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Kashima Naval Air Group Monument
Miho Town, Ibaraki Prefecture

The Japanese Navy established the Kashima Air Group seaplane training base on Lake Kasumigaura in 1938. Five members of the Kashima Air Group, who belonged to the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 2nd Sakigake Squadron, died after their two seaplanes took off from Ibusuki Air Base in southern Kagoshima Prefecture on May 11, 1945 [1]. Three men flew a Type 0 Observation Seaplane (Pete), and two flew a Type 94 Reconnaissance Seaplane (Alf).

The monument erected in 1999 at the site of the former Kashima Air Base has the following inscription:

On this ground there was the Kashima Naval Air Group seaplane crewmen training base belonging to the former Imperial Japanese Navy. Flight training students who had finished compulsory education of that time or who had volunteered halfway through their junior high school under the old system of education, special reserve flight students who had volunteered while studying at the university, flight students from the Naval Academy, and others were trained here to be superior pilots while receiving instruction in various military subjects applicable to the air group.

After the air group was formed on May 11, 1938, until the war was lost on August 15, 1945, especially after plunging into the Greater East Asia War, the base moved in turn toward defending the Japanese mainland in order to protect beforehand from external attacks. The air group boldly focused on the defensive battle through patrol flights, reconnaissance flights, and interceptor takeoffs. However, with odds against us, there were aircraft that did not return as there were dead and wounded in aerial combat. In the end, there were battle deaths as planes in special attack squadrons dove on enemy warships gathered around Okinawa, and air group members during operations died even on land from machine-gun strafing. The number of noble victims reached several dozen just among members of this Kashima Air Group.

Though belated, we survivors collected funds and offer silent prayers to those heroes who died in battle with burning devotion to the salvation of this country. We build a monument here, since we must pass down these facts to future generations while praying for the repose of their souls.

May 27, 1999
Former Kashima Naval Air Group members and other volunteers

Soon after the end of the war, Tokyo Medical and Dental University opened a branch on the grounds of the former Kashima Air Base, but this branch closed in the 1990s. The area surrounding the monument still has a few structures and other remains from the former air base. Now the area has boating facilities for Lake Kasumigaura.

Note

1. Osuo 2005, 238.

Source

Osuo, Kazuhiko. 2005. Tokubetsu kougekitai no kiroku (kaigun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Navy)). Tokyo: Kojinsha.