The Secret Submarine Pilot Who Reached Pearl Harbor in WW2



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When history reflects on Pearl Harbor, the attack is often remembered as a strictly aerial battle. But there was another, much smaller group of Japanese soldiers who were extensively trained for a little-known second phase of attacks to correspond with the air raids. This mission was comprised of ten men making up a secret and elite midget submarine force. Called the “Special Attack Naval Unit,” they would ultimately be unsuccessful, and yet even their failure wouldn’t go as planned. Tasked with destroying his own submarine, one of those men would instead accidentally pass-out and become the first Japanese POW of World War II.

It was late into the night of December 6, 1941. America did not know it yet, but it would awake the next morning to find itself under siege. On the morning of December 7, the Pearl Harbor Naval Base on the Hawaiian island of Oahu would be bombarded with a series of surprise attacks from Japanese aircraft. It would be the final straw that drew the U.S. out of its isolationism and into the global scuffle of World War II.

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