Only pilot in the air the day war started and off Tokyo Harbor
as war was ending
The Associated Press reports that Capt. James Daniels III, USN
(Ret.), a veteran of WWII and one of only three pilots who very
nearly were shot down by friendly fire hours after the Japanese
attack on December 7, 1941, has passed away at age 88.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton, during a speech at the National
Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, mentioned Daniels as the only
pilot who was flying when World War II started, and also off Tokyo
Harbor when the war was ending in 1945.
Daniels was one of six pilots cleared to land at Ford Island
after returning from a search for the Japanese attack fleet in
1941. Even though the arrival of the aircraft had been announced
repeatedly to all ships in Pearl Harbor, many sailors panicked when
they heard the aircraft approaching. They then proceeded to shoot
down five of them -- only Daniels' airplane survived.
Daniels logged some 4,500 hours during World War II and in
Korea, mostly as an attack carrier pilot. He completed 110 combat
missions, and retired in 1970 after 33 years of service. He was the
Legion of Merit with Gold Star and Combat V, the Distinguished
Flying Cross and six Air Medals.