CategoryMilitary

Planning the Attack on Pearl Harbor

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 The successful Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor  brought the United States into the war, but prevailing wisdom in Japan at the time said that the entrance was an inevitable eventuality. Many feared that a full-on attack by the United States had the potential to hobble Japanese war efforts elsewhere and even bring about a Japanese defeat. Thus, the attack was more of a desperate gamble to buy Japan time to secure a larger geography from which to extract natural resources and defend itself.

Japan’s strategy in the lead up to the December 7th attack was as impressive as the attack itself, providing a reminder that underestimating what you are up against, as the United States did with Japan at the time, can give the other side an advantage over you.

We Only Ever Talk About the Third Attack on Pearl Harbor

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It was a winter Sunday morning and the island of Oahu was asleep — its military at Pearl Harbor less alert than they might have been any other day of the week.

The winter trade winds blow steadily from the northeast against the Hawaiian island, rushing along and then up and over the 3,000-foot Koolau Range, with the moisture they carry being wrung out along the way. That moisture often forms into towering clouds, creating a dark wall of rain and weather.

An admiral intent on catching the U.S. military base unprepared was aware of this meteorological phenomenon. After all, it was the perfect natural cover in which attacking ships and planes could approach the island with little fear of being detected in time for a proper defense to be mounted.

Perseverance is Great, But Don’t Forget to Prepare

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After numerous terrorism incidents in the 1970s, the United States realized its armed forces had a blind spot when it came to counterterrorism. Green Beret  Colonel Charlie Beckwith, who had served alongside the British Army's counter-terrorism unit the Special Air Service (also known as " SAS ") in Malaysia, had been pushing for such a group since the 1960s. Now that the opportunity to be proactive had passed, the U.S. Army decided it was a good time to commission its own SAS-like force - namely,  Delta Force.

That brings us to Eric Haney. Haney had a successful start to his career, joining the army straight out of high school and progressing to platoon sergeant in the Army Rangers. In 1977, he was fretting that he would wind up as an instructor given his combat experience could be put to use training subsequent Ranger generations. After jumping out of an airplane as part of a drill, he stumbled into the opportunity to try out for one of the first Delta Force squadrons.