain, Italy, and even Germany.

The one nation that was being snubbed, was that of Imperial Japan. Much like the trade embargoes we have in place against Cuba, and Iran, we placed an embargo on Japan because of its aggressive military actions in the South Pacific.

Of course this action was not designed to make friends.

Imperial Japan had already charted it’s destiny. A series of conquests designed to engulf the resource rich land, and the strategic chunks of real estate that it could use to feed and supply its massive military. The United States was merely just one nation, withproperty that was wedged in with a handful of other European colonies, that Japan coveted.

Japan knew that it could not just circle around the United States to attack, and occupy the Dutch, English, and French territories. Doing so would leave them exposed and vulnerable. Not to mention the fact that the United States would most likely assist their allies when their territory was threatened.

They had one chance, they determined that could buy them the time they needed to occupy the territory andresources they needed, with little chance of an immediate intervention from the United States. They had to strike out at the American Pacific fleet. Catch their armada, carriers and all at their homeport when they least expected it, and to cause as much destruction as possible. For they all knew, that if the American fleet in Hawaii was not crippled, it would only be a matter of time before American ships were sailing outside of Japan.

This decision was made months and months prior to the actual attack.

The average American citizen knew nothing of Japans intent, and most of the common citizen was content with the notion that they were safe and secure, as they were not going to be involved in this war.

Here we deviate from what the History books taught you as a school child. It is said that Japan took us by complete surprise on the morning of Dec 7th. This_photograph_shows_President_Franklin_Roosevelt_signing_the_Declaration_of_War_against_Japan,_which_he_did_on_this_date,_December_8,_1941_The President, F.D Roosevelt delivered an inspiring speech the next day, and within 3 more days, America was once again, involved in a world conflict.

The reality that history teaches us, and the mountains of documents historians have shoveled through, sheds light on this moment in time.

This research indicates that our government knew full well, of the Japanese intent. Mind you, we held possessions scattered all over the Pacific ocean. We had a network of weather stations, listening posts, and locals who constantly relayed information back to Washington D.C. Not to mention the fact that we had the Japanese embassy bugged, and we were listening in to all of the cables back and forth from D.C to Tokyo.

Yet the attack on our brave sailors stationed on Oahu, was a complete surprise.
America had no desire as mentioned before, to be involved in another foreign conflict.

Yet the administration of FDR was under pressure from our erstwhile allies over in Europe. FDR desired nothing more then to jump into the fight, along side England and France. And for many reasons.

Our nation was still reeling from the Great Depression. War just so happens to create Jobs. Employment in the military, and the industrial machine that is required to support and maintain that level of military involvement.

Not to mention the flow of supplies of food, medicines and war material that could be sold at profit to the allied nations. FDR wanted to push our nation into the conflict for these reasons. Yet the American people wanted nothing to do with it.

When information regarding the Japanese military movements reached Washington D.C, the timing could not be better.

The carriers stationed at Pearl, were sent off on exercises outside of Hawaii, and what remained was the venerated Battleships, Destroyers, Escorts, Tenders, and a host of AirCraft.

The men were engrossed in the task of their shipboard duties. And were what the history books tell us, “totally suprised” by the white, red dotted air craft flying over head. japanese-zeroGuns were covered, ammunition crates were locked away in the armories.

The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships (two of which were raised and returned to service later in the war) and damaged four more. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer, destroyed 188 aircraft, and caused personnel losses of 2,402 killed nd 1,282 wounded. The power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers andheadquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not hit. Japanese losses were minimal, with 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded. One Japanese sailor was captured.

One of the greatest tragedies apart from the sinking of the USS Arizona, was the the sinking\capsizing of the USS Oklahoma.

The Okie capsized after taking multiple torpedo hits below the water line, trapping a large number of her crew below decks as the ship went belly up.

Sailors outside the vessel struggled to free the entrapped men, even to the point of setting up torches on the overturned hull , and cutting squares through the thick steel.uss-oklahoma The problem there, once the holes were opened, the trapped air rushed out, and the water ran in, drowning a countless number of sailors.

There the rescue operations halted. One of the more horrifying stories, tells a tale of a group of sailors, who were trapped in a forward hold as the ship capsized. They had access to a small supply of water and food. The room they were in, was sealed, and on the otherside was water. Trapped, they had no choice but to sit and wait.

Each took turns utilizing hand tools, and tapping away on the metal bulkheads, to let those outside the ship know that they were still in there, and where they could be found..

Days went by…a week goes by…two weeks go by… tap. tap. tap. tap.

Everyone knew they were there, but the government forbade any more rescue attempts, as the damage it could of caused to the ship would of been crippling, as they planned to pump the water out of the ship, and refloat and repair and get it back into service. No more attempts would be made that could potentially damage the ship.

Tap. tap. tap. then silence.

After the ship was refloated, clean up crews were working on the ship,when they found the space the sailors had holed up in. They found the men sitting and laying around as if they were just placed there. They found lanterns, containers empty of food, and even a calendar that was marked each day by the trapped crewmen. Almost a month went by before they died.

A month of tap. tap. tap. Waiting for a rescue that never came. Sailors and civilians who were working on the vessel were sword to secrecy under penalty, and the government informed the families of the sailors that they were missing in action, and or killed in action, on the morning of Dec. 7th. The families did not find out the truth of the matter, until 50 years later.

There are MANY similar stories of suffering and misery suffered by our military that day. The shock that gripped our nation was complete and the nation began its march of war.

As with today, the events leading up to a certain moment in our histories, or the decisions of our politicians, all mean little, as it is the service member and their families that made the moment.

Regardless of the truth of what happened on that day on December 7th. Our proud fleet took a unprecedented battering, never before seen on this side of the globe. 3,500 men were killed or severely wounded. Many of them young farm boys far from their home.

This day marks the remembrance of those who fought, lived, and died in the waters of Oahu, Hawaii. The the fight they took to the shores of Japan.

Disagree with your government. Honor the memory of the warriors that allowed you the right to disagree. Remember where we have been, and what we have accomplished, and the price it entailed.

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on December 7, 2010, 7:10 am. Filed under Editorial, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry