Lt. Tadashi Kaneko, Shōkaku Fighter Squadron, first attack wave
The Shōkaku sent in first wave five Zeros under command of Lt. Kaneko. They destroyed 35 aircraft at Kaneohe airfield and hit
three others at Bellows. During the 2nd attack wave, fighters from Shōkaku patrolled over the carriers. Kaneko had commanded
the fighter Shótai aboard the aircraft carrier Ryūjo since 1937. He became well known in the Japanese press after his successful
attack on the Chinese fighters near Shanghai on August 22, 1937. In the following years he served with the 15th and 12th Kōkūtai,
and later with the Ómura and Mihoro Kōkūtai. In September 1941 he became Buntaichō of the fighters on the Shōkaku. He shot
down three Hurricanes during the attack on Trincomalee on April 9, 1942. In May 1942 he was appointed Hikōtaichō of the 6th Kōkūtai, which was to be based at Midway Atoll. During the Battle of Midway, Kaneko and his men were aboard Akagi and engaged
in a battle on his own initiative, shootting down two torpedo planes. From October 1942 he fought over Guadalcanal as Hikōtaichō
of the aircraft carrier Hiyō's fighters. In early November he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. During a patrol
on November 11, he shot down three F4Fs from VMF-121. In total he claimed at least eight victories. Kaneko was killed on November 14 in combat with SBDs from VB-10, his Zero was set on fire by gunner ACRM Gordon C. Gardner.
Lt. Masao Satō, Zuikaku Fighter Squadron, first attack wave
The aircraft carrier Zuikaku sent in the first wave five Zeros under the command of Lt. Satō. He escorted the bombers in the raid
on Kaneohe Naval Air Station. As they met no resistance in the air, his fighter pilots destroyed over 32 aircraft on the ground.
During the 2nd attack wave, Zuikaku fighters patrolled the carriers. Satō was a veteran of 12th Kōkūtai in China and served on
the board of Akagi. From September 1941 to January 1942, as the so-called Buntaichō, he commanded fighters aboard the Zuikaku, and in May he began serving in that capacity on the aircraft carrier Kaga until her sinking at the Battle of Midway. From June
1942 he took over fighters as Hikōtaichō on the carrier Zuihō. He participated in the Battle of Santa Cruz, and in the 2nd phase
Satō's formation shot down four aircraft. In April 1943, Zuihó participated in Operation “I”-go in the New Guinea and Solomon
Islands area. Satō was killed during Operation “Ro”-go on November 11, 1943 in aerial combat over Bougainville.
INFO Eduard - December 2021