Hello to everyone!
It's so nice to see active engagement in this thread again, from several members. It was nice to see some of you at the Re-Enactment also
After getting home and uploading my photos/videos to our PC, I see that I have over 200 images of the event, and about 10 video clips.
I see in my U2Us here that there is a new image policy at ATS, effective March 10th, so I plan to post the relevant data in compliance with that
I need to read that policy, etc. and do it correctly, but rest assured there is a lot of new data coming!!!
In this post though, before I do all the uploading, etc., I just wanted to talk a bit about the event.
The 'Time Period' was set rather well. Upon entering Fort MacArthur Museum, all visitors were obliged to wait until a Uniformed Officer had briefed
us on current events (of Feburary 1942, of course) and of the necessity for secrecy about what we saw inside (so as not to allow the 'Japs' to find
out...) This guy was great, and he really set the stage for the event properly.
On a side note, my girlfriend is half japanese, and this of course colored our thinking throughout the trip. There is a lot of history there, and
neither side is painted particularly well from the remnant newspapers of the day, from our modern vantage point.
The equipment around was for the most part, accurate. There was a generator for one of the Searchlights that was made in 1945, but honestly, it was
pretty neat even though it was made a few years after the event.
There were Searchlights, there were support trucks for the Lights (they were mobile even back in 1942). I got video clips of people aiming and
rotating the lights also.
Many people dressed in period, wearing military uniforms or 1940's attire. There was a Stage made up outside the old Battery installation, and a
band played while people danced to the swing music.
We explored all over the grounds, and were able to walk right up to the location where the big guns were housed. I got lots of pictures, including a
great shot of the ocean from the vantage point of the lookouts.
I captured an image of the Air Raid Siren, it was very old and appeared in disrepair. It certainly worked though, when they turned it on later that
evening. It wasn't as loud as the tornado sirens we had back in the midwest, but it was loud enough to get the job done, and my GF covered her ears
until it ended.
Inside the Battery, was the main 'museum' section. There I was able to photograph several of the newspapers I've been looking for, and read them
in more depth. I plan to return at some point when it's less crowded, to complete my documentation of those archives. Also inside the museum, were
an Anti-Submarine Mine, and a 12 Inch Incindiary Shell!!!!!
WOW was I wrong about those things when I pictured them in my mind. I thought they were 12 inches long. NO! These puppies are 12 inches in
DIAMETER! I can't wait to post this image, this thing was ENORMOUS.
I documented a recreation of an Air Raid Station, complete with icon imagery. I also got a picture of the huge loading stick (took several men to
lift it) that jammed the large shells into the big guns.
I got a lot of GREAT data, and I can't wait to post it. All in all, the trip was a huge success.
It is there that my positive critique of the event ends. When the 'Air Raid' itself began, I must admit I was highly disappointed in the way the
event was depicted.
For one thing, there was no 'object', no toy blimp, no airplane, no anything.
The next historical inaccuracy I found unforgivable. At NO point during the ENTIRE event did the Searchlights EVER converge for ANY length of time.
I sat there trying to get a picture of convergence for a LONG time. Since the iconic image from the event shows the Searchlights converged, I think
it would be reasonable to re-create at least that much of the event. Frankly, I found it inaccurate that this was not attempted.
Essentially, they played the sounds of planes flying overhead (propeller planes), while fireworks simulated automatic gunfire from along the coast.
Large fireworks (which all came from the same place and targeted wildly different areas of the sky) represented the AA fire.
The presentation led one to believe that we were bombed that evening in 1942, and specifically bombed by the Japanese.
I personally find this not only historically inaccurate, but cowardly. The United States Army, TO THIS DAY, categorizes this event as UnExplained.
To attempt to paint it in such a light is misleading and intellectually dishonest.
Well, that's my review. I plan to post the pics and video I gathered throughout the week, as I get it in line with ATS's new policies. I hope to
start it either late tonight or tomorrow.
It's wonderful to see you all here investigating this mystery! I'll be back soon with more of what I've learned!