Acclaimed warbird photographer, Cockpit 360 app impresario and good friend of Foxtrot Alpha Lyle Jansma takes us to the Hawaiian island of Oahu for an incredible visual tour of historic Ford Island on the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
This story originally ran on Dec. 7, 2014 and has been republished here to mark the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.
It was a declared by President Roosevelt at the time as a “date that will live in infamy,” and he could not have been any more accurate in his description. The attack on Pearl Harbor changed the course of history, bringing America into World War II.
On that historic day, over 2,500 people lost their lives, another thousand were wounded and America lost or received grave damage to 18 of its then relatively small Pacific naval fleet. By a stroke of luck, America’s Pacific-based aircraft carriers were out for training as the attack commenced, but that small positive fact did little to lessen the psychological blow on America.
In addition to America’s sunk or damaged ships, over 300 aircraft were lost on that day. As a result of so much damage to America’s air and sea fighting ability, US industry would be spun up to produce an arsenal the likes of which the world had never seen.
Fast forward three-quarters of a century and today Pearl Harbor remains the heart of America’s naval power in the Pacific, with a large contingent of submarines and surface combatants being based there, along with constant visitations by carrier and amphibious assault ships. On the aerial side of things, Hickam AFB, with its gaggle of F-22s, C-17s, KC-135Rs and rows of transient military traffic, now blends nearly seamlessly in with the sprawling Honolulu International Airport.
At the center of this modern bustling transportation and military complex sits what was once Naval Air Station Ford Island, which took up the majority of of Ford Island at the time of the attack. Today, the airfield is largely an unmolested time capsule of sorts, with the Pacific Aviation Museum housing a respectable collection of aircraft from that era and beyond.
For anyone wondering what that huge oil platform with a gold ball like dome on it is, click here.
It is here that Lyle made a special trip from his home in upstate Washington to document in haunting fashion the sights of yesteryear that still remain on and around the field. Beyond the photos below, to pay homage to this special day and to those who fought and died during the raid, Lyle has also provided Foxtrot Alpha readers with a trio of his incredible ‘360 tours.’ Two of which are from the Pacific Aviation Museum’s most historic cockpits, the P-40 Warhawk and the Japanese Zero, both being aircraft that saw combat on that fateful day, as well as the decorated WWII submarine USS Bowfin. The Bowfin is co-located near the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor and serves as a museum ship.
The cockpit of the Curtis P-40 Warhark, the aircraft that responded to the Pearl Harbor attacks:
The Mitsubishi Zero, the fighter that gave many a US fighter pilot a run for their money over the Pacific and was part of the attacking Japanese force on Dec 7th, 1941:
Full virtual tour of the decorated WWII submarine USS Bowfin, located at Pearl Harbor:
You can learn all about Lyle’s groundbreaking Cockpit 360 app by clicking here and you can download it at the Apple or Droid app store. It has been highly regarded around the world as one of the most innovative offerings for aviation enthusiasts, and trust me, you won’t be disappointed.
Here are some of Lyle’s fantastic shots from Ford Island and the Pacific Aviation Museum to commemorate this special day:
Contact the author at Tyler@Jalopnik.com