Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I came across this document yesterday. It's a small example of how one can trip across an interesting story if one pays attention, or perhaps has the time to look at documents that aren't exactly in their main area of focus. A Naval officer planned to escape and evade if the Japanese took Guam and report in via radio. It so happens that he was captured the day the report was authored and held as a prisoner of war for the duration, but without this he would have been lumped in with the nearly 500 other Americans who were captured when the island fell.

It's one of the things that slows me down when posting documents that have names. Most of us have read plenty of books by the survivors of the war, written shortly or years afterwards; there are even books still in circulation that were created during the war in a heavily edited form that was meant to give some information, build up some heroes, and keep the public positive towards the war effort. But documents like the USS Helena CL-50 Pearl Harbor Engineering Division report give us a rare opportunity to hear from men like WaterTender, Second Class Raymond Baldwin, who went down with Helena when she was lost at the Battle of Kula Gulf.

So, if you have the time, pay attention to the names you see in some of the documents you read; you might find an atomic playboy hiding here and there!

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