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U.S.S. Drexler DD-741 [1]

 
Who Sank the Destroyer Drexler?
by Bill Gordon

Written for May 2006 reunion of U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association

In the early morning of May 28, 1945, a group of six twin-engine kamikaze planes approached Radar Picket Station 15. Two destroyers, Drexler and Lowry, at this picket station had responsibility to provide early warning of Japanese planes headed toward the main American fleet off Okinawa.

The two destroyers and Combat Air Patrol (CAP) planes shot down four of the six Japanese planes. However, two kamikaze planes hit the destroyer Drexler, causing the ship to sink in less than one minute after the second plane crashed. Nearby landing craft support vessels picked up 199 survivors, but 158 of Drexler's officers and crew died in the attack.

U.S. Navy records regarding the kamikaze attack contain inconsistent information regarding the types of planes that sank Drexler. Informal accounts given by Drexler survivors of the attack also have differences. Members of the U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association, which held its first of many reunions in 1985, have remained curious for many decades about who hit the destroyer. This article summarizes the investigation performed to try to determine who sank the destroyer Drexler.

Research Method

Several Japanese books on special attack forces (tokkotai in Japanese), which carried out suicide attacks during World War II, include details about men who died in special (suicide) attacks [2]. The book Tokubetsu Kougekitai (Special Attack Corps), compiled by Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association), has the most authoritative and complete listing. The information in these Japanese books served as sources to determine the numbers and types of kamikaze planes that sortied on May 28, 1945.

The U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association published a ship history, which includes several official U.S. Navy documents related to the kamikaze attack. Charles Brown, son of deceased Drexler survivor Donald Brown, compiled Historical Review: U.S.S. Drexler DD-741 (3rd edition published in 2002), and Robert Anteau, Fire Controlman Third Class on Drexler, edited the book. The official Navy records in this book provided the principal sources used to determine American opinions regarding what types of planes hit Drexler. In addition, the book contains recollections of over 30 survivors of Drexler's sinking, and these accounts of the attacks supplied additional details. Gene Brick, Gunner's Mate Third Class and now Secretary of the U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association, witnessed the first incoming kamikaze plane. He provided many helpful opinions and details throughout the review of Japanese and American records.

Although an examination of Japanese records of kamikaze attacks quickly led to a tentative conclusion about which kamikaze squadron sank Drexler, I examined other possibilities regarding the types of planes that could have hit the ship since no official Navy record nor unofficial survivor account agrees with my conclusion. Much of this article summarizes the evaluation of these other alternatives and the reasons why each one is unlikely.

Number of Planes

Two twin-engine planes hit Drexler, but these two aircraft arrived near Radar Picket Station 15 with a larger group of planes. The "Action Report, Involving Loss of U.S.S. DREXLER," prepared by Captain Wilson and dated June 26, 1945, indicates that there were "approximately six enemy suicide planes" (p. 98) (page numbers used in this article refer to Historical Review: U.S.S. Drexler DD-741 by Brown and Anteau). The U.S.S. Lowry Deck Log mentions five separate planes either shot down or crashed into Drexler (p. 106). Drexler's Captain Wilson states that CAP shot down one plane after the ship was sunk (p. 102), and Lowry's Deck Log refers to five planes shot down or crashed prior to Drexler's sinking. This accounts for the difference of one plane in the two records.

The Lowry Deck Log also states that CAP shot down two other planes 13 minutes after Drexler's sinking, but both of these were single-engine planes (p. 106) [3]. Therefore, these planes must have been different ones than the twin-engine plane that Captain Wilson wrote was shot down at an unspecified time after the sinking.

At the May 2006 reunion of the U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association, Bob McIntyre said that radar in the Combat Information Center (CIC) reported eight enemy planes approaching, but he counted only six planes when they came within sight of Drexler. Another Drexler survivor, the Gun Captain on the port quad 40-mm gun mount, mentions the total number of planes. He writes that word came over to him that Marine fighters had come in contact with six suicide planes (p. 129).

The Navy news release regarding Drexler's sinking only talks about three suicide planes, two that hit the ship and one that Drexler's gunners shot down (pp. 111-2). The news release writer most likely ignored the other three planes that were shot down by CAP planes or by Lowry's gunners.

Based on official records and one unofficial account, the total number of Japanese twin-engine planes that approached Radar Picket Station 15 appears to be six.

Plane Type

Official and unofficial American accounts agree that the group of planes that attacked Radar Picket Station 15 on May 28, 1945, consisted of twin-engine planes. Japanese records of special attacks on that date indicate only one squadron of twin-engine planes sortied on that date [4]. The 45th Shinbu Squadron sortied from Chiran Air Base in nine twin-engine Nicks (Ki-45 Army Type 2 Toryu Fighters) about two hours before Drexler's sinking. Based on American accounts of twin-engine planes and Japanese records of only one squadron of twin-engine planes that sortied on the date of Drexler's sinking, two Nicks from the 45th Shinbu Squadron sank the destroyer Drexler.


Dinah                              

Betty                              

Frances                              
Nick                              

   
Japanese twin-engine planes that
could have sunk Drexler [5]

 
Despite evidence from Japanese records that Nicks attacked Drexler, different U.S. Navy records and Drexler survivor accounts identify three other twin-engine plane types as the ones that sank the destroyer. These include Dinah (K-46 Army Type 100 Command Reconnaissance Plane), Betty (Navy Type 1 Attack Bomber), and Frances (Navy Ginga Bomber). A couple of accounts mention Nicks as part of the group of six planes, but these accounts only indicate Nicks as being the first and last planes shot down and not as being the two planes that sank Drexler.

This section examines these four plane types (Dinah, Betty, Frances, and Nick) individually in order to evaluate which one sank Drexler. Line drawings with side views of these four plane types are shown on this web page to give the relative sizes and shapes of these different Japanese twin-engine planes.

Dinah

The Lowry Deck Log states, "All planes identified as Dinahs" (p. 106). The first plane to strike Drexler passed barely overhead the destroyer Lowry, so men on the ship had a good opportunity to observe the plane. The next plane passed over Lowry's bridge and hit close aboard to port, and the following plane crashed close aboard on the starboard beam after being hit by gunfire.

Despite the Lowry Deck Log's identification of all planes as Dinahs, the Japanese Army only used seven of these planes for kamikaze attacks during the entire war [6]. The last three Dinahs to make kamikaze attacks sortied on May 14, 1945. The Army mainly used Dinahs for high-altitude reconnaissance.

Betty

Three Drexler survivors identify the attacking planes as Bettys, but no U.S. Navy record mentions the planes as Bettys. A lookout on deck states he "saw a twin-engine Betty" when describing the first plane to hit, and he writes that the second plane was also a Betty (p. 136). The Gun Captain on the port quad 40-mm gun mount states that he heard that Marine fighters made contact with "six suicide planes, all Bettys," and he refers to the second plane to hit Drexler as a Betty (p. 129). The Gunnery Officer states that Drexler received reports of incoming planes described at Betty bombers and Frances fighters, but he describes the two planes that hit Drexler as Frances twin-engine fighters (p. 124).

The Japanese Navy never used Betty bombers, which had a regular crew of seven men, to try to crash into American ships. Bettys did go on special attack missions starting on March 21, 1945, but the Betty bomber only served as the mother plane to carry an ohka, a rocket-powered glider bomb piloted by one man. American fighters shot down most Betty bombers before they could get into range of American ships and release the ohka weapons.

Frances

Several official U.S. Navy records and five Drexler survivor accounts [7] identify the two twin-engine planes that hit the destroyer as Frances bombers. Captain Wilson's "Action Report, Involving Loss of U.S.S. DREXLER" indicates that the two planes that hit Drexler and the one plane shot down by Drexler's gunners were Frances bombers. However, he writes in the Action Report that CAP fighters shot down the first and last planes of the group of six, and he identifies both of these planes as Nicks. The Deck Log of LCS(L)(3) 114, a landing craft support vessel also at Radar Picket Station 15 in the early morning of May 28, 1945, states that the second plane to hit Drexler was probably a Frances. Two other U.S. Navy reports, written several months after Drexler's sinking, also state that Frances bombers hit the ship [8].

Kamikaze squadrons in the Japanese Navy frequently used Frances bombers. Over 100 Frances bombers, each with a three-man crew, had sortied on kamikaze missions up to the date of Drexler's sinking [9]. However, Japanese records indicate that the last time the Navy used them for kamikaze attacks during World War II was on May 25, 1945.

Vice Admiral Ugaki, who commanded Japan's kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Okinawa, writes in his diary that six Gingas (Japanese name for Frances bombers) would be used to attack enemy vessels on May 27, 1945 [10]. However, these planes would not have been the ones to sink Drexler since they sortied the day before Drexler's sinking, and Ugaki's diary entry makes clear that these six planes would make conventional bombing attacks and were not included in the group of special attack aircraft sent that day.

Nick

Lt. Robert F. Bourne flew one of the F4U-1D Corsair fighters that provided cover for the destroyers Drexler and Lowry at Radar Picket Station 15 on May 28, 1945. His official flight log indicates he flew 3.3 hours and contains the remarks "PRE DAWN" and "SHOT DOWN 2 NICKS." Lt. Bourne also said after the war's end that his gun camera showed that one plane he had shot down was a Nick [11]. Captain Wilson's Action Report states that three or four CAP planes attacked a Nick and sent it down in flames just as Drexler gunners were about to open fire. This was the first Japanese plane to crash out of the group of six planes (p. 98). Captain Wilson also writes that another Nick was shot down after Drexler's sinking (p. 102). However, he indicates that two Frances bombers crashed into Drexler, and the destroyer's gunners shot down another Frances between the two kamikaze plane crashes. Other than these mentions of Nicks, no other account of the kamikaze planes that attacked Radar Picket Station 15 mentions Nicks as the twin-engine planes that carried out the attack.

Ki-45 Army Type 2
Toryu Fighter (Nick) [12]

 
Japanese special attack records show that only one squadron of twin-engine planes sortied on May 28, 1945, so planes from this squadron almost certainly sank the destroyer Drexler. Nine Nicks in the 45th Shinbu Squadron sortied from Chiran Air Base in southern Kyushu, but one plane crashed into the sea before arriving at Picket Station 15 [13]. American records indicate only six twin-engine planes at Radar Picket Station 15, but the other two Nicks in the 45th Shinbu Squadron may have split off for some reason from the main group. The squadron took off in three groups of three planes each, with a radio operator in the lead plane of only two of the groups due to the death of one of the squadron's radio operators in a nighttime training accident during landing on April 28, 1945 [14]. The grouping of the planes may have been changed after this accident to allow for only two radio operators, so this may be the reason for only six planes at Picket Station 15 (see Note 15 for further discussion).

Additional Considerations

The sortie time of the 45th Shinbu Squadron's nine Nicks also supports the conclusion that two planes from this squadron sank Drexler. The squadron sortied at 0455 from Chiran Air Base [16], and two planes hit Drexler at 0654 and 0702, respectively [17]. Captain Wilson records in the "Action Report, Involving Loss of U.S.S. DREXLER" that the first plane hit at 0702 (p. 100). These times indicate a two-hour flight time from Chiran to Picket Station 15, about 45 miles northwest of Nago Bay on the western side of Okinawa. A estimate of a Nick's flight from Chiran to Picket Station 15 is about two hours. Refer to Note 18 for details regarding the calculation of this estimate.

Captain Wilson's Action Report indicates that the group of six incoming planes included both Nicks and Frances bombers. This combination would have been extremely unlikely. The Nick was a Japanese Army fighter, and the Frances was a Japanese Navy bomber. The Navy had completely separate air bases in Kyushu from the Army's air bases located there, and the Navy and Army did not mix planes during special attack operations. During the Battle of Okinawa, Vice Admiral Ugaki (Commander of Fifth Air Fleet) and Lieutenant General Sugawara (Commander of Sixth Air Army) did coordinate dates and timing of kamikaze attacks, but each commander independently directed kamikaze sorties from separate Navy and Army air bases [19].

Several accounts of the second plane to hit Drexler mention how much gunfire the plane took from Drexler's guns and CAP fighters (pp. 98, 101-2, 125, 133). Nicks had good fuel tank protection [20], which is consistent with accounts that the second plane did not explode despite being hit several times by gunfire. In contrast, the plane would definitely have not been a Betty, which caught fire easily [21].

One official source, the Lowry Deck Log, identified the six planes that attacked Radar Picket Station 15 to be Dinahs, even though the Army rarely used this plane type in kamikaze attacks. Nicks had a similar shape and size when compared to Dinahs. The Japanese Army mainly flew Dinahs for high-altitude reconnaissance flights and used Nicks for interception of American bombers. Since the men on Lowry had good views of three of the six planes, the fact that they identified the planes to be a type similar in size and shape to the Nick provides additional support that the twin-engine planes most likely were Nicks.

45th Shinbu Squadron

The 45th Shinbu Squadron was formed on February 8, 1945 [22]. First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii was selected as commander of this special attack squadron (tokkotai) of 12 men. The squadron included nine Ki-45 Type 2 Toryu Fighters (Nicks), with the lead plane in each of the three groups of three planes manned by both a pilot and a radio operator/gunner. The squadron had the name of Kaishin, which means "cheerful spirit" in Japanese.

Bomb racks were installed on the squadron's fighters at Taisho Air Base in Osaka. They then trained together at the following air bases: Hokota (Ibaraki Prefecture), Kuroiso (Tochigi Prefecture), Matsudo (Chiba Prefecture), and Ozuki (Yamaguchi Prefecture). On April 28, 1945, one of the squadron's radio operator/gunners died in an accident during landing while training at Matsudo Air Base. On May 27, 1945, the squadron flew from Ozuki Air Base to Chiran for the scheduled sortie to Okinawa the next morning.


45th Shinbu Squadron (Kaishin Squadron)
Seated in front row (left to right): 2nd Lt. Akira Ogawa (holding white box with remains of Corp. Tsuneo Saka, who died in training accident on April 28, 1945), 1st Lt. Hajime Fujii (squadron commander), and 2nd Lt. Kunihiko Suzuki; Standing (left to right): Corp. Inao Kitamura, Corp. Takichi Miyanohara, Corp. Yoshio Ichiguchi, Corp. Haruo Ogawa, Corp. Masanobu Miyai, Corp. Shigeru Yokuni, and Corp. Yoshihisa Itoh; Not shown: 2nd Lt. Shigeru Nakata [23]


45th Shinbu Squadron members
receive formal farewell from
local women's association and girls' volunteer unit [24]

The 11 men of the 45th Shinbu Squadron woke at 0300 on May 28, 1945, after sleeping that night in one of Chiran's triangular barracks hidden in the woods next to the air base. The white box containing the remains of Corp. Tsuneo Saka, who died in a training accident a month earlier, was placed in the radio operator/gunner's seat in which he had intended to occupy on the squadron's final mission. The squadron's nine planes took off from Chiran at 0455. On the way to Okinawa, Corporal Takichi Miyanohara's plane crashed into the sea, but some inhabitants of a small island rescued the pilot as he floated on the water. First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii, at age 29, commanded the squadron's remaining eight planes as the radio operator/gunner in the lead plane. Commander Fujii and the 45th Shinbu Squadron's remaining nine men, ages 18 to 21 [25], met their death that morning.

Hajime Fujii

On December 15, 1944, police notified Hajime Fujii that his wife Fukuko and two young daughters, Kazuko and Chieko, had been found dead in a nearby river [26]. Prior to their death, he had expressed to his wife his fervent desire to join the special attack corps (tokkotai) to sink an enemy ship, so his wife committed suicide along with their two children to allow him to be free to carry out his desire.

Although Fujii first served in the Japanese Army as an artillery infantryman, he switched to aviation school. After graduation, he served as an instructor at the Kumagaya Army Aviation School, where he had responsibility for basic training and mental training. The Army accepted his third petition to become a member of the special attack corps after his wife's suicide, and he was named commander of the 45th Shinbu Squadron. However, since he was not a pilot, he served as radio operator/gunner in the squadron's lead plane. Hajime Fujii joined his wife and two daughters in death in the early morning of May 28, 1945.

Final Thoughts

This investigation to determine who sank the destroyer Drexler provided an excellent example of difficulties encountered when performing historical research, even when several written accounts exist of the same incident. Eyewitness descriptions of the kamikaze attack on Radar Picket Station 15 contain numerous differences, so it is difficult to determine what happened with certainty.

This research project allowed a conclusion to be reached through a comparison of American and Japanese wartime records. Surprisingly, this study led to a conclusion different than any U.S. Navy record or any account by a Drexler survivor. However, Lt. Robert F. Bourne's flight log entry of "SHOT DOWN 2 NICKS" is consistent with the conclusion reached in this investigation, but he makes no mention of the other planes in the attacking squadron.

Two Nicks from the 45th Shinbu Squadron, led by First Lieutenant Hajime Fujii, almost certainly sank Drexler. After more than 60 years, survivors of Drexler's sinking now realize the connection between the tragic deaths of Hajime Fujii's wife and two young daughters and their destroyer's tragic end that resulted in the loss of 158 shipmates.


Notes

1. Photo source: Brown and Anteau 2003, 11 (U.S. Navy photo N7095).

2. The following books were used for details about special attacks: Chiran Tokkou Irei Kenshou Kai 2005, Hara 2004, Osuo 2005a, Osuo 2005b, Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai 1990. The books contain generally consistent information about the men who died and plane types, but certain books include details not in other books (e.g., age at death).

3. The Lowry Deck Log identifies the two aircraft shot down as one Tony and one Oscar (p. 106). On May 28, 1945, four Tonys (Army Type 3 Hien Fighters) and ten Oscars (Army Type 1 Hayabusa Fighters) sortied from Chiran Air Base (Hara 2004, 231-2).

2nd Lt. Kunihiko Suzuki
in front of his
Type 2 Toryu Fighter (Nick) [27]

 
4. Chiran Tokkou Irei Kenshou Kai 2005, 153-243; Hara 2004, 231-2; Osuo 2005a, 173-243; Osuo 2005b, 195-215; Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai 1990, 205-7, 216, 263-295.

5. Source of line drawings of four planes: Hara 2004, 250-1.

6. Osuo 2005b, 207.

7. In Historical Review: U.S.S. Drexler DD-741, the four Drexler survivors who identified the two planes to hit the destroyer as Frances bombers are the following men: Eugene M. Brick, GM3/c (p. 117); Chester M. Lee, Lieut., Gunnery Officer (p. 124); Fred W. Mitchell, S1/c (p. 130); and William O. Petago, S1/c (p. 133). In addition, at the May 2006 reunion of U.S.S. Drexler survivors, Robert B. McIntyre, SM1/c, said that he believes the planes were Frances bombers due to their narrow fuselage. He said that prior to Drexler's sinking he had completed training for identification of Japanese plane types.

8. The following two U.S. Navy reports also state that Frances bombers hit Drexler:

"Action Report, Involving loss of U.S.S. DREXLER (DD741)," written by Charles A. Buchanan, Commander of Destroyer Squadron 63, dated August 1, 1945 (pp. 153-4)

Memorandum on "U.S.S. DREXLER (DD741) - Loss in Action off Okinawa," written by E. C. Holtzworth, Commander in Bureau of Ships Section 424, dated October 2, 1945 (pp. 157-8)

9. The total number of Frances bombers that sortied on kamikaze missions and did not return was 108, including 72 off Okinawa, 14 in the attack on Ulithi, and 22 off the Philippines (Osuo 2005a, 166-7, 174, 178-80, 207-9, 228, 233-7).

10. Ugaki 1991, 619.

11. At the May 2006 reunion of U.S.S. Drexler survivors, Gene Brick provided me with a copy of Lt. Robert F. Bourne's flight log. Lt. Bourne's statement about his gun camera showing a Nick was made by Lt. Bourne to Gene Brick at one of the ship's reunions several years prior to Lt. Bourne's passing away (e-mail to author on November 13, 2005).

12. Photo source: Francillon 1979, 99. Joe Curgino, Seaman First Class on Drexler, said in a personal interview (May 5, 2006) that the second plane to hit Drexler, which passed just over his head, had brown-green camouflage markings similar to the plane shown in the photo.

13. Kosaka 2003, 23-4; Osuo 2005b, 140. These Japanese sources do not provide details on the location where the plane went down.

14. Kosaka 2003, 21-2; Osuo 2005b, 139-40.

15. The leader of the 45th Shinbu Squadron was the radio operator/gunner for the lead group of three planes, so the group of three planes without a radio operator/gunner (due to death in an nighttime training accident during landing) may have followed the lead group. This may account for why six planes arrived together at Radar Picket Station 15. The last group of three planes, which included three pilots and a radio operator/gunner in the lead plane, was the group that had one plane crash into the sea. The remaining two planes in this group were most likely the ones that did not reach Radar Picket Station 15.

Joe Curgino, Seaman First Class on Drexler, said in a personal interview (May 5, 2006) that the initial report to Drexler's crew was that eight planes were approaching. Although inconsistent with written accounts published in Historical Review: U.S.S. Drexler DD-741, this statement could indicate that all eight planes in the 45th Shinbu Squadron reached Radar Picket Station 15.

16. The sortie time for the 45th Shinbu Squadron comes from the following web page:
http://www5b.biglobe.ne.jp/~s244f/shinbutai_hensei-020.htm - 45th Shinbu Squadron
The source of this data is described on the following web page:
http://www5b.biglobe.ne.jp/~s244f/shinbutai_hensei-top.htm - 7 Information Chart on Formation of Shinbu Squadrons 
The web site information for the 45th Shinbu Squadron and other Shinbu squadrons comes from documents used by the General Staff at Sixth Air Army Headquarters (provided by the late Eisaku Kimura). Takashi Sakurai is the webmaster of the site where the above two pages can be found.

17. The times for the two plane hits (i.e., 0654 and 0702, respectively) on Drexler are from the Deck Log of U.S.S. Lowry (p. 106). The times recorded in the Deck Log of LCS(L)(3) 114 are almost the same, 0655 and 0703 (p. 105). Captain Wilson records in the "Action Report, Involving Loss of U.S.S. DREXLER" that the first plane hit at 0702 (p. 100).

18. This note documents the calculation of the estimate of the time for a Nick to fly from Chiran to Radar Picket Station 15 under normal conditions. A Nate (Army Type 97 Fighter) took an average two hours and 36 minutes to fly from Chiran to Nago Bay off Okinawa (Osuo 2005b, 83). Picket Station 15 was about 45 miles northwest of Nago Bay on the western side of Okinawa or about 1/7 of the distance of the normal route traveled by Army kamikaze planes from Chiran to Nago Bay. Therefore, the time for a Nate to fly from Chiran to Picket Station 15 would be two hours and 14 minutes (6/7 multiplied by 2 hours and 36 minutes).

The cruising speed of a Nick was 373 km/hr. This speed was found on the following web page on the web site name "Aircraft of World War II - Warbird Forums":
http://www.ww2aircraft.net/airinfo.php?airinfo=78 (link no longer available)
Other reference sources (e.g., Francillon 1979) provide only the maximum speed and not the cruising speed of a Nick.

The cruising speed of a Nate was 350 km/hr (Francillon 1979, 203). Based on the time for a Nate to go from Chiran to Radar Picket Station 15 (two hours and 14 minutes) and the relative cruising speeds for a Nick (373 km/hr) and a Nate (350 km/hr), the time for a Nick to fly from Chiran to Radar Picket Station 15 would have been about two hours and six minutes. 

Other assumptions can be used to get an estimate of a Nick's flight time from Chiran to Radar Picket Station 15. These estimates have been calculated from about one hour and 30 minutes to about two hours. Even assuming an accurate estimate of flying time, the actual time would have been affected by wind speed and direction, the route taken, the weight of the attached bombs, and the squadron commander's decision at what speed to fly.

19. Examples of general coordination of Navy and Army special attacks during April and May 1945 can be found in Ugaki 1991, 568, 573, 580, 619-21.

20. Francillon 1979, 97.

21. Francillon 1979, 384.

22. Principal sources for section on "45th Shinbu Squadron": Kosaka 2003, 21-5; Osuo 2005b, 139-42.

23. Photo and caption sources: Kosaka 2003, 1; Osuo 2005b, 140. The photo used on this web page is from Osuo. The Kosaka and Osuo photos, although the same, are inverted. It is not known which one represents the correct orientation of the photo.

The identification of the person holding Corporal Saka's remains in a white box differs between Kosaka and Osuo. Kosaka identifies the person as 2nd Lt. Akira Ogawa, and Osuo identifies the person as 2nd Lt. Kunihiko Suzuki. Osuo (2005b, 141) also has a photo of 2nd Lt. Kunihiko Suzuki standing in front of his plane. Based on an examination of this separate photo and the group photo of the 45th Shinbu Squadron, it appears that the person holding the white box is 2nd Lt. Akira Ogawa.

24. Photo and caption source: Osuo 2005b, 141. The location where this photo was taken is not stated in the caption.

25. Chiran Tokkou Irei Kenshou Kai 2005, 153-232.

26. Principal sources for section on "Hajime Fujii": Kosaka 2003, 17-21; Sato 2003, 171-84. Additional information about Hajime Fujii can be found in the article "Censored Suicide."

27. Photo source: Osuo 2005b, 141.

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Gene Brick, Secretary of the U.S.S. Drexler Survivors Reunion Association, and Yuko Shirako for their assistance on this article.

Sources Cited

Brown, Charles D., comp., and Robert L. Anteau, ed. 2002. Historical Review: U.S.S. Drexler DD-741. 3rd ed. Privately published.

Chiran Tokkou Irei Kenshou Kai (Chiran Special Attack Memorial Society), ed. 2005. Konpaku no kiroku: Kyuu rikugun tokubetsu kougekitai chiran kichi (Record of departed spirits: Former Army Special Attack Corps Chiran Base). Revised edition, originally published in 2004. Chiran Town, Kagoshima Prefecture: Chiran Tokkou Irei Kenshou Kai.

Francillon, René J. 1979. Japanese Aircraft of the Pacific War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press.

Hara, Katsuhiro. 2004. Shinsou kamikaze tokkou: Hisshi hitchuu no 300 nichi (Kamikaze special attack facts: 300 days of certain-death, sure-hit attacks). Tokyo: KK Bestsellers.

Kosaka, Jiro. 2003. Tokkou kaerazaru wakumonotachi e no rekuiemu (Requiem for young men of special attack corps who did not return). Tokyo: PHP Kenkyujo.

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

________. 2005b. Tokubetsu kougekitai no kiroku (rikugun hen) (Record of special attack corps (Army)). Tokyo: Kojinsha.

Sato, Sanae. 2003. Tokkou no machi: Chiran (Special attack corps town: Chiran). Tokyo: Kojinsha.

Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai (Tokkotai Commemoration Peace Memorial Association). 1990. Tokubetsu Kougekitai (Special Attack Corps). Tokyo: Tokkotai Senbotsusha Irei Heiwa Kinen Kyoukai.

Ugaki, Matome. 1991. Fading Victory: The Diary of Admiral Matome Ugaki, 1941-1945. Translated by Masataka Chihaya. Edited by Donald M. Goldstein and Katherine V. Dillon. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.