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 Re: Signed Personal 1974 Letter from Mitsuo Fuchida (Tora, Tora)

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Hornchurch

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Location : 8th Air Force region ~ Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk ~ >> EAST-ANGLIA, ENGLAND

PostSubject: Re: Signed Personal 1974 Letter from Mitsuo Fuchida (Tora, Tora)   Sat Feb 25 2017, 09:46

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 [ Carried across from "Model Warbird" forum, originally posted Oct' 2013 ]





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First-off, lemme say that I'd planned on relating this tale sometime in the future.

However, timely inspired by Capt'.Eddie's thread on the "Doolittle Raiders", I let my typing (& enthusiasm) get the better of me!

As I'd already started typing a long reply in Capt.Eddie's excellent B.25 "Doolittle Raiders" thread, it became increasingly apparent that the direct 'link' I had (before me) & was busy typing out, would better warrant it's own thread, rather than clutter-up his !
(besides, it woulda been a magnum-opus on Ed's thread, even by my standards !)

So, to better explain, in essence, I've "chopped-off" half of the post that was initiated by Capt.Eddie's thread... & it reads like this... (BELOW the link)


      http://tmwcf.forumcircle.com/viewtopic.php?t=1186&highlight=


One thing I'd like to add to this thread that Capt.Eddie has opened-up & it's something that not a lot of a/c enthusiasts know or ever talk about...

It's rather like the Kimbolton "Charlie Brown crew's Ye Old Pub vs Franz Stiegler's Me.109" tale or aftermath story = & it's regarding one of "the" participants of THIS particular raid & thread that Capt.Eddie started...

One of the crewmen on the B.25 "Doolittle raid" (a navigator or radio-op, IIRC) was ALSO  one of those poor unfortunates captured afterwards & tortured by the Japanese  (so he had good reason to dislike them).

I was amazed to read his (basic) story many, many years ago...

Turns out he asked his captors for a Bible to read.... & they, his Japanese captors acceded to his request...

Well, he'd "found" God in amongst his miserable surroundings & his belief in Christianity grew strong.... to the point that when he was FINALLY released & the war was over, he turned to preaching the Gospel.
(I recall reading him saying that he'd do that "if" he survived captivity).

The "twist" in the story that was many years later, he toured & was preaching with ANOTHER very famous "Raid" participant  = BUT NOT THAT B.25 RAID & JAPANESE !
(to boot)

It was his pairing-up with The Rev' Mitsuo Fuchida  =  no-less than "the" man who uttered now legendary radio attack message "TORA, TORA, TORA" which had started the war between Japan & the U.S.A. in the first place !!!!!!!

An unlikely pairing, if ever, I thought as a youngster = I know it shocked me at the time, when I'd first read it.


Reason I came to "know" about this unlikely post-war liaison, was because way, way back in time = 1971/72 to be precise = My Uncle (my Dad's elder brother, 'ex'-RAF) had bought a (then 'new' in 1971) Postal "first-day-cover" , commemorating the 1941-1971 anniversary.

Back then, things WEREN'T autographed anywhere near as much as they are today (I guess you guys will agree ?)

Well, my Dad's brother WROTE a letter, from London, England = to Rev' Mitsuo Fuchida over in Japan...
(asking "if" he would be so kind as to 'autograph' his 1941-1971 "first-day-cover")

He never heard ANYTHING for several years & gave it up as a 'loss'
Now comes the good bit....  :mrgreen:

 On August the 11th 1974, Mitsuo Fuchida actually wrote back to him !!!!!!!!!!!
 (& yes, he "had" been gracious enough to sign & return the cover, too !)

As I type this post, I have a first-hand photocopy, given to me (long) before my Dad's brother passed-away..... It's a photocopy of the actual "one to one" letter that Rev' Mitsuo Fuchida had written to my Uncle accompanying his 'first-day-postal-cover' envelope, apologizing for & explaining the long delay in replying !

I've kept this first-hand copy, as it's pretty personal & I guess (?) unique ?

His address at that time (1974) was in 'Kashihara-shi 634'
(I won't post the first line, for privacy reasons to his latterday folks)

Also enclosed in my 'package' from my Uncle, is a copy of "the" cover (signed), as well as a (then current) news snippet of a 1970's visit to London with his wife at Heathrow Airport near a VC.10  =  in order to "attend the premiere" of the (now famous Hollywood film) "Tora, Tora, Tora" which was being premiered at Leicester Square.  Cool

It states (in the British news article) that "Tora Tora, Tora" means 'Tiger, Tiger, Tiger' & that he was a "Presbyterian Minister".

For the last 20+ years I've been keeping it with one of my personally signed prints inside a huge 1/48th scale Monogram Boeing B.17 box from when I met & spent 30+ mins talking to James Goodson & his wife (famous former 4th F.G. P.51 Mustang pilot) at North Weald back in spring/summer 1992.

Met PLENTY of WW.II aircrew in my time, but very few "face to face" who are pretty much household names !
Hence why I guess I figured this 'link' was just SO unique & kept it till this day...

As I've typed-out all the above "off the cuff" & it's been some 15+ YEARS since I read the B.25 "Doolittle Raider" crewman's account, I SADLY cannot (as I type this) remember his name...
(I do recall by memory that he was either a Navigator or a Radioman ?)

If folks reading this either 'know', or find out the B.25 Tokyo-raider crewman's name who accompanied Mitsuo Fuchda on these 'preaching trips' , I'd be grateful if you could chime-in, as it's now getting very late here & too late to start Googling & reminding myself who the B.25 fella was !!!!!!!!
(cheers in advance, crew)


BTW ; "if" there's enough interest within the thread, I'll get round to actually scanning the 3 x different copies that I have, if req'd  ????


'

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Hornchurch

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PostSubject: Re: Re: Signed Personal 1974 Letter from Mitsuo Fuchida (Tora, Tora)   Sat Feb 25 2017, 10:10


 [ Originally posted as a reply by Tony, "Cuban.8" in October 2013 ]



cuban8 wrote:



Mitsuo Fuchida



In the fall of 1948, Fuchida was passing by the bronze statue of Hachiko at the Shibuya Station when he was handed a pamphlet about the life of Jacob DeShazer, a member of the Doolittle Raid who was captured by the Japanese after his B-25 bomber ran out of fuel over occupied China. In the pamphlet, "I Was a Prisoner of Japan" DeShazer, himself a former U.S. Army Air Forces Staff Sergeant and bombardier, told his story of imprisonment, torture and his account of an "awakening to God." This experience increased Fuchida's curiosity of the Christian faith. In September 1949, after reading the Bible for himself, he became a Christian. In May 1950, Fuchida and DeShazer met for the first time.

In 1951, Fuchida, along with a colleague, published an account of the Battle of Midway from the Japanese side. In 1952, he toured the United States as a member of the Worldwide Christian Missionary Army of Sky Pilots. Fuchida remained dedicated to a similar initiative as the group for the remainder of his life.

Jacob DeShazer



Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Staff Sergeant DeShazer, along with other members of the 17th Bomb Group, volunteered to join a special unit that was formed to attack Japan. The 24 crews selected from the 17th BG received intensive training at Eglin Field, Florida, for three weeks beginning 1 March 1942. The crews undertook practice carrier deck takeoffs along with extensive flying exercises involving low-level and night flying, low altitude bombing and over water navigation. Their mission would be to fly modified B-25 Mitchell bombers launched from an aircraft carrier to attack Japan.

The unit formed to carry out the raid on Japan soon acquired the name, "Doolittle's Raiders", after their famous commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle. S.Sgt. DeShazer was the bombardier of B-25 #16, the "Bat (Out of Hell)", commanded by Lt. William G. Farrow, the last of the 16 B-25s to launch from the USS Hornet on the bombing run over Tokyo. The raid was a success, but part of the plan included ditching the airplanes in China after using all their fuel to reach Japan. The carrier-launched bombers couldn't return to their carrier; it was a one-way trip.

After bombing Nagoya, Japan, the "Bat" attempted to reach safe haven in China. DeShazer and the rest of the B-25 crew were forced to parachute into enemy territory over Ningpo, China when their B-25 ran out of fuel. DeShazer was injured in his fall into a cemetery and along with the rest of his crew, he was captured the very next day by the Japanese. During his captivity, DeShazer was sent to Tokyo with the survivors of another Doolittle crew, and was held in a series of P.O.W. camps both in Japan and China for 40 months – 34 of them in solitary confinement. He was severely beaten and malnourished while three of the crew were executed by a firing squad, and another died of slow starvation. DeShazer's sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by Emperor Hirohito. As the war came to an end, on 20 August 1945, DeShazer and the others in the camp at Beijing (Peiping), China were finally released when American soldiers parachuted into the camp.

On his return to the United States, Staff Sgt. DeShazer was awarded both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart for his part in the Doolittle Raid.

During his captivity, DeShazer persuaded one of his guards to loan him a copy of the Bible. Although he only had possession of the Bible for three weeks, he saw its messages as the reason for his survival and resolved to become a devout Christian. His conversion included learning a few words of Japanese and treating his captors with respect, which resulted in the guards reacting in a similar fashion. After his release, DeShazer entered Seattle Pacific College, a Christian college, and began studying to be a missionary, eventually to return to Japan with his wife, Florence, in 1948.

DeShazer, the Doolittle Raider who bombed Nagoya, met Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, who led the attack on Pearl Harbor, becoming close friends. (For That One Day: The Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida, Commander of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, translated by Douglas T. Shinsato and Tadanori Urabe.) Fuchida became a Christian in 1950 after reading a tract written about DeShazer titled, I Was a Prisoner of Japan, and spent the rest of his life as a missionary in Asia and the United States. On occasion, DeShazer and Fuchida preached together as Christian missionaries in Japan. In 1959, DeShazer moved to Nagoya to establish a Christian church in the city he had bombed.

DeShazer retired after 30 years of missionary service in Japan and went back to his home town in Salem, Oregon where he spent the last years of his life in an assisted living home with his wife, Florence. On 15 March 2008, DeShazer died in his sleep at the age of 95, leaving his wife and five children: Paul, John, Mark, Carol, and Ruth.

On 15 April 2008, the Oregon War Veterans Association(OWVA) nominated DeShazer for the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal noting his extraordinary impact on America as a war hero and for his heroic service to the people of Japan, where he is well known as a hero of peace and reconciliation. On 21 April 2008, the White House confirmed the nomination in a letter to OWVA's executive director, Greg Warnock. President George W. Bush's Deputy Director for Awards said that the DeShazer nomination for the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's most prestigious civilian award, second only to the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor would be given "every consideration" by the advisory staff, who will provide the President with the recommendation. The medals are usually awarded on or near 4 July annually. About 400 Presidential Medals of Freedom have been awarded since its inception in 1945.

Warnock nominated Rev. DeShazer for the Congressional Gold Medal through Congresswoman Darlene Hooley's (D-Ore.) office in Salem, Oregon. In the official nomination letters Warnock wrote, “At this time in our history, we feel it is ideal to honor a man who was a genuine war hero, but who after his sacrificial service put on gloves of peace, and touched the entire world with grace and humility.”

Hornchurch, I hope this helps... information obtained from Wikipedia.

Cuban

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