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Introduction Foyer
Changing Gallery and Theater
Hawaiian Warfare
Camp McKinley
Defending an Island
Shell Magazine Replica
Manning the Defenses
Army Aviation Takes Off
Battery Randolph
The Winds of War
December 7 1941
Hawaii on Defense
Hawaii on Offense
Hawaii's Japanese Americans
Korea - A Limited War
The Vietnam War
General Eric K Shinseki
Gallery of Heroes

December 7, 1941

Japanese aircraft carriers reached the launch point north of O'ahu undetected. In the darkness of 6:00 A.M., the first wave of 183 planes took off to strike the fleet in Pearl Harbor, the garrison at Schofield Barracks, and the airfields at Hickam, Wheeler, Kaneohe, and Bellows. A second wave of 180 planes was launched at 7:15 A.M.

Attack on Pearl Harbor

Beginning at 7:55 A.M., groups of Japanese attackers swooped down on the Army airfields. Displaying great skill at low-level flying, and accurate marksmanship with bombs and machine gun fire, they blasted the neatly parked American planes. By destroying the Hawaiian Air Force's fighters and bombers on the ground, the Japanese prevented interception or retaliation against their carriers. In fact, most American planes were not ready to fly. Ammunition was unloaded at night for security and many planes were obsolete. Surprise was complete.

USS Arizona

As the initial shock wore off, soldiers and airmen at all Army installations sprang into action. Anti-aircraft crews manned their guns, pilots scrambled for their planes; and everyone who could, opened fire at the Japanese planes.

The attack surprised Honolulu's civilians as much as it did the military, but they reacted quickly to keep emergency services (police, fire, hospitals) functioning as the bombs fell. The Japanese planned to hit only military targets but stray bombs and bullets spilled over into the civilian community, killing 68 and wounding 35.

Japanese Akagi carrier

Despite Japan's tactical success, they failed to sink any American carriers, or to destroy the ship repair facilities and fuel storage at Pearl Harbor, a costly error. Pearl Harbor and Hawai'i rose out of the ashes to become the instruments of Japan's destruction.


Japanese Losses

  • 5 "Kate" torpedo/level bombers
  • 15 "Val" dive bombers
  • 9 "Zero" fighters
  • 5 midget submarines
  • 64 men

U.S. Losses

  • Killed in action: 2,403
  • Wounded in action: 1,178
  • Warships sank/severely damaged: 18
  • Aircraft destroyed: 188
  • Aircraft damaged: 151

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Original text for the exhibit pages was provided by Barbara Mills.

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Newspaper Headline
Honolulu Star Bulletin
December 7, 1941

US Army Museum
Attack on Pearl Harbor

US Army Museum
Attack on Pearl Harbor

US Army Museum
Attack on Pearl Harbor

US Army Museum
Attack on Pearl Harbor

US Army Museum
Attack on Pearl Harbor

Fire at McCully and King streets
Fire at McCully and King streets

Chapel
Chapel

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