World War II Chronicle: 12 December 1941

Five days after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Imperial Japanese Navy’s First Air Fleet is steaming west across the North Pacific, some 1,500 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. Across the ocean, Japanese forces hammer Luzon Island on multiple fronts: Olongapo, Cavite, Legaspi, Batangas, and Clark Field.

Headlines from this edition:

  • Japan Attacks Luzon on 2 Sides
  • Men 18 to 65 May Register
  • Heroes of First Fighting Cited
  • Soviet Keeps Japs on Spot of War Threat
  • Admiral Killed
  • Japans Ace Cards Remain Experience, Totalitarianism
  • Philippine Defense Brightens Outlook for U.S. in Pacific

Check yesterday’s paper for information on the heroes. Unrelated to the war but an interesting aside for baseball fans: St. Louis Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey trades Johnny Mize to the New York Giants. “Big Jawn” puts in one season in New York before joining the Navy, where he played first base for the Great Lakes Naval Station Bluejackets club alongside big names like Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto. After the war, he puts in several good seasons with the Giants and later the Yankees. Considering they gave up a future Hall of Famer, the Cardinals didn’t get much in return.

Regarding the “Admiral Killed” section on the top of the second page, Isaac C. Kidd graduated the U.S. Naval Academy in 1906, serving on the USS Pittsburgh (CA-4) during our involvement with Mexican in 1914-1916 prior to World War I. He served aboard the battleship USS New Mexico (BB-40) during the closing months of World War I before eventually returning to Annapolis to serve as an instructor. He commanded the battleship USS Arizona (BB-39) before his promotion to Commander of Battleship Division ONE. He was killed while on the bridge of Arizona during the Pearl Harbor attack and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. His body was never found, but divers did locate his Naval Academy ring, which was fused to the battleship’s bulkhead.

Kidd was the first American admiral to be killed in combat and the first American flag officer killed in the war,The destroyer USS Kidd (DD-661) was named in his honor.

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Author: Documents

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