Incredible Photos Show Present-Day Pearl Harbor Compared With The Day Of The Attack

History

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, suffered a devastating attack from the air and sea.


The Japanese assault began around 8 a.m., resulting in the deaths of 2,403 Americans, numerous injuries, and the sinking of four battleships, and damage to many more.

Surprised U.S. service members who normally would have slept in on that Sunday morning or enjoyed some recreation found themselves fighting for their lives.

In 2013, the U.S. Navy remembered the "day of infamy" with a series of photo illustrations overlaying scenes from that horrifying date with present-day photos.

Now, 77 years after the attack, here's what Pearl Harbor looked like then and now.

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes during the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

The battleship USS California burns in the foreground as the battleship USS Arizona burns in the background after the attack on Pearl Harbor

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

Defenders on Ford Island watch for planes

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

Sailors on Ford Island look on as the Mahan-class destroyer USS Shaw explodes

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

A view of the historic Ford Island control tower from 1941. The tower was once used to guide airplanes at the airfield on the island. It is now an aviation library

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

The USS Shaw explodes during the attack

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

The battleship USS Arizona burns during the attack, as viewed from Ford Island

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

Hangar 6 on Ford Island stands badly damaged after the attack

U.S. Navy photo illustration by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Diana Quinlan

SEE ALSO: 5 Heart-Rending Images From The Attack On Pearl Harbor

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Last week, U.S. Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit led a series of simulated small island assaults in Japan, the Corps announced Thursday.

Marines with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, on March 13(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

The 31st MEU, supported by elements of the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Logistics Group and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, members of the Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group, and Army soldiers with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, practiced seizing Ie Shima Island.

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"This entire mission profile simulated the process of securing advanced footholds for follow-on forces to conduct further military operations, with rapid redeployment," the Corps said in a statement. The exercise was part of the Corps' ongoing efforts to refine the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept, which is the modern version of the WWII-era island-hopping strategy.

A Marine with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, bounding toward a defensive position during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab.(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

"It is critical for us to be able to project power in the context of China, and one of the traditional missions of the Marine Corps is seizing advanced bases," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. "If you look at the island chains and so forth in the Pacific as platforms from which we can project power, that would be a historical mission for the Marine Corps and one that is very relevant in a China scenario."

As the National Defense Strategy makes clear, the U.S. military is facing greater challenges from near-peer threats in an age of renewed great power competition with rival powers. In the Pacific, China is establishing military outposts on occupied islands in the South China Sea while pursuing power projection capabilities designed to extend its reach beyond the first island chain.

With the U.S. and Chinese militaries operating in close proximity, often with conflicting objectives, there have been confrontations. A close U.S. ally recently expressed concern that the two powers might one day find themselves in a shooting war in the South China Sea.

Marines with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, engaging targets while assaulting a defensive position during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab.(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

"We continue to seek areas to cooperate with China where we can, but where we can't we're prepared to certainly protect both U.S. and allied interest in the region," Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at the Pentagon last May.

"The United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific taking down small islands," he said when asked if the U.S. has the ability to "blow apart" China's outposts in the South China Sea. "We had a lot of experience in the Second World War taking down small islands that are isolated, so that's a core competency of the U.S. military that we've done before."

It's just a "historical fact," he explained.

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