Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Japanese Attack on Santa Barbara, Truth or Fiction

Most of my life, I have been treated like a mushroom, kept in the dark and fed bullsh-t. So, the truth is very important to me and I am a truth seeker.

So, when I did my last post I mentioned the bombing of Santa Barbara and Darlene from Darlene's Hodgepodge made a comment. That sent me on a mission of truth and I had to find out if the Japanese really did bomb Santa Barbara. This is the result of my search:

Our story, strangely enough starts before the war in the late 1930's. A Japanese ship docked in the small city of Santa Barbara, it is unknown if it was there to load or unload cargo or to get a shipment of crude oil from one of the off shore wells by the city.

While the ship was in port, the Japanese captain was given a tour of the sights. While the captain was admiring a view, he fell backwards landing in a cactus bed. The americans burst into laughter, the captain felt ridiculed.

After war was declared, this Japanese freighter captain joined the navy as a submarine commander. So on Feb. 23, 1942 he brought his submarine close to the Calif. coast.
He knew the oil fields by Santa Barbara, which of course is important in any war, but this was revenge for being ridiculed in the late 1930's.

He surfaced his sub near an oil field pier just north of a suburb of Santa Barbara called Goleta. He shelled the pier and ordered shelling of the area around. The only damage was to the pier, no lives were lost and few people lived in the area. But the captain got his revenge.

Only two newspapers carried the story on March 1, 1942. The Santa Barbara paper and the San Francisco Chronicle. This act put the people in Santa Barbara on alert. In the nearby town of Montecito, many of the wealthy part time residents put their houses up for sale and went back east.

Later, a person would buy the timber from the pier and build a restaurant called "The Timbers". it is on Highway 101.

There is no record of what happened to the submarine captain.


Beth Niquette said...

What an interesting story! Did you know the Japanese also bombed Oregon? They were the first to discovere the jet stream. So they lofted a bunch of paper balloons carrying bombs into the jet stream--I think three of them made it onto our shores near Brookings which is a hop skip and a jump to the California border!

Looking to the Stars said...

Beth, yes I discovered that when I went in sreach of the bombing of Santa Barbara. I guess the government felt that since no lives were lost, that it was better to stay mum about it. And I could be wrong, they might have stayed mum about it for other reasons.

But, it is still an intersting bit of history :)

Wendy said...

I've been told this story all fo my life as my father grew up in Santa Barbara and my Grandmother's first husband owned a restaurant/gas station near the spot. When I tell other's it's almost embarassing because they give me a look as if they think I'm misinformed. Thank goodness for the internet because now I have something to back me up.

Looking to the Stars said...

Wendy, man it took me a long time to answer this. Sorry, after 2 days I don't look at my older posts. Yes, I'm with you, I'm glad to have the internet to back up the things that our parents & grandparents told us :)