Remembering a Brat At Pearl Harbor

Joseph Condrill

Brat Friends,

Got three interesting bits of information to share here:
1) The story of Navy Brat, Bill Free, on December 7, 1941.
2) Why is December 7, 1941 so important to us today as Brats?
3) Ten Amazing Facts About The Bombing of Pearl Harbor?

The story of Navy Brat, Bill Free, on December 7, 1941.
Bill Free looked up to his father. As a boy, Bill enjoyed listening to his father, a sailor serving in the U.S. Navy talking about his experiences. Bill looked forward to the day he could join the Navy, and hopefully join his father onboard a ship somewhere. His dream came true, but with tragic results.

On December 7, 1941, U.S. Navy Seaman Second Class William Thomas Free was killed on board the USS Arizona when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. His father, Machinist Mate First Class Thomas Free, was also onboard the USS Arizona that morning and was also killed.

Today Bill Free is remembered on the OVERSEAS BRATS (OSB) Brats Memorial at: www.overseasbrats.com . He is the oldest Brat listed on the OSB Brats Memorial and the earliest date recorded of a Brat whom died while serving his country on that memorial.
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Why Is December 7, 1941 so important to us today as Brats?
In the cruise industry I give a couple talks related to this.
December 7, 1941 is so important to us today because:
*The war in Europe had stalemated. The Japanese were on the offensive in the Pacific. U.S. entry would change all that.
*English replaced French as the language of commerce and diplomacy.
*The U.S. would emerge as one of the Super Powers of The World.
*Gave birth to a new generation called The Baby Boomers.
*Would set in motion a number of things that would eventually make us all Brats.
*********
The following comes from one of my talks in the cruise industry.

Ten Amazing Facts About The Bombing of Pearl Harbor
1) This may come as a surprise but which nation came up with the idea of Pearl Harbor?
The British! A British journalist first wrote about it in 1925.
Then in 1940, the British attacked the Italian naval base at Taranto with torpedo bombers that crippled the Italian fleet. A Japanese naval attaché stationed in Berlin was sent to investigate.

2) The USS Arizona had actually been part of an aircraft carrier task force attacking from the north that as part of a training maneuver, had attacked on a Sunday and on the 7th! (February 7, 1932).

3) How is it that the Americans fired the first shot at Pearl Harbor?
This happened when the American destroyer, the USS Ward fired on an unidentified submarine and sank it in a restricted area in front of the entrance of Pearl Harbor at 6:30 a.m. on December 7.

4) What major objectives did the Japanese fail to accomplish on December 7 which would come back to haunt them?
A couple things here.
When Admiral Chester Nimitz did an inspection of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on December 25, 1941he commented that:
-The Japanese picked the wrong day to bomb. It being Sunday, nine out of every 10 crewmen stationed on board the ships were on shore leave.
-The Japanese pilots got so carried away trying to sink battleships, they didn’t touch the dry docks near the ships. As it was, since the ships were in shallow water and the dry docks went untouched, meaning the ships could have been quickly repaired.
-The oil storage tanks that had 4.5 million of gallons of oil in them that were located nearby at Hickam Airfield and a few miles away went untouched in the attack. The oil from those storage tanks fueled the aircraft carrier task forces that went on to bomb Tokyo in April 1942, stop the Japanese advance in the Coral Sea in May 1942, and decisively defeated the Japanese at the Battle of Midway in June 1942.
Last but not least: The major mission of the Japanese was to destroy U.S. aircraft carriers. None were at Pearl Harbor at the time the Japanese bombed it.

5) What other ship was sunk at Pearl Harbor that has sailors entombed aboard it other than the USS Arizona?
This is the USS Utah.

6) What allied ship came to the aide of the Americans in Honolulu on December 7?
This was the Dutch merchant vessel, the SS Jagersfontein, which was berthed at a pier in Honolulu. When the attack began on Hawaii, the crew came to the aid of the Americans when the ships’ anti-aircraft batteries fired on Japanese aircraft that flew by it.

7) Why is Torao Migita’s Pearl Harbor story unique?
He was a Hawaii National Guardsman. On December 7, 1941, as a Private stationed with D Company, 298th Infantry at Schofield Barracks, he was killed while returning to his post. When we think of American servicemen who were killed in Hawaii on that date, we usually think they were all Caucasians, Private Migita was of Japanese ancestry.

8) What aircraft at Hickam AFB that was destroyed by the bombing, was actually preparing for a secret mission against the Japanese?
On December 5, 1941 a B-24 bomber flew in from the mainland and upon landing was placed under a lot of security. What we know is that some very sophisticated camera equipment (for that time) was being loaded on board, according to one of the guards assigned to protect it. The aircraft was being prepared for a special mission, but on December 7, 1941 the bomber was destroyed in the attack and two crew members were killed trying to save it. Speculation? The aircraft was to be flown to either Wake Island or Guam to use as a base to launch photographic missions on the Marianas or Marshall Islands, then under Japanese control.

9) What were some of the classic statements made about the bombing of Pearl Harbor?
“Rising sun, attacking early in the morning from a northerly direction.”
Quatrain 91, Century II,
Michael Nostradamus, 16th Century.
******
Returning home from a ball held at the Schofield Barracks Officers Club on Saturday night, December 6, 1941, the top Army commander in Hawaii, Lieutenant General Walter Short saw the bright lights of the ships in Pearl Harbor.
“Isn’t it a beautiful sight?” he commented to his wife. “And what a target they would make.”
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In early December 1941 the main job of Pearl Harbor’s Station Hypo, a highly secret intelligence unit was to listen and locate Japanese naval radio traffic. On December 2, the call signs for most of Japan’s carriers disappeared from the air waves.
When Admiral Kimmel’s intelligence officer told him this, Kimmel replied, “Do you mean to say they could be rounding Diamond Head and you wouldn’t know it?”
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In a letter to his wife dated December 6, 1941, the Captain of the USS Arizona, Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh wrote his wife, “By this time next week,” he penned, “We will be on our way home for Christmas.”
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When he discovered that the that the diplomatic ultimatum from Japan to the U.S. was delayed in being delivered to the U.S. State Department until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor (instead of being delivered before the bombing, which was the plan), Japanese Admiral Yamamoto commented solemnly to his staff, “We have awakened a sleeping giant and instilled in him a terrible resolve.”

10) The second bombing of Hawaii happened on March 4, 1942 by two Japanese flying boats from Wotje Atoll in the Marshall Islands. There were no casualties and little damage done.
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Thank you for remembering December 7!
Joe/OVERSEAS BRATS

 

 


Mr. America

Born in 1958 Roy Aletti should definitely be called ‘Mr. America’. Owner of a paint supply store and many amazing, tangible pieces of American history, Mr. Aletti displays the characteristics of a small-town man. With a constant smile; he’ll call you by name and ask about your family.

Roy takes personal pride in honoring Americans who have served in the military. His front yard decorations change with the seasons, and always a reminder of the American soldier is present.

This year, 2018, Mr. Aletti commissioned a statue of the WWI Doughboy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice effectively ending military operations and hostilities of WWI.

Roy Aletti is constantly busy with parade invitations and gladly displays his American pride in many of those invitations. Roy considers himself “the biggest kid on the block.” His warmth and laughter are real. His love for the USA is pretty infectious.

His family arrived in the US 108 years ago and surely ingrained a love for our country. Happy to say that Patriotism shines a bit brighter in the Town/Village of Harrison, NY because of his Love for America!

Thank you, Roy Aletti, for your support of the American military.

 

 

Respectfully submitted

Elisabeth FD Sacco

 

 


The Simple Gesture has Deepened my Patriotism

Silver Lake, (Harrison), New York, a small town located just 20 miles north of Manhattan holds much American history. The Battle of White Plains during the American Revolution was fought there. This small hamlet was a stopping ground for the Underground Railroad, and in a small secluded area there is a well-kept cemetery for those who fought in our nation’s Civil War.

WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan veteran’s names are proudly displayed on the Honor Rolls in town. Patriotism runs deep; our families give rise to the Ninth Fold and proudly we give up our children to serve.

Just as our forefathers did on this sacred piece of American history, each generation, in their way, feels the desire to ensure the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. Some become police officers, social workers, firefighters, doctors, librarians, authors, uniformed military personnel– all called to serve.

On May 23, 2015 a young man, from zipcode 10604 graduated West Point. His name:  Stephen F. Ricciardi.

Stephen’s childhood was filled with the joys of small town living. He played sports, went to summer camp, breathed fresh air and knew the love and camaraderie of family and kin. In his early years, Stephen learned to run to keep up with his two older sisters. Beautiful and bright as both are, he rose to their sparkle.

High school was successful. He  graduated his way into West Point. Another townsman called to serve. Stephen Frederic Ricciardi was chosen to attend West Point. His mother proudly shared videos and photos of Stephen’s journey there. As a community, we rejoiced.

Stephen graduated, and as a community, we watched. Some in person; some in front of their TV sets thousands of miles away. We cheered. Stephen traveled home after his graduation to see a football game at his old alma mater, Harrison High School. I remember the day clearly. Read the rest of this entry »


History Tidbit – America’s First Veterans Benefit

Two hundred and forty years ago on August 26, 1776, roughly eight weeks after American colonists announced their “Declaration of Independence” and made known their intentions to be set free from British rule, the Second Continental Congress approved the first Veterans benefit that was national in scope—pensions for those disabled in military service.

In 1776, the Second Continental Congress was a transitional government with no recognized powers or treasury, but they faced a full-blown war with England and pensions were offered as inducements for those willing to fight for freedom.  Payment of Veterans’ pensions fell “to the assemblies or legislatures of the several states. . .on account of the United States.” In 1781 the Articles of Confederation established a weak central government with the majority of power resting with a loose confederation of sovereign states.

Disability pensions were the first Veterans benefits established in the New World by colonists of the British Empire. Since the first successful permanent colony was established in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, individual colonies increasingly created their own laws and public benefits. Read the rest of this entry »


Nisei Service During World War II – Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage

Celebrating Asian American-Pacific Islander Heritage!

1943_12_23_First 5 Nisei WACs_article_MorningRegister-DesMoinesIA_uiowa-edu After the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, looming fear of more imminent attacks on Los Angeles and the West Coast led the U.S. government to embark on a controversial program that targeted people of Japanese descent. Families and individuals of Japanese heritage were rounded up and relocated at isolated internment camps which were intentionally located far away from the American West Coast. The majority of them remained in these camps for the duration of the war. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066, signed on February 19, 1942, initiated the program. Relocation efforts escalated in the fall of 1942 with more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent relocated to 10 internment camps. The majority of individuals in the camps were American-born children of Japanese parents–known as “Nisei.” Nisei is a Japanese term used for children born to Japanese (known as Issei) in a new country. The Nisei children were U.S. citizens and many of them were young adults, vocal about their loyalties, and wanted to serve in the U.S. military during the war. Read the rest of this entry »


The Museum of the American Military Family is compiling stories for a book reflecting on war…

 

Attention New Mexicans, who are serving in the military, are military veterans, are members of a military family, and would like to write about your experience in that capacity…

 Paul Zolbrod, Writer-in-Residence for the Albuquerque-based Museum of the American Military Family is seeking stories for its anthology “From the Front Line to the Home Front: New Mexicans Reflect on War.”

This anthology will include first-hand stories from all perspectives—service members, family members and friends who share their perspectives and experiences. Submissions can be about the recent Middle East campaigns, Vietnam, the Korean War era or World War II—and everything in between. All branches and ranks of the military should be represented.

How you can contribute:

Your story can be as long or as short as you choose. Just make it heartfelt, honest and interesting. We are looking for stories of trial and triumph and loss, stories that demonstrate the warmth and humor of military family life along with its inevitable tensions, offbeat stories that illustrate the variety that accompanies military life in war times–in other words– anything you want to tell of.

You don’t have to consider yourself an accomplished writer to participate. We will provide editorial services to sharpen your contribution.

The book will be arranged by stories of:

  • Pre-deployment,
  • Deployment
  • Post-deployment
  • Legacy & Aftermath

For more information or to submit a story, please e-mail Writer-in-Residence Paul Zolbrod at mamfwriter@gmail.com.

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2016. Tentative publication date is scheduled for the fall. All stories become part of the Museum of the American Military Family Special Collection Library.

 

 


Remembering a Brat At Pearl Harbor

By Joseph Condrill, MAMF Brat Liaison and Founder of Overseas Brats

Brat Friends,

Got three interesting bits of information to share here:

1) The story of Navy Brat, Bill Free, on December 7, 1941.

2) Why is December 7, 1941 so important to us today as Brats?

3) Ten Amazing Facts About The Bombing of Pearl Harbor?

The story of Navy Brat, Bill Free, on December 7, 1941.

Bill Free looked up to his father. As a boy, Bill enjoyed listening to his father, a sailor serving in the U.S. Navy talking about his experiences. Bill looked forward to the day he could join the Navy, and hopefully join his father onboard a ship somewhere. His dream came true, but with tragic results.

On December 7, 1941, U.S. Navy Seaman Second Class William Thomas Free was killed on board the USS Arizona when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. His father, Machinist Mate First Class Thomas Free, was also onboard the USS Arizona that morning and was also killed.

Today Bill Free is remembered on the OVERSEAS BRATS (OSB) Brats Memorial at: http://www.overseasbrats.com . He is the oldest Brat listed on the OSB Brats Memorial and the earliest date recorded of a Brat whom died while serving his country on that memorial.

*********

Why Is December 7, 1941 so important to us today as Brats?

December 7, 1941 is so important to us today because:

*The war in Europe had stalemated. The Japanese were on the offensive in the Pacific. U.S. entry would change all that.

*English replaced French as the language of commerce and diplomacy.

*The U.S. would emerge as one of the Super Powers of The World.

*Gave birth to a new generation called The Baby Boomers.

*Would set in motion a number of things that would eventually make us all Brats. Read the rest of this entry »