Seventh Air Force Initially, 7 AF activated on 1 November 1940 as the Hawaiian Air Force. The command was twice renamed before settling as 7 AF on 5 February 1947. It is the oldest Numbered Air Force in the United States Air Force
The fledgling 7 AF's involvement in World War II was best summed up by its air and ground views as "Just one damned island after another!" 7 AF fought the Japanese imperial might from Hawaii 2,000 miles southwest to the Gilberts, then 600 miles northwest to the Marshalls, 900 miles west to the Carolines, 600 miles northwest to the Marianas, 600 miles north to Iwo Jima, 1,000 miles west to Okinawa, always edging closer towards the center of Japanese power. A map story of the 7 AF would cover 3,000 miles north and south of Midway to Fiji, and 5,000 miles east and west from Pearl Harbor to the Ryukus.
The saga of the 7 AF's aerial exploits across the Central Pacific has the "rags-to-riches" qualities of a Horatio Alger story. First the almost complete decimation of the Hawaiian Air Force (predecessor of the 7 AF) at Pearl Harbor, then its gradual build-up and vast oceanic search missions to keep the enemy at bay. Later, long-range heavy bomber attacks softened up strategic islands for amphibious invasions, with greater weight brought against the enemy perimeter defense by the advance of fighter and medium bombers. Finally, after constant consolidation of gains, 7 AF smashed at Japan directly from both Iwo Jima, as escort to the long-range strategic B-29s, and from Okinawa with the Far East Air Forces in the rocky Ryukus, right up to the surrender of Japan.
The Seventh was the first air force to feel the enemy's weight and the first to take toll of the enemy. It flew longer to battle, used wider range of aircraft, and covered more territory than any land-based Air Force. It fought and bombed by day and night, flew distant reconnaissance missions, dropped every type of bomb and incendiary, sunk enemy shipping, mined enemy waters, and performed countless routine and special jobs. Its personnel served on isolated coral atolls, received scant recognition, and endured months of dreary monotony. By necessity, 7 AF was a precision-bombing unit. Its commander, Major General Willis Hale, summed up 7 AF's contribution by saying: "The target had to be directly hit. The difference of 40 feet one way or the other meant that bombs would either land on the lagoon on one side of the island or the ocean on the other. And we didn't fly 2,000 miles to kill fish."
9th Air Force
During World War II, the offensive air forces of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) came to be classified as strategic or tactical. A strategic air force was that with a mission to attack an enemy's war effort beyond his front-line forces. predominantly production and supply facilities, whereas a tactical air force supported ground campaigns, usually with objectives selected through co-operation with the armies.
In Europe, Eighth Air Force was the first USAAF strategic air force, with a mission to support an invasion of continental Europe from the British Isles. Originally equipped with tactical units, some of these units were transferred to the Twelfth Air Force which was formed in the United Kingdom in the fall of 1942. Twelfth Air Force was created to provide tactical air support for the invasion of North Africa later that year. (read more)
9th Bomber Group
The 9th Bomb Group (Very Heavy) was an air combat unit of the United States Army Air Forces during the Second World War and as the 9th Operations Group, a current unit of the United States Air Force. A unit of the pre-war Army Air Corps dating back to 1922, the USAAF bombardment group operated the B-29 Superfortress bomber while the current USAF group operates U-2s and RQ-4s. (read more)
15th Fighter Group The 15th Airlift Wing, originally constituted as the 15th Pursuit Group (Fighter) on Nov. 22, 1940, activated at Wheeler Field, Hawaii, on Dec. 1, 1940. A little more than a year later, on Dec. 7, 1941, it engaged in combat action during the Japanese attack on military installations in Hawaii. Bombing and strafing attacks that morning by carrier-based planes of the Japanese strike force destroyed many assigned aircraft and caused heavy casualties; however, 12 of the group's pilots succeeded in launching their P-36 and P-40 aircraft from Wheeler and Haleiwa Fields, flew a total of 16 sorties, and destroyed 10 enemy planes. Second Lieutenants George S. Welch and Kenneth M. Taylor, P-40 pilots assigned to the 47th Pursuit Squadron, shot down four and two, respectively, and were later cited for extraordinary heroism during the attack. Both received the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the US Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 planes, the Boeing entry outperformed both the other competitors and more than met the Air Corps' expectations. Although Boeing lost the contract due to the prototype's crash, the Air Corps was so impressed with Boeing's design that they ordered 13 B-17s. The B-17 Flying Fortress went on to enter full-scale production and was considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft, eventually evolving through numerous design advancements, from B-17A to G.
The B-17 was primarily employed in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and civilian targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime area bombing in Operation Pointblank, to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent, in the War in the Pacific. (read more)
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was a long-range bomber used by the United States during World-War II (1939-1945) in bombing raids against Japan. B-29s were used to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending the war in August 1945.
On the islands of Tinian, Saipan and Guam a series of airfields were built, which became the main bases for the large B-29 raids against Japan in the final year of the war. The islands could be easily supplied by ship. The first B-29 arrived on Saipan on 12 October1944, and the first combat mission was launched from there on 28 October1944, with 14 B-29s attacking the Truk atoll. The first mission against Japan from bases in the Marianas was flown on 24 November1944, with 111 B-29s sent to attack Tokyo. From that point ever more intense raids were launched regularly until the end of the war. These attacks succeeded in devastating all large Japanese cities and gravely damaged Japan's war industries. Although less appreciated, the aerial mining program carried out by B-29s had profoundly degraded Japan's ability to support it's population and fight the war.
In wartime, the B-29 was capable of flight up to 40,000 feet, at speeds of up to 350 MPH (true airspeed). This was its best defense, for fighters of that day could barely get that high, and few could catch it, even if they were already up there and waiting. Only the heaviest of anti-aircraft weapons could reach it. The crew enjoyed, for the first time in a bomber, full pressurized comfort. The nose and the cockpit were pressurized, but they had to have a large bomb bay that was not pressurized, or they would have had to de-pressurize to drop their loads. So the B-29 had a long tunnel over the two bomb bays so that crews could crawl back and forth between the front end and the back, with both areas and the tunnel pressurized.
Bonin Islands (Japanese Ogasawara-Gunto), also known as Bonins, group of volcanic islands in the western Pacific Ocean, Japan, near the tropic of Cancer. The small islands were formerly part of Tokyo Prefecture. The principal islands are Chichi, Haha, Ototo, Mukai, and Yome. Sugarcane, pineapples, and bananas are cultivated, and there are valuable stands of timber, notably palm cedar, ironwood, boxwood, rosewood, and sandal trees. The islands were formally annexed by Japan in 1876. After the surrender of Japan in August 1945, the Bonins remained under U.S. control until June 1968, when they were returned to Japan. Area, 100 sq km (40 sq mi); population (1985) 2,303.
Chandelle A sudden, steep climbing turn of an aircraft, executed to alter flight direction and gain altitude simultaneously.
Chichi-jima (父島, Chichi-jima? Father Island), formerly known as Peel Island, is the largest island in the Ogasawara archipelago.
The island was the site of a radio station during World War II, and a frequent target of US attacks. The young George H. W. Bush was once shot down while on one of these raids. Japanese troops and resources from Chichi Jima were used in reinforcing the strategic point of Iwo Jima before the battle of Iwo Jima. The island also served as a major point for Japanese radio communication and surveillance operations in the Pacific, with two radio stations atop its two mountains being the primary goal of multiple bombing attempts by the US Navy.
Chichi Jima was also the subject of a book by James Bradley entitled Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, a factual account of the lives of a group of World War II fighter pilots including George H. W. Bush. In the book, it tells the story of United States Navy pilots who bombed the island's two radio stations. The book details the stories of the pilots that were captured, tortured, killed, and in some cases, partially eaten.
The island was never captured and surrendered with the Japanese Empire. After the surrender some of the senior officers were court-martialled and punished according to the class "B" war crimes standard.
DOI Dies of injuries
DOW Died of wounds
DUC Distinguished Unit Citation
Eniwetok also known as Eniwetok and Eniwetok, atoll in the northwestern Marshall Islands, in the northern Pacific Ocean. The Eniwetok Atoll is situated east of the Federated States of Micronesia and is part of one of the world’s longest atoll chains, the Ralik Chain. The atoll, circular in shape, comprises 40 islets surrounding a lagoon 40 km (25 mi) wide.
Enewetak Atoll was under Japanese control from 1914 to 1944, when it was occupied by United States forces and became a U.S. naval base. The atoll was administered by the United States as part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands from 1947 to 1986. In 1947 the U.S. government designated Eniwetok as a testing ground for nuclear weapons and evacuated its residents. The tests began in 1948 and continued until 1958. The atoll was the test site for the first hydrogen bomb in 1952.
Gilbert Islands There are 16 Gilbert atolls with a collective area of only 166 square miles, and an elevation nowhere in excess of 15 feet. These "ribbons of coral rock" 10 to 50 miles long are topped with a sand which supports nothing but cocoanut and pandanus palms. From north to south the Gilbert atolls include: Makin Meang (Little Makin), Makin (Butaritari), Marakei, Abaiang, Tarawa, Maiana, Abemama, Kuria, Aranuka, Nonouti, Tabiteuea, Beru, Nukunau, Onotoa, Tamana, and Arorac. Since World War I the Gilberts together with the Ellice Islands have been a British Crown Colony.
Shortly after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese occupied portions of the Gilberts. On Jan. 31, 1942, United States naval vessels shelled Makin, and on Aug. 17, 1942, a task force of the U. S. Navy and Marines raided the island and destroyed Japanese ships, radio, and air-base installations, stores of food and gasoline, and all but two of the 350 defenders. The Japanese soon returned to fortify the Gilberts more strongly than ever, but to no avail. In November 1943 a great American naval force with battleships and carriers entered the Gilbert area 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii.
From landing ships men poured out onto the beaches of three of the Gilbert atolls — men of the 2d Marine Division, veterans of Guadalcanal, and men of New York's old Fighting 69th, now seeing their first service in this war as part of the 27th Division. Some 4,000 Japanese were guarding three islands alone — Tarawa, Makin and Abemama — but within four days Admiral Nimitz was able to announce that the Gilbert Islands had been conquered. Most of the enemy defenders had been killed.
Island of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, the largest island of the independent state of Solomon Islands. It has an area of 6,500 sq km (2,500 sq mi). The volcanic Kavo Mountains, which reach a maximum height of 2,400 m (8,000 ft) above sea level, extend the length of the island, which is largely forested. The chief town is Honiara, capital of Solomon Islands.
Guadalcanal was visited by Spanish navigators in the 16th century. It was annexed by the British in 1893. The island was the site of heavy fighting between United States and Japanese forces during World War II (1939-1945). The Japanese occupied the Solomons in January 1942. On August 7, U.S. Marines landed on Guadalcanal in the first of the amphibious assaults against Japanese-held positions in the Pacific. The marines obtained and held Henderson Field on the island in the face of bitter ground, sea, and air attacks by the Japanese. Fighting continued in the jungles of Guadalcanal until February 9, 1943, when the U.S. Army and Marine Forces secured the island against Japanese resistance. Continual naval engagements between the Japanese and Americans were fought off Guadalcanal. Population (1991) 60,700.
In 1934, the Army Air Corps saw the need for another airfield in Hawai‘i and assigned the Quartermaster Corps the job of constructing a modern airdrome from tangled brush and sugar cane fields adjacent to Pearl Harbor. The site consisted of 2,200 acres (9 km²) of ancient, emerged coral reef covered by a thin layer of soil, with the Pearl Harbor entrance channel and naval reservation marking its western and northern boundaries, John Rodgers Airport (HIA today) to the east, and Fort Kamehameha on the south. The new airfield was dedicated on 31 May 1935 and named in honor of Lt. Col. Horace Meek Hickam, a distinguished aviation pioneer who was killed in an aircraft accident the previous November 5 at Fort Crockett in Galveston, Texas.
Construction was still in progress when the first contingent of 12 men and four aircraft under the command of 1st Lt. Robert Warren arrived from Luke Field on Ford Island on September 1, 1937. Hickam Field, as it was then known, was completed and officially activated on September 15, 1938. It was the principal army airfield in Hawai‘i and the only one large enough to accommodate the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. In connection with defense plans for the Pacific, aircraft were brought to Hawai‘i throughout 1941 to prepare for potential hostilities.
Remains of a B-17C aircraft rests near Hangar Number Five, Hickam Field following the Pearl Harbor Attack.
Remains of a B-17C aircraft rests near Hangar Number Five, Hickam Field following the Pearl Harbor Attack.
Hickam with a C-17 Globemaster III flying overhead, Pearl Harbor in the upper portion of the picture
Hickam with a C-17 Globemaster III flying overhead, Pearl Harbor in the upper portion of the picture
The first mass flight of bombers (21 B-17Ds) from Hamilton Field, California arrived at Hickam on 14 May 1941. By December, the "Hawaiian Air Force" had been an integrated command for slightly more than one year and consisted of 754 officers and 6,706 enlisted men, with 233 aircraft assigned at its three primary bases (Hickam, Wheeler Army Airfield, and Bellows Air Force Station).
When the Japanese attacked O‘ahu's military installations on 7 December 1941, their planes bombed and strafed Hickam to eliminate air opposition and prevent U.S. planes from following them back to their aircraft carriers. Hickam suffered extensive damage, aircraft losses, 189 people killed and 303 wounded.
Iwo Jima Iwo Jima (Japanese Iō-jima), island of Japan, largest of the three Volcano Islands, in the western Pacific Ocean. About 9 km (6 mi) long and 4 km (2 mi) wide, the island is mountainous and volcanic in origin. Mount Suribachi (161 m/ 528 ft), an extinct volcano, is the island's highest elevation. Principal industries include sulfur mines and a sugar refinery. The Volcano Islands, south of the Bonin Islands, were annexed by Japan in 1891. In 1945, during World War II, Iwo Jima, the site of a Japanese air base, was captured by the United States Marine Corps (see Iwo Jima, Battle of). Under the peace treaty signed between the Allies and Japan in 1951, the Volcano Islands were placed under the provisional administration of the U.S. Navy. They were returned to Japan in 1968 and are under the jurisdiction of Tokyo's prefectural government.
(George) Kawanishi N1K1-J/N1K2-J Shiden "George" (Imperial Japanese Navy)
The Kawanishi N1K "Kyōfū" (強風 "Strong Wind") was an Imperial Japanese Navy seaplane fighter aircraft. The Kawanishi N1K-J "Shiden" (紫電 "Violet Lightning") was an Imperial Japanese Navy land-based version of the N1K. Assigned the Allied codename George, the N1K-J was considered by both its pilots and opponents to be one of the finest land-based fighters flown by the Japanese during World War II. It possessed a heavy armament and, unusually for a Japanese fighter, could absorb considerable battle damage. The N1K-J evenly matched the F6F Hellcat and was a match for such aircraft as the F4U Corsair and P-51 Mustang. Despite such ability, it was produced too late and in insufficient numbers to affect the outcome of the war. (read more)
(Perry) Kawasaki Ki-10 "Perry" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Kawasaki Ki-10 was the last biplane fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army, entering service in 1935. The army designation was "Type 95 Fighter" (95 Shiki Sentōki) and the reporting name given by the Allies was "Perry". (read more)
(Nick) Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (Type 2 two-seat fighter) "Nick" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Kawasaki Ki-45 Toryu (屠龍, "Dragon Slayer") was a two-seat, twin-engined fighter used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The army gave it the designation "Type 2 two-seat fighter"; the Allied codename was Nick. (read more)
(Tony) Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (Type 3 Fighter) "Tony" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Kawasaki Ki-61 Hien (飛燕, "flying swallow") was a World War II fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force. The allied code name was "Tony", by the United States Department of War. The Japanese Army designation was "Type 3 Fighter" (三式戦闘機). It was the only mass-produced Japanese fighter of the war to use a liquid-cooled V engine. (read more)
(Tony) Kawasaki Ki-100 Hien (Type 5 Fighter) "Tony" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Kawasaki Ki-100 was a fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II. The Japanese Army designation was "Type 5 Fighter" (五式戦闘機). The emergency measure of adapting a Ki-61-II-KAI fighter to carry a Mitsubishi radial engine resulted in an excellent interceptor fighter, one of the best used by the Army during the entire war. Missions began in March 1945; from the first engagements the Ki-100 showed its good qualities against the USAAF B-29 heavy bombers at high altitudes, and showed itself equally effective against U.S. Navy carrier fighters. A new variant, the Ki-100-Ib, was constructed during the last weeks of conflict to equip five sentais for home defense. (read more)
(Randy) Kawasaki Ki-102 "Randy" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Kawasaki Ki-102 was a Japanese warplane of World War II. It was a twin-engined, two-seat, long-range heavy fighter developed to replace the Ki-45 Toryu. Three versions were planned: the Ki-102a day fighter, Ki-102b ground attack and Ki-102c night fighter. It entered service in 1944, but saw limited action. The main type(102b) was kept in reserve to protect Japan, although it did see some limited duty in the Okinawa campaign. It was kept out of front line service because it was hoped that it would be the carrier of the Igo-1-B air-to-ground guided missile when the Allied invasion of Japan occurred. (read more)
(ZEKE) Mitsubishi A6M Zero-Sen "Zeke" (Imperial Japanese Navy)
The Mitsubishi A6M Zero ("A" for fighter, 6th model, "M" for Mitsubishi) was a lightweight, carrier-based fighter aircraft employed by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service from 1940 to 1945. Its history mirrored the fortunes of Imperial Japan in World War II. At the time it was introduced, the Mitsubishi A6M was the best carrier-based fighter plane in the world and was greatly feared by Allied pilots.    Tactics were developed by 1942 by Allied forces to engage the Zero on equal terms. By 1943, American and British manufacturers were producing fighters with greater firepower, armor, and speed and approaching the Zero's maneuverability. By 1944, the Mitsubishi A6M was outdated but remained in production. In shifting priorities during the final years of the War in the Pacific, the Zero was utilized in kamikaze operations. (read more)
(Jack) The Mitsubishi J2M Raiden (雷電, "Thunderbolt") was a single-engined land-based fighter aircraft used by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service in World War II. The Allied reporting name was "Jack". The J2M was designed by Jiro Horikoshi, creator of the A6M Zero to meet the 14-Shi (14th year of the Showa reign, or 1939) official specification. It was to be a strictly local-defense interceptor, intended to counter the threat of high-altitude bomber raids, and thus relied on speed, climb performance, and armament at the expense of maneuverability. The J2M was a sleek, but stubby craft with its over-sized Mitsubishi Kasei engine buried behind a long cowling, cooled by an intake fan and connected to the propeller with an extension shaft. Pilot visibility was poor, but a domed canopy introduced later in production partially alleviated this concern.
Mitsubishi Ki-46-III-Kai "Dinah" (Imperial Japanese Army)
Nakajima J1N1-S Gekko / J1N1-C-Kai "Irving" (Imperial Japanese Navy)
Nakajima Ki-27 (Type 97 Fighter) "Nate" or "Abdul" (Imperial Japanese Army)
Like the A6M, the radial-engined Ki-43 was light and easy to fly, and became legendary for its combat performance in East Asia in the early years of the war. It could outmaneuver any opponent, but did not have armor or self-sealing tanks, and its armament was poor until the last version, which was produced as late as 1944. Allied pilots often reported that the nimble Ki-43s were difficult targets, but burned easily or broke apart with few hits. In spite of its drawbacks, the Ki-43 shot down more Allied aircraft than any other Japanese fighter and almost all the JAAF'S aces achieved most of their kills in it.
Total production amounted to 5,919 aircraft. Many of these were used during the last months of the war for kamikaze missions against the American fleet.
It was less maneuverable than its predecessor, the nimble Ki-43, and pilots disliked its poor visibility on the ground, its higher landing speed, and severe restrictions on maneuvering. Yet, the Ki-44 was superior in flight tests. It was an outstanding interceptor and could match Allied types in climbs and dives, giving pilots far more flexibility in combat. Moreover, the armament (including in some versions two 40 mm cannons) was far superior to the older Ki-43. These characteristics made the fighter an effective B-29 Superfortress destroyer and one of the Japanese High Command priorities during the last year of war. But poor pilot training in the last part of the conflict often made them easy targets for Allied pilots.
(Frank) Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate (Type 4 Fighter) "Frank" (Imperial Japanese Army)
The Nakajima Ki-84 Hayate ( "Gale") was a single-seat fighter used by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II. It was the last in Nakajima's line of classic fighters and considered one of the best-performing craft from any country. The Allied codename was "Frank"; the Army designation "Type 4 Fighter". (read more)
Name of a P-51 configured as follows - the left external tank was comprised of 2 haves banded together for quick release of the one man raft it carried internally when dropped. The right tank carried an equal weight of ballast fuel. Pilots were rotated in flying the Josephine on CAP. CAP was confined to a radius of approximately 50 miles around IWO. The tank was supposed to be dropped at very low altitude ( for accurate targeting) to a pilot or other downed person in the water (B-29 crewman, etc.) who may not have had his own inflatable raft.
Kalinin Bay Kalinin Bay, originally designated an AVG, was classified ACV-68 on 20 August 1942; laid down under a Maritime Commission contract 26 April 1943 by the Kaiser Shipbuilding Co., Inc., Vancouver, Wash; reclassified CVE-68 on 15 July 1943; launched 15 October 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Anna Mary Updegraff; and commissioned 27 November at Astoria, Oregon, Captain C.R. Brown in command.
These attacks, beginning in 1944, followed several very significant and critical military and strategic defeats for Japan, its decreasing capacity to wage war along with loss of experienced pilots, and the Allies' increased ability, due largely to the industrial capacity of the United States and Japan's reluctance to surrender. In these attacks Japanese pilots would deliberately attempt to crash their aircraft into naval vessels and other ships. Sometimes laden with explosives, extra bombs, and carrying just enough fuel to reach an Allied ship, their objective was to stop the Allied advance towards the Japanese home islands by causing as much damage and destruction as possible. (read more)
KIA - killed in action
LeMay, Curtis General Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, he studied civil engineering at Ohio State University. He joined the Air Corps in 1928 and became an officer through the ROTC. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1930. He married Helen E. Maitland (died 1994) on the 9th of June 1934 with whom he had one child - Patricia Jane LeMay Lodge.
He transferred to bomber aircraft in 1937 and soon demonstrated his abilities. When his crews were not flying missions they were being subjected to his relentless training as he believed that training was the key to saving their lives. The men called him "Iron Ass" because he demanded so much but he was immensely respected.
One possibly apocryphal story has it that he approached a fully-fueled bomber with his ever-present cigar stuck firmly between his lips. When asked by a guard to put it out as it might ignite the fuel, LeMay growled, "It wouldn't dare."
LeMay commanded B-29 operations against Japan, including the massive incendiary attacks on sixty four Japanese cities. This included the firebombing of Tokyo on March 9 - March 10, 1945. For this first attack LeMay removed the armaments on 325 B-29s, loaded each plane with firebomb clusters and ordered the bombers out at 5 - 9,000 feet over Tokyo. The first planes arrived over Tokyo just after midnight on March 10. In a three hour period they dropped 1,665 tons of incendiary bombs killing more than 100,000 civilians and incinerating 16 square miles of the city.
Marianas - Northern Mariana Islands, Commonwealth of the, island group, commonwealth of the United States, in the Pacific Ocean, east of the Philippines and south of Japan. The approximately 16 coral and volcanic islands, including all of the Mariana Islands except Guam, comprise an area of 457 sq km (176 sq mi). The principal islands are Saipan (122 sq km/47 sq mi), Tinian (102 sq km/39 sq mi), and Rota (83 sq km/32 sq mi). The economy is based on agriculture, some light manufacturing and tourism. Major exports include vegetables, beef, and pork. The island of Saipan contains the seat of government, a busy seaport, and an international airport.
The Marianas were sighted in 1521 by Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain. The islands, known as the Ladrones Islands (Thieves Islands), were not colonized until 1668, when Spanish Jesuit settlers arrived and claimed them for Spain. They renamed the islands for Mariana of Austria, then regent of Spain. In 1898, Guam was ceded by Spain to the United States, and the following year Germany purchased the rest of the island group. In 1914, during World War I, Japan took possession of the German-held islands known as German Micronesia, including the Northern Marianas. After the war, a League of Nations mandate placed the islands under Japanese control. The islands were captured by the U.S. during World War II, and in 1947 were made part of the U.S.-administered United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. In 1975 the inhabitants of the northern Marianas voted to become a U.S. commonwealth, and in 1978 the islands became internally self-governing. In 1986 U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the Northern Marianas a United States commonwealth and its residents U.S. citizens. The UN Security Council formally ended the trusteeship in 1990. Population (2005) 80,362.
The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), is a Micronesian island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, located north of Nauru and Kiribati, east of the Federated States of Micronesia and south of the U.S. territory of Wake Island, to which it lays claim. (read more)
Nagoya (名古屋市, Nagoya-shi?) is the fourth largest city in Japan. Located on the Pacific coast in the Chūbu region on central Honshū, it is the capital of Aichi Prefecture and is one of Japan's major ports along with those of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, Yokohama, Chiba, and Hakata. It is also the center of Japan's third largest metropolitan region, known as the Chūkyō Metropolitan Area (see also Chūkyō region). As of 2000, Chūkyō Metropolitan Area has 8.74 million people, of which 2.17 million live in the city of Nagoya. (read more)
The Curtiss P-40 was a US single-engine, single-seat, low-wing, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft which first flew in 1938, and was used in great numbers in World War II. It was a direct adaptation of the existing P-36 airframe to enable mass production of frontline fighters without significant development time. When production ceased in November 1944, 13,738 P-40s had been produced; they were used by the air forces of 28 nations and remained operational throughout the war.
Warhawk was the name the United States Army Air Corps adopted for all models, making it the official name in the United States for all P-40s. British Commonwealth air forces gave the name Tomahawk to models equivalent to the P-40B and P-40C and the name Kittyhawk to models equivalent to the P-40E and all later variants. (read more)
The American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, also known as the "Jug," was the largest single-engined fighter of its day. It was one of the main United States Army Air Force (USAAF) fighters of the Second World War. The P-47 was effective in air combat but proved especially adept in the ground attack role. Its modern-day equivalent, the A-10 Thunderbolt II takes its name from the P-47. The Thunderbolt also served with a number of other Allied air forces. (read more)
P-51 Mustang The North American P-51 Mustang was an American long-range single-seat fighter aircraft that entered service with Allied air forces in the middle years of World War II. The P-51 became one of the conflict's most successful and recognizable aircraft.
The P-51 flew most of its wartime missions as a bomber escort in raids over Germany, helping ensure Allied air superiority from early 1944. It also saw service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. The Mustang began the Korean War as the United Nations' main fighter but was supplanted as a fighter by jets early in the conflict, being relegated to a ground attack role. Nevertheless, it remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s.
Despite being economical to produce, the Mustang was a well-made and rugged aircraft. The definitive version of the single-seat fighter was powered by the Packard V-1650-3, a two-stage two-speed supercharged 12-cylinder Packard-built version of the legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine, and armed with six aircraft versions of the .50 caliber (12.7 mm) Browning machine guns. (read more - 506th) (read more - wikipedia) | Performance
The P-51 had a two-stage blower in the induction system that was controlled automatically with a barometric switch. Around 17,000 feet, when the throttle had been advanced almost all the way forward just to maintain normal cruise, the blower would kick into high, the manifold pressure would jump up, and the climb could be continued to 30,000 feet. The P-51 could be taken a lot higher than that, but above 30,000 feet the power was way down and the controls had to be handled gingerly.
P-61 Black Widow
The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was an all-metal, twin-engine, twin-boom, monoplane night fighter and night intruder aircraft flown by the United States Army Air Forces during World War II. It was the first American – and only Allied – purpose-built aircraft to serve as a radar-equipped night fighter. (read more)
was the United States Navy designation for an American and Canadian-built flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s. PB stands for Patrol Bomber, with Y being Consolidated Aircraft’s manufacturer identification. It could be equipped with depth charges, bombs, torpedoes, and .50 caliber machine guns and was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the US military and in the air forces and navies of many other nations. In the United States Army Air Forces and later in the USAF Strategic Air Command their designation was the OA-10 while Canadian-built PBYs were known by the nickname Canso. (read more)
Tanapag Harbor ( 15°13′36″N, 145°44′12″E) is the primary harbor of Saipan, and is located on the western side of the island. It is separated from the Philippine Sea by a barrier reef,located about 3 km (2 miles) off the shore. This reef forms the Saipan Lagoon. During World War II the harbor was occupied and used by Japan and later the United States. Following the war the harbor facilities have been significantly expanded to provide support for the U.S. Navy. This port is also called Puetton Tanapag, or the inner harbor.
On July 4 the American Marines and Army forces on Saipan captured the capital of the Marianas, Garapan, and the strategic harbor of Tanapag. Thus the first city of Japanese population fell to the Americans together with the best harbor in the island group. The Japanese were now cornered in a northern part of the island, about of its entire area, but they continued to contest bitterly every inch which the American 2nd and 4th Marine divisions and 27th Infantry Division had to advance over difficult terrain. On July 9 the Saipan campaign came to an end after four weeks of the bitterest and costliest fighting in the Pacific. The actual ground campaign lasted twenty-five days. American casualties on Saipan totalled 15,053, of whom 2,359 men were killed in action, while 11,948 Japanese dead were buried by the Americans. The result of this American victory was a drastic shake-up in the Japanese High Command. Premier General Hideki Tojo was relieved as Chief of Staff and on July 19 his cabinet resigned. Tojo had held office since Oct. 17, 1941, and was at the head of the government at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Son of the famous strategist of the Russo-Japanese War Eykio Tojo, he served later as Japanese military attaché in Berlin. When Japan and Germany made their formal alliance in 1940, he declared himself overwhelmed "with a feeling of austerity and joy" that his country would advance with renewed strength "toward Japan's fixed goal in world affairs." He became later Minister of War and was regarded as Japan's strong man. Now the loss of Saipan put an end to his cabinet. At the same time Japanese leaders appealed for still greater efforts on the "production front" in view of a war which would be protracted. (read more)
Tarawa, atoll of Kiribati, in the central Pacific Ocean. It is composed of a chain of coral islets with a total land area of 23 sq km (9 sq mi). The main islets are Bairiki, on which the capital is located; Betio; Bonriki; and Bikenibeu. Tarawa is a commercial center and has port facilities and an international airport. An extension center (1973) of the University of the South Pacific is here.
During World War II (1939-1945), Tarawa was the scene of one of the major battles of the South Pacific campaign when Japanese troops occupying the atoll were defeated in 1943 by United States Marines. Tarawa was made the capital of the British dependency of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands after the war and in 1979 became the capital of newly independent Kiribati. Population (1990 estimate) 29,028.
Tinian, island, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, western Pacific Ocean, formerly administered by the United States (1947-1986) under a United Nations trusteeship, and by Japan (1919-1944) under a mandate of the League of Nations. Tinian is a coral island 16 km (10 mi) long and 6 km (4 mi) wide. It is notable for its herds of wild cattle and its ancient ruins, consisting of two rows of truncated pyramids built of masonry. Following World War I the island, formerly a German possession, became one of the most heavily fortified Japanese bases in the Pacific. During World War II, U.S. forces invaded Tinian on July 23, 1944, and brought the island under American control within a week. Tinian then became a powerful base for air operations against the Japanese home islands. Population (1990) 2,118.
Tinian was captured by the United States in July 1944 in the battle of Tinian. The island was transformed into the busiest airbase of the war, with two B-29 airfields (West and North) having six 8,500 foot (2700 m) runways. The Japanese had constructed three small fighter strips on Tinian but none were suitable for bomber operations. When the United States turned the entire island, excepting its three highland areas, into a 40,000-personnel installation, construction engineers laid out the base in a pattern of city streets resembling Manhattan and named the streets accordingly. The area south of West Field which was developed from the main Japanese installation at Sunharon was nicknamed "The Village" because its location corresponded to that of Greenwich Village, and a large square area between West and North Fields, used primarily only for the location of the base hospitals and otherwise left undeveloped was called Central Park. (read more)
Prior to 1943, Tokyo was the name of both one of the 47 prefectures of Japan, Tokyo-fu, and the populous city of Tokyo in the eastern half of the prefecture. In 1943 the city and prefecture were merged into a unique prefecture-level government entity, known as Tōkyō-to 東京都 or "Tokyo Metropolis". This administrative region includes the twenty-three "special wards" of the former city, many suburban cities in the western half of the prefecture, and two chains of islands extending south into the Pacific Ocean. About 12 million people, 10 percent of Japan's population, live within Tokyo Metropolis's prefecture boundaries.
Tokyo is considered one of the world's major global cities and a megacity. The word "Tokyo" may refer to Tokyo Metropolis as a whole, or only to the main urban mass under its jurisdiction (thus excluding west Tama and Izu / Ogasawara Islands), or even the whole of Greater Tokyo Area, which includes Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Yamanashi prefectures, depending on context. This article refers to Tokyo Metropolis unless otherwise stated. (read more)
United States Army Air Force
The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) was the aviation component of the United States Army primarily during World War II. The title of Army Air Forces succeeded the prior name of Army Air Corps in June 1941 during preparation for expected combat in what came to be known as World War II. Although countries such as ally Great Britain had a separate Air Force, the Army Air Forces were part of the US Army and a direct precursor to the U.S. Air Force. The USAAF formally existed between 1941 and 1947 as an autonomous part of the U.S. Army, co-equal to the Army Ground Forces and Army Service Forces. (read more)
V.L.R - Very Long Range - Training for VLR - Our half day in the sky was spent on simulated escorts of Bombers over distant targets. They were trying to answer fundamental questions about long distance flying - how high to fly; what would be our mixture setting; what speed conserves most fuel. We flew from Lakeland to Miami to Dallas to Washington and back to Lakeland. Pilot fatigue was a factor. (see our VLR page)
Yamamoto Isoroku (1884-1943), Japanese naval commander and architect of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, which brought the United States into World War II (1939-1945). Born in Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, the sixth son of a school principal, he was adopted into the Yamamoto family. He studied at the Japanese naval academy and was wounded during the Russo-Japanese War. He later studied at Harvard University and during 1926 and 1927 served as naval attaché at the Japanese embassy in Washington, D.C. He became vice-minister for the Japanese navy in 1936 and commander in chief of Japanese naval forces in 1941. Yamamoto opposed war with the United States, predicting defeat for Japan if hostilities lasted longer than a year. However, he yielded to his peers’ persuasion and planned a first strike to cripple U.S. forces in the Pacific Ocean. His surprise attack, striking proof of the capabilities of carrier-borne air power, devastated the U.S. Pacific fleet’s base at Pearl Harbor but missed its main target, the U.S. aircraft carriers, which were at sea at the time. Seeking a decisive confrontation with U.S. carrier forces, Yamamoto was defeated in the Battle of Midway (1942), and his subsequent campaign in the Solomon Islands fared poorly. He was killed on April 18, 1943, while visiting frontline units; U.S. forces, who had deciphered Japanese codes, ambushed his plane over Bougainville.