Very few people knew or remember the time a Japanese submarine came up the Pacific Coast of California and into the Santa Barbara Channel to a strip of land a few miles north of the city of Santa Barbara, where the largest oil refinery in California was located.
The Japanese seamen came on deck, loaded their guns and fired 26 shells on the refinery in about an hour’s time, but caused very little damage. It only scared the workers half to death.
This happened early in the morning in February 1942, two months after the Japanese attacked Hawaii and the United States declared war on Japan.
It also happened during one of the ‘Fireside Chats’ of our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Very little was known or talked about the attack. The President and our military did not want the American people to know that Japan had the capability to attack the United States.
In my years as a noncommissioned officer in charge of printing for the Air Force, I saw a lot of classified material, but this attack on California was never classified, it was just never talked about.
The oil refinery is long gone, and was replaced by a large golf course.