Friday, December 13, 2013

A Solemn Testament To Wars Past: The Death of Admiral Yamamoto

As seen in the photo above is the last known image of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy taken hours before his doomed flight would be intercepted by American P-38 Lightning fighter interceptors. It has been often theorized that the Imperial Japanese Army bungled the message carrying his itinerary over an open code that tipped off the Americans where the head of the Imperial Japanese Navy would be next. Despite the desperate urging of the Army commanders to call off the flight and knowing his itinerary had been compromised, the Admiral chose to continue with minimal fighter escort. A decision some would say ended Japan's hopes of settling for peace with the United States. A peace that would only come after two more years of deadly war ending in Japan's catastrophic defeat. Whatever really happened, the reluctant admiral ( and we say this knowing he openly opposed the war with the United States ) perished with his staff and flight crew of the Mitsubishi GM4 "Betty" bomber that carried him into history on April 18th, 1943.

We thought much of the Admiral who was featured in the 2012 movie by the same name as we looked upon the solemn display recreating the wreckage that killed the best of Japan's Naval Leadership. The broken wreckage sits silently in a hanger in Chino recreating what one would have seen had they sifted through the thick jungle to recover the bodies of those aboard. While we have read many Blog Posts about this display with a degree of post war prejudice, we did not find it there. Rather, the display sits without any gloating or war time propaganda. It sits like a silent memorial to lives lost to a moment of time. As most wartime aviators will tell you, it was war and war is often impersonal ugly business. It is a sad reminder that there are human costs to war. The consequences of such which few can understand who have not seen combat. We appreciate the Planes of Fame Air Museum for recreating this display with a manner of dignity and respect.  While we are not here to re-fight WWII, it is our hope that such a war will never happen again.

To see this display please visit:
Planes Of Fame Air Museum
To learn more of the Admiral Movie please read our earlier blog post:
Isoroku Yamamoto 

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