Pearl Harbor

Although the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor caught us off guard, not all American military planners were surprised. As far back as the 1920s some officers warned that the Japanese were to be our next enemy and that an attack on our Navy at a place like Pearl Harbor was inevitable. In 1924, Army Brig. Gen. William Mitchell reported his opinions concerning the Pacific Ocean area.
In his report he suggested how the Japanese might attack Pearl Harbor by air at 7:30 a.m. and that battleships would be particularly vulnerable to aerial attack. A 1927 Navy photographof the U.S. fleet in Guantanamo Bay showed how the orderly formation of battleships was “good hunting” for airplanes.
In 1937, Navy Lt. Comdr. Logan Ramsey published an article that was the basis for a news editorial. He stated that battleships anchored in neat lines were ideal targets for attack by aircraft. He also concluded that our fleet would be attackedfirst in order to leave us defenseless against further attacks. Lieutenant Commander Ramsey gained fame later at Pearl Harbor when he broadcast thefirst alert on December 7:
“AIR RAID PEARL HARBOR . . . This is no drill.”
Shortly after the Japanese attacked China in July 1937, and before the United States officially entered the war with Japan, Americans were fighting the Japanese in China. They were on hand as observers, advisers, and even recruiters for foreign air forces. They had to be extremely cautious in their activities since the United States was neutral at that time. One of these Americans was retired Army Capt. Claire L. Chennault.
During the summer of 1941, Chennault helped form and train a small group of former Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps pilots. The American Volunteer Group (AVG) was popularly known as the Flying Tigers because of their aircrafts’ distinctive shark’s mouth paint scheme. The Flying Tigers did not see combat until December 18, 1941. On July 4, 1942, t


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