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00000179-60bf-d8e2-a9ff-f5ff3000000075 years ago this week, Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and other targets on O‘ahu, leading the United States into World War Two and changing life in the islands forever. All this week, Hawai‘i Public Radio is airing remembrances of some of our neighbors who were on O‘ahu that day as well as others who have ties to the islands. You can hear these pieces on Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and after they air you will be able to find them on our website.

Pearl Harbor Voices: Wheeler Air Field

Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons
Wikipedia Commons
Credit Wikipedia Commons
Wrecked P-40 at Wheeler Army Airfield 1941

The events of December 7th, 1941 were such a massive shock that some parts of the story are sometimes forgotten.  It’s often described as the bombing of Pearl Harbor—and that’s where the bulk of the casualties took place.

But before the ships came the planes.  The Japanese wanted to hit the capacity of US Forces to strike back by air.  And so half a dozen air bases around O‘ahu were strafed and bombed.

They included the K?ne‘ohe Naval Air Station, the ‘Ewa Marine Corps Air Station, Bellows Air Field, Hickam Field, and the Ford Island Naval Air Station.  And Wheeler Air Field was where some of the first damage was done. That’s where infantryman Thomas Petso was playing football early on a Sunday morning.

The overall casualties from the December 7th attacks included more than 24-hundred killed.  Nearly 1,200 more were wounded.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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