[Tuttle wondered what surprises might be offered the Japanese on the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack.]
Infantry in the field have little use for calendars. The day of the week means nothing to a man who is on the job all seven days no matter what and hasn’t seen Sunday church services in months. Prayers out here are whispered on the schedule of artillery barrages and frontal assaults, not according to the program in a hymnal. The day of the month is immaterial to a soldier who pays no rent, though it should be cheap for accommodations consisting of a muddy hole and half a tent.
Those few here who do still keep track of what day it is recognize this as Pearl Harbor day. December 7th, four long years ago, the mighty Imperial Japanese Navy launched the surprise attack that ultimately brought us here. It would seem fitting for us to present them with an unpleasant surprise today, a little ‘thanks for the memories’ token of appreciation.
But I don’t think there will be any surprises offered in this part of the world. We assaulted this island with a quarter million combat troops, thousands of trucks, and hundreds of tanks over three weeks ago. Our naval guns and army artillery have pulverized in detail thousands of acres of Japanese home territory. I think they know we’re here.
One surprise for them might have been that the Air Corps is operating out of the large airfields in Kanoya, but I’m told that won’t happen until tomorrow. We have been flying ground attack fighters from small improvised strips near the beaches since early on. Engineers get busy on the larger permanent airfields as soon as they are taken, but regular air operations can’t commence until the field is out of enemy artillery range and the threat of night infiltration attacks.
Kanoya has the biggest prize airfield in this area, but it lies in a valley between what a civilian might call ‘beautiful mountain backdrops,’ or the military calls ‘commanding heights.’ Those heights must be cleared of unfriendly sightseers before the field is safe to use.
The 1st Cavalry Division has nearly flushed out the last resistance in the rugged peninsula to the south. The 40th Division believes it has a firm hold on the near sides of the dominating Onogara-dake, a 3600 foot jagged mountain that I imagine will be featured on postcards sold at Kanoya if it ever becomes a civilian airport.