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Welcome to war stories I'm Oliver North and -- the national museum with the Pacific war in Fredericksburg Texas.
Within hours of their 7 December 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the Japanese were swarming across the western Pacific.
Attacking American installations in China the Philippines and Guam.
They also set their sights on three tiny specks of -- 2000 miles west of Honolulu known as wake island.
The -- -- occupied by a small contingent of US Marines.
A handful of soldiers and sailors and about a thousand civilian contractors.
Look like an easy target to the Japanese.
They were dead wrong.
Outgunned and outnumbered the public defenders of wake island battled back floor and in the air for sixteen days against imperial Japan.
Tonight meet some of those brave men who took on the might of Japan the heroes of the battle for wake island.
The late 1936.
Pan American Airways clippers -- and luxurious 46 -- flying -- Begin -- their wealthy clientele across the Pacific from San Francisco to the orient and Australia.
Meetings -- refuel along the way one -- their -- was a tiny at all 2000 miles west of Hawaii called.
Wake -- they did have a hotel there wake island hotel.
A Pan American John Malkovich is the author of Pacific Alamo the battle for wake I'll -- -- come out.
And enjoy great food at the hotel and spend the rest of the day and -- -- Walking around and realizing.
There's not a heck of a lot on this place.
That's putting it mildly.
Wait had been -- US possessions in the end of the Spanish American war in 1999.
Put it don't pan am building schools up in hotel.
Yet fault comprised of -- -- and will islands have long been just -- -- of coral in a vast Pacific Ocean.
-- has to further American concession to the west.
In the Pacific it's almost like it was.
The wild west of fort Apache of the water wilderness.
But his Japanese aggression in the Pacific became more threatening to the US president Franklin Roosevelt recognized the quake's location.
It was crucial to protecting the Hawaiian Islands from Japanese attacked there was a conglomeration of huge American construction.
Companies including -- and canoes and there were assigned to develop this way.
-- troops and had been instrumental in the construction of the Hoover Dam.
San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
First contractors began arriving on -- in January 1941.
How did you end up working for.
Remorse and come in and out so.
Morrison -- Nixon's main office was on Broadway here in Boise we heard that the salary there was a lot of three times what it was in.
The State's 42 year old Idaho native Darwin -- duds couldn't wait to head out to the Pacific I arrived on wake island.
-- Easter Sunday April 13 1941.
It looked like a desolate place.
The highest place on that island was fourteen feet above sea level so I knew one big wave in -- gone.
There were 11145.
Approximately civilian construction workers.
Basically your average Joseph looking for adventure maybe make a little bit of money.
Also blurred out to wake was twenty year old -- -- -- -- from Boise Idaho did anybody ever tell you chose this place -- vulnerable to attack but.
-- everything -- getting -- I don't become a million -- over the civilian construction workers building.
They were building the base facilities there would be building of the airstrip.
So the short which defenses -- Pacific fleet commander admiral husband Kimmel.
Was a 38 year old marine major James.
In October 41 major several came out with a detachment of Marines -- -- down to build up its defenses he said you know.
I don't have an awful lot.
What are my vegetables and -- of war comes and the response was do the best you can.
The strict and meticulously commander brought a sense of urgency.
Military personnel stationed on the at all -- six armed personnel and then the other review personnel -- -- plane.
Area approximately 500 Marines -- had to go Marines to go around the -- Stand back and yet never ending don't -- the Marines and contractors worked together for long days in the scorching sun the -- each day was done.
-- -- were very different.
We had to mess all the demoralizing neither one you know Marines -- they treat them.
Little different the food first of all made the Marines drool with -- we had real a real cantaloupe.
Real -- -- the food was absolutely.
Even the Marines at -- weren't concerned before wars -- -- going to be any trouble in the Pacific.
Everybody assumed it would be the Philippines or somewhere in the Far East with the commander of the Japanese combined fleet admiral Yamamoto thought otherwise.
Wake island could serve as a stepping -- for attacking the American held islands of Hawaii and midway.
For him a moto never rose undermanned wake island was a must have several heads a little five inch -- 65.
Inch guns and 24 machine guns that's only half of which were -- Because we didn't have enough Marines.
This construction of the big -- navy commander wouldn't feel as cutting him arrived to take overall command of the island he technically was in charge of everything.
But several took care of the defenses.
Manned by the video wake Marines.
And Fortis and we'll go wildcats scored -- -- eleven -- provide a very sports air defense overweight.
One of the NF two elevenths pilots was 47 year old lieutenant -- -- a former Indian mechanic.
We can't -- a fine job and they've been firing them about.
On the morning of 7 December 1941.
Feet December on wake island which is west of the international dateline weren't spread quickly that -- -- had.
It's devastating surprise attack on Pearl Harbor the -- it's so rewarding thing you know what Pearl Harbor was bombed we're -- -- and yes the only thing that.
So basically prevent their entire little air force -- reference this period wants as few formal law.
They -- -- for -- -- us search mission scouting missions the other -- were on the ground on the morning enough.
-- -- -- -- -- Headed towards the martian.
None of the four ever cited the Japanese I was getting ready -- little lunch we had heard earlier that.
Honolulu was attacked and -- pooh -- it said Pearl Harbor rules yet.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- What better that day all hell broke loose when we kind of an airport and -- only one thing's dropped.
What's going -- you're headed that way computers completely.
They hit the airport guys are still in the cockpit.
Got hit you guys feel right I mean it was right that island this terribly small.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Over our -- strip -- those planes from the ground and just made.
Mets out of everything out the bomb to -- -- around it was your bedroom flat.
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