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  A6M2 Model 21 Zero Manufacture Number 5289 Tail AI-154

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December 7, 1941

Pilot ┬áPO1c Takeshi Hirano (KIA)
Crashed  December 7, 1941

Aircraft History
Built by Mitsubishi. Delivered to the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). Assigned to the Akagi. Tail code AI-154.

Mission History
One of nine Zeros that took off from Akagi, led by Lt. Commander Shigeru Itaya to escort D3A1 Val dive bombers attacking Pearl Harbor.

Finding no aerial opposition, the nine Zeros, including Hirano broke off and flew over southern Honolulu to strafe John Rodgers Field (Honiolulu Airport), setting a Hawaiian Airlines DC-3 on fire.

Next, the Zeros spotted large transports (actually B-17s) near Hickam Field and attacked. Hirano and Iwama attacked the B-17C piloted by Lt. Raymond Swenson from the rear, but overshot it. Iwama's fire hit the bomber, causing it to set fire and force land.

The Zeros then over flew Fort Kamehameha on their way to strafe Hickam Field. Fully alerted, anti-aircraft fire from the ground and USS Helm damaged this Zero. Hirano attempted to crash land on a street, but was clipped by palm tress and instead crash at Fort Kamehameha into Building 52 (Ordinance Machine Shop), killing Hirano instantly.

The crashing Zero killed four men on the ground, who were taking cover behind the building, including: Cpl Claude L. Bryant, Pvt Eugene Bubb, Pvt Donat George Duquette, Jr. and Pfc Oreste DeTorre.

Immediately, American servicemen took souvenirs from the crashed Zero, including the pilot's pistol, dataplates and pieces of the aircraft. A map was found and relayed to intelligence, and used in an attempt to locate the Japanese carriers.

Hirano's remains were taken the Fort Shafter morgue, but his identity was unknown. He was buried at Scofield Barracks Cemetery on December 9 as an unknown Japanese aviator.

The wreckage of the Zero was transported to Hickam Field for technical evaluation. The initial American report on the Zero incorrectly believed the aircraft was a copy of American designs, but did reveal lack of armor plating or self sealing fuel tanks.

Later, the wreckage was shipped to Wright Field for further study, and was paraded on "Army Day" in Dayton in 1942. Further lab testing was done on the Zero's aluminum. Afterwards, its fate is unknown.

Production figures of the Mitsubishi/Nakajima A6M Zero by Jim Long
Pearl Harbor Zero & Other Photos by Don Marsh and Jim Lansdale
Aviation History January 2009 "Harano's Zero" by David Aiken

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Last Updated
October 28, 2018


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