“News from the Hut”: 1 December 2013

for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

Well the dishes are washed, house cleaned up (sorta), and family have departed the premise. I hope everyone had an exceptional Thanksgiving Day.  Activities precluded last week’s article, but now we are back.  Now we take the deep breath to forge on to the next holiday with new strength and vigor.

The upcoming Hominy “Wild West Christmas Parade” happens this Saturday, on December 7th.  I know that there is abundance of details concerning this in last week’s and this week’s edition so I won’t bore you except to say 6:00 pm is start time (yes Jerry, that is 1800 hrs.) and to watch the weather for any updates, it’s supposed to be chilly!.  We will have our Christmas dinner December 12th with the Auxiliary, in lieu of our December 19th meeting, starting at 6:00 pm.  All veterans are welcome.

I imagine Christmas 1941 for our past relatives were difficult to manage.  The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941.  The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II.  From the standpoint of the defenders, the attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time.  The base was attacked by 353 Japanese fighters, bombers and torpedo planes in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers.  All eight U.S. Navy battleships were damaged, with four being sunk.  All but one were later raised, and six of the eight battleships returned to service and fought in the war.

The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed; 2,402 Americans were killed and 1,282 wounded.  Important base installations such as the power station, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked.  Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines lost, and 65 servicemen killed or wounded.  One Japanese sailor was captured.

The attack came as a profound shock to the American people and led directly to the American entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters.  The following day (December 8), the United States declared war on Japan.  Domestic support for non-interventionism, which had been strong, disappeared. Clandestine support of Britain (for example the Neutrality Patrol) was replaced by active alliance.  Between these two conflicts many volunteered as after 9-11.  I remember my father and uncle were drafted.  My uncle to the Pacific and my father to North African all the way to Germany under General Clark. Though a reluctant recruit he rose to Machine Gunner Sergeant winning a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.

There were numerous historical precedents for unannounced military action by Japan. However, the lack of any formal warning, particularly while negotiations were still apparently ongoing, led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to proclaim December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy”. (Thanks to Wikipedia)

Our regular meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month at 1900 hours (7:00 PM this Thursday 5 Dec).  Our Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings are run by Post Adjutant Eli Prater and Jerry Sebert.  Over biscuits and gravy (or waffles) we will keep up on each other’s mischievous doings.  It runs generally from 7 am to 9 am.  If you are a veteran come join us.  And if you have a good story it may end up in print.

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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