Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Battle of Elwood

Commander K at Haskell's Beach
Goleta, California
Near Ritz Carlton Baccara

California, my home state, prides itself upon its peaceful laid back attitudes.  But California has not always been peaceful.  The state was, for example, fought over during the Mexican-American War.  The Battle of San Pascqual, fought near San Diego, featured the legendary frontiersman Kit Carson who walked some thirty miles in his bare feet to call for reinforcements.   I have written earlier invasions of California that have shaped the Golden state in numerous ways...https://www.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/4122629330054677829/6084681580602878101.

Many Californians seem to prefer to ignore the state's violent and colorful history.  But we must remember ALL history if we are to truly understand the past -- the good the bad and the ugly.  Everyone knows about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 -- the 1942 Rose Bowl was played in North Carolina as a result!  But many would be astonished to learn that the beautiful California coastline was actually attacked during World War II.  The "Battle of Elwood" was fought almost eighty years ago near the town of Goleta.  This is what we had to say in the California chapter of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American Soil...

"On February 23, 1942, I-17 surfaced near Santa Barbara. The Japanese sub used her 140mm deck guns to shell the Ellwood oil refinery with sixteen to twenty-four rounds. Damage was minimal and no one was killed or injured in the attack, but Radio Tokyo crowed, “Sensible Americans know that the submarine shelling of the Pacific coast was a warning to the nation that the Paradise created by George Washington is on the verge of destruction.”

Battle of Elwood Plaque
Sandpiper Golf Club
Goleta, California

In the early morning hours of February 25, 1942, the air-raid sirens of Los Angeles sounded after an unknown aircraft triggered a blip on the radar. Anti-aircraft guns fired over ten tons of ordnance into the night sky. Eight citizens died during the “raid,” mostly due to heart attacks. The phantom raid had involved no Japanese planes. Panic had swept the West Coast. This incident later inspired Stephen Spielberg’s movie 1941." (Source: www.americainvaded.com).

Oil had been discovered in the Santa Barbara area in 1927.   An ARCO oil refinery was built in Goleta in 1938.  This was the target of the 1942 submarine bombardment.  In 1972 the site ws developed by Ken Hunter as the Sandpiper golf course.  In 2003 billionaire Ty Warner purchased Sandpiper Golf Club...https://www.sandpipergolf.com

Battle of Elwood Plaque
Sandpiper Golf Club
Goleta, California

A plaque by the clubhouse of the Sandpiper golf club reads: "Near this site at 7:07 PM February 23, 1942 the California coast at Elwood received the first naval bombardment of the United States mainland since the War of 1812..."

The bombardment of Elwood, eighty years later, may seem somewhat trivial.  But actions have consequences.  Though no one was killed or even injured by the bombardment, there were consequences.  This attack provided an excuse for media to whip up anti Japanese-American hysteria up and down the West coast.  The incident at Elwood contributed to the subsequent incarceration of thousands of Japanese American citizens in internment camps.   

Visitors to and residents of Santa Barbara can find signed copies of all four of my books at these fine independent book stores...

1) Tecolote Book Shop...https://www.tecolotebookshop.com

2) Chaucer's Books...https://www.chaucersbooks.com

You can find signed copies of our books at these web sites...



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