Friday, December 7, 2012

As Survivors Make One Final Trip to Pearl Harbor, Female Reporter's Account of Pear Harbor Sees the Light of Day for the First Time in 70 Years

December 7th, 1941 marks the date of the US entry into World War II with the Imperial Japanese Navy's air attack on the US Navy's Pacific fleet. The aerial assault killed an estimated 2400 sailors and Marines, with approximately half of them on the USS Arizona when she was hit by a Japanese bomb.

In 1962, a little over 20 years after the Pearl Harbor attack, a memorial for the USS Arizona was dedicated- since 1980, the site has been jointly administered by the US Navy and National Parks. In 1990s, the battleship USS Missouri on which the formal Japanese surrender agreement was signed, was decommissioned and in 1999 moved to Pearl Harbor where she remains with her bow facing the Arizona and memorial.

At present, there are 13 known Arizona survivors. Within the last year, two survivors had passed away- 93 year old Glenn Lane of Oak Harbor, WA and 86 year old Frank Carbiness of Lewisville, TX- had requested that their ashes be interred on the USS Arizona so they could be reunited with friends they lost on Dec 7th.

As America marks the anniversary of the Japanese bombing of the Pearl Harbor, a contemporary account of that infamous day from a young Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter deemed to graphic by her editors and military censor is now seeing the light of day.
I reported for work immediately on Sunday morning when the first news — Oahu is being attacked — crackled over the radio, sandwiched in a church program.

Like the rest of Hawaii, I refused to believe it. All along the sunny road to town were people just coming out of church, dogs lazy in the driveways, mynas in noisy convention.

Then, from the neighborhood called Punchbowl, I saw a formation of black planes diving straight into the ocean off Pearl Harbor. The blue sky was punctured with anti-aircraft smoke puffs. Suddenly, there was a sharp whistling sound, almost over my shoulder, and below, down on School Street. I saw a rooftop fly into the air like a pasteboard movie set.

For the first time, I felt that numb terror that all of London has known for months. It is the terror of not being able to do anything but fall on your stomach and hope the bomb won't land on you. It's the helplessness and terror of sudden visions of a ripping sensation in your back, shrapnel coursing through your chest, total blackness, maybe death.

The vision of death became reality when I was assigned to cover the emergency room of the hospital.

The first victims of the Japanese-American war were brought there on that bright Sunday morning.
Concerned that her accounts of dead and maimed sailors and civilians in Honolulu would undermine morale as the US entred World War II, Elizabeth McIntosh's editors declined to publish her piece. Within weeks, McIntosh- who was fluent in Japanese- would move to the nation's capital and be assigned to cover First Lady Elanor Roosevelt by the Scripps-Howard News Service before being recruited by the Office of Strategic Services- the precursor to the CIA.

Washington Post Photo
While with the OSS, McIntosh was stationed in Burma and India where she was one of the relatively few women assigned to Morale operations, where she would produce phony postcards, news reports and radio messages to undermine Japanese morale. After World War II, McIntosh would leave the intelligence field briefly before joining up with the CIA from 1958 to 1973.
McIntosh would chronicle her own OSS experience as well as those of others when she authored a book called Sisterhood of Spies: The Women of the OSS in 1998. McIntosh, 97, currently resides in Lake Ridge, VA and was able to get the Washington Post to publish the piece her editors in Hawaii rejected more than 70 years ago.

[Hat tip- Gateway Pundit, library of Virginia]

No comments:

Post a Comment