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tv   Dogfight Over Tokyo  CSPAN  October 18, 2020 11:00pm-12:01am EDT

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communities across the country on a website. american history tv is on social media. >> an author discusses his book about the final air battle of the pacific. the book tells a story of a .roup of americans they were attacked over japan. shortly after receiving word the war had ended. the national world war ii museum hosted this event and provided video.
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>> thank you all for joining us today for what is going to be a great conversation about a really engaging and a book that maybe should have been written before john got to it in the last 75 years since the war, "dogfight over tokyo: the final air battle of the pacific, and the last four men to die in world war ii." it's a great book. he's the author of many books, john wukovits. he came to us about 10 years ago and gave a presentation on his pappy boynton book and we have
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not managed to get him back here. we tried and he was going to come in april of this year but of course, things got a little out of hand and we had to postpone that event indefinitely to talk on one of his other books. but i'm sure most of our viewers today know many of john's books. four crew and country and then tin can tightens, which won the samuel l morrison naval award when it came out. probably the most prestigious award regarding naval history. so congratulations on that. john was supposed to come in april and we were able to work in the distance learning team to bring the program to you all. this one specifically has to do with our theme of the end of the war. we are going to get right to it so you can get as many of the audiences questions as asked -- asked and answered by john. i'm going to start off with a handful of my own questions. let's give the audience a reef summary for those who have not read the book. give them a brief summary. host: the -- john: the dogfight over tokyo explains the story of the last four americans to die in combat in world war ii. by that, i don't mean to say they were the last four men to die ever. this was in combat.
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we have thousands of veterans who through the decades passed away from injuries and wounds they received during the war, but these were the last four to actually be in a combat action and then die. so i tell the story of those for and i also interweave with that the story of the air group of which they were a part, air group 88 and you and i will explain that a little more later. their activities in the final two months of the war. it shows how a bunch of young aviators, hot stuff, they are bragging and ready to go to war and dever -- eager to get over there. they want to match their flying skills against the japanese pilots.
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it shows the gradual transformation of that attitude toward a more hey, i don't want to be here kind of feeling. i take the reader from training in the united states and then to hawaii and saipan. after that, they join the carrier yorktown and operate off the coast of japan in the final couple of months of the war. that is basically what the book is about. host: what brought you to this book? why did you decide to write it when you did and what resources were out there? what did you use? john: i first came across this idea 10 or 12 years ago when i was researching for a auger fee of admiral halsey that came out in 2010. in there, he mentions in his autobiography that on the final day of war, some pilots were killed and he said they should never be forgotten. that struck me, so i filed that
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away because i had other projects coming up and then finally, a few years back, i turned to it and thought it's an intriguing idea if i can find out enough material to flesh out these four aviators. they obviously did not survive the war, so what about family? i thought to myself, if i can find two of the foreign get enough information on that, it will work. and i did. i found plenty of information from two of the four families. so that enabled me to flesh out those two, plus other material on the third and fourth aviator as well. i picked up from kokomo, the hobbs family had ellie hobbs'diary and flight log and all kinds of things and i interviewed his sister, nancy, who i indicated with her a
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couple of days ago, she's in her mid-90's and going strong. the man to berg family, we have a picture there, his first name is dwight. everyone called him billy. he was a guy who loves aviation. billy was born to fly. as a kid, he made planes out of balsa wood. that may be before your time. i used to love playing with those things. he would make aircraft out of anything. he would run out to watch the planes land, especially when barnstormers were coming through town. everything about him was i want to fly. i love the excitement, the thrill, so that was what billy hobbs is all about. then i contacted the man to berg family.
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he was quite opposite from billy. whereas billy was all excitement and action, he had a good time dating girls and things like that. eugene was someone you called eugene comey you did not say hey, jean -- it was jean. serious, studious, he loved reading books. he wanted to be a writer. he wrote some columns for the michigan daily paper. he had a sharp wit. not the kind that said i have a great story. he would watch and comment on what people were doing. his stories were all about
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social ear -- social ills of the time. he wrote a short story about a lynching in georgia and that evils of that and another story about a young soldier who went off to training camp and came home with a sharpshooter metal and was bragging to his mom. he said don't worry, we are only shooting at targets. so eugene was the serious one. delete wanted to get into fighter aircraft specifically to match his skills with the japanese pilots in aerial combat. eugene got into fighters because he did not want to fly a torpedo plane or dive bomber where he had two or three men, whichever plane we are talking about. he said i don't want to be responsible for anyone else's death in the air, so i will fly a fighter.
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then, you had a third one, i'm not sure which picture you have coming up here. joe was from new york and he was one of those cocky aviators. you watch tom cruise in the top gun kind of thing and the way they act is pretty much how he was. always had a cigar, it seemed. that picture does not have a cigar. but he was known for that. he had a party in the united states just before they were going to go over to the pacific. he was the wing man for the squadron commander. he told the wife i promise you i will bring him home safely.
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that did not turn out in one of the actions. there planes knocked slightly into each other and he went spinning to his death. the fourth one, howdy harrison, was a veteran aviator who had already seen some action in the pacific and he was the father of a couple of children. howdy, in that picture, is in the middle being held up in a celebratory fashion with his buddies aboard the yorktown and had been the subject of a fascinating rescue at sea while they were off the coast of japan. he had to land his plane in the sea of japan, the catalina dumbo flew across through thick overcast, horrible conditions. they succeeded in rescuing him right from under the noses of the japanese defenses.
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he had two children, one he had never seen because the child was born after they went to the pacific. the book focuses on the first two, billy hobbs and eugene manda berg. it was interesting, when they were in training, eugene met a gal in new york city, and they fell in love and planned to be married once he returned. that is a prominent feature in the book. they obviously did not get married. but it turned out sonja was still alive and is in new york city today. i was able to interview her about her recollections of her love from 75 years ago.
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host: one of the things about the book that drew me in was what we do at the museum, the personal stories, using this personal accounts and the fact we have the fortunate -- the fortune of being around those who lived at the time. you mentioned they were operating off the coast of japan. when we think of the air war over japan, i think nine out of nine people think of the b-29 raids launched from the marianas islands. tell us about these operations. how close were they getting. tell us about the operations of the b 29 bombers. john: these were different, fighters, torpedo planes, and dive bombers. they had under admiral halsey, the third fleet stationed off the coast of japan and they could attack one installation factory, shipyard in japan and
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then be 200, 300 miles away and attack something else. their purpose for the atom bombs were dropped was to hit these military installations. to prepare the way for the scheduled november invasion, which was supposed to be a massive operation. their purpose was eliminate as many military targets as possible. after the atom bombs are dropped, it changed. in stead of hitting those targets to prepare for the eventual invasion, they would prod the japanese to the peace table, keep hitting them harder. halsey would say we have to keep hitting them with everything
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we've got. do you think we have enough for one more strike? he was under orders to do that. as halsey had some ulterior motives and i don't know if you want me to get into that now or later. host: we can get into that later as we talk about the decision to launch the mission. john: air group 88, off the coast of japan, there normal operation, they would have a morning and afternoon strike that would entail three parts. there would be to sweeps by fighter aircraft of the target area to clear the way for dive bombers and the torpedoes to follow. they would have two sweeps followed by the dive bombers and torpedo planes and then have
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another one in the afternoon. they had 12 of those in the little more than a month they were off the coast of japan. host: the missions they were running, just for our non-pacific historians, but the more european audience watching us today, it reminded me of what the raf was lunching, to blow ridges and communication centers and soften up the landing ground. john: that is a great comparison. host: they were on the yorktown. they had a lot of time between missions, a lot of time to ship out from the united states. tell us about life on board.
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thew crew members of the yorktown. john: they had the 12 strike mission days and we will say five weeks. there was time the carrier was moving into position. aboard an aircraft carrier, you much have two crews. you have the ships company of about 2700 officers and enlisted. the ships company, their task was to take care of the carrier and get it ready to launch aircraft. nothing more than that. they existed before the air group. it was a group of about 300 aviators divided into four squadrons. a fighter squadron, bomber
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squadron and what was called a bombing and fighting squadron. the yorktown's ship company would stay with yorktown for the duration. air groups were aboard for six months and then rotated out so they could teach what they knew and be incorporated into other squadrons because they wanted some experienced flyers there. in their off time, they were generally in the ready room. there were four ready rooms, one for each of the four squadrons. those ready rooms, i was at the yorktown. it is floating off of patriots point in south carolina. they are not as large as we might think. they are cluttered, but they spend all their time there.
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that's where they would go to get the final information before the mission. they were playing cards, smoking, teasing one another, whatever the case may be. the aviators i interviewed told me that was pretty much our home base. the ready room, we had ours and haddive bomber pilots theirs. that was pretty much it. a few hours of intense, lethal activity interspersed with many hours of let's fill the time with whatever we can. host: the timeline is important. in most popular memory, you have august sixth as the hiroshima bombing and august 9 as the nagasaki bombing and that led to the japanese decision to surrender.
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but there is a week plus lull in between where there are bombs dropped and the actual emperor's message is broadcast. that gets us to the august 15 mission. can you give us some background on that mission? they were continuing to deliver their payloads on the japanese because they had not surrendered. talk a little bit about that window and i will ask a follow-up question when you finish. john: the missions, there is a nice map of the final flight. there missions when they first arrive were against general targets they want to soften up for the invasion. after the atom bombs, the flyers, everybody, they wanted to get out of there. the war is practically over,
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let's not keep this up, why do we need to attack an airfield when an atom bomb has wiped out two cities. they cannot understand the necessity to go out and face these antiaircraft batteries, you have to try to understand what it's like to fly into that black. they're shooting straight up at you and you are diving down and you can't weave to avoid the fire because the planes have to lock in on their targets. so as one aviator told me, there is no skill to it, it's just luck. pure luck. we hated every minute of it. these guys did not want to sacrifice their lives when the war was going to end, but they followed orders, obviously. they went on a couple of missions after the atom bombs
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were dropped and a couple of guys were killed. august 14, one of the men recorded in his diary, god i hope we don't have to go out on another mission tomorrow. then he added a little bit later, father moody, that was the catholic chaplain, he came by to say no dice. we are going on a strike. the next morning, they had to do that. hobbes was with a team of 12 hellcat fighters. hobbes was not supposed to be on this flight. he was scheduled for a later day. another team of four was supposed to go, but howdy harrison, the team leader, traded places with that other
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team because he said billy needs one more mission for promotion to lieutenant. he was an ensign. so will you switch with me? the other team was happy to switch. billy was not necessarily overwhelmed with joy, but it was arranged and off they went even though one of the pilots said is this really necessary? they took off a little after 4:00 in the morning. the 12 hellcat did. a cloudy day. as he got closer to japan, two of the 12 hellcats were ordered to a higher altitude so they could relay messages to and from the carrier yorktown. so now the hellcat number was down to 10 that proceeded down to the target. after that, a team of four led by a guy named marvin oden got lost and his team became lost in they said a finger of overcast.
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i was never sure what to make of that. it doesn't sound like a very cloudy area, but he became lost and those four planes were now gone. hellcat number was down to six that continued toward their target, which on the map that was showing is just south of tokyo. a little bit to the northeast of the dotted line there. they continued on toward tokyo and as they got near the airfield, they were getting ready to attack when the commander contacted them and said stop. we just received word the japanese have agreed to cessation of hostilities.
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abort your mission and return to the carrier. of course, we are going to be going home, all of those thoughts went screaming through their minds. they turned back and you can see on the map just north of the airfield and they were on their way out to tokyo bay when 15 to 20 japanese fighters jumps them and they became involved in a furious dogfight. joe, one of the men who survived, he said he saw joe's plane going down but joe parachuted out. he saw that but that's all he knew. that same pilot saw another hellcat explode in the air. that guy got out by parachuting as well.
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the other two to be downed that day were smashed into farmland or terrain right around the yokohama area. that left two guys you got back to the carrier yorktown. for who did not. for who were shot down. the air group was crestfallen. this was supposed to be our happiest day. the war is over, but it wasn't. it was our saddest day. not only do we lose four good friends, but we lost them in the final moments. technically, you could say they were shot down after the war ended because they had been alerted that the japanese had agreed to a cessation of hostilities, but they had not yet officially sign the surrender document. that was in september.
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so they were crestfallen. one of the survivors, marvin odom, whose team was lost in the overcast said an interesting thing. he heard howdy harrison said to the other guys, once they learn the war is over, let's continue on and take a tour over tokyo and then they got shot down. i spent some time in the book explaining why that was not feasible. first of all, how would odom know what he told those guys because he was going back to the carrier? second, who is going to take a tour over anti-aircraft areas that have been firing away at you all wore, now manned by japanese who are angry about surrendering? i talked to a vietnam aviator who flew over 100 missions over north vietnam and i said if you
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got that message, let's go on a tour, he said i would turn around on my own and go back. i would never go on a tour. we would get out of there as fast as we can. while that was going on, there were two japanese farmers tending their field and they saw this dogfight occur and one of the planes crashed not far from their field. they went over and inspected. they contacted japanese officials who came out and when it cooled, they gathered up the remains of a person. but there was no head, no limbs, just a trunk. that was all. no identification could be made.
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the japanese wrapped it up and carried it to the local buddhist shrine for the monk to take care of. so they properly took care of the remains of whoever that particular pilot was. everybody in the united states, everybody was celebrating the end of the war. everybody from the united states, great britain, etc. everyone home in kokomo through an all-night celebration. cars after midnight drove through town honking their horns. everybody was having a good time. the families could not celebrate. they were happy. they assumed their sons were safe because let's face it, what are the odds of my son is going to die in the final moments of war, that's not going to happen, but still cautious. let's wait until we find out.
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in the coming days, others received words from their loved one that they were coming home and they did not. in fact, some of the letters written to billy for his birthday which happen to be august 15, the day he was shot down, that was his 22nd birthday. some of the letters and cards were returned to the family with that horrible stamp, returned to sender. they are going what's going on? it wasn't until september the governor officially -- the government informed them those four pilots were missing in action. they could not be declared dead because there were no remains and so they had to keep them on the books for a year and one day as missing. then august 16, 1946 is when they officially declared them missing. since the families carried
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mementos and families in stead of the actual remains, open wounds persisted for a long time. both hattie hobbs, the mom of billy and eugene's mom truly believed one day their sons would come walking through the front door. they never gave up that hope. -- they knew, but it wasn't realistic, but moms being moms. nancy hobbs told me mom was always on the front porch and told me billy would come walking up the pathway there. every year on the anniversary of that death, hattie hobbes had a poem printed to honor her son. 1946, when they recovered the remains of the pilot that
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crashed in the farmland. they took the remains to the philippines eventually and buried them, along with the remains they could not identify because dna was not in existence then. they did recover some pieces of the aircraft that indicated probably the plane came from the yorktown and it was probably a hellcat. joe parachuted into tokyo bay and was gone. it was manda berg, hobbes, or harrison. eventually, the dna team caught up with everything and two weeks ago, i was informed they have those remains in hawaii and are testing them. they have taken dna samples from the families and hopefully, they will come to a conclusion on who that person is and one family will get that kind of closure.
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host: it is an important mission the dod still carries on. a quick sidebar. the museum is in partnership with that organization, the defense p.o.w. accounting agency. we have a research historian here, post doc who is helping them research the last action of those who were fallen and remain unidentified. hopefully, we will figure out which one of those three boys it was and the family will be able to have a proper burial. a couple of follow-ups on that. you mentioned celebrations, obviously for the ally side. what was your experience with any japanese archives? we had an interview a couple of
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weeks ago on the anniversary of the sinking of the uss indianapolis. the co-authors mentioned the sub commander came home, even though he had just sunk a capital ship, he came home feeling dejected as a loser because they lost the war. was there a japanese reaction or were they happy they got kills in the closing hours of the war? the closing hours? john: the main reaction would have been the first one you mentioned. the indignity of losing. they said all of us were willing to fight to the death but we had to surrender. that was hard for them to handle that. that's why you had some of the incidents of japanese planes attacking different areas, possibly the 15 or 20 who attacked the hobbes group may have had that as a reason of vengeance for having to surrender. they certainly considered a loss of face.
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only hearing the emperor's words pretty much what sealed, we've got to accept as the emperor said, we have to endure the unendurable. jeremy: the biggest name, the greatest man in your book is one of the most venerated in american military history, admiral halsey. he plays quite a role in your book and a controversial one at that. how does he tie-in? john: as i mentioned, i did a biography of halsey earlier. i have long loved reading about admiral halsey. a fascinating guy. aggressive, he almost invented the soundbite years before that was a phrase. he was quotable in the press.
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newspaper correspondents loved chatting with him because he would give them something to chew on. quite often laced with profanities. if we put an actual quote of his on the screen, there would have to be asterisks and question marks all over the place. in the early two years of the war, he brought american morale back up after pearl harbor. he did a marvelous job and for that alone, he deserves a place in the pantheon of naval heroes. he attacked some early island raids in early 1942 and took doolittle's raiders out to lunch on their bombing raid over tokyo. he went down to the south pacific as the commander of the south pacific and turned around the situation there.
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he contributed greatly and the home front made him a big hero. after that, he started making a few mistakes. he blundered part of the battle by leaving his post to chase after aircraft carriers. so he missed out on the battle of coral sea and midway. he wanted a crack at japanese carriers, so he went chasing off after that and allowed and admiral to storm the san bernardino strait. only the actions of admiral sprague and the ships of jim horn fisher, the tin can sailors prevented a complete disaster there. halsey was criticized for that and then in december of 44 and june of 45, he led his ships into two typhoons.
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because -- caused considerable damage to ships and lives. he would have been sacked, but he was such a homefront hero, admiral king in washington said we have to keep him on. we can't get rid of him. for halsey, he is stationed off the coast of japan and this was a chance for redemption. my reputation is tarnished but allmy reputation is tarnished but if i can finish off the japanese fleet, if i can pound them to the last day of the war, i will redeem and salvage my reputation. therefore, some of his judgments, according to air group 88 and every man i talked to in air group 88, condemns halsey without blinking an eye. that is their instant reaction. i blame him for the deaths. that kind of thing. halsey was weapon
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using. regain a reputation were the aviators. billy hobbes, etc. so there's that controversy. was he correct in doing that? he was under orders. nimitz and king told him you have to do this, you have to follow orders, but the question is -- where those orders even appropriate when there was so little left of anything to hit? that was the controversy. it was hard for me to write that section. i was writing a group about air group 88, so i had to write it from their point of view, their anger of this admiral, that i think deserves a little bit of a break because of the first years of the war and the contributions he made. but still, if you talk to air watson, he was there, watch out for what he might say. lieutenant hennessey in
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virginia, the same thing. he did pound the remnants of the japanese navy out of existence , so he did achieve a lot under the orders he was given, but some say he went too far. he could have canceled at least that last strike when the japanese were literally hours from giving up. jeremy: my second to last question and then i will close with a final question after we get to some audience questions. sadly, there must be somebody who was the last person to die in the war. these four men, as far as the combat hours are concerned, were the last four in the pacific theater. was this a mistake? john: if it was a mistake, it was a mistake made by superior command, by either king nimitz , or halsey. it was not a mistake by the aviators. it was a tragic event, i will say.
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they went out, they did not want to, but they did what they were supposed to do. they did their duty. that in itself is admirable. talking about this, i think of band of others and you probably know the episode about the river and sending men out to capture a german prisoner of war -- "why do we do this? the wars almost over." that commander canceled the mission. the aviators of air group 88 would have loved to have captain winters in command. what they did was not a mistake. they were doing their duty. and their deaths were certainly not in vain, even though it should never have happened. , his niecea berg
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today is an artist on the west coast. she said as i was growing up, i , knew about him, and i felt him within me. he was driving me to do something creative. he wanted me to be a writer and never got the chance, so i must be an artist to at least be doing something creative like that to honor his memory. natalie schneider, who is billy -- don't askdniece me to figure out who she is, the family told me she is the grandniece -- i think she is in college now but she was a freshman in high school, or any for her english honors class. they could write a paper about anything. she chose her topic as an america imaginary scene where py
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hobbes, billy's mom, is telling billy's siblings, including nancy, that billy is dead and he was killed. natalie, 60 years later, she is writing about something that obviously has meant so much to that family. because of these things, sonya levine, the girl who was supposed to marry eugene, and united.eburgs, they were united and have shared all kinds of information. eugene is reaching out across all these decades to bring us together. even though we never got married, sonya said he was the first great love of my life and i've never forgotten him. she went on to be married to someone else, had a wonderful life, and still does in new york city. just yesterday, i got an email from terry hobbs from kokomo, saying august 15 is coming up,
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saturday. angst for writing the book. a lot of people in town are coming up to us and telling us what a remarkable thing billy did and how much the family appreciates that effort and billy is being recognized for what he did. i don't inc. there is too much in vain for these pilots. it was certainly a tragedy but someone has to be the final to die and unfortunately, these four were. jeremy: as you started this conversation, john, you said there was a goal to make sure these four were not forgotten. with your wonderful book, "dogfight over tokyo," i think you have ensured that the next couple hundred years as long as , there are books or kindles, those four will not be forgotten, so thank you very much for this presentation.
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we have a few questions. i'm going to start with one from mike who is watching on facebook. he's curious about the degree of information that officers had -- air combat information that officers had about the location of potential pow camps and how the pilots processed this information. if you came across anything with the pow camps, did any of air group 88 write about or talk about anxiety of striking near them or on them? john: they knew the location of many. i don't want to say every single one, and tried to avoid it. the interesting thing was after august 15, the other aviators of air group 88, especially the fighting squadron, they went to every prison camp they could. they scoured japan. they checked every record they could -- can we find billy
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hobbes? etc., etc. so they didn't know the location of many of these and they would would go out to check and see maybe they were go out and see if they were captured but that did not pan out. jeremy: did any of the men leave journals about the potential of striking their own comrades? john: no specific comment i came across. i read a lot of diaries and letters and i did not see one. jeremy: great i see our wonderful helpers, chrissy and have just put the link to the book in our store. john: thank you. store, go to our web support the museum's educational mission. we hope you check that out. we have a question from anthony, who was watching the zoom here. do we know whether the japanese
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pilots who attacked our planes knew that the emperor had surrendered before they took off? how much after the broadcast of the emperors surrender message did the dogfight occur? john: a high likelihood is how i will put it. i can say with 100% certainty. yes, they knew about it, and they went out hunting for something. i didn't find anything in any o records of that era group that indicated that they were going out to seek vengeance, but it is likely that was the case. in my book, that is how i put it. it could have been for some other reason. maybe they didn't know about it, but probably they did. jeremy: we have another question from mike here. he's interested in the research process for the strike reconstruction. i think he is referencing the map you use in the book. was this from after action reports?
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did you put it through the flight logs? tell us how you came up with that. john: after action reports were fascinating. most of my information came from those. an after action report was filed by each squadron by each aviator , after a particular action was carried out. so you go to those. the flight logs didn't help a whole bunch. first of all, these four pilots never made it back and they change their flight route, so there was nothing much in the flight logs. it was relying strictly on the survivors, odom, hansen, proctor, those men and what they wrote. by that, i get a description, if
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the after action report says the pilots were 10 miles west of the airfield, i knew how to plot that on the map. if odom said we were attacked five miles east of the airfield, i knew how to route that on the map as well. so it's a combination of the official records plus personal reminiscences. jeremy: great. i know the answer to this because we are in communication, but i think the audience would like to know what's next? i understand there are two things in the works. john: there are two things. they sort of happened coincidentally. at the same time with the same publisher. the i am currently immersed in one is a biography of a marine officer named general luis polar, who is considered
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the marine's marine. he's a legend in the marine corps and was awarded five navy crosses for his actions in nicaragua and in the pacific. he got all kinds of other medals. the men loved him. he was someone who would rather hang around with the privates withorporals, especially -- especially over the staff at headquarters. they drove him nuts. i'm doing a biography on that for dutton. they are doing a series on great war commanders to be out in paperback version early next year sometime. the other one involves eddie rickenbacker. some in the audience will know, the famous car racer, indianapolis 500 participant who in world war i became the leading american ace, chasing after german pilots and things
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like that. in 1942, eddie rickenbacker went on a secret mission for the government. they asked him to fly over the south pacific and deliver a message to general macarthur. on his way out, the plane made a crash landing. they ran out of fuel and couldn't locate one of the interim destinations. they overshot it because of navigation mistakes. they were lost at sea for three weeks. by they, i mean a group of eight men who are on the plane. newspapers in the united states, when i started researching this, it was just about the time kobe bryant died. the reaction to eddie rickenbacker's death was even more so than that.
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all newspapers covered it and eventually, they gave up hope and some printed obituaries. they were found after three weeks at sea. they made it back. so i explained this to the editor and he says i've never even heard of this, it's a great tale. there's all kinds of information. five of the eight men, one of them did die, five of the seven who survived wrote books about it and i've been in contact with four of the families and so both of the next two books, i will be doing. jeremy: great. we are looking forward to both of them. hopefully by then, we will host public programs in person and we can bring you back for one or of john: a twofer out you. i'm fine with that. [laughter] jeremy: michael has a question. were you able to identify the japanese pilots?
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john: no. jeremy: can you talk about the japanese records? john: no. the war diaries, the ships logs and personal reminiscences, i like to interview the people who are there as much as possible. jeremy: understood. another question from david. you mentioned the pilot parachuted into tokyo by and did not survive. john: that is correct. they think it was joe, but they're not sure. they saw his plane and then they lost sight of him and nothing ever turned up. jeremy: was the survival rate poor for the pilots bailing out over water? was that just par for the course that they would drown or was he possibly wounded? john: if they could somehow make
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it down with their plane, the chances of rescue are very high. just parachuting into the ocean, the odds plummeted. one chapter in the book is about air and sea rescue is fascinating and how they did that. the u.s. navy would go right into tokyo a if a pilot was down -- tokyo bay if a pilot was down and on a raft and they would just become up right there. so the odds were ok that way. jeremy:jeremy: a quick question for clarification. the dogfight was after the broadcast of the emperor's surrender message? john: correct. there any record of any japanese planes shot down? this is from amy. any japanese planes shot down during this dogfight? john: the air group records indicate eight japanese planes were shot down by the six hellcat fighters.
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who did what is up for debate, but they do indicate eight were shot down. jeremy: i don't see any more coming in online and we are just hitting that one hour mark which we wanted to try to hit. richard says great for answering his question and i think that summarizes this conversation. you and i spoke yesterday on the house of world war ii history, and there seems to be an infinite amount of doors to be opened. you certainly found a new door, a wonderful story that i think honors these four men who perished, but also the air group 88, yorktown, and all of those who served in the pacific theater, so thank you very much for coming to share this on the eve of the 75th of the surrender. as i mentioned to you, i read the book, skimmed it first, then really scanned it.
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so three times. i picked up something new every time. i hope you all go and purchase the book. please join us next wednesday for our next webinar on the pope of physics, the scientist enrico fermi who was involved in the manhattan project. that will be at 11:00 central let's all give a virtual round wednesday. of applause to our presenter and my friend, john wukovits. thank you very much. john: it has been a pleasure. great questions. i know you are always prepared, which is not always the case with some people elsewhere, but you are top-notch. thank you and thank everyone else, this staff for that help today and every other time i've been there. jeremy: we will get you back soon and see you back here next wednesday. have a great and safe weekend. ♪
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♪ >> you are watching american history tv, covering history c-span style with event coverage, eyewitness accounts, archival films, lectures in college classrooms, and visits
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challenge to go to work effectively and go to work immediately to restore proper respect for law and order in this land, and not just prior to election day either. theica's greatness, greatness of our people. let this generation make a new mark for that greatness. let this generation of americans set a standard of responsibility that will inspire the world. he's your heart, you know right. vote for barry goldwater. , you can like politics find plenty of archival ads, debates, and campaign speeches on the president, available in paperback, hardcover, and e-book, from public affairs, presents biographies of every president inspired by conversations with noted historians about the leadership skills that make for a historic presidency.
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as americans go to the polls next month to decide who should country, this collection offers perspectives into the lives and events that forms each presidents leadership style. to learn more about our presidents and the books featured historians, visit presidents and order your copy today, wherever books are sold. university of mary washington history professor emeritus william crawley discusses woodrow wilson's political career and legacy, focusing on his presidency. the university of mary washington hosted this event and provided the video. prof. crawley: welcome everyone to today's great lecture on woodrow wilson. of the 45 men to hold the office of president, few have contributed most significantly to the development of that office, for better or for worse, w


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