Pearl Harbor was the worse disaster that the United States ever experienced, along with 9/11.
During the attack on Hawaii, it was over an hour before the White House got word of the attack. Communication between Hawaii and the United States was limited and bad.
The White House was afraid the Japanese were listening in on the talks between the United States and Hawaii. Hawaii was the largest and heaviest-armed base in the Pacific, and now it was in ruins.
It was first thought that one carrier and 50 planes were involved, but later it was found to be six carriers and 350 planes in the raid. When the Japanese left Hawaiian waters, some Americans took off from the bases all over Hawaii, and it was thought a second wave of Japanese planes were on their way back for another attack.
The President and our military leaders thought Japan would attack our west coast. They interned many Japanese-Americans in Hawaii and California.
The Japanese thought that bombers could not take off from aircraft carriers and that the United States was not capable of attacking Japan from the sea. But we proved them wrong when Col. Doolittle was told by our president to train a bombing crew in secret to be able to take off from a carrier to bomb Japan.
Four months after Pearl Harbor, 16 B-52 bombers took off from the U.S.S. Hornet to strike targets in Japan.
I’ve been to Hawaii eight times, before and after it became a state, and once was assigned there. Our large headquarter barracks had many holes in the walls from the attack. Some of those holes were never repaired, only painted over, to remind us of the sneak attack.
I was in Japan twice after the war and saw the scars left by our bombing crews.
Let us not forget Pearl Harbor. I certainly will not.
Contributing writer Everett Vanover lives in Fairfield, Calif.