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Humpday History Highlight

By Wyatt Earp | September 9, 2009

Nobuo FujitaOkay, this is a pretty good one if I do say so myself. It also contains another little known historical fact, and explains a little about why Oregonians are a little “off.” Oh yeah, I’m getting hate mail from Oregon in 3 . . . 2 . . .

Yeah, it probably has something to do with that Japanese attack in World War II. What? You didn’t hear?

September 9, 1942 – Japanese Bomb U.S. Mainland

On this day in 1942, a Japanese floatplane drops incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest-the first and only air attack on the U.S. mainland in the war.

Launching from the Japanese sub I-25, Nobuo Fujita piloted his light aircraft over the state of Oregon and firebombed Mount Emily, alighting a state forest–and ensuring his place in the history books as the only man to ever bomb the continental United States. The president immediately called for a news blackout for the sake of morale. No long-term damage was done, and Fujita eventually went home to train navy pilots for the rest of the war. (H/

Wow, great attack there, Nobuo. Ranks right up there with Pearl Harbor and Dunkirk.

By the way, imagine the furor if the president called for a news blackout in this day and age. Two words: Instant impeachment.

Topics: HHH | 8 Comments »

8 Responses to “Humpday History Highlight”

  1. Old NFO Says:
    September 9th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Just like the attack on Attu…

  2. Mrs. Crankipants Says:
    September 9th, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    I took a few World War II electives in college, and strangely enough, my professor covered the Oregon bombing and Fujita.

    Post college, I remember reading his obituary in the NY Times, and was surprised to find out that he was ashamed of what he had done and visited Oregon after the war.

    His obit is still available online, it’s worth a look:

  3. Andrew Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 1:09 am

    I was a history major in college, and having graduated two years ago, it’s still fresh in my mind – believe it or not, this article is not entirely accurate…That bombing was not the only air attack on the American homeland.

    The Japanese created “fire balloons” made of helium and strapped incendiary bombs to them. They would let them go from Japan and the balloons would ascend to above 30,000 feet and the jet stream would carry them 5,000 miles to the United States/Canada territory in about 3 days, at which time, the balloons would drop their incendiary bombs. I don’t know all the science behind how hey worked, but they devised ballast tanks to be timed and charges that would let loose the bombs.

    They released more than 5,000 of these balloons between 1944 and 1945.

    6 Americans were killed by one of them. A balloon got stuck in a tree and 5 children and one adult tried to pull it down, not knowing what it was and the bombs went off, killing them instantly. This was also covered up so as not to effect morale.

    So, although that Japense pilot may have been the only human controlled air attack, he wasn’t the only air attack on the American homeland.

    They’ve found hundreds of these balloons all over Oregon, Washington, the Aluetians, and even Canada.

    Anyway, kinda interesting stuff you never hear about.

  4. 1oldleg Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 4:14 am

    And here’s another,
    Early in 1942, on two separate occasions, a platoon of Imperial Japanese soldiers stationed in the Japanese embassy in Mexico City were sent on exploratory missions to the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. We were invaded, twice.

    Both times the platoon leaders reported the desert was impassable on foot. Still is.

  5. Mike47 Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    As for Japanese attacks on U.S. mainland, there was also this:

  6. Ingineer66 Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I was going to mention the balloon bombs, but Andrew beat me to the punch. Several of them landed here in Nor Cal. The Army Airforce base set up here in my town during the war was supposedly set up to train new pilots, but the real reason that was kept secret from everyone was to train and base smoke jumpers to put out the fires started by these balloon bombs. The entire episode of bombs and what we did to counter them was kept secret to not panic the citizens.

    The Japanese thought they could start massive wildfires that would consume the west and curtail our war effort. But being from an island nation they really did not have a concept of how vast the American West really is. They could have burned thousands of square miles of forest in 1944 and most of the country would not even have noticed.

  7. kaveman Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    I live in Oregon and didn’t know about the plane attack.

    However, Everybody here is well aware of the “balloon fire bombs.”

    They are still being found. An entire family was killed on a picnic about 20 years ago when one of the kids stumbled upon it.

  8. Wyatt Earp Says:
    September 10th, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Old NFO – Hadn’t heard about that one. Alaska, huh?

    Mrs. Crankipants – No reason to be ashamed. He did his duty and served his country.

    Andrew – Agreed. Never heard that one, either. Knowledge is power!

    1oldleg – Unless you’re “Survivorman.”

    Mike47 – Wow, I feel really ignorant of history today.

    Ingineer66 – And now, Cali burns every year like clockwork.

    Kaveman – Not exactly a memorable day out in nature.