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Apr-18-2013 12:30printcomments

Reflections on Pearl Harbor and World War II

Of our eight battleships at Pearl Harbor, four were sunk and the others were badly damaged.

Salem-News.com

(WASHINGTON DC) - What I learned history in school – and as it usually is taught even today – is that the surprise attack on our forces in Hawaii by the Imperial Japanese Navy was devastating.

The Naval base at Pearl Harbor and the Army Air Corps base at Hickam Field were attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes launched from six aircraft carriers.

Of our eight battleships, four were sunk and the others were badly damaged. Many other ships and planes were destroyed. But consider this assessment by an expert. It makes me feel strongly – tears come to my eyes each time I read it. America is a special nation.

World War II shaped the modern world.  It was a major event in world history.  According to the Ken Burns television documentary, World War II, there were 60 million people who died as a result of the war – civilians, mostly.  Americans by the millions served in the armed forces – 16 million.  By comparison, today, our forces number less than 2 million when our country has twice the total population.

Reflections on Pearl Harbor

(From a book by Admiral Chester W. Nimitz)On Sunday, December 7, 1941, Admiral Chester Nimitz was attending a concert in Washington, D.C. He was paged and told there was a phone call for him. When he answered call, it was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on the phone. He told Admiral Nimitz that he (Nimitz) would now be the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.

Admiral Nimitz flew to Hawaii to assume command of the Pacific Fleet. He landed at Pearl Harbor on Christmas Eve, 1941. There was such a spirit of despair, dejection and defeat – you would have thought the Japanese had already won the war.

On Christmas Day, 1941, Admiral Nimitz was given a boat tour of the destruction wrought on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. Big sunken battleships and navy vessels cluttered the waters everywhere you looked.

As the tour boat returned to dock, the young helmsman of the boat asked, "Well Admiral, what do you think after seeing all this destruction?"

Admiral Nimitz's reply shocked everyone within the sound of his voice.  Admiral Nimitz said, "The Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could ever make, or God was taking care of America.  Which do you think it was?"

Shocked and surprised, the young helmsman asked, "What do you mean by saying the Japanese made the three biggest mistakes an attack force ever made?"


Mistake number one:

The Japanese attacked on Sunday morning.  Nine out of every ten crewmen of those ships were ashore on leave.  If those same ships had been lured to sea and been sunk, we would have lost 38,000 men instead of 3,800.

Mistake number two:

When the Japanese saw all those battleships lined in a row, they got so carried away sinking those battleships, they never once bombed our dry docks opposite those ships.  If they had destroyed our dry docks, we would have had to tow every one of those ships to America to be repaired.  As it is now, the ships are in shallow water and can be raised.  One tug can pull them over to the dry docks, and we can have them repaired and at sea by the time we could have towed them to America.  And I already have crews ashore anxious to man those ships.

Mistake number three:

Every drop of fuel in the Pacific theater of war is in top of the ground storage tanks five miles away over that hill.  One attack plane could have strafed those tanks and destroyed our fuel supply.

That's why I say the Japanese made three of the biggest mistakes an attack force could make.  Yes, God was taking care of America, and there is a reason that our national motto is 

 

IN GOD WE TRUST

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