Truk Lagoon: "Operation Hailstone"

Operation Hailstone, Truk Lagoon WWII History: Imperial Japanese Navy in the Central Pacific.
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Kimiuo Aisek, Founder of the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop, Witnessed Operation Hailstone Attack.
WW2 Information and Images of Japanese Wrecks in Truk Lagoon.

World War II in the Pacific: Truk Lagoon, Chuuk, Micronesia

During the First World War Truk had been under the control of Germany. Japan, at the time, was part of the Allied Forces that stood against Germany.

Consequently, In 1914 Imperial Japan
acquired control of the Islands of Truk.

Truk Lagoon provided Japan an
excellent natural harbor that could
accommodate the largest ships of
the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Concentrated fortifications were built
throughout the islands that encircled
Truk Lagoon. Protecting the vital
military base from attack by air or sea.


Truk's facilities included five airstrips,
seaplane bases, a torpedo boat
station, submarine repair shops, a
communications center, and a
radar station.

With thousands of troops, and cave
emplaced armament among the
islands overlooking the lagoon,
The "Gibraltar of the Pacific", was
a threat to any Allied operation
in the Pacific. And so it was the
mission of the U.S. Navy Task
Force 58
to neutralize this threat.

"Operation Hailstone", the code
name for the assault on Truk Lagoon,
culminated on February 17th & 18th
1944.

The American armada included
5 Fleet Carriers and 4 Light Carriers.

Supporting the carriers were a fleet
of seven battleships, and numerous cruisers, destroyers, submarines, a variety of support ships, and more than 500 aircraft.

Japanese losses resulting from the U.S. Navy attack totaled over 250 aircraft and 45 ships. Among the ships sunk were cruisers, destroyers, sub-chasers, tankers, and cargo carrying supply ships.

Many other IJN ships were damaged.

The American navy lost 25 aircraft
with 29 crew killed. A Japanese counterattack on the carrier USS Intrepid also killed 11 U.S. Navy crew.




Kimiuo Aisek, Truk Lagoon's Most Renown Dive Guide & Founder of the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop.

The U.S. Navy raid succeeded in
isolating Truk. And although Truk
was never the target of an amphibious attack, subsequent air raids and submarine attacks denied Japan effective use of their vital base.

The Imperial Japanese Command
formerly surrendered Truk on
September 2, 1944 aboard the
USS Portland.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTES:

The Japanese Submarine I-169
took part in the attack on the
U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor in 1941.
This submarine is among the
the shipwrecks located in Truk Lagoon.

Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto,
(credited as the mastermind of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor), kept his headquarters aboard the Yamato while it remained anchored at Truk Lagoon.

The Yamato and her sister ship
Musashi, (also anchored at Truk
Lagoon), were the largest battleships
ever constructed by any navy.

Admiral Yamamoto was killed
on April 18, 1943 while flying in route over the Solomon Islands.

The Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" Bomber,
he was flying in came under attack
by American P38 Lightenings.

The date of the attack on Admiral Yamamoto marked exactly one year since the Doolittle Raid on Japan, April 18, 1942.

Although clearly not the same aircraft,
A Mitsubishi G4M "Betty" Bomber is
also among the wrecks of Truk Lagoon.

Major Gregory "Pappy" Boynton, USMC, the top scoring Marine Ace and Medal Of Honor recipient of the famed Black Sheep Squadron was on Truk as a captive during the time of Operation Hailstone.

Major Boynton had been shot down during a combat mission in the Solomon Islands.

He was being held temporarily on Truk, before continuing his transit to Japan where he remained for the duration of the war.



Kimiuo Aisek, The Founder of the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop and Chuuk Underwater Diving Industry, Witnessed "Operation Hailstone" at Age 17.

Kimiuo Aisek was born in 1927 while Truk was under Japanese rule. He was only 17 years old when the U.S. Navy attacked Truk Lagoon. The Japanese used native islanders for manual labor. And Kimiou watched in horror as his friends perished aboard the exploding transport Aikoku Maru.

The result of the U.S. Navy attacks would set the course for the rest of Kimiuo's life.

With his vast diving experience, the momentum began to build. And with the influence of close friends, Kimiuo opened the "Blue Lagoon Dive Shop" on November 13, 1973. The first diving facility in Chuuk.

Kimiuo has dived with many world renown personalities, authors, and film makers.

His knowledge and skill in locating and identifying shipwrecks was central to the success of many projects on the subject of Truk Lagoon.


 

Kimiuo Aisek passed away on January 4th 2001.

He was instrumental in developing Truk as the "Wreck Diving Capital of The World."

The friendships he has made with countless visitors from around the world have been lasting ones.

Kimiuo's memory has been honored with a stainless steel plaque placed on the wreck of the Fujikawa Maru.

On January 26, 2009, Master Diver Kimiuo Aisek was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.

Kimiuo left a legacy that continues today through his son Gradvin Aisek, his grandsons, and the staff at the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop.

Visit Our Site Map For More Information On The History of The Blue Lagoon Dive Shop.


Truk Lagoon-Operation Hailstone Witness: Kimiuo Aisek,
ww2-design.com, WWII Photography, Art, Design, and Production.

In Memory of Kimiuo Aisek.
In honor of his role and contribution to the diving industry of Truk Lagoon,
The Kimiuo Aisek Memorial Museum is now under construction.
Any materials, photographs, or other memorabilia relating to personal interactions with Kimiuo are welcome.

Be Sure To Visit Our "Visual Tour Link":
History of Kimiuo Aisek: Witness to U.S. Navy WWII Attack on Truk Lagoon, Chuuk Micronesia.