December 1941

December 1941 was an eventful month for some of the Cooke family. On December 1st, JB and Savvy were at their respective Naval commands at Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu, Hawaii (then still a territory). Isyl, Annie, Bleecker and Phil were also on Oahu at the time. John was on Wake Island as the Pan Am station manager and because of the International Date Line, a day ahead too. Bill, Vera, Bill Jr. and CMC Sr. were all in Kansas City, Missouri; Alvina and Cornelia among others were in California near Los Angeles.

On December 7th, when the Japanese forces attacked, Savvy’s battleship was in drydock so did not sink, although damaged. JB’s car was bombed and destroyed, taking all the Christmas presents with it as they were in the trunk. It is reported that both Savvy and JB returned fire (with others) at the waves of attacking airplanes.

On Wake Island where John was stationed, the attack occurred on 8 Dec 1941. John later wrote his account of it which he called “God Bless Hirohito” which referred to debt cancellation caused by the Japanese destruction of assets on Wake Island. Read the account here. Isyl being the trained journalist she was, interviewed the American refugees of Wake and wrote this article published in the Kansas City Star on Sunday, 22 March 1942.

On 14 Dec 1941, John was sworn back into service in a joint Naval-Army Air Corp venture to provide air transport and logistics for the Pacific war effort. He was sworn in by his father Lt. Cmdr. J.B. Cooke at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as seen in the picture below. As a result of this John Cooke was discharged from the Navy prior to the war (but remained an Ensign in the Naval Reserves) and discharged from the Air Force (which the Army Air Corp later became) by act of Congress.


JB Swears In John, 14 Dec 1941

JB Swears In John, 14 Dec 1941

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