Lt. Cdr. Shigeru Itaya, Akagi Fighter Squadron, first attack wave
During the first wave Itaya led 43 Zero fighters, including 9 from Akagi. Itaya's own Akagi formation shot down one sightseeing
and three training aircraft. Then, at Hickam and Ewa bases, they destroyed about 25 aircraft and also attacked incoming B-17s.
Itaya's wingmen damaged and set fire to a B-17C from 7th BG of Capt. Swenson´s crew with one passenger who did not survive
the attack. Itaya's wingman, PO1c Hirano, was hit by anti-aircraft over Fort Kamehameha and hit an obstacle while flying low
over the ground, killing himself and four American soldiers. Itaya was born in 1909 and graduated from the Naval Academy in
1929. From November 1936, he was the Buntaichō of the Ryūjo Fighter Squadron for one year. He then served with the 15th and
12th Kōkūtai and from January 1940 he was Buntaichō of the Hiryū Fighter Squadron. In November 1940 he took over this position
on the aircraft carrier Akagi, in April 1941 he was appointed Hikōtaichō and remained in this position until the Battle of Midway.
He was killed on July 24, 1944 in the Kuril Islands, at that time serving as a member of the staff of the Naval 51st KōkūSentai. He
was flying aboard a G3M bomber towards Paramushir and was accidentally shot down by a Ki-43 fighter.
c/n probably 2236, PO2c Akira Yamamoto, Kaga Fighter Squadron, first attack wave
Kaga sent nine Zeros in the first wave of the attack on Pearl Harbor under command of Lt. Yoshio Shiga. His formation destroyed
21 aircraft at Hickam. Six of them were credited to PO2c Yamamoto, who had previously shot down a yellow-painted civilian
Piper J-3 on a sighseeing flight. The two men on board were killed. Lt. Shiga lowered Yamamoto's rank one notch and called him
an idiot bastard. Yamamoto had served as a fighter pilot since 1934 and had seen combat in China with the aircraft carrier Hōshō
and 12th Kōkūtai. During the Battle of Midway, he shot down five bombers. After Kaga was hit, Yamamoto landed aboard Hiryū
and while escorting bomber he claimed four fighters including F4F flown by “Jimmy” Thatch, commander of VF-3. In the fall of
1942 he served on the carrier Zuihō and was promoted to the rank of Warrant Officer. In May 1944, he was transferred to the
Yokosuka Kōkūtai and participated in the defense of Iwo Jima. He was killed in the defense of Japan on November 24, 1944. After
his aircraft was hit by a B-29 gunner, Yamamoto bailed out, but his parachute did not open. He achieved 13 aerial victories and
the rank of Lieutenant junior grade.
INFO Eduard - December 2021