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Kamikaze Attack on the USS Missouri
Photo 9 of 15

Visitors touring the USS Missouri Battleship in Pearl Harbor, can view dents in the side of the ship that were caused by a Japanese pilot who dive-bombed the ship in a suicide mission during World War II.

USS Missouri Kamikazi attack
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The sign below is placed near the dents in the side of USS Missouri Battleship that were caused by a Japanese Kamikaze pilot.

USS Missouri Battleship
Copyright © Kathleen Walling Fry

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In case you cannot read the sign in the above picture, here's what it says:

World War II - Kamikaze Attack

Japan's determination to halt the Allied advance during World War II is vividly reflected in the term "Kamikaze" or "Divine Wind".

Originally used in reference to the typhoon winds that destroyed the invasion forces of Kublai Khan, the term was resurrected in 1944 by Admiralty Masafumi Arima who personally led the first Special Attack Force mission against the Allies.

On April 11, 1945, during the invasion of Okinawa, a flight of 16 approaching Japanese aircraft was spotted by radar. Of those, one pilot set his sights on the American battleship Missouri and would not be stopped.

coming in low off the stern, hit repeatedly by anti-aircraft fire and struggling to rise, the aircraft's left wing caught the side of the ship at the last instant and swung the "Zeke" hard against the hull, sending a fiery wave of debris onto the deck. The remains of the pilot were found among the wreckage.

Missouri's Captain, William Callaghan, ordered the burial of the unknown Japanese pilot the following day. A Marine honor guard fired a salute and his body was committed to the deep.

Between October 1944 and the end of hostilities in August1945, some 3000 "Kamikaze" sorties are estimated to have been flown.

The dents from the April 11, 1945 attack remain on the Missouri's hull to this day (visible between frames 159 and 165).

See also:
- All Photos of USS Missouri
- USS Missouri Battleship Tour
- USS Arizona Memorial
- USS Bowfin Submarine and Museum

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