Pearl Harbor: Japanese Aviators Dressed as Civilians

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by Matt308, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    #1 Matt308, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
    Ran across an article in the sunday Tacoma News Tribune entitled Pearl Harbor Survivors Remember the Day, by Jeffrey P. Mayor.

    In the article Jeffrey interviews George Neagle who at the time was serving on the USS Curtis, a Navy Seaplane Tender. I quote some of his interview below.
    ___________________________________________________________________________

    "We were right across from Ford Island and right next to a hospital ship".

    Neagle was up drinking coffee when the Japanese surprise attack began shorly before 0800. Reporting to his battle station on the bridge, Neagle soon was racing to and fro, delivering messages for the captain and returning details on damage. The seaplane tender was first hit by a Japanese dive bomber that crashed on the ship's stern after being hit by American anti-aircraft fire.

    "The [Japanese] pilot had a University of Hawaii ring on and civilian clothes underneath his flight suit," Neagle said.

    The USS Curtis was hit by two more 250kg bombs which left the ship's bow slipping into the harbor's waters and 21 of the crew dead.
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Does anyone have any information on Japanese pilots dressed as civilians? Did Mr. Neagle perhaps misremember the incident and inadvertantly insert a ship rumour into his account? And if true, was this intended for escape and evasion purposes? Is there more evidence of this having occurred? Was this a single known incidence or was this part of the suprise attack planning and thus commonplace?

    This is a picture from the Bureau of Ships Collection, National Archives. A Type 99 Val Dive Bomber is seen in the hangar wreckage with tail number A1-225 from the carrier Akagi. It destroyed an OS2U-2 Kingfisher floatplane. The last couple of pics show the damage from the 250kg bombs having blown out the hangar doors.
     

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  2. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, interesting. Looking forward to any info anyone may have.
     
  3. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    I hope there is an answer out there some where. Would something like this be in some kind of after action intelligence report, if there is such a thing.
     
  4. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    I think the pilot was a real graduate of Hawaii University.
    Civilian clothes was simply his favor.

    Please see some photos here taken from

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-vmZYQeahk...

    The guy of No.1 photo wears a hanging band. This could not have been an official supply.
    That was his favor.
    The guy of No.2 wears a blue muffler when the official color was always white.
    The third one's is, OMG, PURPLE. These are totally incredible on the rule but not wrong.
    Such private favor was allowed unofficially in the old navy.
     

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  5. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    That's the part the bugs me, Shinpachi. I can't imagine the typical Japanese warrior going to war intent upon killing the enemy... dressing as the enemy. I don't mean to insult, Shipachi-san, but I have to say that frankly seems like bullshit to me. Everything that has been printed was that the Japanese warrior was proud to a fault. I can't imagine the ridicule (or worse) that a Japanese naval aviator would receive preparing for a surprise attack against a hated enemy and yet dressing as them being acceptable, condoned or even allowed on ship. Just as the US characterized Japanese warriors as "monkeys", "eyes too slanted to land on carriers" and other such nonsense, the Japanese were doing the same noting that US warriors were "barbarians", "simple" and "ruthless". Imagine a US naval aviator prepping for the Dolittle Tokyo Raid dressing in traditional Japanese clothing. That aviator would have been drummed out and sent to confinement in a heartbeat. Especially during such a highly secret and important operation as the Pearl Harbor attack.

    Doesn't seem right by any stretch of my imagination. In fact, I honestly think that Mr. Neagle has confused a post attack ship rumour with memory (reality). I honestly don't believe that such a thing happened. A Hawaiian University ring stuffed in a pocket of a proud Japanese aviator recently returned to the homeland? Maybe. But full US civilian clothing blatantly displayed under his flight suit during operational preparations? Phhhttt... don't believe it.

    Yet if it was a ruse that was meant for strategic purposes of escape/evasion (most likely) or perhaps additional behind enemy lines subterfuge/operations (NOT likely), perhaps I could buy into it. Just the first I have ever heard such a thing. And I can't believe some historian hasn't uncovered such a plot beforehand.
     
  6. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Could it be possible if he had to bail out (Although it rarely happened) he could 'evade' capture by looking like a Hawaiian citizen?

    Just a guess! :lol:
     
  7. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Matt, the quote here doesn't say anything about American civilian clothes. He could just as easily have been wearing Japanese civilian clothes, which I think is what Shinpachi was saying.
    It doesn't sound at all that far-fetched to me.
     
  8. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    You didn't read my post, B. I'm giving you a D and assigning you two chapters of history for a quiz tomorrow. ;)
     
  9. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    That is a good point and I note that might be what occurred in my post above. He might have been just a repatriated naval aviator that was schooled in the good ole USA.
     
  10. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Uh-oh!

    *runs*
     
  11. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    ... and Japanese civvie clothing? As acceptable attire on the Akagi with elite naval aviators striking for the Emperor? Really?
     
  12. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Just thinking a bit more about it, would an American Navy man know what Japanese Naval Aviators normally wore under their flight suits?
    Could he have mistaken Japanese standard issue clothes as civilian, just because they weren't the colour/style that he was used to seeing? i.e. is you're used to seeing military uniforms as green, button-down shirts, and the Japanese issue was a white T-shirt for wear under the flight suit, could this have been seen as civvie clothing?


    I'm going to stop thinking about this now. The more I think about it, the more possibilities that I come up with.
     
  13. Matt308

    Matt308 Glock Perfection
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    That certainly sounds plausible too.
     
  14. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    This is the first I'd ever hard of this and for some reason I would have thought it would have been widely talked about, esp if it appeared that he was wearing American clothes.
     
  15. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #15 Shinpachi, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
    I guess that a formal IJN uniform with a tie might have looked a civilian clothes.

    Thinking an extreme case.....If it had been Aloha(native Hawaiian's) shirt, he must have been born in Hawaii originally but would have been allowed to wear it within his unit unofficially as it belonged to his private favor.

    First of all, the rank for the university graduates was always high in the navy.
    There were few who could complain about an officer's favor.

    If he should have been a spy, he would have landed Hawaii by submarine.

    PS: I have ever heard that Aloha shirt was originally made from the Kimono cloth which Japanese
    immigrants brought into Hawaii to recycle.
     

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  16. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Very interesting. What was the movie you got the pics from?
     
  17. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    #17 Shinpachi, Dec 9, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2009
  18. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Shinpachi, I appreciate the info.
     
  19. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    #19 N4521U, Dec 10, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2009
    I've heard the same thing. As the story goes, a Japanese fighter landed out of fuel at Wheeler field. In the cockpit was found a top hat and cane. His ID was under the name Odd Jobb! cheers, Bill
     
  20. Shinpachi

    Shinpachi Well-Known Member

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    You are welcome, vB.
    There seem more unknown facts even after 68 years!
     
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