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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sun May 5, 2019, 01:31 PM

6. My mother watched for Japanese attacks during WWII

at the then Onion Mountain Lookout in what is now Six Rivers National Forest but was then part of Klamath National Forest. Onion Mountain is just inland from Redwood National Park east of the lower Klamath River.

I learned of the Mitchell attack and deaths when working on the then Weyerhaeuser Klamath Falls timberlands 30 some odd years ago and stumbled upon the monument (which is way out in the boonies).


Balloon Bombs

The Mitchell Monument marks the spot near Bly, Oregon, where six people were killed by a Japanese balloon bomb during World War II. Designated by the National Register of Historic Places in 2003, this is the only place on the continental United States where Americans were killed by enemy action during World War II.

Between November 1944 and April 1945, Japan launched more than nine thousand balloon bombs—experimental weapons intended to kill and cause fires. The balloons, each carrying an anti-personnel bomb and two incendary bombs, took about seventy hours to cross the Pacific Ocean. Three hundred sixty-one of the balloons have been found in twenty-six states, Canada and Mexico.
The balloon bombs were 70 feet tall with a 33-foot diameter paper canopy connected to the main device by shroud lines. Balloons inflated with hydrogen followed the jet stream at an altitude of 30,000 feet. The high-explosive anti-personnel and incendiary devices were rigged to self-destruct and leave no evidence. The Japanese hoped the bombs would start forest fires and create panic, according to documents found after the war.

The first bomb was spotted southwest of San Pedro, California, on November 4, 1944. On January 4, 1945, two men working near Medford, Oregon, heard a blast, saw flames, and found a twelve-inch-deep hole in the ground where the bomb had exploded. The U.S. Office of Censorship asked the news media not to publish reports for fear it might cause panic.


There was also an attack by airplane and bomb that occurred earlier in WWII near Brookings, OR.


Nobuo Fujita

Nobuo Fujita (藤田信? (1911 – 30 September 1997) was a Japanese naval aviator and Warrant Flying Officer of the Imperial Japanese Navy who flew a floatplane from the long-range submarine aircraft carrier I-25 and conducted the Lookout Air Raids in southern Oregon, making him the only Axis pilot during World War II to aerial bomb the contiguous United States.[1][2][3] Using incendiary bombs, his mission was to start massive forest fires in the Pacific Northwest near the city of Brookings, Oregon with the objective of drawing the U.S. military's resources away from the Pacific Theater. The strategy was also later used in the Japanese fire balloon campaign.


Fujita continued as an Imperial Japanese Navy pilot, mainly in reconnaissance duties, until 1944, when he was transferred to the training of kamikaze pilots. After the war he opened a hardware store in Ibaraki Prefecture, and later worked at a company making wire.[4]

Fujita was invited to Brookings in 1962, after the Japanese government was assured he would not be tried as a war criminal. He gave the City of Brookings his family's 400-year-old katana in friendship. Ashamed of his actions during the war, Fujita had intended to use the sword to commit seppuku if he were given a hostile reception.[4] However, the town treated him with respect and affection, although his visit still raised some controversy.[7]

Impressed by his welcome in the United States, during his visit, he promised to invite Brookings students to Japan. After his visit to Brookings, Fujita worked hard to keep his promise that he made in Brookings. Even though it was tough time in Japan he successfully made money by running his own business which he gave to his son. Unfortunately the business did not go well after this, making Fujita broke. Fujita did not give up on keeping his promise, he worked at a factory and kept saving money to invite students from Brookings to Japan. He saved most of his earnings, only leaving him with small amount of money for him to buy two or three books every month. After years of hard work, Fujita invited three female students from Brookings to Japan in 1985. During the visit of the Brookings-Harbor High School students to Japan, Fujita received a dedicatory letter from an aide of President Ronald Reagan "with admiration for your kindness and generosity."

Fujita returned to Brookings in 1990, 1992, and 1995. In 1992, he planted a tree at the bomb site as a gesture of peace. In 1995, he moved the samurai sword from the Brookings City Hall into the new library's display case. This library is the biggest library in Oregon and Fujita helped to gather money in order to make this library.

He was made an honorary citizen of Brookings several days before his death at a hospital in Tsuchiura, Japan, on September 30, 1997, at the age of 85.[8] In October 1998, his daughter, Yoriko Asakura, buried some of Fujita's ashes at the bomb site.

“If we knew each other. If we understood each other as a friend. This foolish war would never have happened. I sincerely hope that a day would come where everyone could overcome their differences through talking and not fighting”. Quote from diary of Fujita Nobuo

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