PO1c Yoshikazu Nagahama, Kaga Fighter Squadron, Pearl Harbor second attack wave
Pilots in their Zeroes prepare for action at Buin Airfield, Bougainville Island in April 1943 during Operation
“I-gō”. In the foreground are Type 21s from the aircraft carrier Zuihō. The field applied green paint varied from
unit to unit.
(Photo: San Diego Air and Space Museum)
The nine Zeros of the aircraft carrier Kaga were led in the second wave by Lt. Yasushi Nikaidō and destroyed six and ten aircraft respectively at Hickam and Wheeler field. PO1c Nagahama, who had served on Kaga since 1939, took part in the attack. During the raid on Darwin
on February 19, 1942 he scored five victories in one combat sortie. As first he shot down
a Catalina from Patrol Wing 10. Unable to find his formation, he attacked five P-40s from the
33rd PS alone, shooting down four of them and then setting another flying boat afloat on
fire. Other Kaga fighters apparently attacked the same P-40s. During the Battle of Midway,
Nagahama took part in the first attack wave, and after his return, he participated in the
destruction of the Devastators from the USS Hornet. He took part in the Battle of the Eastern
Solomons while aboard Zuikaku. During a patrol on August 26 he shared destruction of Catalina from VP-14 (damaged as well on December 7, 1941). During the Battle of Santa Cruz
on October 26 he shared several victories over F4Fs, including Lt. (jg) Paul Landry of VF-72.
Nagahama was killed in an accident on September 6, 1943 in Japan while on duty at Tsuiki
Kōkūtai. He is credited with 10 (or 13) victories and achieved the rank of Chief Petty Officer.
c/n 3277, Lt. Fusata Iida, Sōryū Fighter Squadron, Pearl Harbor second attack wave
Planes from USS Saratoga and USS Princenton hit shipping at Rabaul on November 5, 1943, including several
cruisers. Japanese vessels are standing out of Simpson Harbor into Blanche Bay. The Japanese airmen nicknamed Rabaul the „meat grinder”. Fighting in this area in late 1943 and early 1944 deprived the Japanese naval air
force of much of its remaining veteran personnel.
In the second attack wave, Sōryū sent nine Zeros under the command of Lt. Fusata Iida
against Kaneohe airfield and destroyed six flying boats. On return flight Iida signaled that
he was running out of fuelBecause of that he returned and decided to crash his aircraft into
a hangar at Kaneohe, but missed the target. Iida's flight hood was returned to his relatives
in 1999 by the daughter of Mr. Sam Chun, who took it off from Iida´s head after the crash. His
body was buried with military honors and he was posthumously promoted two grades. There
is also testimony that Iida did not believe in the success of the war against the US and his
Zero was not low on fuel. There is now a memorial at the site of the crash. Due to the ground
fire and attacks of P-36 pilots from the 45th FS, Iida's formation lost two more Zeros and one
suffered serious damage. Two P-36s were shot down. Iida was born on December 2, 1913. He
first served as an instructor with the Kasumigaura Kōkūtai, and in September 1940 he was
assigned to the 12th Kōkūtai in China, which tested Zero fighters in combat. In a raid on Chengdu on October 26, his formation claimed ten aircraft without loss. Nevertheless, Iida expressed his disapproval of the way the war against China was being conducted. From September
1941, he served as Buntaichō of the aircraft carrier Sōryū's fighters until December 7, 1941.
(Photo: Naval History and Heritage Command)
c/n 2266, PO1c Shigenori Nishikaichi, Hiryū Fighter Squadron,
Pearl Harbor second attack wave
In this October 1945 photo, Japanese and Allied soldiers discuss (at Kavieng airfield?) near the wreck of an A6M2
on the island of New Ireland. Note the green paint applied in field conditions, the white outline of hinomaru on the
upper surfaces and the absence of the yellow identification stripe on the leading edge of the wing.
Hiryū sent nine Zeros under the command of Lt. Sumio Nōno. His pilots attacked Kaneohe
and Bellows bases, claiming two destroyed aircraft and one car. Zero of PO1c Nishikaichi was
running low on fuel and he was looking for a rescue submarine off Niihau Island without
success. After belly landing he was captured by a Hawaiian native who took his papers
and weapon. The pilot persuaded several residents of Japanese descent to cooperate and
managed to get free. He dismantled machine gun from the aircraft, set the machine on fire
and threatened to kill the natives to force the return of the secret documents. During the
December 13, he and a helper captured Mr. Benjamin Kanahele and his wife. A scuffle ensued
during which Kanahele was shot three times by the pilot, but became so enraged that he
killed him against a wall. The pilot's helper, Mr. Harada, committed suicide. It is known as
the Niihau Incident. Mr. Kanahele received the Purple Heart and the Medal of Merit from the
President of the United States. Nishikaichi, whose fate was unknown to the Japanese side,
was posthumously promoted two grades. Parts of Zero are on display at the Pacific Aviation
Museum Pearl Harbor. On the engine cover there was a service plate with the name of the
mechanic PO3c Akimoto painted.