Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island

By Gregory J. W. Urwin | Go to book overview

XVII
"MY GOD, THOSE ARE JAPANESE"

Wake's First Air Raid, 8 December 1941

"Gee, There's a New Type of Army Plane"

With the approach of the noon hour, the defenders of Wake Island began thinking less about war preparations and more about lunch. Around 11:40 A.M., a food truck from Camp 1 ground to a halt at Captain Godbold's strongpoint on Peale Island. The Marines from Batteries B and D produced their mess kits and lined up for a meal of Vienna sausage, sauerkraut, biscuits, and hot coffee. The men broke off into little groups to eat their food, chatting about what could have happened at Pearl Harbor and what the United States would do to impertinent little Japan.1

After five hours of work out on the lagoon, the sailors manning the NAS refueling boat broke for lunch. They tied up at the dock behind Camp 1, where Fireman 1c James F. McCall met them with a truck for a ride to the Camp 2 mess hall. McCall also brought them their first word of the attack on Pearl. Most of the crewmen climbed up onto the back of the truck to ride in the open air, but S1c William H. Manning and Fireman 1c William Plate slid into the cab next to the driver. McCall told them that he would have to deliver a message to the airfield before he took them to chow.2

Elsewhere on Wake, groups of Contractors stopped working and headed for lunch. Those within easy walking distance of Camp 2 went by foot. Others came in by truck.3

High above the clouds rolling over the atoll, the four Wildcats of VMF-211's CAP swung into their final passes along the approaches to their base, killing time until their relief by another quartet of Marine fighters. Captain Elrod

-241-

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