Subase Pearl Harbor Det 716 

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Tora! Tora! Tora!

By: EN3 John Schwarz

I was stationed aboard the U.S.S. Coucal (ASR-8) at Subase Pearl from 1968 until 1972. The ship moored a Sierra 1 and Sierra 2 at the submarine base.

In 1969, film crews spent two months at Pearl Harbor, filming "Tora! Tora! Tora!” a movie about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Almost daily, over thirty refurbished Japanese 'zeroes' would swoop down low, just off the Subase piers. What a racket their engines made, as they launched their attack! Most of the pilots were off-duty, military members.

 At times, men were blown off piers, percussion grenades set off in the water etc. It looked like the real thing!  I often wondered about the expense for all the men and equipment.

 In November 1970, while moored in Hong Kong, the movie made its debut there.  It seemed strange to be viewing the movie while in WestPac.  However, it was nice to view shots of our 'home' in Pearl.

There was one thing the movie left out...On the day the actual raid was filmed, a Japanese sub was tied up to the pier Sierra 7. The camera crew was just two piers to their south. If the camera were aimed too far north, the Japanese sub, with its very obvious Japanese flag would stick out like a sailor in the Sahara!  That would have the movie fans scratching their heads for more than a few nano-seconds!

Since that time, I have often wondered what the Japanese sailors thought as they watched the attack....Today, due to political correctness; the attack would probably have been delayed until their departure.  Whatever happened to this country since we were in the military? Because of all the changes, and changes to come, I'm glad I'm as old as I am. Perhaps 'divine intervention' will see us through to the future we truly desire. By the way, if you haven't seen "Tora! Tora! Tora!” check it out.

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