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No One Avoided Danger: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attack of 7 December 1941 (Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies Series).

No One Avoided Danger: NAS Kaneohe Bay and the Japanese Attack of 7 December 1941 (Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies Series). By J. Michael Wenger, Robert J. Cressman, and John F. Di Virgilio. Annapolis MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015. Glossary. Maps. Photographs. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Pp. xx, 186. $34.95 ISBN 978-1-61251924-1

J. Michael Wenger is a military historian who has conducted research since the 1970s in repositories the world over. He received the 2012 U.S. Naval Institute Author of the Year Award. Wenger is the coauthor often books. Naval historian Robert J. Cressman was the recipient of the John Lyman Book Award in 1999 and the Admiral Arthur W. Radford Award in 2008. John Di Virgilio is the author of two groundbreaking articles related to Pearl Harbor and is recognized for his extensive research on Japanese naval ordnance and for his illustrated Pearl Harbor battleship damage profiles.

All of the authors are editors of the Pearl Harbor Tactical Studies Series. Until recently, no comprehensive, tactical history has existed for the Japanese attacks on the island of Oahu. In the last two decades much material and documentary evidence relating to the attacks has become generally available. This series seeks to convey the chaos and magnitude of the disaster at Oahu as experienced at an individual level. This has been made possible by a careful survey of records from repositories in the United States and Japan that document the intensely human tragedy of that day. The authors have researched official military personnel files extracting service photographs and details of the military careers, backgrounds, and personalities of American and Japanese servicemen involved in the conflict. Eighteen US sailors and one Japanese pilot lost their lives at Kaneohe Bay.

The book is divided into four chapters (1 - It Was Like the Time of Your Life, 2 - This is the First Time I've Ever Seen the Army Working on Sunday, 3-1 Would Have Hit the Targets without Any Misses from This Altitude, and 4 --No One Shirked, No One Avoided Danger). These cover the American side of the chronology of events from complacency and disbelief, through realization, confusion and disorganization, and finally to the ultimate resolve to defend the station from attack. The authors note that "Although the [NAS Kaneohe complement] did its best to act upon the conflicting and contradictory information received ... the inevitable confusion made it almost impossible to effectively respond." The tactical assault plans, individual actions, and thoughts of the Japanese attackers are also described. Each chapter is made up of many short vignettes describing the thoughts and actions of people involved on both sides of the conflict. For example, "[The Aviation Ordinanceman] arrived during a brief lull in the strafing attacks and charged into one of the hangar's ordinance shacks ... and broke out weapons and ammunition. Just then, another section of Japanese fighters attacked the hangar."

This book is a quick read! It has many photographs (each carefully described) of American and Japanese military personnel and civilians involved; NAS facilities, before and after the raid; and PBY aircraft (27 destroyed, six damaged). There are excellent maps of bombing attempts. The book has extensive notes on the research done. It will be of particular value to families and friends of those involved and to historians interested in the tactical details of "The Day of Infamy."

Frank Willingham, Docent, NASM's Udvar-Hazy Center
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Author:Willingham, Frank
Publication:Air Power History
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2016
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