The Japanese attack on Hawaii was perhaps one of the most successful surprise attacks in history.

In just over two hours, 183 U.S. Army and Navy aircraft were destroyed — five other carrier-based Navy planes were shot down by friendly fire when they tried to land at Ford Island Naval Air Station at dusk, Dec. 7, and more than 2,300 sailors, Marines and soldiers were killed.

At lease 57 civilians were killed and another 300 wounded in Honolulu and elsewhere on the island — many from stray anti-aircraft rounds.

The Pacific Fleet suffered 19 ships sunk or heavily damaged, including eight of its nine battleships. All but three of those ships — the battleship Arizona and destroyers Cassin and Downes — were repaired and took pare in battles later in the war.

All 45 of the Japanese ships that took pare in the assault were sunk by the end of the war.

U.S. military officials must accept partial responsibility for the success of the attack.

Adm. Husband Kimmel, Pacific Fleet commander at Pearl, and Lt. Gen. Walter Short, commander of the Hawaiian Department as the.Army establishment in the islands then was called, were kept in the dark by Washington as to Japanese activities beyond a few vague "war warnings."

Short, responsible for the defense of Pearl Harbor and the rest of the island, sharpened his defenses against sabotage. Kimmel, responsible for long-range reconnaissance, stepped up antisubmarine patrols.

Neither was told they should do anything more, and both shared Washington's view that the Japanese would not launch an attack against the islands — certainly not an air attack.

American electronic surveillance experts had cracked the Japanese codes weeks before and were monitoring messages from the Japanese consulate in Honolulu to Tokyo, messages in which the Japanese Navy's only spy, Takeo Yoshikawa, reported frequently on ships in the harbor and U.S. defense preparations.

Washington gave low priority to decoding and translating those messages and never informed Kimmel or Short of their content.

One crucial message monitored Dec. 3, from the consulate to Tokyo that described signals that would be used to make contact with Japanese warships offshore — wasn't translated until Dec. 6.

The translator's supervisor thought it unimportant and told her it could wait;

After the attack, Army and Navy officials in Hawaii moaned that if they had known of that message they would have been ready for the Japanese planes.

Washington's defense was that if Hawaii had been informed of Yoshikawa's dispatches, the Japanese would have known their codes had been broken.

But, Hawaii was not the only target. The Philippines was attacked and eventually occupied. Guam, the tiny U.S. territory in the south-central Pacific "where America's day begins," also began its long, dark years of occupation. Guam then had a population of just over 21,000. Its defense force — armed with only .45-cal. pistols and a few .30-cal. machine guns — consisted of about 430 sailors and Marines and a militia of some 250 Guamanians.

While few Guamanians had expected to see war with the Japanese, the military was not so certain. Japanese-occupied Saipan was only 80 miles north, and the Japanese were becoming increasingly bold in the Western Pacific.

The uncertain situation led the Navy to order all military dependents evacuated from the island in October 1941.

Guam historians say the Navy never informed island officials how: serious the situation was and what they were doing to prepare for war.

Guam's peace was not broken Dec. 7. But oldtimers say the sunset was disconcerting. The sky turned blood red as the sun descended into the sea, a sure sign of some evil to come.

Dec. 8, 1941, Guam's naval governor, Capt. George McMillin, received word of the Pearl Harbor attack just before dawn. He sent couriers to notify civilian authorities, and in little more than an hour the news had streaked through every village.

Most people were more concerned with carrying out a Catholic duty, however. It was the day of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, and the faithful filed into churches early for Mass.

Moments after 8 a.m., nine Japanese planes appeared from the direction of Saipan. The first bombs fell at 8:27 a.m. on the Marine barracks at Sumay. Rumors blossomed that more planes were headed for Agana.

Though those rumors proved false, scores of people jammed roads leading out of Agana, seeking refuge: n the jungle and hills beyond.

Only one bomb fell in Agana that day, historians record. A few more fell the following day.

Dec. 10 was Guam's day to remember.

Japanese forces landed north of Agana before dawn. McMillan was notified by residents and ordered his force to its defensive positions.

Militiamen gathered at the Plaza de Espana in the center of the city and, when the Japanese reached the area about 5 a.m., opened fire.

They beat back the initial assault, but McMillin saw resistance was hopeless. He ordered his troops to cease fire at 5:45 a.m., and he was taken prisoner shortly after 6 a.m.

Guam found two heroes that day.

Two militiamen — Angel Leon Guerrero Flores and Vincent C. Chargualaf — had been ordered to keep the: Stars and Stripes flying in the Plaza. As surrender talks were going on, a Japanese officer ordered them to haul down the American flag and raise the Japanese banner.

They refused.

The Japanese repeated the order several times, and each time Flores and Chargualaf refused — remaining at attention at the flagpole.

The officer angrily swung at Flores with his sword, and a Japanese enlisted man darted forward and bayoneted the courageous Guamanian in the chest. Chargualaf also was bayoneted.

As the two lay dying at the base of the flagpole, the American flag was pulled down and the rising sun was raised:

Island historians say both Flores and Chargualaf were buried secretly by the Japanese in unmarked graves.

Their location still is unknown.

Guam would endure an often brutal Japanese occupation until July 21, 1944, when American troops landed to liberate the island.

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