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Mitsuo Fuchida

Mitsuo Fuchida (1902 to May 30, 1976) was a Japanese Imperial Navy pilot. He headed the formation that led the first wave of attacks on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

At 0620, Lieutenant Commander Fuchida led the way down the island's eastern side, then banked west and flew along the southern coast, past the city of Honolulu. He believed his approach had not been detected by the Army radar station, but it had been. Two alert soldiers notified a superior officer of the discovery but the officer blew it off, saying the blips were probably caused by U.S. bombers arriving from California that morning.

As he swept toward Honolulu, Fuchida radioed to his pilots "Tora! Tora! Tora!". (In some reports this message was "To! To! To!" -- the initial syllable of the Japanese word "totugekiseyo", meaning "charge" or "attack"). The three word message meant that complete surprise had been achieved in the attack. The order was given at 0747.

Six months after Pearl Harbor, Fuchida was badly wounded in the Battle of Midway and spent the rest of the war as a staff officer.

Fuchida wrote that he was in Hiroshima the day before the atom bomb was dropped, attending a week-long military conference with the Army. He had received a long distance call from Navy Headquarters, asking him to return to Tokyo.

After the war in 1949, Fuchida encountered a missionary who converted him to Christianity. In 1952, Fuchida himself became a Christian missionary and toured the United States as a member of the Worldwide Christian Missionary Army of Sky Pilots. He spent the remainder of his life as an "ambassador of peace", sharing the gospel message of forgiveness through Christ.

Fuchida died of diabetes in Kashiwara, near Osaka.