My father used to tell when he was aboard ship just prior to
the U.S. entering WWII. I remember his telling us that he and his buddies
were out in the Pacific when they saw a Japanese plane flying in the air.
Their question: What was a Zero doing way out there? A day later, they
heard about Pearl Harbor. They realized they'd seen the advance party.
Dad died September 10, 2001--an accident, not old age. I miss those
stories. He let me read his ship diary. Just before the Battle of Cape
Esperance, he, like many of the young men, were itching to fight. At last,
the Reluctant Dragon would see action. The day after, all he could write
was that a lot of good men died.
Dad worked in Fire Control. In the battle of Cape Esperance, he led some
people to get life jackets. They ducked behind the ship's metal, trying to
dodge the fire. In retrospect, he said that the steel wouldn't have done a
darn thing to stop them from getting hit.