Archive for Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A little history

December 14, 2004


To the editor:

During a recent trip to Portland, Ore., to visit family, I had the opportunity to visit the Oregon Historical Society, which has a wonderful exhibit entitled "Oregon My Oregon." The exhibit begins with the first inhabitants and progresses to present day. Some things that Japan did to the Pacific Northwest were recorded in one area.

Since Dec. 7 just occurred, I thought the following would be of interest to many:

  • On May 5, 1942, an exploding incendiary balloon killed five civilians at Bly, Ore.
  • On June 21, 1942, a Japanese submarine surfaced near the mouth of the Columbia River. A deck gun lobbed 17 shells onto the coasts.
  • In August 1942, Japanese submarine I-25 sailed from Yokosuka making landfall at Cape Blanco. The sub surfaced, and a crew assembled a small two-man airplane, circled over the coast and dropped bombs, which ignited a forest fire. It then flew back to the submarine.
  • On Sept. 29, 1942, there was a second flight and new fires at Port Orford. There were firebombings of forests in Curry County on Sept. 9 and 29.
  • Thousands of bomb-carrying balloons were launched in Japan to bomb North America. A P-38 airplane shot down one west of Alturas, Calif., on Jan. 10, 1945.

I was quite young when this occurred, but still recall hearing President Roosevelt's well-known message on our battery-operated radio about the attack at Pearl Harbor. I wasn't aware of the attacks in the Northwest until my recent visit to Oregon. We can be thankful that the efforts weren't more successful!

Clint Leon,


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