Remembering Pearl Harbor
Veterans & Family Service Office
There are very few left among us that witnessed or remember that fateful day on Sunday, December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. It was a day that forever changed the history of the United States.
The U.S. had sent many supplies to its allies, but tried to refrain from active fighting. The attack on Pearl Harbor changed that when the U.S. declared war on Japan the day after the attack. After the bombings, Imperial Japan declared war on the United States the same day. Within the next few days, Germany and Italy (who were allied with Japan) declared war on the United States, also.
For many months prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. and Japan had been in negotiations. Japan wanted the U.S. to stop sending support to its allies, stop aiding China, cease its sanctions against Japan and allow Japan to access resources in the oil rich Dutch East Indies. When Japan realized the U.S. was not going to agree with their demands, the attack on Pearl Harbor began.
The Hague Convention of 1907 is a written set of warfare rules to which countries other than the U.S. had agreed. Under these rules, Japan was to notify the U.S. of its intent to attack. The day before the attack, the U.S. intercepted a message from Japan inquiring about ship movements and birthing positions at Pearl Harbor.
Since the U.S. anticipated a strike from Japan in the Philippines, the intercepted message was not given priority: it would be addressed on Monday, December 8th. Prior to the attack, a large group of planes was spotted on radar heading to the island of Oahu. It was dismissed as likely being a group of U.S. B-17 bombers.
The Japanese Hague Convention of 1907 notification was delayed and not delivered to the U.S. until after the attack was already in progress. The attack lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes, 2,403 U.S. Personnel were killed, 1,178 wounded and 19 Navy vessels were destroyed or damaged. The Japanese were not able to locate the 3 aircraft carriers out to sea on maneuvers. For Japan, this meant anticipating an attack from the U.S., but when? One of the ships at Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona, remains as a sunken memorial and resting place for the many lives lost that day. They will not be Forgotten!
Army National Guard
Founded in Massachusetts, the Army National Guard’s 387th Birthday is December 13, 2023. Each state, the District of Columbia and some U.S. territories have National Guard Units totaling 54 strong.
They have a dual mission. They can be called upon by the State Governors to assist with natural disasters or civil unrest. When called to active duty under Title 10 by the President, they serve as a reserve component of the U.S. Army.
As a general rule, National Guard members are eligible for VA benefits after 20 qualifying years for retirement, serving the full time called under Title 10 or a few other exceptions.
Their motto is “Always Ready, Always There!”
Happy Birthday and thank you to all who have served in the National Guard!