Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Ford Island Naval Air Station, in the middle of Pearl Harbor, was headquarters of Patrol Wing Two, and an important target for the Japanese first wave raiders. Reportedly, the initial bomb of the whole attack burst there, prompting the message that electrified the World: "Air Raid, Pearl Harbor--this is no drill.". Several PBY patrol seaplanes and other aircraft were destroyed on Ford Island, and one big hangar was gutted. In all, 33 planes were put out of commission there.

 

Several planes from the aircraft carrier Enterprise, which was approaching Hawaii after a mission to Wake Island, arrived in the midst of the attack. A few were shot down by the Japanese and more by understandably jittery American anti-aircraft gunners. However, several of these planes, and others from Ford Island's own complement, were airborne again within a few hours, sent out to search for the enemy. Some, at the end of a very long day, were shot down by their fellow-countrymen as they returned from these unfruitful searches.