Pearl Harbor Flight Recalls Uncle’s USS Arizona Death

Feb 04, 2013 No Comments by

After 11 hours nonstop from New York to Honolulu, I had no plans to hit the beach for surfing.

I was hooking up with an outfit called Pacific Warbirds that takes tourists on thrill rides aboard a vintage North American SNJ-5 airplane. I would fly over Pearl Harbor on the single-prop aircraft at the same altitude as the Japanese pilots did 71 years ago when they attacked the U.S. And I had to make it fast. President Barack Obama was about to visit for the holidays, so air-space security restrictions forced me to get my flight done the morning after I arrived, or not at all.

I was born in Japan while my father was stationed in Yokohama during the postwar occupation. But the warbird adventure particularly interested me because my Uncle Donald Clash, a second-class fire apprentice seaman in the U.S. Navy, was killed aboard the USS Arizona Dec. 7, 1941, during Japan’s sneak attack.

Still earthbound, I ran into rush-hour traffic on my way from theHawaiian Hilton Village Hotel in Honolulu to Kalaeloa Airport at Barbers Point Naval Air Station. When I arrived a half-hour after the time stipulated, Bruce Mayes, Warbird pilot and ex-military, was not pleased. He had sent me mock orders to “report for duty ” at 9 a.m. sharp.

I was simulating a soldier, and tardiness is inexcusable. My mission: To take reconnaissance photos of the island’s most ravaged areas three days after the big attack.

For the complete story by James M. Clash of Bloomberg, click here.

Civilian, Featured News, Military

About the author

Online Editor I've been around airplanes since I was a kid. That's when my uncle, a professional pilot, showed me how to fly his Cessna 177 Cardinal. l later became a writer and editor, so covering the exciting and ever-changing aviation industry -- which I've been doing in Flight Journal's Flybys since the late '90s -- was a natural fit.
No Responses to “Pearl Harbor Flight Recalls Uncle’s USS Arizona Death”
Copyright © 2014 Air Age Media. All rights reserved.