View from the Cane Fields
Alan Conger arrived in Honolulu in September 1941 to begin graduate school at the University of Hawaii. He kept a detailed diary, and the following story was taken from an account of the attack he wrote on December 8. Like many who witnessed the attack, he now finds it hard to believe how naive he and his companions were.
On that Sunday morning Conger went on a field trip with his taxonomy class into the Wainai Mountains. He was picked up at 6:30 by a Honolulu dentist named Richardson and his wife, who were friends and admirers of the professor, Dr. Harold St. John. St. John permitted several nonstudents to accompany his classes on the outings, in part because they helped provide transportation for the students.
Conger and the Richardsons went to Waipahu to meet the rest of the group of about ten. Their route took them past Pearl Harbor and Schofield Barracks before the servicemen were stirring.
"About three miles south of Schofield, we turned west and started driving through the pineapple fields to get up to the edge of the mountains, where we would start hiking," Conger said. "It was while we were driving through the open pineapple fields that we began to notice things happening. We were about three miles from Schofield and about two and a half miles from Wheeler Field, and about 900 feet above them.
"I noticed planes diving down on Wheeler Field, and wanted to watch, so all of us stopped and got out [of the cars] to watch the show. It was a thrilling sight: Planes could be heard flying above the clouds which hid them from sight. Then you could hear their engines begin to scream as