This short six minute video comes to us from one of our FASF Member news scouts, Jerry Dixon, himself a retired US Marine Corps Jet Fighter Pilot. The story tells of these two young Army Air Forces Lieutenants stationed on Hawaii on that fateful day in early December of 1941.
While most of us know how the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor caught the United States off guard and unprepared to defend itself, few are likely aware of the story of these two brave young P-40 “Warhawk” Fighter Pilots. (NOTE: This fighter was the only front line fighter in the U.S. arsenal when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The plane was built by the same company that also made the First Aero Squadron’s famous Jenny open-cockpit biplane, which first went into combat for the U.S. only 25 years earlier out of Columbus, New Mexico.)
The two men were both only Second Lieutenants: Ken Taylor and George Welch. Ken and George had spent Saturday night, December 6th, out on the town playing poker and dancing until the wee hours of Sunday morning. They didn’t get home and into bed until about 6:30 AM.
Only an hour later, they were suddenly jarred awake by the screaming engines, rattling machine guns and the exploding bombs being dropped all around them by the attacking hordes of Imperial Japanese war planes. Nevertheless, and entirely at their own initiative, they grabbed a car and, amid exploding bombs and strafed machine gun bullets, they raced at breakneck speed to a distant part of the Island where their two Curtiss Fighters were parked. With only their smaller 30 caliber machine guns loaded, they nevertheless took off to engage the vast numbers of more heavily armed enemy attackers – – – with amazing results. The two fledgling pilots did a remarkably heroic job, considering the terrible odds they were up against that morning. Now view this remarkable story in graphic and documentary detail.
Turn up your audio and enjoy this piece of little known U.S. history