Sunday, December 7, 2014


Battleship Row 7:55 AM

If we had the Internet, social media and smart phones back then maybe the two bored, hungry operators of that newfangled gizmo could have sent HQ a screen shot of that large blob appearing on their radar fast approaching from the north.

The rookie Captain of the USS Ward could have texted a photo of a periscope peeking up from waters where it should not be.

And field workers, who do not get Sunday morning off, could have confirmed things with a panoramic Facebook post of a flock of inbound fighters, set against a gorgeous Hawaiian sky, bearing a distinctive red zero at the end of each wing.

Thus the fleet in general would have had precious advance warning.  The USS Arizona in particular would have been able to scramble anti-aircraft personnel to their battle stations, perhaps in time to distract the pilot before he dropped his payload with a one-in-a-million result.

 USS Arizona, December 7, 1941 "A day that will live in infamy"

In fact, if the Japanese had broken off their 2 hour bombardment just 10 minutes into the attack, half the causalities had already been inflicted by the catastrophic explosion of the USS Arizona, snuffing out the lives 1,177 sailors and marines, including 23 sets of brothers. 

And if he were still alive on that fine Sunday morning 73 years ago, Colonel Billy Mitchell could have sent out a single tweet:  "I told you so."

USS Arizona today


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Larry, for remembering what we should never forget. The "day that shall live in infamy."

Anonymous said...

Hats off, gentlemen and ladies. Let Pearl Harbor be remembered with solemnity and reverence.

Anonymous said...

For those who want to remember the moment at the moment, the news came in on one's radio at just about 2:20 pm Eastern Standard Time on that Sunday.

This was a time when Sunday afternoon was something a lot quieter and more sedate than it is now.

Dr. Ed said...

The fact remains that (a) all of the aircraft carriers just happened to not be in port that morning, and (b) other than shore bombardment, the battleships really didn't play a role in the war.

Designed to sink other battleships, they were already obsolete for much of anything beyond being a platform for their 16 inch guns.

And for all the "Bush Lied, People Diee" stuff, never forget that FDR had won re=election by promising that he would "not send your boys off to fight in a foreign war."

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but I am not getting my World War II history from Dr. Ed.

Anonymous said...

Ed's well-taken point being that with a majority-isolationist USA populace in 1941, the only way to get the nation to mobilize for war against the Nazi Germany-Fascist Italy-Imperial Japan-Axis was to let some obsolete battleships (and many lives) be sacrificed….

(Sometimes one has to destroy one's-own village in order to save it?)

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Who Do you get it from?

Anonymous said...

"Ed's well-taken point" because you want to believe it.

Another cockamamie theory that depends on government's omni-competence when what we experience far more frequently in government's incompetence, at least on the first try.

It also depends on FDR's venality beyond all measure. And where's the evidence for that?

Reasoning backward from the outcome is the dumbest history of all.

Anonymous said...

Is that what we're doing in Amherst?

Destroying the village in order to save it?

Or saving the village in order to destroy it?

I can't tell.

Anonymous said...

Either way, it's f***ed.