Pearl Harbor Japanese Aircraft Crash Sites, Records, & Artifacts: Part III
by James Lansdale

Aichi Kanbaku Relic USAR 1021 & The Shootout At Barbers Point

ARIZONA Memorial Aichi Kanbaku Relic USAR 1021 was found on the beach at Barbers Point, Oahu in 1992.  It may have been the remains of an AKAGI-based dive-bomber brought down during dog fighting that occurred over this area on the morning of 7 December 1941.  ARIZONA Memorial Historian Daniel MARTINEZ explains the provenance of USAR 1021 in more detail:

“A few days after Hurricane Iniki, Mr. Pat Beter, of Waipahu, was beachcombing near Barbers Point Naval Air Station. He came upon a twisted piece of aluminum metal, one by three feet in size. The object had a painted gray surface on one side and a metallic green color on the other. A Japanese inscription was found on the green surface.

On December 7, 1992, Mr. Beter brought the object to the USS Arizona Memorial to find out what the object was. (I) was called to the front desk to assist Mr. Beter. After a brief discussion, Mr. Beter turned the wreckage over to the National Park Service for examination. On Wednesday, December 10, Mr. Burl Burlingame, historian for Pacific Air & Space Museum assisted in the probe to find out what the object was. It was determined that the inscription read:

99 Naval Bomber
Aichi 3217

This identified it as a part from an Aichi Type 99  … commonly known as a Val Dive Bomber. … The aircraft was apparently lost in aerial combat with American P-40 fighter planes. P.O. 3/C Tokuji Iizuka witnessed the combat and saw Goto’s plane go down into the sea. Research indicates that the American planes involved in the action were piloted by Lt. George Welch and Lt. Ken Taylor. These two aviators had taken off from Haleiwa during the attack in a desperate attempt to stop the Japanese assault. Apparently Welch was credited for the air victory despite evidence indicating that Taylor was equally involved.”

Art by Jack Matthews via Art Prints Unlimited

Detail of  the GOTOH Kanbaku from Jack Matthews' Art "A Bold Attack On A Strafing Run" via Art Prints Unlimited

Additionally MARTINEZ related an interesting and little known sidebar associated with the attack on Pearl Harbor and the aerial battles over Barbers Point and Ewa MCAS.  Several of the Japanese aircraft had sustained great damage either as a result of antiaircraft fire over Pearl Harbor or from being attacked by American fighters. At least two of the Japanese aircrew managed to bailout of their stricken aircraft over the Barbers Point Lighthouse as reported by the lighthouse keeper, John M. SWEENEY:

Barbers Point Lighthouse Then ... Credit:USCG Photo

“Barbers Point Light Station
10 December 1941
The action as seen from Barbers Point

Above: Kanbaku over EWA MCAS and inland from Barbers Point Light (Note mountains on the horizon!)

At 8:00 a.m. many planes were seen overhead, both Japanese and ours.  Dog fighting continued for twenty minutes, bullets hitting the ground in bursts.  Then all planes headed south, our planes chasing them.  Seemed to have come from the windward side, and left the Island on Barbers Point side.

Two parachutists were dropped close to the station; they were confused in the kiawi trees and prowled around the station all Sunday night, the Fort Kam. 55th C.A. boys firing at them with rifles and machine guns.  One was wounded, and was later found on the beach, buried by his mate.  His feet were sticking out of the sand.  The other was later shot by an officer.

Monday night was bad; the boys were nervous and had to go with them to the top of the tower two times.  First they thought a green light was on top of the tower.  It proved to be the reflection of the moon on the glass.  The next time they thought parachutists were on top of the tower.  It proved to be nothing.  They escorted me to the house and warned me not to go outside as they would shoot at anything.

When we got the word that the two Japs were located, we felt easy, and Tuesday night was the first night anybody slept.


/s/ John M. Sweeney, Keeper
Barbers Point Light Station.”*

And, Barbers Point Lighthouse Today!

MARTINEZ also wrote that: “An Army lieutenant was credited for killing the surviving aviator. A footnote to this story is the article on December 19, 1941, in the Honolulu Star Bulletin. It ran a vivid description of this event on page 2 of the paper.”

Oral history interviews of veterans serving with the U.S. Army 55th Coast Artillery Corps (CAC) Regiment and who were engaged in this “shootout at Barbers Point” during the evening of 7 December and 8 December 1941 revealed a few tantalizing details.  Apparently, the Army officer killed the second Japanese airman when he refused to surrender soon after running out of ammunition.  By one account, both Japanese aircrew remains were examined, stripped of personal items, and taken to the nearby camp of the 251st CAC Regiment, newly arrived from California.  One or two 251st CAC Regiment veterans recalled seeing the aircrew remains being placed in an unmarked gravesite near the beach at Camp MALAKOLE just south of Barbers Point. Today there is little evidence of any wartime military activity, except for a single WWII machine-gun pillbox near the grounds of the Chevron oil refinery.  It is not known if these Japanese aircrew remains were ever relocated and/or returned to Japan after World War II.

Jim Lansdale

[Part 1] [Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4] [Part 5] [Part 6] [Part 7]

*The complete reports of other action by the USCG may be seen by going to

Credit: Photo:; Art: (C) Jack Matthews via Art Prints Unlimited; also Daniel Martinez, Arizona Memorial Historian; Scott Pawlowski, Arizona Memorial Curator; USCG; SC #126996/NARA; and University of North Texas OHP Archives.