Only Enemy Pilot Ever To Drop Bombs On US Mainland Given Honorary Citizenship

Only one foreign air force has attacked the continental United States. September 9, 1942 saw a plane launch from a Japanese sub, dropping bombs on the town of Brookings, Oregon.

Formidable Forces

When Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Imperial Japanese Navy was the largest and most powerful in the world. It took quite some time before the United States could bring its Navy up to the same level.

The German U-boats were known as incredibly effective submarines in World War II. However, Japan had the I-400- class.

The submarine was able to hold three floatplane bombers. It could go around the world one and a half times underwater, completely undetected, and was powered by diesel.

Attack on Continental US

Japan used a B1-type sub the I-25 to attack Brookings, Oregon. The sub went out on three missions.

First, it went from Hawaii to the mouth of the Columbia River. Second, the boat did missions in Australia and New Zealand. From the boat, the Yokosuka E14Y over Sydney Harbour and Port Phillip Bay on recon missions.

Warrant Flying Officer Nobou Fujita also flew over Wellington and Auckland in New Zealand. It wasn't until the fourth mission that the sub-launched its attack on the quiet logging town.

Assault on Brookings

The Japanese planned to drop bombs in the heavily forested areas of Oregon and California in an attempt to start forest fires. Fujita carried two 168-pound incendiary bombs.

One bomb hit Mount Emily just east of Brookings. However, it did not amount to the devastation the Japanese were hoping for. The area was wet a d the U.S. Forest Service rapidly responded to the small blaze, putting it out.

The Lookout Air Raid as it was eventually called had very little effect. The I-25 tried a couple of weeks later but had even less of an effect. Some flames popped up but went nowhere.

Post War

After the war, Fujita owned a hardware store close to Tokyo, then went to work at a wire company after the hardware store went bankrupt. Fujita did not speak of his military service.

Fujitawas invited to the town of Brookings in 1962 and brought his 400-year-old samurai sword with him as a apology gift.

He was concerned they would be upset with him, but the people welcomed him with open arms. In 1997, he was made an honorary citizen and his sword is displayed at city hall.

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