Com­man­der Fuchida cho­sen to lead the at­tack

The Weekly Vista - - Church - GENE LINZEY Gene Linzey is a speaker, au­thor, men­tor and president of the Siloam Springs Writ­ers Guild. Send com­ments and ques­tions to masters.ser­ The opin­ions ex­pressed are those of the au­thor.

“Sweet­heart, my sis­ter just called. She wants to take us four sis­ters on a sis­ters-trip. She wants us to go next month. What do you think?”

“That’s won­der­ful, Pre­cious! Where are you go­ing?”


“You have to visit the Arizona Memo­rial in Pearl Har­bor. That’s a must!”

“We have a month to plan our trip,” Carol re­sponded, “but the USS Arizona will def­i­nitely be in­cluded.”

That was in June of 2003, and they had a marvelous time!

Years ago in New Mex­ico, three peo­ple who were protest­ing the bomb­ing of Hiroshima and Na­gasaki chal­lenged me about my em­pha­sis on re­mem­ber­ing Pearl Har­bor. They said, “Pearl Har­bor was noth­ing com­pared to what the U.S. did to Ja­pan!”

I re­sponded, “That’s ex­actly why it’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber De­cem­ber 7, 1941. If the Ja­panese hadn’t at­tacked Pearl Har­bor, the U.S. would not have dropped the bombs on them. Know­ing our his­tory helps us to keep things in per­spec­tive.”

Ja­pan wanted to greatly ex­pand its em­pire but the United States stood in its way, so Ja­pan de­cided to knock us out. Their ini­tial tar­get was our three air­craft car­ri­ers they thought were an­chored in the har­bor. But Ad­mi­ral Nimitz sent them out to sea, and the catas­tro­phe Ja­pan ac­com­plished in Hawaii did not de­stroy our fleet – and didn’t knock us out! (I don’t have time in this ar­ti­cle to dis­cuss Ja­pan’s bru­tal and bloody cam­paign in China and else­where.)

The Ja­panese did not in­form us about their dec­la­ra­tion of war, and an un­pro­voked at­tack on Amer­i­can soil is not some­thing we solve by ver­bal ne­go­ti­a­tion! That’s why President Bush and the U.S. Con­gress re­sponded as they did af­ter Septem­ber 11, 2001.

But Ja­pan had a long tra­di­tion of open­ing hos­til­i­ties by sur­prise at­tack. The prob­lem in Amer­ica was that, as U.S.-Ja­panese re­la­tions wors­ened, we ig­nored Ja­panese tra­di­tion and her his­tory. (We’re mak­ing the same mis­take in the Mid­dle-East to­day.)

Com­man­der Mit­suo Fuchida was se­lected to train the pi­lots and lead the air at­tack on Pearl Har­bor. A great tac­ti­cian with a bril­liant mind, Fuchida did his job well and shouted into his mi­cro­phone, “Tora! Tora! Tora!” (Tora means Tiger; but is also an acro­nym for “tot­sug­eki raigek” mean­ing “light­ning at­tack” de­not­ing a com­plete sur­prise at­tack.)

How­ever, as men­tioned, the air­craft car­ri­ers were not there. Even as Ja­pan cel­e­brated the great vic­tory, Ad­mi­ral Ya­mamoto was con­cerned. Al­though it has never been ver­i­fied that he said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleep­ing gi­ant and fill him with a ter­ri­ble re­solve,” Ad­mi­ral Ya­mamoto knew Ja­pan would not be able to con­duct a Pa­cific naval war with Amer­ica for much longer than six months.

But Com­man­der Fuchida was ex­hil­a­rated! As Gor­don W. Prange said on page 37 of GOD’S SAMU­RAI — Lead Pi­lot at Pearl Har­bor, “Years would pass be­fore Fuchida un­der­stood that he had left be­hind more than smashed ships and air­craft and dead and wounded men. He also left be­hind a na­tion welded to­gether by the fires he and his men had set—a United States that would not rest un­til the Ja­panese had paid in full for their morn­ing’s work.”

And the United States cer­tainly did re­spond!

That de­vi­ous and rep­re­hen­si­ble act on De­cem­ber 7, 1941, forced the U.S. pop­u­lace to sud­denly move from an iso­la­tion men­tal­ity to a war men­tal­ity, and that move sealed the doom for the Ja­panese as­pi­ra­tions for em­pire-ex­pan­sion.

The fo­cal point for many of us re­gard­ing Pearl Har­bor is the USS Arizona which was sunk in­tact with up to 1,117 sailors on board.

But I have an­other point to make.

On April 14, 1950, Cap­tain (pro­moted from Com­man­der) Mit­suo Fuchida met his Maker.

No, Fuchida didn’t die then — he met Je­sus Christ and be­came a Chris­tian. (He died May 30, 1976.)

Fuchida, the fear­less, out­spo­ken war­rior read a pam­phlet by for­mer pris­oner-of-war SSgt. Jake DeS­hazer — one of Doolit­tle’s Raiders who bombed Ja­pan. DeS­hazer was cap­tured and treated cru­elly by the Ja­panese for forty months. Fuchida also read about Peggy Covell’s mis­sion­ary par­ents who were murdered by the Ja­panese. But DeS­hazer and Peggy had to­tally for­given their for­mer en­e­mies.

Not un­der­stand­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween war and per­sonal cru­elty, these sto­ries in­trigued Fuchida. He then read the New Tes­ta­ment to see what changed DeS­hazer’s life from bit­ter­ness to for­give­ness and what helped Peggy to for­give her en­emy. As Fuchida read the Bi­ble, he re­al­ized that his world view was to­tally wrong.

Ask­ing Je­sus to for­give him, Mit­suo Fuchida’s life was changed, and he be­came life-long friends with his for­mer en­emy: Jake DeS­hazer. Ded­i­cat­ing the re­main­der of his life to Je­sus Christ, he be­came an evan­ge­list and in­tro­duced many oth­ers to our Lord.

It is Je­sus Christ who can turn bit­ter­ness to for­give­ness, de­spair to hope, and sor­row to joy. God did it for the man who led the at­tack, and He can do it for you.


Photo by Carol Linzey

Pic­tured is the USS Arizona Memo­rial in Pearl Har­bor, Hawaii, taken in 2003.

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