“I Looked Him Right In The Eyes” – Sailor Recalls Harrowing Close Call with a Kamikaze

Kamikaze plane is photographed a split second before it strikes the USS Missouri. Japan’s suicide squadrons were largely ineffective militarily, but they were certainly terrifying enough to the crews of Allied ships in the Pacific. (Image source: WikiCommons)

“I looked at him. He looked at me.”

MORE THAN 4,000 Japanese aviators volunteered to be Kamikaze during the Second World War. Pilots in these so-called “Special Attack Forces” agreed to fly their explosive-laden planes straight into Allied warships, killing themselves, but also crippling the enemy vessel in the process. Although, most were brought down by anti-aircraft gunners and fighter planes before they could strike their targets, nearly 350 British and American ships were hit. In this recent interview from our friends at AudioBurst, retired U.S. Navy gunner Marvin Shields recounts the terror her felt when his ship was in the crosshairs of a Kamikaze. Listen:

1 comment for ““I Looked Him Right In The Eyes” – Sailor Recalls Harrowing Close Call with a Kamikaze

  1. Bill Wallace
    11 June, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    Militarily ineffective ? Half of all US naval casualties in WW2 were the result of kamikaze attacks. As the articles states the number of ships sunk and damaged was appalling.

    Just imagine what they’d have done if they were effective. By the way, approximately 2,000 aircraft were used off Okinawa. The Japanese had over 5,000 reserved for such use in Japan, with an additional 5,000 conventional aircraft waiting for the invasion.

    The difference was off Okinawa their targets were warships. If Japan had been invaded the Japanese would have switched their attacks to troop transports. And American intelligence estimated the Japanese had fewer than 1,000 aircraft left!

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