Pacific War Museum

If HBO’s 10-part Pacific series has fired your interest in World War II’s Pacific Theater, consider visiting the newly renovated and much expanded George H. W. Bush Gallery of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas. Inside the 33,000-square-foot gallery, whose architecture evokes an aircraft carrier, pill box, and Pacific island beachhead, is a Japanese midget submarine and a B-25 bomber flown on the 1942 Doolittle Raid, along with exhibits about the war’s origins and the major battles from Coral Sea to Okinawa. Read more »

Empire Of The Winds

In the Aleutian Islands you can explore a landscape of violent beauty, discover the traces of an all-but-forgotten war, and (just possibly) catch a $100,000 fish

 

One summer 30 years ago I found myself on a DC-3 bound for Unalaska, my string bass strapped into the seat next to me. I anchored the rhythm section of a high school band in Anchorage, and we were going to show students in this remote village on the Aleutian chain how much fun it could be to play a musical instrument.

 
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Return To Midway

THE ATOLL WHERE THE TIDE OF THE PACIFIC WAR TURNED IS NOW BOTH A STIRRING
HISTORICAL LANDMARK AND A STUNNING WILD LIFE REFUGE.

As we approached, the pilot came on the 737’s PA systern to announce that he would be swinging around the coral atoll before landing so everyone would get a good first look at our destination, one of the most remote in the Pacific Ocean. A murmur lifted and echoed through the cabin as those on one side and then the other strained to glimpse the wide lagoon, a luminescent aquamarine circle surrounded by the deep blue of the encompassing sea.

 
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The Real Meaning Of Pearl Harbor

The Japanese planes that came screaming down on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, changed the whole course of history. The United States was plunged into a long, grueling war. But more than that, the lives of most Americans were to be altered radically not just for the duration of the war, but forever. Read more »

“I Am Not A Very Timid Type …”

The American public, reeling from a series of defeats at the onset of World War II, was thrilled by the dramatic announcement that, on April 18, 1942, a flight B-25 medium bombers had successfully struck Tokyo and other targets on the Japanese mainland. To keep the enemy off-balance rigid security was imposed on the details of the surprise carrier-launched raid. “Shangn-La,” a smiling President Franklin D. Roosevelt replied when asked where the attack had originated.

 

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The Fall Of Corregidor

“The Rock” was a proud island fortress, impregnable to attack from the sea. Unfortunately, the Japanese didn’t come that way. Its capture climaxed the bitterest defeat in our history

In 1941, Manila Bay was the focus of United States power in the Orient: all of our war plans emphasized its importance. The Orange—or War with Japan—plan envisaged a naval campaign: if United States and Filipino forces could hold the Bataan peninsula and the fortified islands at the entrance to Manila Bay, thus denying their use to an enemy for a period of three to six months, the Pacific Fleet would fight its way westward from Pearl Harbor and relieve and reinforce the defenses.

“I’ve Served My Time In Hell”

So thought many a weary Marine after the bloody, interminable battle for Guadalcanal. It was only a dot in the ocean, but upon its possession turned the entire course of the Pacific war

On May 3, 1942, a small detachment of Japanese sailors, the grd Kure Special Landing Force, landed without opposition on Tulagi Island, then capital of the British Solomon Islands. Read more »

The First Flag-raising On Iwo Jima

A single great photograph has become an indelible symbol of the Marines’ heroic fight for the Japanese island. But hours earlier a now-almost-forgotten platoon had raised the first American flag on Mt. Suribachi’s scarred summit—and under enemy fire

Iwo Jima was a gray silhouette in the dawn of February 19, 1945, when we got our first look at it. The naval guns that would support our landing had started to thunder, and the target areas teemed with red perforations. From the deck of our transport we forty-six men of the 3rd Platoon of Company E, 2nd Battalion, 28th Marines, scanned the island apprehensively. We knew that its seven and a half square miles held more than 20,000 of Japan’s best troops and a multitude of ingenious defenses.

 
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One Who Survived

SEAMAN HEYN’S STORY
FROM THE NAVAL ARCHIVES OF WORLD WAR II

Day after day, the sun, the sea, and the sharks cut down the men who clung to the “doughnut” raft

 
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