Unlike many of his previous opponents, Sakai found U.S. naval aviators consistently competent and aggressive. own selection process. About the same time, Sakai married his cousin Hatsuyo, who asked him for a dagger so she could kill herself if he fell in battle. [9], Early in 1942, Sakai was transferred to Tarakan Island in Borneo and fought in the Dutch East Indies. Sakai had thought about downing the C-47 for a For over fifty years, this Dutch nurse wanted to meet the pilot who He spotted a blonde woman and a young child through the window, along with other passengers. Among the fighter pilots was Japanese air ace Saburo Sakai. While touring the U.S., Sakai was surprised to learn that his hosts believed he was credited with 64 victories. This training lasted three months, although I never flew Sakai never said how many victories he had. He was engaged by Hellcat fighters near the task force's reported position, and all but one of the Nakajima B6N2 "Jill" torpedo bombers in his flight were shot down. ", "Hiroyoshi Nishizawa: Japan's World War II Ace of Aces. The SBD crews reported being attacked by two Zeros, one of which came in from directly astern and flew into the concentrated fire from their rear-mounted twin 7.62mm (0.3in) .30 AN/M2 guns. They were SBD Dauntless dive-bombers, with eager rear machine Sakai flew missions the next day during heavy weather. based on his experience. Sakai descended and approached the DC-3. Despite his loss of one eye and facing superior enemy aircraft, Sakai eluded attacks by the Hellcats for more than 20 minutes, returning to his airfield untouched. Call Us Today! As I flew This He is credited with more than 60 kill in the air. In his first combat against Americans, he shot down a Curtiss P-40 Warhawk and destroyed two B-17 Flying Fortresses by strafing them on the ground. Throughout his civilian years, Sakai was often asked by Japanese schools and corporations to appear as a motivational speaker. Hane gave him a fine ride with low-level passes and aerobatics. He ignored his orders, flew ahead of the pilot, and signaled him to go ahead. The hard work paid off. again. The surgery repaired some of the damage to his head, but was unable to restore full vision to his right eye. In August of 1942, Sakai was shot in the face by a 7.62 mm (0.3 in) bullet that entered the right side of his skull and passed through his brain. I had just arrived with them from Sky Harbor Airport when warbird owner Bill Hane rolled out his P-51D, Ho Hun! At age 11, his father died, leaving his mother alone to raise seven children. For some strange reason, even after I had poured about five or six hundred rounds of ammunition directly into the Grumman, the airplane did not fall, but kept on flying. were in the area. Taught to live by the code of Bushido (Hagakure We lowered propeller revolutions to only 1,700 to 1,850 rpm, and throttled the air control valve to its leanest mixture. ", "REL/08378 - Mitsubishi A6M2 Model 21 Zero Fighter Aircraft: Japanese Navy Air Force. Open Button. I couldn't My quest began sometime shortly after World War II. them, and all were non-commissioned officers from the fleet. The Japanese high command had instructed fighter patrols to down all enemy aircraft encountered, whether they were armed or not. from. Sakai flew missions the next day during heavy weather. how to play the last stand: union city 2021. who was president during gilded age. He was 84. dismissed my previous dishonor, and my uncle and family were so proud became the "black sheep" of his new class. Rather than follow meaningless orders, in worsening weather and gathering darkness, Sakai led his small formation back to Iwo Jima, preserving the aircraft and pilots for another day. he was wrong. My newspaper researched the background of the woman and discovered the whole thing was a fraud. Saburo Sakai was born August 16th 1916 in the farming Although in agony from his injuries[23] Sakai managed to fly his damaged Zero in a 4 h 47 min flight over 560nmi (1,040km; 640mi) back to his base on Rabaul by using familiar volcanic peaks as guides. Then On a patrol with his Zero over Java, just after shooting down an enemy aircraft, Sakai encountered a civilian Dutch Douglas DC-3 flying at low altitude over dense jungle. For the first time Lt. Sakai produced the helmet he had worn on August 7, 1942, still bearing evidence of Jones marksmanship. The soldiers picked up the note and delivered to the squadron commander. After a period as a Buddhist acolyte (during which he reputedly adopted a pacifist philosophy), he established a printing business. most of all, never losing a wingman in over 200 missions. He was using my favorite tactics, coming up from under. Yet Sakai did fly an additional mission that remains controversial even today. The bomber pilot was Captain Colin Kelley Jr., who remained at the controls so his crew could bail out. single attack from 15 Hellcats for over 20 minutes, returning to Saburo Sakai was born August 26th 1916 in the farming village of Nishiyoka in the Saga prefecture on Kyushu island, Japan. We reformed and continued on. HistoryNet.com contains daily features, photo galleries and over 25,000 articles originally published in our nine magazines. After his discharge from the hospital in January 1943, Sakai spent a year training new fighter pilots. However, he considered the arrangement worthwhile owing to the many friendships and contacts he made in America. The entire village was proud of me. Ruffato, Luca and Michael J Claringbould. it was none other than Saburo Sakai, who had been flying combat air village of Nishiyoka in the Saga prefecture on Kyushu island, Japan. how select the program was. very strict; the men chosen in 1937 when I was selected were a different With limited resources, Sakai was adopted by his maternal uncle, who financed his education in a Tokyo high school. Get Direction. Sakai managed to shoot down one Hellcat and escaped the umbrella of enemy aircraft by flying into a cloud. Others were not so skillful or fortunate. The Japanese used no landing signal officers other than a sailor stationed aft with a red flag in the event of a waveoff. Sakai graduated in his enlisted pilot training class late in 1937, receiving a silver watch from the emperor as the outstanding trainee of the year. In April 1944, he was transferred to Yokosuka Air Wing, which was deployed to Iwo Jima. Sakai was promoted to Sailor Second Class (Able Seaman) () in 1936, and served on the battleship Haruna as a turret gunner. Upon completion of harsh recruit training, he reported aboard the battleship Kirishima. village. After his father died when Saburo was only 11, he was raised by his mother who clung fiercely to . Japan's greatest living Ace, Saburo Sakai fought for his country from the war in China in 1938 to the last day of WW II. [26], Sakai claimed to have never lost a wingman in combat, but he lost at least two of them over Iwo Jima. all of the crew. Then I was sent to southeastern A recurring topic in Sakais conversations was leadership. On a patrol with his Zero over Java, just after he had shot down an enemy aircraft, Sakai encountered a civilian Dutch Douglas DC-3 flying at low altitude over dense jungle. //-->. In his first combat against Americans, he claimed a Curtiss P-40 shot down and two B-17 strafed on the ground. This was almost tragic. a high-flying chase that has become legendary, Sakai eluded every Sakai destroyed or damaged more than 60 Allied planes during World War II, mostly American. but far enough away for me.". A Zero which had taken that many bullets would have been a ball of fire by now. This was Consequently, Sakai confided late in life that he never received any U.S. royalties. Period". Saburo Sakai was born August 16th 1916 in the farming village of Nishiyoka in the Saga prefecture on Kyushu island, Japan. Sakai, who sent a daughter to college in Texas to "learn about democracy," made more than two dozen trips to the U.S. over the years, meeting many of the pilots he formerly tried to kill. It read "Thank you for the wonderful display of aerobatics by three of your pilots. His squadron mate Hiroyoshi Nishizawa drove him, as quickly but as gently as possible, to the surgeon. Remember He eventually started a successful printing shop, which he used to help his former comrades and their families with employment. having to stand. He was one of just three pilots from his pre-war unit who had survived. respect my orders that day but I still think I did the right Subscribe today! "We started our day at 0200 Diving to 6,000ft (1,800m), the three Zeros did three more loops without receiving any AA fire from the ground. He was promoted to sub-lieutenant () one year later, just before the war ended. I saw a blonde woman, a mother with a child about three years Winged Samurai: Saburo Sakai and the Zero Fighter Pilots, "The Kamikaze: Samurai Warrior, A New Appraisal. I never flew at night and there was no Ensign Jiro Kawachi!. Sabur Sakai was born on August 25, 1916, in Saga, Japan, into a family of samurai ancestry whose ancestors had taken part in the Japanese invasions of Korea but who were forced to make a living as farmers following haihan-chiken in 1871. with cheers. In 1935, he successfully passed the competitive examinations for the Naval Gunners School. So I perfectly understand why the Americans bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima.". Check out our sakai saburo On 8 August, Sakai scored one of his best documented kills against an F4F Wildcat flown by James "Pug" Southerland, who by the end of the war became an ace with five victories. He interviewed Saburo Sakai three times between 1970 and 1991. The initial Allied landings captured an airfield, later called Henderson Field by the Allies, that was under construction by the Japanese. we arrived over Clark Field we were amazed that we had not been intercepted, During the Borneo campaign, Sakai achieved 13 air victories, before he was grounded by illness. On 7 August, Sakai and three pilots shot down an F4F Wildcat flown by James "Pug" Southerland, who had by the end of the war become an ace with five victories. from a carrier during the war. . Here's an interesting story Our orders Commander Tadashi Nakajima encountered what was to become a famous double-team maneuver on the part of the enemy. Shattered glass from the canopy temporarily blinded him in his right eye and reduced vision in his left eye severely. assigned to the battleship Kirishima as a turret gunner. The Japanese made several attempts to retake Henderson Field that resulted in almost daily air battles for the Tainan Kktai. That was in the Dutch East Indies. On 3 August 1942, Sakai's air group was relocated from Lae to the airfield at Rabaul. Shores, Christopher, Brian Cull and Yasuho Izawa. Though he described the combat in detail, Sakai was not among the five pilots credited with the victory. Moments later, wearing an oversized flight suit, the Zero ace launched on a memorable flight. My two wing men and I shot them up, and as we pulled out the five For four hours and 45 minutes Sakai navigated homeward, lapsing in and out of consciousness. On June 24 1944, he approached 15 planes that he thought Sakai also found opportunities to fly. In 1985 Sakai told historian Henry Sakaida, What was written in Samurai! "I knew that I had to leave my But Sakai chose his time and rolled into an effective gunnery pass. Representative Lyndon B. Johnson (D-Texas) should have been in one of the missing Marauders. Again demonstrating the Zeros exceptional reach, Sakai flew nearly 650 miles southeast to engage American carrier pilots for the first time. Description Mitsubishi A6M2 single engine, single seat, cantilever low wing monoplane fighter aircraft of all metal construction. although there were five American fighters below us who did not attack, The pilot and passengers saluted. distance, which he presumed to be F4Fs as well On 24 June 1944, Sakai approached a formation of 15 US Navy Grumman F6F Hellcat fighters, which he had mistakenly assumed to be friendly Japanese aircraft. His tally of enemy aircraft destroyed or damaged climbed toward 50. I turned the 20mm cannon switch to the 'off' position and closed in. He was engaged by Hellcat fighters near the task force's reported position, and all but one of the Nakajima B6N2 "Jill" torpedo bombers in his flight were shot down. and living your life prepared to die. Never before had I seen an enemy plane move so quickly or gracefully before, and every second his guns were moving closer to the belly of my fighter. About the same time, Sakai married his cousin Hatsuyo, who asked him for a dagger so that she could kill herself if he fell in battle. In this semi-autobiography, Sakai gives a different picture than the common stereotype about the Japanese during WWII. Sakai admitted that he was a poor student and, lacking other options, enlisted in the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) in 1933. Whether they produced battlefield images of the dead or daguerreotype portraits of common soldiers, []. After a few moments of terror, the Zero pilot Rather than follow orders, he led his small formation back to the sulfurous island, preserving planes and pilots for another day. [30] He remarried in 1952 and started a printing shop. My Father and I and Saburo Sakai 10 min read Half a century after his father's death, he struck up an extraordinary friendship with a man who had been there Francis R. Stevens, Jr. December 1998 Volume 49 Issue 8 1 2 3 4 View full article My quest began sometime shortly after World War II. History / Summary From that point on, Sakai was engaged in near-continuous combat. In November 1943, Sakai was promoted to the rank of warrant officer (). As a militarist he was barred from government employment, and in any case his partial blindness would have prevented a return to military service. but the USAF records recorded the loss over Tokyo Bay. that the recruiting method in the time before 1941 was very different Sakai remarried and with his wife Haru had a daughter, Michiko, who was educated in America and married a U.S. Army officer. Introduction Sub-Lieutenant Sabur Sakai ( , Sakai Sabur, 25 August 1916 to 22 September 2000) was a Japanese naval aviator and flying ace ("Gekitsui-O", ) of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. I needed a ship." beats on him. Yet the man behind the legend remains little known, and his career deserves a reappraisal. His first-aid efforts were useless in the windswept cockpit, and eventually he tore off part of his scarf to use as a bandage. Sabur Sakai ( , Sakai Sabur, 25 August 1916 22 September 2000) was a Japanese naval aviator and flying ace ("Gekitsui-O", ) of the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Running low on fuel, Sakai gathered his two wingmen and was preparing to return to Rabaul when he spotted a formation of carrier bombers. Local civilians have recycled and repurposed war material. when I was sixteen. [28] However, according to the aerial combat report, his mission was to escort bombers to and from their targets, and in the afternoon of 24 June, Sakai joined the attack on the US task force. The range from Rabaul was 560 miles, Samurai of the Air originally appeared in the May 2018 issue of Aviation History. Unfortunately, his school was not as impressed Upon alighting, Sakai bowed gratefully to his hosts, and Champlin asked Crossley what the visitor thought. With his plane in such condition, no wonder the pilot was unable to continue fighting! Japan destroyed most of the So I thought [12] This is an example how even an experienced pilot during the heat of battle, may not identify correctly enemy airplanes or receive verified credit for airplanes not shot down. or the other teachers were away. and signaled him to go ahead. On board were 11 wounded soldiers the best great ships. Saburo Sakai's daughter, Michiko Sakai-Smart, eulogises her late father prior to signing the papers turning over her father's helmet, goggles and scarf to the National Museum of the Pacific War On the night of May 16, Sakai, Nishizawa and Ota were listening to a broadcast of an Australian radio program, when Nishizawa recognized the eerie "Danse Macabre" of Camille Saint-Sans. He was 84. the quality to drop steeply as the war went on. In November 1943, Sakai was promoted to the rank of flying warrant officer (). long and hard and in 1935 he passed the Naval Gunnery School entrance Sakai had sent his daughter to college in the United States "to learn English and democracy." In a seven-year combat career, Sakai survived horrible injuries and impossible odds, and almost got a chance to kill Lyndon Baines Johnson. In remaining airborne for 10 hours or more he explained, I personally established the record low consumption of less than 17 gallons per hour; on average our pilots reduced their consumption from 35 gallons per hour to only 18. He "@" + hostname + ">" + linktext + "") After 7 years and some 200 combat missions resulting in an estimated With his plane in such condition, no wonder the pilot was unable to continue fighting! base untouched. patrol on that day. Sabur Sakai was born on 25 August 1916 in Saga Prefecture, Japan. Sakai and 43 other pilots of the Tainan Kokutai made aviation history on December 8, 1941, taking off from Formosa and flying 1,100 miles round trip to Clark Field in the Philippinesat the time the longest fighter mission ever attempted. Japan Center for Asian Historical Record, Yokosuka Air Group action report Reference code C13120487500. This was my first combat against Americans, While I was there I was taught by an American, Mr. Martin, and his wife came to the class to teach us while her husband make his mark as a fighter. Sakai was promoted to sub-lieutenant () after the war had ended. Nakajima was raging when he got back to Rabaul; he had been forced to dive and run for safety. Facebook Instagram. does not include the ensigns coming from the academy; they had their On October 5, his flight was intercepted by Chinese-flown, Soviet-built Polikarpov I-16s near Hankow. less, Sakai shot down 3 SBDs before being hit in the scion capital letters 2020. pros and cons of going commando; how to become a teacher without a degree. Sakai, Saburo, Martin Caidin and Fred Saito. Sakai was evacuated to Japan on 12 August and there endured a long surgery without anesthesia. and I shot down one. This cannot be underestimated, for it saved my life in 1942 I can Facebook @AviationHistory | Twitter @AviationHistMag. Two Wildcats jumped on the commander's plane. I received an email from journalist Kjeld Duits who wrote -"I was actually one of the Dutch reporters working with Mr. Sakai to set up a meeting between him and the woman for a Japanese TV program. Incidentally, he was a real gentleman and I came to greatly like and admire him. It made us tough as nails, and in battle this is often the decisive Saburo Sakai died of a heart attack in 2000, following a U.S. Navy formal dinner - where he had been an honored guest - at Atsugi Naval Air Station. I didn't know where Additional reading: Sunburst: The Rise of Japanese Naval Air Power, by Mark Pattie; and Zero!, by Jiro Horikoshi and Masatake Okumiya. To conserve fuel we cruised at only 115 knots at 12,000 feet. He never claimed a specific figure, though his logbook showed that he engaged more than 70 Allied aircraft.