W.W.II in San Francisco took on many different descriptions and tales. This is a continuation of one of those stories. Chapter 5: Long before 9-11 in Manhattan, N.Y., the area east of Brookings, Oregon, was bombed by enemy forces. Nobuo Fujita was a Japanese Warrant Officer who flew a seaplane from the deck of the I-25 submarine aircraft carrier. On September 15, 1942, he dropped incendiary devices, starting a fire in the forests east of Brookings. It has been labeled the “Lookout Air Raid” and goes down in history as the first aerial bombardment of North America.
There were eleven Jap subs creating chaos off the West Coast to give the illusion that an invasion was soon at hand. Most believed that the Japanese Imperial Navy would continue on from their victory at Pearl Harbor and strike at San Diego and/or San Francisco. In addition, the I-25 is credited with bombing Fort Stevens near Astoria, the Ellwood oil fields of Santa Barbara and several merchant ships. The vessel also slipped past the anti-sub nets of the Golden Gate and attempted to torpedo the U.S.S. Lexington, moored at Hunters Point shipyard.
Nobuo Fujita visited Brookings, Oregon, in 1962 after receiving assurance that he would not be tried as a war criminal. He carried his samurai sword with the intention of committing seppuku if all did not go well. The town, however, made him an honorary citizen (not without some controversy). His family’s 400-year-old sword now resides in the local museum. Nobuo Fujita started a student exchange program between Brookings and Tokyo that still flourishes today. He passed away in 1997.
This Thursday we will take a closer look at the Japanese submarine aircraft carrier. Until then, keep turning those pages. Cheers!