BECAUSE PLANES FLEW OVER THE ISLAND OF OAHU AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT
HALEIWA SCRAMBLE: P-40 NO. 155, LT. KENNETH M. TAYLOR
DAN ZOENIG ILLUSTRATIONS
The last two pages of the the above illustrated story with a headline that reads "The First Jap Killer," published in 1944, came out during the height of all of the war hysteria. Although loaded with a number of now obvious discrepancies and even though the gist of the story is correct and the intent was honorable, it is blanketed with almost pure war time propaganda of the type that was being churned out by most of the propaganda machines of the era. As for discrepancies the most blatant is the Flying Tiger like shark teeth adorning his P-40. So too, the first Japanese plane he took out, although a "Meatball," it wasn't a Zero in the classical sense but an Aichi D3A "Val," the top carrier-borne dive bomber of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during World War II. Taylor didn't go up alone as stated in the blurb at the end of the final panel either. Actually, his flying teammate and buddy George S. Welch, in a sister P-40 carrying the buzz number 160, took off with him, the two of them flying together side by side until reaching enemy aircraft over Pearl Harbor whereupon they both engaged the Japanese, the only difference being of the two pilots Taylor was the first to pull out a Meatball. That day, in the sky, the two of them, defying direct orders when they came in to reload, downed a total of eight Japanese planes. Four other pilots besides just Taylor and Welch got off the ground and into the air that day, each taking on the Japanese in air-to-air combat with each pulling out more Meatballs.
FOR THE NAME OF THE PILOTS WHO GOT IN THE AIR THAT
DAY AND THEIR NUMBER OF KILLS, PLEASE CLICK IMAGE
Below is a graphic showing a P-40B Warhawk carrying the fuselage number "155" as used by Lt Kenneth M.Taylor of the 47th Pursuit Squadron, USAAF, Haleiwa Auxiliary Airbase, Hawaii, to engage enemy aircraft in the sky over Pearl Harbor and the Island of Oahu on Sunday morning December 7, 1941.
On-and-off during the early part of my childhood I lived on a ranch with my older and younger brothers along with a few other kids located in the Mojave Desert, California, owned by my Stepmother. My dad had bought a World War II jeep designated for otherwise ranch use, however even though none of us kids were old enough to drive the jeep legitimately on any of the paved roads around or near the ranch, on the dirt roads and the scrub brush desert lands surrounding the ranch, as well as on the ranch itself, we drove it constantly all the time all over the place.
One of my best friends in school at the time, although it wasn't as reciprocal at the level as I would have liked, was a girl named Ann Welch, who just happened to be not only the smartest kid, but the best looking girl in the whole school as well. Her father owned and ran the only drive-in restaurant in town, matter of fact, the only drive-in for miles around, Welch's Drive In. When we could get away with it and able to put enough money together to make it worthwhile, all of us kids would pile into the jeep and cut out across the desert, parking in the drive-in by sneaking through the scrub brush the back way. I always liked to go because it gave me a chance to see Ann in a non-school environment and look a little like a rebel by flaunting the rules.
I don't recall specifically if it was Ann or her father or both who claimed they were related to George S. Welch, a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base, of which the air base wasn't that far from the ranch. George S. Welch was of course, one of the two P-40 pilots that got off the ground during the attack on Pearl Harbor, the other being Kenneth M. Taylor. I was continually after the father and daughter to meet George, but it never happened. He was killed testing a plane at Muroc Dry Lake a couple years after I was there. See:
A BOY AND HIS JEEP: ADVENTURES IN THE DESERT
(please click image)
GHOST P-40: LORE, LEGENDS AND HER WHEREABOUTS
TANGO SQUADRON AIR MUSEUM, CHIANG MAI
PEARL HARBOR P-40 GHOST SHIP
GENERAL CLAIRE L. CHENNAULT
DR. MARGARET 'MOM' CHUNG
FLYING TIGER RECRUITER, ADVOCATE, PHYSICIAN
GEORGE S. WELCH
BROKE THE SOUND BARRIER BEFORE YEAGER
PEARL HARBOR SURVIVOR
SO, DID THE WANDERLING FLY?
As to the subject of donations, for those of you who may be interested in doing so as it applies to the gratefulness of my works, I invariably suggest any funds be directed toward THE WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT and/or THE AMERICAN RED CROSS.
FIVE OF THE SIX USAAF PILOTS THAT GOT OFF THE GROUND DECEMBER 7, 1941
The following is from a plaque placed in Wheeler Field:
On the 7th of December 1941, Wheeler Field was the primary fighter base in the Pacific and a key target of the Japanese attack. At 0800 hours, waves of enemy planes bombed and strafed the flight line, the barracks and hangars. The resulting losses were 83 aircraft destroyed or damaged and 97 personnel killed or wounded. While the bulk of American fighter planes were caught on the ground, six pilots managed to get their aircraft airborne during the attack and, against overwhelming odds, scored the first American victories of the Second World War.
47th PURSUIT SQUADRON FLYING CURTISS P-40 WARHAWKS
Pilot ----------------------------------- Victories
2/Lt Kenneth M. Taylor---------------- 4
2/Lt George S. Welch------------------4
2/Lt Harry W. Brown ------------------ 1
46TH PURSUIT SQUADRON FLYING CURTISS P-36 HAWKS
1/Lt Lewis M. Saunders ------------- 1
2/Lt Philip M. Rasmussen----------- 1
2/Lt Gordon H. Sterling Jr.---------- 1
HAWAIIAN WARBIRD SURVIVORS