OREGON COAST BOMBED BY THE JAPANESE DURING WORLD WAR II
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Uploaded on Aug 12, 2008
In the predawn darkness of September 9, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-25 surfaced off the southern coast of Oregon near Cape Blanco. The Japanese crew quickly assembled a small modified Zero (Glen) floatplane and launched pilot Nobuo Fujita and his observer Shoji Okuda into the foggy skies above.
The Japanese mission was to "strike terror into the hearts of the American people" by starting devastating forest fires and diverting much-needed resources from fighting the war. The bombings could also force the United States Navy to retreat from the Pacific to protect the West Coast.
Fujita flew his plane to the southeast and dropped two 170 lb. thermite incendiary bombs on Wheeler ridge near Mt. Emily (19-miles east of Brookings). This was the first aerial bombing raid of the United States mainland by a foreign power. Fires were started by the resulting explosions but were quickly extinguished by forest service personnel.
On September 29, Fujita and Okuda flew a second bombing mission from submarine I-25 and dropped two more bombs near Port Orford. (The remnants of these bombs were never found.)
In 1962, peace efforts after the war brought pilot Fujita back to the United States where he -- along with his son - presented his family's 400-year-old Samurai sword to the city of Brookings to apologize for his wartime bombing raids. (Observer Shoji Okuda was killed during the war in the Pacific.) The sword had been with him during the bombing raids of 1942. "It is the finest of samurai traditions to pledge peace and friendship by submitting the sword to a former enemy." The sword now hangs in a special display at the Chetco Community Public Library in Brookings.
Fifty years after the Oregon bombings, Fujita returned to the forest he once bombed and planted a redwood tree, which he called a "symbol of friendship and peace." Soon after Fujita's death in 1997, his daughter Yoriko Asakura brought some of her father's ashes and buried them near the tree Fujita had planted years earlier.
Nobuo Fujita still remains the only enemy pilot to have ever dropped bombs on the continental United States.
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