US Navy SBD Crash Site Photos

Aloha,

 

The famous photo, see attached, shows the crash site of a

US Navy SBD with two crew members and also the crash of

a Japanese Aichi Val dive bomber with two crew members.

The two planes crashed next to each other because they

were tightly engaged and one apparently struck the other,

with no altitude to bail out, killing all four in both planes.

 

The US Navy air crew were recovered later, however an

Army patrol buried the badly burned Japanese air crew in

an unmarked grave near the crash site and the location was

lost due to the rough coral terrain. They are still there- PO2c

Koreyoshi Sotoyama, pilot and radioman, Flyer 1c Hajime Murao.

 

The crash site itself was also lost as decades later a golf course

was constructed on the property after presumably all of the visible

crash wreckage had been removed by the military.

 

Using documents, maps, air photos, etc obtained from National

Archives, I have been able to locate the crash area again as seen in

the photo, which is near to the main golf country club

building. In 1941 the area was a thick forest of Kiawe trees.

 

This action was the largest air battle of the Pearl Harbor attack which

actually took place over what is today known as Ewa, Oahu, near

One’ula Beach.  Army P-40B Warhawks shot down Japanese Aichi

Vals while Japanese Zero’s engaged several US Navy SBD’s over

the shoreline and what is today a golf course. Amazingly, one of the

most famous photos of this air battle and resulting crashes was

captured by an Army photographer in a passing B-17 attempting to

land at Hickam Field.

 

We believe that there should be a monument-marker placed

there that describes this historic December 7, 1941 air battle and the

names of the American and Japanese killed there in the crashes.

I believe funds could be raised from US Veteran groups and in

Japan for this marker-monument, with coordination by the US National

Park Service.

 

I know that people in Japan that I have been in contact with

would also appreciate that Japanese pilots killed there that

morning would also be remembered, which we hope will happen

 

Sincerely,

 

John Bond,

Ewa Battlefield Historian

 

AI-211aviationart1 Aichi-Vals RobertTaylor

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