december 7, 1941

Most American school children learn that Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, leading us to join World War II. This week marks the 75th anniversary of Japanese-Americans being subsequently rounded up and interned as suspected enemies of the state. But there’s another tragic and untold story of American citizens who were also interned during the war. I’m a member of the Ahtna tribe of Alaska and I’ve spent the better part of 30 years uncovering and putting together fragments of a story that deserves to be told.

In June 1942, Japan invaded and occupied Kiska and Attu, the westernmost islands of Alaska’s Aleutian Chain, an archipelago of 69 islands stretching some 1,200 miles across the North Pacific Ocean toward Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. From a strategic perspective, Japan wanted to close what they perceived as America’s back door to the Far East. For thousands of years, the islands have been inhabited by a resourceful indigenous people called Aleuts. During the Russian-American Period (1733 to 1867), when Alaska was a colonial possession of Russia, Russian fur-seekers decimated Aleut populations through warfare, disease, and slavery.

Shortly after Japan’s invasion, American naval personnel arrived with orders to round up and evacuate Aleuts from the Aleutian Chain and the Pribilof Islands to internment camps almost 2,000 miles away near Juneau. Stewardship of the internment camps would fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USF&WS). Furthermore, orders included the burning of the villages to the ground, including their beloved churches, as part of a “scorched earth” policy. The Army’s stated purpose was to protect the Aleuts, who were American citizens, from the dangers of war. But one officer told astonished Aleuts that it was, as he put it, “Because ya’ll look like Japs and we wouldn’t want to shoot you.” That exchange is part of a documentary video called Aleut Evacuation.

The Other WWII American-Internment Atrocity

Photo: National Archives, General Records of the Department of the Navy

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Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor which officially catapulted the United States into the Second World War.

This illustration from 1943 depicts Doris “Dorie” Miller (1919-1943), an African-American sailor from Waco, Texas during that fateful morning in 1941 as he defends the fleet at Pearl Harbor from the USS West Virginia. Despite not being trained on the .50 caliber Browning, Miller impressively managed to shoot down an estimated 3 to 4 Japanese planes until he ran out of ammunition. At that point, Miller began to help moving injured sailors out of harm’s way before abandoning the ship.

For his efforts on that day, Miller was awarded the US Navy Cross and was lauded as one of the first American heroes in Second World War (as the pin shows).

Miller would unfortunately be killed in action onboard the USS Liscome Bay during the battle of Makin Island 1943.

(US National Archives, USAmericana)

Between two Atlantic convoy escorts, on December 7, 1941:
1st ship:
COMMENCE HOSTILITIES WITH JAPAN.
2nd ship:
REQUEST PERMISSION TO FINISH BREAKFAST FIRST.
—  Make Another Signal, by Captain Jack Broome, RN (Ret.)
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9 iconic quotes from Pearl Harbor, World War II

The day after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a joint session of Congress. His speech that day, which summoned a nation to war, would become among the most iconic in American history — particularly Roosevelt’s famous line describing the outrageous attack the prior day:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

Times of crisis often bring out the best in orators. USA TODAY Network looks back at some other famous quotes from the World War II era — both before and after the “date which will live in infamy.”

U.S. history books tend to leap from December 7, 1941, directly to the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, with perhaps at most a terse sentence or two devoted to General MacArthur and the Philippines somewhere in between. Little or no attention was (or is) accorded the sacrificial role played by the aging, outnumbered vessels of the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. This symbolic force, a vestige of the nineteenth-century station fleet system and never intended to serve as a bulwark against Japanese aggression, was snubbed by MacArthur himself—a charismatic leader fond of saying that “man’s noblest quality” was sacrifice. The general smirked in Adm. Thomas Hart’s face in the fall of 1941, taunting him, “Get yourself a real fleet, Tommy, then you will belong.” One wonders how much contemptuous humor MacArthur had left to spew at the Asiatic Fleet’s “combat inferiority” in March 1942, when he and his family were evacuated by Bulkley’s PT boats, or “delivered from the Jaws of Death,” as the general phrased his escape with characteristic bombast.
—  A Blue Sea Of Blood: Deciphering The Mysterious Fate of the USS Edsall, by Donald M. Kehn

It’s Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage month as well as being Women’s HIstory Month, so today I thought I wold profile Yuri Kochiyama

Today’s woman of the day is Yuri Kochiyama. Kochiyama was a Japanese American human rights activist.

Mary Yuriko Nakahara was born on May 19, 1921 in San Pedro, California to Japanese immigrants. Her family was relatively affluent and she grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood. In her youth she attended church and taught Sunday school. Kochiyama attended San Pedro High School. She attended Compton Junior College, where she studied English, journalism, and art. Yuri Kochiyama was a school teacher at the Presbyterian church close to where she resided.

Her life changed on December 7, 1941, when the Japanese Empire bombed Pearl Harbor. After the bombings, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which consisted of three tall white men,barged through looking for her father. Within a matter of minutes, the three white men took her father away as he was considered a “suspect” who could threaten national security. Her father was sick to begin with and he was just released from the hospital when the FBI arrested him. Her father died the day after his release.

The U.S. government ordered Yuri, her mother and brother to leave their home in San Pedro. They were forced to move to the War Relocation Authority concentration camp at Jerome, Arkansas, where they lived for the next three years. While interned, she met her husband, Bill Kochiyama. The couple moved to New York in 1948 and lived in public housing for the next twelve years.

In 1960, Kochiyama and her husband Bill moved to Harlem in New York City and became acquainted with Malcolm X and was a member of his Organization of Afro-American Unity. She was present at his assassination on February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem, and held him in her arms as he lay dying. She was able to form with a bond with Malcolm X because she saw that African Americans were being oppressed as well. She was sitting in the front of the Ballroom when assassins came in and killed him.

In 1977, Kochiyama joined the group of Puerto Ricans that took over the Statue of Liberty to draw attention to the struggle for Puerto Rican independence. Kochiyama and other activists demanded the release of five Puerto Rican nationalists who were jailed in the United States for more than 20 years. According to Kochiyama, despite a strong movement enabling them to occupy the statue for nine hours, they intended to “give up peacefully when the police came.” The five Puerto Ricans were eventually released.

Kochiyama also became a mentor during the Asian American movement that grew during and after the Vietnam War protests. Yuri and her husband could secure reparations and government apologies for injustices toward Asian Americans such as the Japanese American internment. President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 which, among other things, awarded $20,000 to each Japanese American internment survivor.

In 2005, Kochiyama was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize through the “1,000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize 2005” project

“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build”.

Yuri Kochiyama
1921-2014

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USAF history of the Thunderbirds.
On 19 September 1985, the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron was consolidated by Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA) with the 30th Bombardment Squadron, a unit which was organized on 13 June 1917.

During its operational history, the 30th served in World War I as a training unit in France, its mission to train fighter pilots to go into combat on the Western Front. The squadron was almost torpedoed on its troop ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. Stationed at Clark Field in the Philippines on 7 December 1941, it was almost wiped out in the 1941 Battle of the Philippines. Some members of the squadron fought as an infantry unit and were captured by the Japanese, being subjected to the Bataan Death March. The squadron was withdrawn to Australia, being reformed and later attacked Japan as a B-29 Superfortress squadron in 1945. It was awarded nine Presidential Unit Citations in World War II. During the Korean War, the 30th attacked North Korean targets with B-29 Superfortresses.

Present-day USAF Thunderbirds carry the lineage, history, and honors of the 30th on active duty.
Fighters:
6 – F-16C Fighting Falcons
2 – F-16D Fighting Falcons

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St. Lucas, Iowa
Population: 143

“Born in St. Lucas, Iowa, Father Aloysius H. Schmitt studied at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa and graduated in 1932. He then studied in Rome for the priesthood. He was ordained on December 8, 1935. Father Schmitt was first assigned as an associate at Saint Mary’s Church in Dubuque. After four years, he received permission to become a chaplain, and joined the United States Navy. He was appointed Acting Chaplain with rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade on June 28, 1939.

On December 7, 1941, Father Schmitt was serving on board the battleship USS Oklahoma during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, when a hit caused the ship to capsize. A number of sailors, including Fr. Schmitt, were trapped in a compartment with only a small porthole as the means of escape. Father Schmitt helped a number of men through this porthole. When it came his time to leave, he declined and helped more men escape. In total, he helped 12 men escape.

Fr. Schmitt died on board the Oklahoma. He was the first chaplain of any faith to have died in World War II.”

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Not long after Pearl Harbor was attacked and the fighting moved elsewhere the enormous task of salvage and cleanup began. It was a task that would last most of the war. Reports and analysis of the vessels that had been damaged or sunk were made and sent back to the command in Washington, DC, for consideration. Photos were taken to document the different states of the vessels being worked on.

The reports provided a steady flow of information that was important to the operation and the decisions made by higher authorities about the efforts being made. This can be seen in the different reports. All but two ships were salvaged, the USS Arizona (BB-39) & the USS Utah (AG-16). (The USS Oklahoma [BB-37] was refloated, but the hulk sank while under tow to San Francisco in 1947).

These records would become a part of the War Damage Reports, which would comprise of similar reports for vessels that were damaged or sunk throughout the war.

Currently these reports are only available in paper format. The War Damage Reports are found under NAID 1105681 in the National Archives Catalog (https://catalog.archives.gov/id/1105681).

#PearlHarbor75 U.S. Navy #WWIIstories #PearlHarbor

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KILIEL WEEK DAY 6: FAVORITE AU

Soundtrack here

Tauriel and Kili could never have known how that chilly night in January of 1941 would change their lives. From their first meeting, they knew the other was something special, but can the adoptive daughter of a wealthy Dutchman and the son of a miner really get their happily ever after? Or will war, family troubles, and distance tear their worlds apart? [A 1940s/WWII Kiliel AU. Pairings: Kiliel, TBD. Characters: Tauriel, Kili, Fili, Thorin Oakenshield, Dis, Bilbo Baggins, Legolas, Thranduil, others TBD.]

(This is not a fic, but rather a brief intro. I’m writing a fic at a later date)

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