With assignments memorized by constant training, the first wave of planes attacked at 7:55 a.m. At about the same time, fighters and dive bombers hit the airfields at Kaneohe, Hickam, Ewa, Bellows and Wheeler. "Like a thunderclap from a clear sky," Japanese carrier attack planes (in both torpedo and high-level bombing roles) and bombers, supported by fighters, numbering 353 aircraft from six aircraft carriers, attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in two waves, as … “Gus” Widhelm of Scouting Eight, Machinist's Mate First Class Robert R. Scott, Background: Navy Awards Two Medals for Valor at Pearl Harbor, Silver Star: LTJG Aloysius H. Schmitt, CHC, USN, Historic Manuscript: U.S. Navy and Hawaii, Pearl Harbor Revisited: U.S. Navy Communications Intelligence, Statement Regarding Winds Message by Captain L.F. Safford, Ships Commemorating Sailors for Their Actions at Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor: Why, How, Fleet Salvage and Final Appraisal, Places-Shore Facilities--Bases-Stations-Labs-Installations. Remembrance Resources Nitaka." Under the direction of Commander Mitsuo Fuchida, who would lead the air assault on Pearl Harbor, the "impossible" task of an aerial torpedo attack was made possible. Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh onboard the battleship Arizona, and Captain Mervyn S. Bennion onboard the battleship West Virginia directed the defense of their ships under heavy fire, until the ships were sunk and they were killed. Although he was reluctant to push toward war, he possessed a strong sense of duty. Pearl Harbor attack, (December 7, 1941), surprise aerial attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu Island, Hawaii, by the Japanese that precipitated the entry of the United States into World War II. An American embargo cut off shipments of scrap steel, raw materials, oil and high-octane gasoline, while freezing Japanese financial assets in the United States. At 7:05 the carriers again swung eastward into the wind and began launching 167 aircraft. "Like a thunderclap from a clear sky," Japanese carrier attack planes (in both torpedo and high-level bombing roles) and bombers, supported by fighters, numbering 353 aircraft from six aircraft carriers, attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor in two waves, as well as nearby naval and military airfields and bases. Meanwhile on Oahu, two warnings of the impending attack occurred. Casualties amounted to: killed or missing: Navy, 2,008; Marine Corps, 109; Army, 218; civilian, 68; and wounded: Navy, 710; Marine Corps, 69; Army, 364; civilian, 35. I wonder whether the politicians of the day really have the willingness to make sacrifices, and the confidence, that this would entail? was accurate. Japan had seen the United States expand its naval authority in the Pacific in the late 1930s. At the launching, two Zero fighters dropped from the mission: One crashed into the sea on takeoff, another developed engine trouble and was left on board the carrier. The battleships CALIFORNIA, OKLAHOMA, WEST VIRGINIA, NEVADA and ARIZONA were sunk, as was the old battleship UTAH then being used as a target and antiaircraft training vessel. "Air Raid Pearl Harbor, this is no drill!" The signal was given to assume attack formation. Excerpt from the Submerged Cultural Resources Study: USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor National Historic Landmark. A screening force of submarines traveled 200 miles ahead, and as the fleet approached Hawaii, it received up-to-date reports from agents on Oahu as well as the submarines, which finally were picketed around the islands. Yamamoto expressed doubt, apprehension and disgust over Japan's headlong push toward conflict. In the spring of 1940 Japan's air fleet had conducted aerial torpedo exercises under the watchful eyes of Yamamoto and Rear Admiral Shigeru Fukudome, head of the first division of the naval general staff. The fleet was to press forward and attack on Sunday, December 7, 1941, Hawaii time. The Japanese, having only a six-month supply of strategic fuel available for its armed forces, felt the only choice was to initiate the conquest of Southeast Asia, which meant in evitable war with America, Britain, and the Netherlands. Countless acts of valor went unrecorded, as many witnesses died in the attack. It was his contention that the mission was accomplished. At 6:20 Commander Fuchida led the first wave of planes toward Pearl Harbor. It was given on September 6, 1941, at an Imperial Conference. The First Air Fleet had held maneuvers for almost a year, and the results were promising. Admiral Nagumo had feared the operation would not be successful, yet he had achieved successful results with minimal casualties. A task force of 32 vessels -- particularly the carriers AKAGI, HIRYU, SORYU, KAGA, ZUIKAKU and SHOKAKU --was dubbed the "Kido Butai" (Strike Force). Ensign Francis Flaherty and Seaman First Class J. Richard Ward, onboard the battleship Oklahoma, sacrificed their lives to enable turret crews to escape before the ship capsized. Those without weapons to fight took great risk to save wounded comrades and to save their ships. (Agawa 1979:291). The Special Attack Unit of midget submarines had lost 10 crewmen and all five boats, one boat and one prisoner were captured by Americans the following day on the beaches near Bellows Airfield. Initially, the American response to the attack was sporadic, but within five minutes American vessels began to fire back in earnest against the attackers. The bolstering of defenses in the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Midway and Wake Island, as well as stationing the United States Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, made America the first priority for a Japanese attack. At the time of the attack, Hawaii was an American territory, and the military base at Pearl Harbor was home to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet. was relayed to the fleet. Such a "surprise strategical" attack, bold and daring in its execution, would secure the Pacific and initiate the war, following in the tradition of the Japanese naval victory over the Russians at Port Arthur in 1904 and the opening maneuvers in Japan's invasion of China. This pre-arranged message signaled the final decision to wage war. Secretly assembling on Tankan Bay in Northern Japan, the force was placed under the direct command of Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo. Most importantly, the shock and anger that Americans felt in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor united the nation and was translated into a collective commitment to victory in World War II. The plan had been mentioned before. The 45-foot average depth of Pearl Harbor and the short runs necessary to sink ships there were dealt with by adding wooden fins to the torpedoes, altering the arming devices, and by training in simulated conditions. That more Japanese aircraft were not shot down had nothing to do with the skill, training, or bravery of our Sailors and other servicemembers. At 6:00 a.m. on November 26, 1941, the Japanese fleet weighed anchor and slipped out to sea for Hawaii. There was a momentary lull before the second wave of Japanese planes arrived at 8:50 a.m. No torpedo planes came with the second group of dive and high-altitude bombers. Japanese losses amounted to fewer than 100 men and 29 planes. Twenty-nine Japanese planes were lost, along with 55 airmen. Onboard the battleship California, Chief Radioman Thomas J. Reeves, Machinist's Mate First Class Robert R. Scott and Ensign Herbert C. Jones stayed at their posts at the cost of their lives to keep power and ammunition flowing to the antiaircraft guns as long as possible. More important, American carriers and other ships not in port were now searching for him. Conventional aerial torpedoes plunged to more than 100 feet in depth and ran a long distance to arm. Fifteen U.S. Navy personnel were awarded the Medal of Honor — ranging from seaman to rear admiral — for acts of courage above and beyond the call of duty, ten of them posthumously. Within two hours, most American air power in Hawaii was destroyed. It was part of a first wave of nearly 200 aircraft, including torpedo planes, bombers, and fighters. Already outraged by Japanese aggression in China, the Roosevelt administration introduced economic sanctions to make its point clear: The United States would not facilitate Japan's expansion into the Pacific, just as it opposed German expansion in Europe. In passing conversation, almost in a whisper, Yamamoto had said, "I wonder if an aerial attack can't be made at Pearl Harbor?" Two Pearl Harbor Medals for Valor Awarded in 2017. Navy, Army, and Marine Corps facilities suffered varying degrees of damage, while 188 Navy, Marine Corps, and U.S. Army Air Force planes were destroyed. With Japanese policy indicating that war was now inevitable, Yamamoto took a hard look at the navy and Japan's chances, noting he expected to "run wild" for six months, with the outcome after that up in the air.