Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto

"In the first six to twelve months of a war with the United States and Great Britain I will run wild and win victory upon victory. But then, if the war continues after that, I have no expectation of success."

Admiral Yamamoto in an interview with Shigeharu Matsumoto,
a member of the Japanese Cabinet, 1940

      Having lived and studied previously in the United States, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto of the Imperial Japanese Navy was not eager to enter into war with that county. Ordered into combat by his country, Yamamoto was the most reluctant of warriors who seemed to know that it was his destiny to fight and die for his Emperor in a lost cause.

      One of the great advantages that the United States enjoyed in its war with Japan was the cracking of the Japanese code. This gave the U.S. advanced warning of impending Japanese operations. One such operation was a visit by Admiral Yamamoto to the Japanese base on Bougainvillea. Allied intelligence intercepted and decoded a message describing the visit, and the 13th Air Force decided to welcome him. Even the highest ranking American military commanders felt that to give a direct order to assassinate an enemy commander was above them, and the authorization for the mission eventually came all the way down from the office of the American presidency. On April 18, 1943, one year to the day after the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, 18 American P-38s from the 13th Air Force launched from Guadalcanal, flew to Bougainvillea, found the Admiral's flight, and shot down his plane killing him.

A reunion in April 1988 of the surviving pilots who participated
in the mission to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto in 1943.

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