On this day in 1942, a Japanese floatplane dropped incendiary bombs on an Oregon state forest -- the first and only attack on the U.S. mainland in the war.
Launching from the Japanese sub I-25, Nobuo Fujita piloted his light aircraft over the state of Oregon and firebombed Mount Emily, alighting a state forest--and ensuring his place in the history books as the only man to ever bomb the continental United States. The president immediately called for a news blackout for the sake of morale. No long-term damage was done, and Fujita eventually went home to train navy pilots for the rest of the war.
The point of the bombing was to set a devastating fire which would destroy the forests of the Pacific Northwest, thereby causing panic among the citizens of the USA. The fire was put out quickly, but the bombing did actually kill six Americans, a minister's wife and five children -- three years later. They came across an unexploded bomb during a Sunday school class fishing trip on Monday, March 5, 1945, and tugged at the contrivance, setting off the bomb.
Many years later, Fujita was invited to visit Oregon as an honored guest. He presented the city of Brookings with a 350-year old samurai sword as a gesture of friendship, and was made an honorary citizen of Gold Beach. He died in 1997; some of his ashes were scattered on Mount Emily.
This Day in History
Mainland United States has never been bombed...wrong
Port Orford Lifeboat Station
Japanese Bomb the West Coast
World War II air raid of Oregon was a real bomb