A P-40 Warhawk pursues a Japanese A6M2 Zero-sen fighter in the skies over the Hawaiian island of Oahu on 7 December 1941. In this canvas entitled Hickam Dec 7, artist Bryan Lopatic represent the action in which a handful of American pilots rose to challenge the Japanese attack.

7 December 1941
The Air Force Story

Leatrice R. Arakaki and John R. Kuborn

Wheeler AFB
Bellows AFB
Hickam AFB


Pacific Air Forces
Office of History
Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii



Foreword by Commander in Chief, Pacific Air Forces iii
Foreword by Commander, 15th Air Base Wimg v
Preface vii
Chapter I - Hawaiian Air Force: Before the Attack
  The Commanders 1
  The Personnel 6
  The Aircraft 8
  The Air Defense System 11
Chapter II - Assignment Paradise: Bomber Command
  Hickam Field 17
Chapter III - Assignment Paradise: Fighter Command
  Wheeler Field 39
  Bellows Field 50
Chapter IV - 7 December 1941: A Day That WIll Live In Infamy
  The Japanese Attack 59
  Radar Intercepts 69
  B-17 Arrival 72
  Air Force Opposition 76
Chapter V - Hell in Paradise: Bomber Command
  Hickam Field 81
Chapter VI - Hell in Paradise: Fighter Command
  Wheeler Field 111
  Bellows Field 128
Chapter VII - After the Attack
  The Dependents 134
  The Continuimg Search 136
  Rumors Galore 138
  The Long Night 139
  The Submarine 142
  Army Air Forces Units in Hawaii on 7 December 1941 147
  Status of Aircraft on Oahu, Before and After the Attack 151
  Hickam Field Maintenance Record 153
  B-17s Arrivimg Durimg the Attack 157
  Army, Army Air Forces, and Civilian Casualty List 161
  Hawaiian Air Force Casualty list 177
Notes 197
Bibliography 205
Index 207


Organization of the Hawaiian Air Force 7
The AWS on 12 Nov 41 Durimg a Simulated Enemy Attack 14
The AWS on 7 Dec 41 Durimg the Actual Enemy Attack 15
The eight major islands of the Hawaiian archipelago 2
Key areas on Oahu involved in the 7 December 1941 attack 4
Hickam Field, 26 November 1941 20
Wheeler Field, 10 October 1941 42
Bellows Field in 1941 55
Japanese Aircraft Deployment, First Attack 63
Japanese Aircraft Deployment, Second Attack 68
Burned tent quarters at Wheeler Field i
Damaged barracks at Hickam Field i
Damaged P-40 at Bellows Field i
Senior military officials at Hawaiian Department Headquarters, circa 1941 3

"Hawaiian Paradise" recruitimg cartoon 8
B-18s in formation over Oahu, 6 April 1940 9
5th Bombardment Group B-18 at Hickam Field 9
B-17 aircraft flyimg over Hickam Field, circa 1941 10
P-40 formation over Oahu, 1 August 1941 11
P-36 aircraft lined up at Wheeler Field 12
Capts Wilfred H. Tetley and Kenneth P. Bergquist with members of the radar site survey team 13
Lt Col Horace Meek Hickam 17
Keystone LB-5 bombers and Thomas Morse O-19 observation planes at Luke Field 18
Aerial view of Tracts A and B acquired for the construction of Hickam Field 19
"Pineapple Soldier" at Hickam Field, June 1942 21
Tent City at Hickam Field in 1939 22
Hickam Field's new barracks, 22 October 1940 22
Interior view of the new barracks 23
Mess hall in the center of the consolidated barracks 23
Wooden barracks of "Splinter City" at Hickam Field, 1940 25
Family quarters at Hickam Field, 1940-41 25
Hickam's water tower 26
Bishop Point dock at Hickam Field 27
Post headquarters at Hickam Field, 1940-41 28
Aircraft Mechanics Course Diploma awarded to PFC Herbert J. Kelly 29
Members of Aircraft Mechanics Graduation Class 2A 30
The Army & Navy YMCA in downtown Honolulu 32
Black Cat Cafe on Hotel Street 32
Military men with a hula girl at the Black Cat Cafe 32
Samplimg of items from the 1941 Menu of the Black Cat Cafe 33
"Crossroads of the Pacific" sign at Kau Kau Corner on Kalakaua Avenue 34
Popular Waikiki Theater in 1941 34
Waikiki area and Diamond Head on 18 January 1934 34
The Snake Ranch (enlisted men's beer hall) 35
Joe Brimm, Hickam Field artist 36
Front cover of Hickam Highlights (Vol 9, Nr 23, 14 November 1942) 37
Maj Sheldon Harley Wheeler (1889-1921) 39
Wheeler Field as part of Schofield Barracks (circa 1922-23) 40
Wheeler Field 40
Engineerimg buildimgs and parachute shop at Wheeler Field 43
Wheeler Field flight line 43
Fire station at Wheeler Field 43
PFC Edward J. White in Sheet Metal Shop at Wheeler Field 45
Thanksgivimg feast in Final Assembly Hangar at Wheeler Field 46
Thanksgivimg dinner menu, 21 November 1940 46
Dance in consolidated mess at Wheeler Field 47
Members of the 46th Pursuit Squadron's championship basketball team 48
Tent City along the Wheeler Field flight line 49
Cpl William H. Roach, 45th Pursuit Squadron 49
2d Lt Franklin Barney Bellows 50
Aerial view of Bellows Field, 27 October 1941 51
Tent area at Bellows Field 52
Headquarters buildimg at Bellows 52
Operations shack at Bellows at the bottom of "Headquarters Hill" 53
86th Observation Squadron's O-47B aircraft at Bellows Field 54
Main gate at Bellows Field 57
O-49 aircraft at Bellows Field 57
Japanese carrier Akagi 60
Nakajima B5N (Kate) bomber 60
Mitsubishi A6M2 (Zero) fighter launchimg from carrier deck 60
Wheeler Field in 1941 64
Burnimg hangars and aircraft at Wheeler Field 65
Bomb crater in front yard of family quarters on Wheeler 65
Nakajima B5N (Kate) bomber flyimg over Hickam's burnimg flight line 66
B-24A destroyed by the Japanese durimg the attack 67
Oscilloscope display at Opana radar site 70
Pvt Joseph LaRue Lockard 70
Temporary Information Center on top of Buildimg 307 at Fort Shafter 70
Two Aichi D3A (Val) dive bombers over Hickam Field 74
Wreckage of Capt Raymond T. Swenson's B-17C at Hickam Field 74
Closeup view of front half of burned B-17C 75
Lts Harry W. Brown, Philip M. Rasmussen, Kenneth M. Taylor, George S. Welch, and 1st Lt Lewis M. Sanders downed nine Japanese planes durimg the attack 78
Japanese plane shot down by Lt George Welch 79
Hawaiian Air Depot buildimgs and the hangar line under attack at Hickam Field 81
B-18 wreckage on the Hickam flight line 82
Smoke pourimg from Hickam Field's Hawaiian Air Depot shops 84
Capt Roland D. Boyer and Pvt Elliott C. Mitchell Jr. near wrecked Hangar 11 at Hickam Field 84
Closeup view of destroyed Hangar 11 85
Aircraft wreckage inside Hickam Field hangar 85
Hangar Avenue 85
Hickam Field's big barracks burnimg from the Japanese attack 86
Burnimg fires devastate Hickam Field's consolidated barracks 87
Gun emplacement on parade ground at Hickam Field in front of burnimg barracks 88
Old Glory continues to wave over Hickam Field 88
Damaged post exchange at Hickam Field 89
Complete devastation inside the big barracks at Hickam Field 89
Wimg L of Hickam Field's big barracks devastated by the attack 92
Sunlight streams through the splintered mess hall roof where bombs entered 93
Wall-to-wall debris covers the floor of the mess hall 93
Members of Hawaiian Air Force's Headquarters Squadron, 17th Tow Target Squadron, and 23d Materiel Squadron watch Japanese bombers headimg toward Pearl Harbor 94
Russell J. Tener and Bill Enos guard a damaged PX warehouse 95
A burnimg mangled truck parked on F Street 96
Blood-stained stretchers awaitimg the next load of casualties 97
Hickam's small new 40-bed hospital 98
One of the more than 200 men killed on Army Air Forces installations on Oahu 100
Flight line from courtyard between heavily damaged wimgs of Hickam's barracks 101
Hickam Field personnel man a gun emplacement set up in a bomb crater 102
PFC Raymond Perry and Cpl Howard Marquardt man a hastily constructed gun emplacement in front of Hangar 5 102
Smoke pours from burnimg aircraft and buildimgs at Hickam Field 104
B-18 wreckage on the Hickam flight line 104
Broken water main, upended car and tilted lamp post on Hickam's 6th Street 104
Hickam's wrecked fire station 106
Honolulu Fire Department pumper drawimg water from bomb crater 107
Firemen battlimg oil flames at Hickam 107
Douglas A-20 in flight 109
Wrecked planes on Wheeler's flight line, Hangar 2, and tent quarters 112
Splintered buildimg filled with bags of cement 112
Badly damaged barracks of the 6th Pursuit Squadron 113
Wheeler's Hangar 1, devastated by the Japanese attack 114
A severely damaged P-36 sits in the rubble of Hangar 1 at Wheeler 114
Flames in Wheeler's Hangar 3 116
Blazimg fires in the twisted remains of Wheeler's Hangar 3 116
Skeleton of Wheeler's Hangar 3 after the flames died and the smoke cleared 117
Total devastation in Wheeler's Hangar 3 117
Tent quarters along Wheeler's hangar line 118
Hangar row at Wheeler Field, with Hangar 3 and the burnt remains of tents 119
Resourceful crews remove parts from a demolished P-40 120
Aircraft wreckage on Wheeler's flight line 120
Searchimg a heap of wrecked planes at Wheeler for salvageable parts 120
All that remained of the lineup of P-40s on the Wheeler flight line 122
Wrecked P-40Bs sit in front of an equally wrecked Hangar 3 at Wheeler Field 122
Wheeler personnel inspect the remains of a buildimg site 123
Bullet-riddled Army staff car at Wheeler Field 124
Wheeler personnel man a .30-caliber machine gun set up behind the barracks 126
Wheeler Field chapel in 1941 126
Chaplain Alvin A. Katt and others after a memorial service for a P-40 pilot 127
Machine-gunned tent area at Bellows Field 128
A burnt-out fuel truck at Bellows Field 129
A P-40 riddled by machine-gun fire at Bellows Field 130
A 38th Reconnaissance Squadron B-17C belly landimg on Bellows airstrip 131
Lts George S. Welch and Kenneth M. Taylor wearimg the Distimguished Service Cross 134
Presentation of Silver Star and Purple Heart decorations at Wheeler 135
Maj Charles Stewart congratulates Pvt William L. Burt and PFC Raymond F. McBriarty, for their award of the Silver Star 135
A Japanese two-man midget submarine, grounded on the coral reef off Bellows 143
Basic Personnel Record for Prisoner of War Kazuo Sakamaki (POW No. 1) 144
Group portrait of the nine midget submariners killed durimg the attack 145
The Japanese midget submarine which was dragged to shore at Bellows 146

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Alan Clark, for the HyperWar Foundation