to the attack on Pearl Harbor, a contingent of JapaneseI-Class submarines
sailed from Yokosuka via the Marshall Islands to take up positions
off Hawaii and the coast of North America. Five of these vessels
carried midget two-man submarines and 11 carried aircraft.
on the morning of September 9, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-25
surfaced off Brookings. The crew quickly assembled a specially designed
seaplane, and within a few minutes pilot Nobuo Fujita, observer
Shoji Okuda, and two 170 pound incendiary bombs were catapulted
airborne. The plane flew toward Cape Blanco Light and crossed the
coastline, following a course southeast for about 50 miles to drop
its payload on Wheeler Ridge and become the first enemy aircraft
to bomb the US mainland.
Japanese intended to ignite the forests of the Pacific Northwest
and cause panic. The attempt was frustrated by an unusually wet
fire season and vigilant U.S. Forest Service lookouts atop Mt. Emily
and at Bear Wallow. The fires were quickly extinguished and 50 pounds
of bomb fragments were turned over to U.S. Military and FBI Investigators.
days later the I-25 surfaced 50 miles west of Cape Blanco. This
time Fujita crossed the coastline near Port Orford. Forest Service
lookouts spotted the plane, and so did ranchers along the Sixes
River. Firefighters were dispatched, but not no fire or bomb debris
was discovered. Fujita returned to Oregon in 1962, but this time
his mission was peaceful. While attending Brookings' annual Azalea
Festival, he surrendered his 400 year-old Samurai-type sword to
the Mayor as "The finest possible way of closing the story.
To pledge peace and friendship." Nobuo Fujita returned again
in 1992, to plant a redwood seedling at the bombed site on the 50th
anniversary of the attack.